May 06, 2010

Assembled


Geoff Johns is younger than you'd expect, for a guy in charge of steering DC Comics' superheroes into new incarnations on the movie screen. Back in March I sat at his feet, almost literally — the "chief creative officer" of DC Comics was up on a conference-room dais at Seattle's Emerald City ComiCon, and I was in the front row.


Naturally, the 2011 Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds came up. Johns, who by now had turned the galactic policeman into just one color on a spectrum of highly marketable power rings, assured the crowd that he'd be hands-on with that project, just as he'd been with recent arcs on "Smallville." "You'll see the stuff start to represent the comics a lot more than it has been in the past," Johns promised, to general applause.


It's what we all want, of course, if we've geeked out over four-color champions and dreamed of seeing them filmed. Just make the comic book, we pray. The comic book is perfect. Why mess with perfection? Like the consumers who demanded a Starbucks or Starbucks-like coffee at every corner, we're getting our wish. And what a monkey's-paw wish it's turning out to be.


The media companies that own these characters are finally getting their acts together, decades after Richard Donner's Superman showed them how much the public would shell out for superheroes in the cinema. They're consolidating and streamlining, building pipes that run direct from Editorial through Marketing to Merchandising to the film studio. Marvel has its own studio, of course, and now its riches can be bankrolled and harvested by Disney. DC has its own entertainment division, which Johns also heads -- Johns, who got his start as an assistant to Richard Donner. In their film adaptations, both companies promise faithfulness to the original vision of the comics, to their characters and continuity (whatever that last term means). They're inviting us into their "universes," where, we're told, Batman will protect Gotham under Christopher Nolan at least once more, Spider-Man will be a teenager again, and Iron Man will soon take his seat in Avengers Mansion.


It would be naive to think that film franchise possibilities, with literally hundreds of millions of dollars to be earned, have no effect on the creative end of this pipeline. Both Marvel and DC have tightened control over their stables of characters, always focused on the next crossover and its potential to spotlight saleable heroes. Spider-Man had too much romantic angst for either print or film versions, so now he'll be unattached in both. Johns was personally in charge of resurrecting Hal Jordan, dead since 1994, as Green Lantern, and Barry Allen, 1956-1986, as the Flash. They're just being populist, giving the readers what they want: the fantastic married to the familiar. It just so happens that that's how you write a successful movie script too.


They're giving us what we want, more's the pity, and we will never fail to be unfulfilled by it. We wanted to know everything about how Wolverine became Wolverine, so they gave us that ... first as a comic, then as a shitty, shitty shitball of a movie. We wanted Rachel Dawes, the only character in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight who had no basis in the comics, to go kablooie. We wanted to see Galactus try to eat the planet, so ... oh God, the tears burn. And we wanted the Black Widow to work her curvy leather-clad magic on Tony Stark's joystick, and we wanted War Machine to bust shit up, and we wanted Samuel L. Jackson -- who was the artist's model for Ultimate Nick Fury long before he was actually cast as Nick Fury -- to be motherfucking Nick Fury. This is pop, eating itself.


So ... what impressions of this latest stab toward an onscreen Marvel Universe? Does Iron Man 2 measure up to Iron Man? Surpass it? Merit Walter's review? Give your thoughts.

68 comments:

Patrick said...

Interesting that you didn't link to the Salon article about Superhero films.

Anyway, I just had a very similar discussion about, yes, Transformers – almost a superhero fim – in a thread about the Jonah Hex trailer (which looks awful): the argument went that critics all decried TF as "not being art" and that they, all being writers (and thus having a screenplay or a novel in their head), shouldn't be so dismissive towards the audience. Michael Bay delivers.

Which is exactly the point here. These films do not much besides deliver. I don't always need films to be completely original and challenging – but at least theoretically, formula is supposed to give you the freedom to deviate in part and challenge viewers while you reassure them in other parts. Thing is, even if that freedom exists, it doesn't get used. Studios, like politicians, play it as safe as they can. Which makes for moving images and loud noises, I guess.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Shamefully, I didn't see Matt Zoller Seitz's piece until I as putting this one to bed, and couldn't find a comfortable way to reference it. He's right, though: in 30+ years of comics-to-film as a mainstream genre, there are no real masterpieces, and some of the most daring attempts (Hulk, Superman Returns) have been judged failures. "Art is allowed to fail; product isn't," he writes. Spot fucking on.

Bill C said...

To further the discussion, here's Walter's review of IRON MAN TOO - http://filmfreakcentral.net/screenreviews/ironman2.htm

Patrick said...

One thing I noted in the review: comic book movies really go for interesting actors – is that to dupe the people who think that suggests depth? I mean, when I'm sitting in the theater and get a short Downey/Rourke exchange, I think this might go somewhere, this thing has legs, it's trying, when in fact it's just a morsel thrown out to get the length of the film closer to three hours.

Ian Pugh said...

It's a hilarious, depressing dichotomy that fanboys want their medium of choice to be taken seriously as an artform, but are afraid to approach anything that might distract from playtime. Such as it is with fanboys, of course.

I'm of the opinion that The Dark Knight and Superman Returns are masterpieces, and I even love Iron Man 2--which strikes me as being about the integration of man and machine in the age of corporate personhood. Superheroes are an important part of my artistic education, and they can represent high art when they tackle the fulfillment or perversion of mankind's dreams. But the future--the end--of the current cinematic trend is going to rest with The Avengers.

I've said it before, but it's still difficult to believe that The Avengers won't be an incomprehensible clusterfuck. Now, with Joss Whedon behind the theoretical wheel, it's practically impossible to consider it otherwise. Iron Man 2--with all of its threats of an independent, fundamentally uncontrollable supergroup--is enough to carry the idea within the confines of a single movie. The Avengers has been built up too much, and three or four movies later, it's going to underwhelm and alienate everyone from the prospect of more superhero movies.

Patrick said...

Ian: while I disagree about Dark Knight and Superman Returns, I agree about the prospects of Avengers. I mean, I like Joss Whedon's TV things a lot, but his style is neither suited to what one might do with the film nor to what the studio will expect the film to be like.

Interesting point, too, about people wanting to be taken seriously for their comic book love yet at the same time arguing that one shouldn't take it too seriously for what it tries to be.

Jason said...

Comic book fans are a superstitious and cowardly lot, content to rehash and relive past glories and seeing forward progress and character development as a series of Tragic Events, Moments of Martyrdom and Terrible, Unimaginable Losses. Makes sense, considering the product is aimed at 13-year-olds; somewhat worrisome when a large chunk of the buying audience is in their 30s. I personally gave up on comic books, or at least superheroes in general, when they retconned out Spider-Man's marriage to Mary Jane, returning/condemning him to Aunt May's basement again. If there's no desire for any kind of positive growth for a character, why bother investing anything in it? Especially when there's at least 3 other "Spider-Man" titles out there with a teenage Peter Parker who can't pay the bills or get a date, etc.

It also makes sense that most of the recent superhero movies are filmed versions of The Origin Story, since that's where pretty much all of any hero's story's lasting importance comes from. There's an undeniable poetry to the origins of, say, Superman, or Batman, or Spider-Man, so the desire to continually return to those roots makes a kind of sense. Most of my continued fascination with superhero movies today revolves around seeing how the directors are interpreting and reinterpreting The Origin Story to fit their auteur tendencies and trademarks.

That said, though, I'm fast losing my desire to hear these same stories told over and over again. As for sequels, they are pretty much all still reliant on at least one of the above mentioned Tragic Events... even the ones that do it right (The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2, X2). Something like Spider-Man 2 is actually filthy with ALL of these moments at one point or another, and all of them tended to revolve around the mundane, like paying the bills or kissing a girl. Maybe that's why I had such a hard time gravitating towards that movie; when the hero's "tragic" inability to keep a job or wash his clothes correctly is given the same weight as the villain losing his wife or having to destroy his dreams and ambitions for the good of mankind, it makes it hard for me to care about either of them.

DJR said...

I find myself nodding in agreement with many of Seitz's points (especially about the lack of cinematic poetry), though his implicit suggestion that Zombieland is a better movie than almost any superhero movie ever made... umm, what? Still, while I haven't seen Superman Returns, I've been a defender of the unfairly derided Hulk since its initial release. At the very least, it's one of the most formally ambitious superhero movies ever.

Anyway, the mixed responses (and Chaw's predictable pan) to Iron Man 2 have been discouraging, though I appreciate knowing in advance that Ian really liked it, and the now-largely-defunct Theo gave it a much higher score than he did the original.

Jefferson Robbins said...

This month's blog banner is freaking me out.

Bill C said...

@Jefferson: Do you know what it's from? Anyone?

Ryan said...

Exorcist III

Patrick said...

Weekly meeting of the Tories?

Jefferson Robbins said...

@Patrick Reminds me of a 1988 Hellblazer comic I read, where Constantine invades a local Thatcherite meeting on election night and discovers that, of course, they're all demons.

Jeff Holland at Threat Quality Press addresses the problem of judging the best/worst superhero movies. Countering Seitz's argument that the genre's had 30 years to develop, he argues (among other points) that it's still too small and diverse too bear that much scrutiny.

Bill C said...

@Ryan: Ding ding ding. You are correct.

Apropos of nothing, or maybe something, I revisited the "Mr. T" cartoon for the first time in adulthood yesterday and was surprised to discover two names among the credits: Steve Gerber (the head writer, as far as I can tell) and Jack Kirby (who is listed first among the character designers). Both were slumming, I assume, but still, a real "holy shit" discovery.

Bill C said...

Correction: according to Wikipedia, Steve Gerber only scripted the pilot, which I guess this was. (Those Warner Saturday Morning Cartoon collections are annoyingly un-annotated.)

Jefferson Robbins said...

Kirby spent a couple of years on the West Coast developing cartoons. That led to a spate of really strange/memorable stuff showing up on Saturday mornings, like "Thundarr the Barbarian" and a version of the Fantastic Four that involved a robot instead of the Human Torch.

Speaking of illustrators and cartoons, little did I know till I was in my 30s that "Space Ghost" was a creation of Alex Toth.

Bill C said...

And "Thundarr" was created by...drumroll...Steve Gerber.

I remember liking Thundarr much more than He-Man or Thundercats or the like, but couldn't quite put my finger on why. Maybe that's it.

I remember that "Fantastic Four" cartoon. In fact, I think that's why Human Torch has always felt vaguely like an impostor to me, because that's how I was introduced to the FF.

Another staple of my childhood Saturday viewing was "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", aka "The Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk", aka "The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man"--they didn't make it easy for us--narrated by Stan Lee. ("This is Stan Lee," every episode began, though if I recall he never talked during Hulk, which implied reverence to me and may help explain why I pledged allegiance to Hulk above all others as a kid.)

Firestar and Videoman, wherefore art thou?

Abhimanyu said...
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Abhimanyu said...

Not sure about there having been no masterpieces in superhero cinema. As mentioned above, The Dark Knight certainly qualifies. And the first two Superman movies (and, to an extent, Superman Returns) were terrific pieces of cinema. What IS a masterpiece anyway? The fact that the original Superman is practically perfect in terms of what it aims for does not qualify it as a masterpiece simply because it's about a dude who wears his underpants on the outside?

That said, the product vs art thing is very well said. It disturbs me just how much cinema in general (though superhero movies are a great example of this) have become tightly controlled product with every move by the filmmakers/writers/actors apparently dictated by hipster marketing people.

Some days I roll my eyes a little (sorry) at Walter's cynicism and doomsday prose but on other days, I have to admit to myself that he has good reasons.

What did you think of Iron Man 2, Jeff?

Patrick said...

So, while on the subject of comics (loosely), can anyone here point me to a good summary of what's so special about Scott Pilgrim? Since everybody seems to be in love with it, I read the books that are out there, but I was mainly bored and sometimes confused by not being able to tell which character I was looking at. Do I have to be a hipster in my twenties to appreciate that comic or am I missing something?

Gabe Toro said...
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Gabe Toro said...

Well, the Scott Pilgrim works are mostly pop art diversions. Certainly fun, but not transgressive or genre-smashing as the best works in the comics world. The film has a chance to toy with the film medium in a much more chancy way, but I get the feeling it will share the same structured affection that Hot Fuzz had. We'll poke fun, but we'll also add a side of reverence. In other words, lots of fun, and afterwards, eh, so what?

Is there some meat to the belief that superhero films (which are, I think, not the area V For Vendetta and similar works fall into) are so redundant because they subscribe to the innate conservativism of their politics? I think the ying-yang of "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man" crystallized this in 2008, the belief that an iron fist, clothed in kevlar or not, can bring justice to a lawless world, whether they want it or not. Small, trustworthy government/ubermensches unable to be questioned, though not without their own self-doubt. Within those strict beliefs, there's no real room for embrace of artistic growth, is there?

-Gabe
jumpcutjunkies.com

Anonymous said...

I don't think that's true. You've used a bad example (Batman and Iron Man are very similar characters). Spider-man is a coming of age story, while X-Men is about being in a minority. Hulk is about traumas of childhood. Furthermore, most superheroes are ostracised and hunted by police and media.

Gabe Toro said...

But, in regards to Hulk, what of the politics implicit at the end of "Incredible Hulk" when Banner allows himself to essentially be weaponized by the military, hinting at the future work he'll be doing for independent contractors SHIELD in an Avengers movies? Will that not be the most conservative superhero film yet?

And the X-Men movies have fluctuated in tone so far I don't think you can realistically discuss their politics. I don't know where to go re: the apolitical, melodramatic soap operas that are the "Spider-Man films.

-Gabe
jumpcutjunkies.com

Anonymous said...

I forgot about that shit-heap. I was referring to the Eric Bana film.

Alex Jackson said...

I liked the Zoller Seitz piece.

Yeah, he likes Zombieland better than The Dark Knight and yeah I still think that he's overestimating Zombieland and underestimating The Dark Knight. But that preference isn't nearly as offensive when taken in context. I see where he's coming from.

I still think The Dark Knight is great. I can't exactly fault that most complaints are against the film are that it's not very good on an objective aesthetic level, but that does seem to me to be avoiding the subject matter.

I think Watchmen works pretty well in spite of Zack Snyder. I mean, it's not perfect but it's still "Watchmen".

I like the last two Spider Man movies precisely because of their episodic nature and they don't seem particularly self-contained or leading to any singular destination. I liked the idea of just dropping in on these characters and seeing what they're up to. That aspect of sequelization is strangely underutilized these days. Most movie sequels are just rehashed money grabs or chapters in some greater work.

Never understood the appeal of Iron Man though, which placates both the right (he kicks serious terrorist ass) and the left (he takes on the military industrial complex) resulting in an overtly political work that's careful to not alienate anybody. I don't have any interest in seeing Iron Man 2. I won't avoid it, but I won't seek it out either. The ending of The Incredible Hulk which suggested a cross-over just bored me stupid.

And let me say that the child abuse allegory in Hulk gives it pathos and I was disappointed to see it dropped in the remake, but it's still too literal and simple-minded for my taste. And the Hulk is a comic book character who probably shouldn't have been adapted to the screen. It just demonstrates the underlying ridiculousness of a guy turning into a grouchy green giant whenever he gets angry.

DaveA said...

While I like Dark Knight and some stuff in the Spiderman movies, I still think it's a waste of talent. I really hope Raimi and Nolan leave the superhero business for good. I for one am much more thrilled about Inception than the next Batman iteration.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Iron Man 2 ... oy, this movie, you guys ...

Mickey Rourke creates himself anew in a deep hole somewhere in Moscow. It's like Tony's desert cave, but chilly! With worse teeth! Talk talk talk. Blabber blabber. Scarlett shows up, is hot, vapid. Something with a car race. Tony's a prick, is dying. Tony likes Pepper Y/N? N? My money's on N. Yay, Iron Man gets drunk finally! But no more of a prick than usual. Still dying. Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr. chew the fat in a donut shop; movie somehow fails to become Pulp Fiction. For 40 years Nick Fury has held onto a secret formula only Tony Stark could figure out, rather than finding someone else to do it in the interim. This proves he is terribly important, and good at his job. Sam Rockwell's a prick, but does he do anything criminal? (I mean on U.S. soil, because Monaco, pssshh, where's that?) Agent Coulson! Pepper is still in this movie; I'd forgotten that. Agent Coulson again! A Marvel Easter egg! BIG SCIENCE. Robots. Fighting. Scarlett fighting. How does the way Scarlett fights make any sense at all as a self-defense system? Robots. MICKEY ROURKE IS A TERRIBLE THREAT oh wait. A kiss. AC/DC.

Ryan said...

I'd pay money for Walter, or Alex, or Ian, or any combination of the above to weigh in on the Human Centipede.

Patrick said...

Jefferson: Defense system? Scarlett kills people with her vagina! She probably even has teeth down there, but only for the bad guys. She's deadly and sexy! Hur hur.

I like that Tony Stark is both poisoned and close to death AND shit-faced drunk, but can still fight and operate the suit like nobody else. Not like he would have any problems...

Also: fighting CGI robots are fucking boring, but apparently every Iron Man must feature every villain in a robot suit. Can't wait for part three...

Patrick said...

Counterpoint to Mr Ebert in defense of video games.

Jefferson Robbins said...

... and and AND Rhodey can not only activate but competently operate the Iron Man Mark II silver suit, despite the fact that a) no one but Tony has ever worn it and b) it's POWERED BY TONY'S PACEMAKER.

Patrick said...

Yes! I forgot that, but it bugged me when that happened.

Hugh said...

Read that rebuttal to Ebert's VG-bashing. Jezuz.

'What is art? Is it the object produced or the experience shared? The former sounds more like consumerism to me, but the latter sounds about right. And if that’s the case, I say Rez stands with Kandinsky’s work any day.'

Yeah. I think i've worked out why the quality this debate is so poor - videogamers are the only participants in the anti-Ebert camp; in order for them to engage with him they have to move out of their comfort zone, which results in comic gems like the above excerpt. The fact that there don't seem to BE any intellectual heavyweights involved in the discourse suggests maybe the argument isn't even worth having, which is probably a bigger criticism of gaming than anything in Ebert's blog.

Sorry to redirect the thread momentarily.

I was rereading Walter's Dark Knight review, and I agree with his suggestion that the Ledger's ubiquity in the final cut was probably due to his death. I wonder if the critical/box office success of TDK will allow Nolan total creative control of the third Batman installment, and whether this will be a good thing. The cynic in me says lightning won't strike twice (well, three times, Batman Begins was pretty great), but i'd be interested to hear the critics on this.

Walter_Chaw said...

Tracking down a copy of Human Centipede. Watched Robin Hood last night... anyone placing bets?

Gabe Toro said...

Likely a waste of time. These later years are really dulling whatever legacy Scott's ever had. The writing for Robin Hood was on the wall as soon as Scott jumped aboard the Alien prequels.

Alex Jackson said...

I predict two stars from Walter. Really hope I'm wrong as I'll probably end up seeing it regardless.

Really liked the new A Nightmare on Elm Street by the way. I actually found the child sex abuse material very effective. I liked how live Freddy was a mildly retarded man-child a la Little Children and ghost Freddy was a ruthless bad-ass a la Watchmen. His power is inflated in the mermories of his victims.

I think there's real poignancy to the idea of Freddy Krueger as a manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder that was missing in the series proper.

I'll concede this though, it's not on the level of Paperhouse. And you have to allow or accept that it's all jump scares and there's not really any hard internal logic. Sometimes it's a dream. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes they wake up. Sometimes they don't. I don't really disagree with anything in our logged review.

Jefferson Robbins said...

There was a time that a Russell Crowe movie sneaking into the light of day with practically no advance word of mouth would've seemed odd.

DaveA said...

Well, it's been some time since a movie was so universally panned. So this could very well be 3.5 stars. Or maybe not.

Jason said...

Huh? Nightmare on Elm Street came out, like, two weeks ago, dude.

Patrick said...

I haven't seen Robin Hood (and don't really want to), but apparently, the Charter of the Forest is real, and Billy Bragg told Russell Crowe about it. Yeah, I know.

KayKay said...

I'll probably agree with most of what Walter says once I get around to watching Robin Hood but this genuflection at the Rourke altar is a tad worrying.

"the feeling that this movie would've kicked ass had it starred Mickey Rourke instead"

I did love the The Wrestler, Re-watch Sin City frequently just for the Marv episode and agree he was one of the best things about Iron Man 2.

But Rourke as Robin? Only if the Archer were re-written as a fallen warrior on his final quest for redemption and retribution.

Characters with Death's scythe at their back seem to have, ironically, given Roarke his career resurrection. But I'm not convinced of his ability to inhabit characters who can get eventually get their shit together to fight another day, a Franchise Lead pre-requisite (something his IM co-star and fellow Lazarus seems to have nailed).

Re Scott, I think his relentless genre-hopping has rather unfairly led to the Hack toilet paper being unfairly plastered on to his creative shoe that the man just can't shake off.

I wonder if he would have been cut some critical slack if he had just stuck to one or 2 genres at the most. I'm not arguing that the Scott ouevre is littered with misunderstood cinematic gems, just that any director who can see-saw between sci-fi,fantasy, feminist road-movie, military actioners,wine country rom-com, con caper and gangster flick not to mention seafaring, Roman and Crusade epics with effortless ease deserves some cred.
Thus spake the Scott fan:-)

Ian Pugh said...

Yoicks, and awayyyyy!

DJR said...

Given that Chaw didn't so much as mention American Gangster (which he rather dubiously considered one of 2007's exceptional pictures at the time) in his Robin Hood review, can we presume he doesn't consider it one of Scott's really good pictures like those he listed?

Walter_Chaw said...

No - AG is a 3-star picture that captured a few really interesting plantation moments. Did I consider it to be exceptional? Maybe I did. Didn't last.

Anonymous said...

Lost is thankfully finally drawing to a close - will we see more BD coverage from Walter on the site soon?

Bill C said...

Lost S4 just went up.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, both Bill and Walter.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Cheers to Daniel Cockburn for helping to identify the TV episode cited in my PONTYPOOL review. It was An episode of the revived Twilight Zone, "Need To Know," aired in 1985, with William L. Petersen (!) and Frances McDormand (!!!).

Dan said...

Great to see Walter's more appreciative of season 4 (with caveats), although he must surely have a soft spot for Lost if he's watched THIS far. That's a lot of hours to watch something you dislike. Nobody's THAT committed, are they? Or does Bill have some kind of leverage on him to complete the whole run?

Anyway, very interested to see what Walter thinks of S5 and 6, which both lose some of the nimble purity of Lost's early seasons and start answering all the questions in divisive ways. As in: "magic" gets involved and the supernatural takes over from the theoretical science. Still good fun, but for me Lost's peak was season 4.

I take it season 5's review will be soonafter the series finale on TV and then Walt will be waiting for the S6 box-set in Aug/Sep?

Ryan said...

For me, Lost's peak was "Walkabout" - it's all pretty much downhill from there. I'm a bit perplexed by the notion of Desmond and Penny's romance being something interesting; in a show full of the mentally retarded (why does no one ever, ever act like a human being?) Desmond is far and away the biggest imbecile ever to set foot on the island. What kind of idiot chooses to sail around the world to impress his lover's dad after a lengthy stint in the big house instead of just going to be with her? Putting Desmond's whole moron story into temporal order shows just how absurd it is - hell, putting most of Lost into temporal order reveals how little of it works.

Jefferson Robbins said...

The lack of actual human behavior (ironic, in a show driven in part by large-scale behavioralist experiments) is what sent me screaming away from 'Lost' sometime in the third season. These aren't people, they're plot robots, with not a whit of humanity about them, even when they're tasked with crying or falling in love. For years, it seemed to me like John Locke was the only character with actual aspirations, drives, agendas and emotional bruises -- he was certainly the only one fleshed-out and well-written enough to care about.

Kung Fu Monkey said it best half a decade ago.

Anonymous said...

"The picture has already firmly established her as careless and kind of dim. She's lost our sympathy."

Gotta be honest, Alex, haven't seen the film but the evidence you cite doesn't particularly seem like enough to cost her my sympathy.

Alex Jackson said...

"The picture has already firmly established her as careless and kind of dim. She's lost our sympathy."

Gotta be honest, Alex, haven't seen the film but the evidence you cite doesn't particularly seem like enough to cost her my sympathy.


Maybe it's cultural. I don't see drinking while pregnant as okay to any extent, even when it's occasional and with a meal. I could see how attitudes could vary among people who, you know, didn't grow up in Utah.

Then again, I was probably wrong to attribute my apathy toward the character to this single trait. The character is underwritten in general and the treatment she recieves from Dadier's student goes way over the top. I feel I'm right in characterizing her as "careless and kind of dim" and as thus not worthy of our sympathy, but I think I developed that opinion more subtly.

jer fairall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jer fairall said...

I grew up nowhere near Utah and the sight of a girl drinking while pregnant once made me so angry that I walked out of a friend's party.

Patrick said...

As someone who has for more than half a year now posted a weekly review of a few pages of Twilight, I can assure you that I harbor no soft spot for it. It's all for the readers.

Dan said...

Who came up with the Shrek 4 photo caption? I assume it was Ian Pugh's doing. You're a sick man. But I'm sicker for laughing.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Weeks late in posting this, but Chris Sims' assessment of how DC is turning back the clock to the Silver Age versions of its heroes appeared the same day as this original post. My sense is the media companies think the Silver Age editions are the most saleable in terms of multimedia properties: an Atom movie featuring Ray Palmer might have legs; one with Ryan Choi, not so much.

That said, as Sims notes, a side effect of this strategy is the death or general benching of a lot of black, Latino, and Asian characters, in favor of their white forerunners. It's a fair point, and a strong essay.

Bill C said...

@Dan: All captions are written by the orphaned Caption Boy, whom we adopted and occasionally feed for this express purpose.

Patrick said...

Does Bill listen to irreligiosophy?

Bill C said...

@Patrick: I don't, actually; I'm pretty podcast-illiterate. Why do you ask?

Patrick said...

Because they have this running joke about Pakhti, a poor Thai child they adopted and who is now writing the jokes for them.

Bill C said...

Well, we first mentioned Caption Boy in 2003 and have talked about him at this blog since at least 2005; Irreligiosity began broadcasting in 2009. Whatcha implyin'?

Dan said...

Is Caption Boy on Twitter? I want to follow him. :)

Also; reader mailbags, how retro! I guess this blog and the comments have replaced the need for them, but do you still get emails? I seem to remember hate-mail getting posted up here on occasion -- always good for a laugh and/or exasperated scream.

Bill C said...

We still get reader mail, but not enough to fuel a regular column. Most people vent their spleen in comments on our pullquotes at Rottentomatoes now.

Patrick said...

Not implying anything here, Bill. Even if this had been the first mention of Caption boy, I wouldn't be. Just an innocuous question.

Anonymous said...

Scott is doing Brave New World. now THERE is a film i want to see. Perfect timing.