by Marcus Sakey
I had a whole other post planned for today. But in the last week I've discovered two works of surpassing beauty, and I decided I'd rather write about them.
The first is a free online game called Auditorium, and when you're done reading, I urge you to take a couple of moments to check it out, even if you think you don't like computer games.
I discovered this last week in a column written by my brother Matt Sakey, a respected industry columnist, occasional guest here, and owner of the review website Four Fat Chicks. I intended only to check it out as context for Matt's article. But when I clicked "Play" I was captivated.
I'm not going to tell you much about the game itself, because part of the joy is in the discovery. What I will say is that it is a gorgeous experience, one that manages to simultaneously engage a number of different parts of the brain: problem-solving, aesthetic, emotional. The half an hour I played was the magic part of that day.
Click here to try it. You'll need your speakers turned on. Don't look for instructions--there's a reason they aren't there.
The second recommendation is for a film, Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler. I'm a big fan of Aronofsky's work; I love the way he tells a story, the way he uses the whole breadth of the medium to engage the viewer. The intersection of ontological puzzles and commercial thrills in Pi was remarkable; after watching Requiem for a Dream, I just wanted to crawl in bed and have someone hold me; The Fountain had its flaws, but it was so lushly beautiful on an emotional scale, so grand in its intent, that they were easily overlooked.
The latest is his most accessible film, the story of a professional wrestler who was at the top of the sport, performing in sold-out stadiums--but that was 20 years ago, and now he works small fights in VFW halls to a crowd of a hundred. His body is shattered, his life is a mess, he lives in his van when he's locked out of his trailer, but he keeps coming back, weekend after weekend, because, well...watch the movie.
Besides this being an absolutely stunning piece of film-making, it also features one of the finest performances I've ever seen. Mickey Rourke completely submerges himself in the character. In a role that would be so easy to overplay, he keeps it subtle, expressing himself as much through his physicality as through his words. He quite simply becomes Randy "The Ram."
It's not a happy movie--none of Aronofsky's work is--but it has its moments of triumph and beauty, and I haven't been able to stop thinking of it since I caught it last week.
So there you go, two things that blew me away recently. Now, my requests to you. First, if you check either of these out, pop back here and gimme a post to let me know what you thought.
And second, if you have time, post about something that moved you recently. I don't care if it's a book or a song or a painting or a sunset or a recipe or a sports car. I'd just love to hear about it.