Friday, 8 January 2016

Films on the Cross Trainer #1

The new Oldham Sports Centre opened some months ago, featuring swanky new Technogym cross trainers complete with Digital TV and Youtube. The access to this much of the internet in such a location gave me a great idea for endurance work.

Training for long periods can be monotonous, so an opportunity to watch a film whilst getting fit at the same time is not one I want to waste. For some time now I've been compiling a list of films that I want to watch, so I made a start on these films today. Schwarzenegger zombie flick Maggie was not on Youtube. Neither was John Niven adaptation Kill Your Friends. I did, however, find David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis.

I plugged my headphones into the cross trainer's jack and started training. The volume wasn't really loud enough for me considering the radio was being played in the gym, and there were other expected gym noises. As for the movie, Cosmopolis is painfully slow. DeLillo has a rare talent: he can make the mundane fascinating, the ordinary extraordinary. Cronenberg does not have that gift. His films are mental by nature: a guy turning into a fly, a guy reading people's minds until their heads explode, a woman with a murderous rabid lump in her armpit... etc. etc.

The problem with Cosmopolis is the fascinating aspect of the book is the language. DeLillo details, for example, how the stock markets can be predicted using patterns in nature. But this had to be excluded from the film as there's no way to incorporate it visually. Fair, a guy getting a rectal exam in the back of a limo is unique and memorable, but it's DeLillo's description of the mundanity of it that engages. Just showing us this onscreen (thankfully not in the most graphic way possible) does not engage. Certainly not for as long as Cronenberg drags out the scene. It's implied that protagonist Packer is an insomniac, but that isn't an excuse to crawl the story along at the pace of an overpriced limo stuck in a riot-induced traffic jam.

Excruciating. Just read the book.

The exercise took 135 mins. I covered 6.18km and burned 1176 cals, whatever that means. Feeling it in the legs now.

Send me your Youtube film recommendations and I'll try this again soon!

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