The Fast Food of Life: Terrence Malick at McDonald’s

The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s latest masterpiece, is out on home video today. I’m a big fan of Malick, especially The Thin Red Line, but I was not exactly enamored with The Tree of Life. I don’t think Malick is capable of making a bad movie — film is first and foremost a visual medium, and his visual chops are off the charts. Still, once you get past the gorgeous cinematography, there’s just not much life in Life. The dinosaurs and cosmos interstitials are impressive, but ultimately, they serve as window dressing and not much more. Malick’s use of voiceover has never felt more self-conscious than in this film. I’ve read that this is his most personal work, and maybe that’s why it also comes off as his most precious. Again, it’s not a bad movie, but it’s not exactly a good one, either.

Now as for what appears below: I’m not exactly sure why I imagined Malick waiting at a McDonald’s, but it just sort of fit. Most of this pseudo-poetry is straight from the movie, with a few clusters of words rearranged and/or added.

The Fast Food of Life: Terrence Malick at McDonald’s

Brother.
Mother.
It was they who led me
to your Golden Arches.
And to this forsaken ordering line.

A man’s heart has heard
two ways through lunch…
the way of the Chicken McNugget
and the way of the Big Mac.

You have to choose.
The Chicken McNugget doesn’t try
to please itself.
Accepts being trimmed
fried, dunked in savory sauces.

The Big Mac only wants
to please itself.
Like this idiot
at the counter
paying entirely in change.

You can read the rest at The Nervous Breakdown.

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