make cool shit
Drive. The Rules of Attraction. Citizen Kane. Lost in Translation. Pulp Fiction. Boogie Nights. Dog Day Afternoon. The Maltese Falcon. Fight Club. Ocean’s 11. The Departed. Royal Tenenbaums. Breathless.
Some movies are just cool. It’s okay for movies to be cool. Movies should be cool.
One definition of COOL is that it’s the “pulling back and seeing the world for what it really is — The violence & brutal power hidden under the surface. A detached gaze free of political manipulation.”
There’s a book I stumbled on that seems to be a deep dive into the actual origins of the concept. It’s titled, not surprisingly, The Origins of Cool in Postwar America.
This idea of “cool” — vibes, vibe check, etc — is something I’m noticing all around me.
And the ultimate vibe, in my opinion, is just being cool.
The general (practical) point is this: Make cool shit.
More than anything, people want to feel good. They wanna feel cool. Most people lead boring, standardized lives. It’s how the project of civilization continues, this normalization of systems & routines.
One of those functions is simply making lots of cool shit.
People want to swim in worlds of high vibes.
Let your movies indulge in the pure coolness of it all — absent of considered meaning.
How does “cool” translate into video art? That’s hard to say.
Coolness lives on the cutting-edge of society & therefore always changes.
Some ways coolness have successfully been translated into cinema are:
Slow-Motion Synchronized Music & Action
A High-Dopamine Surprising Soundtrack
Shock / Novel Spectacle
Luxury Art Design (location / wardrobe / etc)
Maximalist Stylistic Flourishes.
Just because your movie’s cool, however, doesn’t give it the license to then be meaningless!
Obviously, if you indulge in pure style, in pure cool, you will still be representing some underlying philosophy. Because aesthetics still deals in the world of reason & logic (whether it be in the construction of a coherent narrative, or pointing the camera / editing the footage in a technically proficient manner, etc), any executive / creative decision made will still be in support of some abstract idea(s).
So even if you stylize cool without philosophy, you’re still supporting some implicit / subconscious value system embedded deep in the overall aesthetic.
For example: Drive is a super cool movie — and yet, also problematic in its depiction of women / minorities; etc… But that also doesn’t mean Drive has no value.
Because its value is in its coolness. The movie is fuggin’ cool. The double-point is this:
There’s A LOT of value in pure cool.
Pure cool is extremely pleasurable…
— But oh! How much sweeter COOL could be if it were also tied to thoughtful intelligence… 🤷😎