Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Guess I Am A Closet Emo

I’m slowly getting a grip on what this film noir thing is. However, in class last Wednesday I was hesitant to say anything when asked what modern movies come to mind that represent film noir. Because I had virtually no idea what constituted a film noir movie, I didn’t want to put up a movie and be wrong. I hate being wrong.

But now is my chance. I can put my movie up for nomination without fear of being shot down or seen as ignorant (which, in reality, I was). For modern film noir I nominate, ChicagoWhy? Because it has everything that constitutes film noir as described by my last post. The dark theme? Well, seeing that murder was in the plot of Double Indemnity, I would say ‘check’. The femme fatal? A sexy nightclub performer caught for murdering her adulterous husband and sister by the name of Velma Kelly, so, ‘check’. The already corrupted lead who only become more so? Roxy Hart. A wannabe singer who can’t quite break into the business but is willing to do anything to get there…‘check’.

Granted, I realize that film noirs usually do not have happy or satisfying endings, but Chicago does. The two murdering rivals collaborate to become enormous successes. The fact that film noir focuses so much on doom and gloom made me wonder how people could even want to watch the movies. Why would you purposefully choose to watch a movie that starts off in a bad situation when you know it’ll only end up worse? I would never subject myself to that over and over. But, I had to reconsider. I actually DO subject myself to that, only not through film. 

Much of my music is about heartbreak, or losing someone you love, having to say goodbye, or things simply just not going your way. One could characterize my repertoire as including a lot of the film noir of the music industry. Dare I say emo? Except it has more of a pop-rock sound to it. 

One of my favorite bands ever is The All-American Rejects, and just by looking at their name you can guess they write a lot about, well, rejection. Their first CD included lyrics like, “I know moving on is easiest when I am around you,” “You wish for love, you pushed me away. Your love for me was everything I need, the air I breathe,” “(Swing) Swing, Swing from the tangles of my heart is crushed by a former love,” and “Now we're too far gone. Hope is such a waste. Every breath you take you give me the burden’s bitter taste.” Basically every song but 1, possibly 2, is about a break up or having to let someone go. One track is even titled One More Sad Song. At least they realize their own trend. We can give them that.

So, I may not recognize film noir in film form. But I’m definitely an expert when it comes to depressing music. Not that I’m depressed, for anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m pretty much the opposite. It’s not very often that I don’t have a smile on my face (even the goat is happy to see me!). I have learned to appreciate what those sad songs have to say, and they are cathartic at points in life. Perhaps my affinity for sad music will transfer over and I can find a new appreciation for what is film noir.


  1. I like how you used music as a modern example noir. Did the noir style enter music during the same time period that it entered film in the 40s?

  2. Awesome reference. Why do both emo and film noir lovers love to be so connected with the darkness?

  3. I think because it's closer to reality for some people. Not everyone's life is all sunshine and happy endings. Perhaps these people relate more to emo music and film noir. Or perhaps people are attracted to music opposite of their life. Like me. Happy happy life....sad sad music.