The Superman Effect

http://io9.com/5698008/is-zack-snyder-trying-to-avatar+ize-the-new-superman-movie

So — I think we all know what this means. Zack Snyder has the hots for Matthew Goode.

Look at the evidence: Zack Snyder, for being not only a comic book fan but also a film director, is incredibly buff and into sporting activities, which is just not natural. Working out a lot…well, it’s a symptom of a few things. I thought he was just one of those geeks that has issues about being a geek, so pretends he’s into jock stuff (which would explain Watchmen), but now I’m not so sure.

He cast Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, who was supposed to be this sort of gentle vegan ultra liberal pacifist type until the last quarter of the story. The fact that Rorschach thinks he might be gay is supposed to be more telling of Rorschach and his assumptions about liberals than it is a character point for Ozymandias. Snyder portrayed him standing in front of Studio 54, speaking with a strange German lisp and Hitler hair in purple with nipples on his outfit. Not exactly subtle, Zack.

So anyway, that would all just be down to interpretation, but I have a long-standing theory that there is a direct correlation between whom a Superman fan casts for Supes and whom they would totally do if they were gay. First off, I plain ole have a hypothesis that all die hard Superman fans (“All-Star Superman” notwithstanding) are closeted homosexuals, latent homosexuals, or homophobic homosexuals. I have no explanation as to why, it is simply an observation that has yet to be proven wrong. Next, whomever they cast as Superman if one were to inquire, is whomever on which they have a homosexual crush. This conclusion comes from the fact that all logic seems to be out the window, and it will, 9 times out of 10, be an actor they talk about / watch the movies of as much as they talk about / read Superman.

Now I’ve cast Superman in different ways, some on this blog — mostly as part of a larger idea, like my role call for Identity Crisis — but there have been reasons, for the most part, that I choose whom I choose. Brendan Fraser, from around the time of the first Mummy, I just think has the goofiness and seriousness to pull of the two completely separate roles. Think Bedazzled Fraser for Clark, School Ties Fraser for Superman. But when I talk about it being Sean Maher now, even I have to admit that part of that is just because I think the man is pretty, wholesome, and has a strong jaw and black hair. Not exactly the best acting requisites. So, maybe if, to quote Norm MacDonald, “if I had to be gay, like, if they made it mandatory one day or something…”

I’m not a Superman fan, big or otherwise, but the none of us are entirely straight, ladies and gentleman, but merely degrees of both. I can dig Superman at times, is what I’m saying.

Well, Donner hired Reeves, which does not implicate him in the Superman Effect — Reeves was perfect casting and just makes too much sense to tell us anything about Donner’s preferences — but Singer hired Routh. While I admire Brandon Routh’s comedic timing in films since Superman Returns, his performance in that film was either coming off as a Reeves impersonation or, well, a little gay. Now, Snyder has been hired. All wrong in my opinion, perhaps because I think Superman and in fact, DC superheroes are homoerotic enough without having anyone with those tendencies that aren’t already dealt with to helm them. Give me a straight guy or a guy who’s completely out of the closet to do a Superman film or a Green Lantern film. Snyder, with his love of Frank Miller and the Spartans and huge muscles and Studio 54…that just leads to more nipples.

Either way, Snyder has been rumored to be casting Matthew Goode as Superman, which would seem to be too much to ignore — he’s hiring the actor who helped him make a sexually ambiguous character out and out gay to play the gayest superhero of them all, and he’s probably gonna be using that whole Green Lantern skintight bodysuit, CG the costume on after technique. Come on, Zack. Sucker Punch isn’t fooling anyone.

I am so glad I got through this whole post without mentioning Dr. Manhattan’s massive blue dong. Shit.

Disney’s Wayward Daughters

Demi Lovato Singer

Demi Lovato, star of Disney’s Sonny with a Chance, just checked into rehab.
Miley Cyrus, pug-faced star of Hannah Montana and daughter of Billy Ray. Father issues self-explanatory. Now auctioning off clothing (taking pictures of herself undressed) and wearing Cher-style outfits on stage, in the attempt to sexualize herself. Still looks like someone bred Hilary Duff with a pug, which is already the unholy offspring of a pig and a dog.
Lindsay Lohan, star of Disney’s The Parent Trap. Slowly transformed into coke whore and fame exhibitionist, in and out of rehab. Father dating girl Lindsay’s age who dresses and styles herself after Lindsay, implying abuse or at least inappropriate paternal relationship, probably due to a lack of the father’s presence until daughter’s pubescence. Mother riding daughter’s fame wave, enabling destructive behavior that continues fame wave, and stealing ice cream.
Britney Spears, star of Mickey Mouse Club. Drugged-up horrible mother, once married to an honorary Chalmation*, shaved head for short period of going fucknuts. IN AND OUT OF REHAB.
Christina Aguilera, starred in Mickey Mouse Club. Basically, a giant whore, although schizophrenically alternating between being a classy call girl and a tranny on Santa Monica Blvd. Had anal sex with Dimebag Darrel from Pantera, but hey, all that’s consensual, and at least she hasn’t been to rehab! BTW, if I google Britney, I get a thousand pics of Britney. If I google Christina, I get 700 pics of Christina and 300 pics of Britney. So really, I think we can all understand Christina’s little sister complex, and why she acts out. Lucky for her, Britney went fucknuts and now she’s the one looking to have actual staying power. Right now, she’s coming out on top.
Strangely enough, Ryan Gosling — successful and respected film actor. Justin Timberlake — escaped the shackles of N*Sync to be a successful pop star and garner actual respect both as a performer and an actor. So what’s up with Disney’s little girls? There’s something royally fucked in Denmark, and it has to do with either how Disney treats its girls or how it picks them. I’m going to go with a mix of the two.
Disney seems to be “saving” most of their little starlets from lower to lower-middle class families with no or severely fucked up father figures, then cleaning them up, putting wholesome little dresses on them, and tossing them aside once they’re done with them, just like their fathers did. At Mickey Mouse Club in particular, there seems to be a general atmosphere of competition between the females, either fostered by or not discouraged by Disney. In addition, they were rehearsed for insane amounts of hours just to get onto the show, let alone once they were on. Their mothers, much like all beauty pageant mothers, pushing all of their own hopes and dreams into their daughters.
In desperate attempts to try to remain relevant, they continually use sexual tactics in a game of “Hot Seat”** with each other, all while on shit tons of cocaine so they can make it through that next show or film. Now this mostly falls on the parents, or parent as the case may be, but Disney is somewhat complicit — they surely audition so many girls that in order to outdo the competition, one must have a psychotic mother and a daddy one is trying to win back by say, getting the attention of the entire world. But why are the guys fine? Is it that fathers pushing their sons eventually let go, not feeding on their child’s spotlight? Or is it that it is still mothers pushing their sons, but a son can escape their mother more easily?
Or is something more sinister at work here? I can’t help but come back to the sexualization of these Disney girls. JT and N*Sync were basically made into eunuchs. It was always insulting to me how they both used girls’ pubescent intensity and simultaneously ignored it, as if girls don’t get horny, they get crushes. All their songs were about love, while they pranced around with open white button-ups. Meanwhile, Britney and Christina get paraded around in midriffs as they sing songs that pretend to be double entendre, but in fact only make sense in a sexual context — an old Madonna trick. But all that was post-Disney, wasn’t it? I don’t know. You cannot tell me that Hilary Duff and now Miley Cyrus were not being subtly sexualized during their runs on Disney. Hilary almost got into a whore-off with Lindsay, but Lindsay clearly had more daddy issues, and now it seems Hilary Duff might be the only girl to have escaped this cycle yet — and she and her sister are no longer famous because of it.
Is it us? Is it Disney? Or is Disney just programming all of us, including their stars, that girls have to whore themselves out to get the all-desired reward: attention, attention that they never got. Maybe Hilary, Ryan, and JT just got enough love, were breast fed, and had both parents in their lives enough. Maybe they were just naturally talented enough to get in, and the rest of these girls got in because they were attractive and because they needed it so bad they made themselves hit that E over high C or put on that Catholic school girl outfit. I don’t know. Just food for thought.
*A Chalmation is a person from Chalmette. Chalmette : New Jersey as New Orleans : New York.
**“Hot Seat” is a game in acting class where the two sides of the room compete to get the attention of the audience, by any means necessary. The audience is tasked to yell out, “Left!” or “Right!” when one side wins their attention over the other.

Seriously?

Okay, so I bought the New Moon soundtrack, ’cause hey! Death Cab, Muse, Thom Yorke, The Killers, OK Go? That overpowered even my intense hatred of the books and overwhelming boredom with 98% of each movie. But now this is getting ridiculous. Here’s most of the band list for Twilight: Eclipse‘s soundtrack:

Muse
The Bravery
Florence & the Machine (whose song “I’m So Heavy” is pretty damn good)
The Black Keys
Dead Weather
Vampire Weekend
UNKLE
Band of Horses
Cee Lo Green.
Which means I’ll be getting this one as well, but here’s the thing. Something’s been bothering me about these soundtracks for a while, and I’ve been assuming it was just because of the obvious. You know, we’ve come a long way from the days of The Crow where the soundtrack first surpassed but still enhanced the film. Now we’re at the point where, pointedly, the Eclipse soundtrack eclipses Eclipse the movie by so far that it’s actually enough to drive a person mad.
But that’s not what’s bothering me, even though it’s very close. It’s not so much an overall quality thing so much as it is a sentiment thing. If the soundtracks were filled with awesome bands or extremely popular acts of any other kind, I wouldn’t be bothered at all. OK Go is actually the only band that can tip-toe on this line, but if Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, or any of countless other teen-focused or angst-ridden bands of the last decade contributed, I would still get the record, but be far less confused. My guilt level would be as appropriate as it would for having seen the first two films in the first place (the first with Rifftrax on, the second in exchange for getting a girl to watch Buffy, hoping she will convert or at least stick to True Blood). I would enjoy that soundtrack, but keep it to myself. There certainly wouldn’t be a blog entry written about it.
No, what’s bothering me about the artists they’ve chosen is that they seem to have gone out of their way to choose sincere musical artists for their soundtracks. Sincere and mature, of all things. The songs aren’t just better than the movies or the books, they’re richer, more enlightened, and more grown-up, more melancholy inside of 4 minutes than the source material could be with all five of its books completely rewritten. These books are the inane ramblings of a not particularly deep teenage girl coming from a very sheltered life, craving a man who will control and shelter her for the rest of eternity, and obsessively cling to her as much as all of her little sycophantic male friends still. The fantasy of the immature, feminine anima aspect of us all, but not one of a mature adult woman who is healthy, or of anyone without major issues. The music chosen to represent these movies is…well, it’s too knowledgeable, too world-weary, and too honest.
The best kind of songs for something like this is not the songs from the people who brought us “Fake Plastic Trees” or “I Will Follow You into the Dark”. The perfect Twilight soundtrack needs to be music that gives into fantasy, pretends love will last forever and can somehow defeat death, that ignores a hundred years in the field of psychology and pretends there is no such thing as the Electra complex, that tells us everything will be okay if you wait till you’re married to have sex, and that the whiter someone is, the more special they are, and is naive enough to not realize that all of this is Mormon parable. Also, can we get a little age appropriate here, please? Most of the audience for these movies should not know who Thom Yorke, UNKLE, or Muse are, okay? There are bands they would recognize and would be more appropriate, however.
Here’s the bands that would actually enhance the experience of Twilight:
1. Evanescence
2. Creed
3. Flyleaf
4. Paramour
5. My Chemical Romance
6. Fall Out Boy
7. Panic at the Disco
8. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
9. Breaking Benjamin
10. Dashboard Confessional
11. Taylor Swift
12. The Jonas Brothers
13. Celine Dion
Because, make no mistake, this is The Crow being ratnerfucked by Titanic and making a weird, new Hybrid Suck Fetus of Awful for the new generation.
*PS: What are these kids called, anyway? Are they Generation Z? If so, that’s retardant. I think Generation “I” would be more accurate. Ah, well.

(Ballad of the) Stupid Things (Fighting to Be) in Love

Imagine a steady beat and an acoustic guitar, maybe keyboards. Pop, in the style of Death Cab / Broken Bells:

This is what you want if this is what you want

Don’t let it go

(That’s right)

If this is what you want then this is what you want

Stop letting go

Don’t you dare let go

Fell into your arms long before I knew my name

This what I waited for, this long with no detours

Touched the side of your face before I heard your voice

We’re living backwards now, it won’t be long before

We’re on all fours

Knew the color of your eyes before I saw at all

“Can we just talk a while?” And memorized your smile

Saw your face then relearned to speak

I age like Merlin now, Benjamin Button style

We’ll die infantile

This is what you want if this is what you want

Don’t let it go

Don’t let it go

If this is what you want then this is what you want

Stop letting go

Don’t you dare let go

You’ve got to hold a grip to all you love

Even if you love stupid things

You stupid thing

You’ve gotta love what goes through your grip

Even if it’s just a way of clinging tighter

We’re all lovers if we’re fighters

Oh I’ll love you like a fighter

You love her if you fight her

I love her like I fight her

I still love you, I’m a fighter

Felt the smell of your breath ‘fore I saw what you were saying

Can we just walk this hall? Till we forget it all?

Saw the touch of your mouth when I heard your name

This what I’m wanting for, this long and still indoors

This is what I want if this is what I want

I’m gonna let it go

Till it will not go

If this is what we want then this is what I want

Don’t let me go

Grab my hand, let’s go

My Top Twenty Genre Shows of All Time

20. Red Dwarf: for the laughs.
19. Dollhouse: for the characters, for the loss, for the cynicism, for the pessimism, for the paranoia, for the desolation.
18. Farscape: for the characters, for the loss, for the story, for science as magic, for the laughs.
17. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: for the characters, for the loss.
16. Lost: for the characters, for the story, for the love.
15. Battlestar Galactica (2003): for the characters, for the story, for looking like you knew what you were doing.
14. Fringe: for science as magic.
13. The X-files: for the faith.
12. Carnivale: for the myth.
11. Millennium: for the faith.
10. Blake’s 7: for the pessimism.
9. Star Trek: The Next Generation/DS9/Voyager
8. Babylon 5: for the story.
7. Star Trek: Original Series: for the idealism.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel: for the laughs, for the loss and for the fight, the cynicism and the faith.
5. Trigun: for the laughs and the consequences.
4. The Prisoner: for the paranoia.
3. Firefly: for the laughs, the love, and the cynicism.
2. The Twilight Zone: for the twist.
1. Doctor Who (predominantly the 2000 revival)/Torchwood: for science as magic, for the laughs, for longevity, for the twist, for the optimism, for the pessimism, for the desolation, for the cynicism, for the faith, for the paranoia, for the love, and for the consequences.
(Also, on a completely unrelated note: White people have deluded themselves into thinking Dave Matthews Band is amazing but Hootie & the Blowfish was a fad they went through, thus proving they can easily accept a White man leading a band made up of minorities, but the inverse is just silly. Somehow, this explains Avatar, Fern Gully, Dune, Dances with Wolves, Dangerous Minds, Tarzan, Pathfinder, Davis’ character on Treme, the reason White 60s protesters at Civil Rights protests are ironically annoying and superior, and the popularity of Rebirth Brass Band at Le Bon Temps among White college students. Good day.)

A Really Long Article About Inception You Won’t Read

There’s a lot of ballyhoo surrounding Inception in the critical circles. Every week it seems there is a new article from a well-esteemed, extremely intelligent, professional film critic about why Christopher Nolan is not as good of a filmmaker as the public thinks he is, how his movies are cold and his action sequences are muddled and he sacrifices character for plot. Invariably, someone also mentions how Nolan’s defenders have turned this into a discussion about the director himself rather than the film in question. I have only one problem with this, though it is a bit of an umbrella problem: none of that is true. Nolan’s films delight moviegoers and film fans while simultaneously insulting a completely separate and alien audience: the well-esteemed, extremely intelligent, professional film critic, and they are the ones that have turned this into a discussion about Nolan rather than the film in question.

Inception I found neither cold nor sacrificing character. One could argue that Ellen Page’s architect or any of the supporting cast were not developed, but no one criticizes Ocean’s Eleven for not developing the Asian contortionist or Don Cheadle’s cockney expert — all we need know of these characters is what specialty they bring to the heist. Make no mistake, Inception is, at its heart, a heist movie in a science fiction casing, much like Blade Runner was a film noir in a sci-fi setting. For that matter, no one mentions how cold or lacking in character development Blade Runner is. Most of what genre fiction, film, and television is, is the manipulation of tropes, archetypes, and stereotypes. Characters are not so much ignored as much as shorthanded — like the characters of the dream in Wizard of Oz, you have met these people before, in another life. This gives the very short format of the motion picture space to breath so that a genre piece, delineated by a markedly high level of brand new ideas and complex plot, can successfully explain its ideas and so you can successfully navigate its plot. Alien and Aliens, Predator, Blade Runner, and yes, Inception, do not have time to hide the fact that everyone in a movie is one of twelve different character types, anyway. The characters that matter in heist movies are the leads — George Clooney, perhaps Andy Garcia. But even they are almost always pulling “one last job” — using this trope in a completely different setting like the theft of dreams is entertaining in and of itself.
I also did not find the movie cold — yes, we have seen these characters before, but critics tend to put too much importance on original character, not realizing there is no such thing. The adept science fiction auteur or author knows that in the end, we are all people. People with the same motivations and psychological issues in varying degrees or mixtures. We all want our fathers to love us, though they may not have made it obvious enough for us as children. We want our mothers to love us, but to let us grow. We want our friends to not betray us. Science fiction plays on the big fears and the big loves, the big decisions and their terrifying repercussions. Reality is suspect and thus plot becomes paramount. We need to relate to these characters and put ourselves into the situations, and it needs to happen fast enough that we’re not in the theater for 6 hours like Dune. A novel has time to let you meet everyone before they become tropes once the action starts (this will happen, there can be no mistaking) and make them appear new. But in a movie, everything is Joseph Campbell. You must meet, care about, and relate to people within 2 hours. You must be introduced to revolutionary ideas, understand them, and digest the metaphor of them for actual life circumstances within that time. You must follow said characters into the labyrinth created by the ideas, care that they are there, and be hit with the same revelation. The impact of the emotional symbol at the heart of Inception‘s main heist is simple and straightforward, as it needs to be both in the world of the film and in real life. And it does to the audience what it does to Cillian Murphy.
I have seen the film twice. Things I thought were plot holes were things I, as a viewer, had missed. The plotting of the film is perfect. The characters are stock, but that is necessary. The dreamworlds are extremely ordered and left-brained, but once again, the movie’s very idea makes this a necessity — everything must be in place, is, in fact, constructed not by a painter or a writer but by an architect, not only so these invaders to a person’s subconscious can successfully navigate it, but also so that the subconscious being stolen from does not realize he is dreaming. Cobb’s invading nightmares are the primary threat to their jobs, and his past and character are delved into quite deeply. This is his character study, and like Citizen Kane, There Will Be Blood, and The Godfather, no one but the lead really matters. For all we know, they are more constructs of Cobb’s subconscious as he continually deludes himself in Limbo. Or, as one fan suggested, the team is actually being led by Ariadne (Page), and their real goal is to get at Cobb’s secret.
Nolan has found a cinematic sweet spot. He has managed to achieve what every filmmaker or writer dreams of: he has figured out how to make a commercial movie that he does not have to dumb down. The ideas are strange, the plotting is complex, but he juggles it. He’s made a movie about subject matter that the average action director can’t understand, filled it with actors that are less A-list and more A-caliber, and made it so an audience enjoys it and comprehends its point. This seems to bother film critics. They do not seem to have nearly as much of a problem with intelligent action flicks or indie character pieces or standard science fiction fare, no problems with heist movies or sweeping psychological studies. Inception is all of these things, however, and it confuses and angers them. They pick at it for things that they would not criticize in a simpler movie. It has stimulated their intellectualism, and so they want it to fit into the mold of prior intellectual films. It is about dreams, but does not resemble Lynch or Gilliam! It is a heist, but it is extremely complicated! There is character, but not enough! It is cold, despite bringing the average audience to near tears during its climax.
Transformers is a completely commercial success that everyone knows is empty and worthless, and won’t stand up to a second viewing, but it works in the theater for $9. No Country for Old Men is an artistic achievement that is profound and disturbing, but essentially boring after one viewing unless you are a student of the craft. Both were unsatisfying to me for strangely similar reasons:
1) at the climax of a giant robot movie, when the two main giant robots fight, Bay chose to cut to a human character I did not care about and cut back at the END OF THE GIANT ROBOT FIGHT.
2) at the climax of a neo western film, when everything converges on an OK Corral style shootout, the Cohens chose to skip over it to a character I barely cared about finding the remnants of that fight and give an emotional speech to end the film.
Both sacrificed audience satisfaction for self-indulgent story. In Bay’s case, not actually understanding the appeal of his subject matter, he overemphasizes the importance of his human characters. In the Cohens’ case, having seen gunfights before, they choose to make sure the audience knows the importance is on the emotional revelation of Tommy Lee Jones’s character. Nolan would have done both, and juggled them successfully, and that can be confusing for someone like a critic who is used to seeing one or the other, over and over again.
Not used to being confused, critics have attacked Inception and its creator for things that are not wrong with the film, criticizing it for not being things it was clearly not attempting to be. They seem to be under the impression that Nolan wanted to make The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, but is such a bad filmmaker that all he could drool out was Inception. In actuality, filmmakers like David Lynch try to make Dune and all they can muster is another David Lynch movie combined with a Dune audio book, because they cannot plot and cannot tell us who a character is without telling us every detail. They actually have no eye for what is important about one character or another, and dreams being portrayed dreamlike can be argued less imaginative than coming up with a story structure that makes solid, left-brained dreams that are being torn apart by invasions of right-brained chaos. (Many talk of Nolan’s rigid structuring and obsession with identity, but I think all of his movies can be thought of as the left hemisphere’s terror that the right brain will run rampant — these are, after all, what Batman and the Joker represent as archetypes.)
Confused critics then point the finger at the filmmaker, doing multiple long articles with entire film studies, bringing up every Nolan film and picking them apart and talking of how he has degraded as a filmmaker or of how Insomnia is his best film. These critics have forgotten what it was like to enjoy movies, to love them, and to need a break from life to go see a movie. For them, film is work, and not the way food is work to a chef, but the way food is work to a restaurant critic. You must try everything, bad or good, even if you know it will be bad. Critics also did not participate in another of Nolan’s successes: getting an audience to ignore a marketing campaign. No one wanted to be spoiled or overdosed, and so ignored everything but the two uninformative trailers. In this way, much like the original Matrix, audiences had no expectations and no preconceived notions of what the movie would be walking in and got to figure out the movie as it went, as intended. Film critics, on the other hand, were listening to each other, watching every advance trailer and clip, and building an opinion based on their lack of enthusiasm about the Batman movies (which they also do not get) and the over-marketing of this new film. They walked in thinking they knew what Inception was about, and found out they were wrong.
I have stated before my resentment of film criticism. In my opinion, there are either too many of them or too few. Each one of them sees nearly every film that comes out, whether they want to or not. I did not see White Chicks because I knew that I would not enjoy myself in the slightest, but these poor bastards have to sit through it anyway because it’s their job and someone needs an article about it the next day. If the average audience had to sit through every movie that came out, they would all be film critics — tired of things that are in most movies, and a little resentful of everyone in the business. But the facts are this, normal people see whatever seems interesting to them, and they want to sit in a dark room with people they know and people they don’t and enjoy themselves. If you are not entertaining first, you are masturbating. I am not a fan of art for art’s sake. I think it is self-aggrandizing bullshit. I understand making art, but art should be made to reach people. Nolan reached millions with his film, and planted an idea in their heads, which means he has successfully done what movies were set out to do in both an artistic and commercial standpoint.