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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

3-4-24 PDF
March 4, 2024
2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Oh my Gawd!!!… the Flaming Lips

Sometimes you can just feel a movie. The sorrow of a misspent youth as Luke Skywalker stares into the two suns of Tatooine in Star Wars; when Toshiro Mifune berates the six other samurai in Seven Samurai for their deception by the peasants. You can just imagine Lucas or Kurosawa pouring out their organs and drums, envisioning how the scene must come about. You can feel their passion, their loneliness, their drive to pass on a message to soulful wanderers watching with clairvoyant eyes and omnivorous minds.After seven years, the Flaming Lips have finally released the long-awaited Christmas on Mars, an epic made on a budget of whatever tools director/lead singer/space alien Wayne Coyne could find in the junkyard of his dank Oklahoma town. The simple idea of this film could abate interest from potential audiences who are unaware of the brilliant madness of the FLips to a dumbstruck “what the fuck?”Major Syrtis is putting on a Christmas pageant on the first outpost on Mars, but his Santa kills himself from space madness, and then everything seems to go to hell until a mute space alien saves the day, and it starts to snow. There are fetuses and certain female body parts involved too. It’s not the conventional holiday film. For anyone familiar with the band that the Boston Phoenix voted as Oklahoma’s best, this should seem like normal Flaming Lips fare. “I want it to feel like some kind of drug-damaged foreign film,” says Wayne Coyne. He describes it as Eraserhead meets 2001: A Space Odyssey; A kind of psychedelic DIY film. But whatever the production lacks in money, it makes up tenfold in heart. Filmed in black and white grainy 16mm with occasional explosive shocks of color, the homemade space set is really an otherworldly habitat. Sure, the acting is bad, and the script isn’t on the good side of Casablanca, but if you let it take you, it only adds to the distanced atmosphere of the bleak and surreal Martian future. Overbearing lights shine like a glimmer of hope at the end of a shitty tunnel, mocking that they’ll always be just too far off. But the music is the overwhelming godmother of the entire movie, like a character in itself – force-feeding you Major Syrtis’s loneliness and descent into insanity until you feel it in your toenails. It’s music by the Flaming Lips, a band that the author of this article has often times called the best American band of today, and perhaps of all time. Heck, they won a Grammy for a song that was a push-off from this movie that they released on Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. A Grammy for an afterthought!Though this movie may not be aesthetically a masterpiece, this is, ultimately, a movie with heart. Something you can tell for certain that Wayne Coyne put his soul, fears, and body into – something that he needed to make. It’s these kinds of passionate films – the ones diluted in the black hole of Hollywood – that truly mean something special to the filmmaker, whose meaning gets passed on to you, and folds out a bed and camps out in your mind, projecting into you. These films never leave you your entire life, molding and shaping who you are – what your meaning and purpose is. This is the kind of film that holds your head on darker nights to remind you that life is possible. This is the kind of feeling, the hope that drives forward and never leaves your heart until your rent is finally due and you vacate this planet for good.