Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Snoozes


I went to see "The Dark Knight Rises" as much out of principle as anything else. I didn't think Warner deserved to lose out just because a nutcase picked a theater showing their movie to perpetrate a mass murder, and I wasn't going to be cowed into missing out on it over a random act of insanity. Turns out, they do deserve to lose out, but only because they produced a blockbuster turd of a movie.
"Wake me when it's over, or someone starts shooting.
What a convoluted, ill-conceived, plodding, meandering, nonsensical pile of shit. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt & Anne Hathaway were the only bright spots in a laughably tragic waste of millions of dollars. And even at that, I think Jessica Biel would have outgunned Hathaway by a mile in the Catwoman role.

I would describe the plot, but I still don't know what the fuck it was. Thematically, I think they were going for some kind of statement about the Occupy movement and the so-called "1 percent." There also might have been something in there about complacency during peacetime and failing to appreciate wartime heroes. Honestly, I'm not terribly sure. Whatever it was, it got lost in a jumble of indecipherable dialogue, circuitous plot and outright silliness that was poorly paced, poorly edited, and far, far too long.
"I don't know WTF is going on."
It definitely didn't help that I could only understand every 10th or 15th word that Commissioner Gordon or Bane said. Seriously. Between Gary Oldman's crotchety old man mumbling and the muffled gobbledygook trying to escape Bane's ridiculous mask (which looks like a cross between a CPAP mask and some kind of bio-mechanoid alien asshole drawn by H.R. Giger), I couldn't understand half of what they said. It was like Dueling Speech Impediments.
"Ermahgerd, wrrs Batmrrn?
Memo to future supervillains: even if you're built like Atlas, you become somewhat less intimidating when your enemies have to go, "Huh? What?" every time you try to spout some bit of eeeeevil, supervillain-y dialogue.

"Uh hmmf uh fuffn bmm!"
"Huh? What did you say?"
"Uh hmmf uh fuffn bmm!"
"Sorry, still didn't catch that."
"I HAVE A FUSION BOMB!"
"Why the fuck didn't you just say so?"
"Okay, it's not very intimidating or supervillain-y, but just TRY to hit me with your worst Taco Bell farts."
And what was with Batman's/Christian Bale's costume? I've seen pics of Batman guys at Comicon that looked better. It's like it was a little too big for him or something. Bale is 6' even according to IMDb, but the suit makes him look about 5'5".
 
"Intimidating? Check. Chick magnet? Check."
My mom went further, saying it looked "all bunched up at the crotch." I'm gonna go ahead and take her word on that one, and try to excise the image of my mom scrutinizing Christian Bale's package from my mind.
"No worries, Chris, my Batman costume doesn't fit me, either."
By about halfway through this confused mess, I didn't give a shit about anything--I just wanted it to finally end. For a much better review of this movie (one that I should have heeded), see Kurt Loder's review at Reason.com.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Big Girls Don't Cry

Some family and close friends will recognize this rant, as I have articulated it before in person on occasion, but I figured I'd dump it into ye olde obscure blog anyway. It's about the classic 1962 Four Seasons hit, "Big Girls Don't Cry," and how this piece of bubble-gum pop is actually an anthem for abhorrent behavior. Disguised in this bouncy, upbeat piece of musical fluff is a tale of manipulation and emotional cruelty befitting an episode of "Mad Men" (particularly since the show is set in the same time period in which the song was released). First, the obligatory YouTube link to the song:



"Big Girls Don't Cry"--which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 17, 1962 and remained there for five weeks--is an awful song, and not just because much of it is sung in that godforsaken male falsetto that--for reasons beyond my comprehension--was popular during the period. The lyrics are a case study in abhorrent behavior, both from the boy from whose point of view the song is sung, and from the eponymous 'big girl' (as in grown up or mature, not hefty) who is the subject--or should I say victim--of this charming ditty. Feast your eyes on these lyrics (from here):

Big girls don't cry-yi-yi (they don't cry)
Big girls come on cry (who said, they don't cry)
My girl said goodbye-yi-yi (my, oh, my)
My girl didn't cry (I wonder why)

Pretty sure I can offer a theory, but we'll get to that in a minute.

(Silly boy) Told my girl we had to break up
(Silly boy) Thought that she would call my bluff
(Silly boy) Then she said to my surprise
Big girls don't cry

He tells her that he's breaking up with her, for no reason whatsoever, other than the hope of eliciting a dramatic reaction where she bursts into tears and begs him not to leave her. When, to this girl's credit, she refuses to give her boyfriend-turned-agitator the satisfaction of a big, emotional scene, he is surprised! Like he rolled his favorite toy car across the kitchen linoleum, only to find that one of the wheels is stuck.

"Hey, why aren't you writhing on the ground in agony?"
What the fuck is the matter with this kid? Who was he raised by? J.R. Ewing? The Manson Family? Who wakes up one morning and says to themselves, "You know, today I think I'll tell this person I care about deeply (presumably--since they are 'going steady') that I'm ending our relationship. I'll do this for absolutely no reason, except that the reaction I will get out of inflicting this emotional torture on her will provide me with some momentary amusement." I'll tell you who--a goddamn sociopath.

This guy makes Anakin Skywalker look well-adjusted. Where did this little scheme fall into his agenda for that day? Did he decide to stage this scene before or after he tortures feral cats with a cigarette lighter? "Silly boy"? Yeah, if by "silly boy," you actually mean "sadistic freak."

"I may have Force-choked Padme, but I never told her we were breaking up just to fuck with her."
The song continues:
Big girls don't cry-yi-yi (they don't cry)
Big girls come on cry (who said, they don't cry)

Baby, I was cruel (I was cruel)

Baby, I'm a fool (I'm such a fool)

This belated contrition hardly gets him off the hook. He realizes that he was in error, and that he was cruel, but not out of genuine empathy. Rather, because she dumped his sorry ass. She bottled her emotions, kept her dignity, and told him to go fuck himself. He not only didn't get the reaction he wanted, he also lost her for real. He's "sorry" now; not out of remorse for the pain he caused, but because he now has no toy to play with (and nobody to give him a handjob in the back of his parents' Studebaker). Again, sociopath. Empathy doesn't factor in. Other people's feelings aren't real to him. He is the only one who matters.

This girl has had a bad day to this point, but it's not over yet, oh no. She goes home--the one place in the world where she should feel unconditionally safe to express herself--having every rightful expectation of finding solace and acceptance, and instead she gets this:

(Silly girl) Shame on you, your mama said
(Silly girl) Shame on you, you cried in bed
(Silly girl) Shame on you, you told a lie
Big girls do cry

As I see it, here are two possible interpretations for, "shame on you, your mama said." One is that Wannabe Anakin has stepped out of his role as participant, and is now narrating the scene of this awful mother telling her daughter that she should be ashamed for expressing emotion in the wake of this cruel episode.

"Contrary to evidence from the 6,000 years of history since God created the world, vaginas and emotions don't go together."
 The other, even more loathsome, interpretation of this lyric is that he is gloating to her about her crying, having unearthed this fact--inexplicably and unforgivably--in conversation with the girl's own mother! Either way, Mother of the Year is just as bad as Wannabe Anakin. The two make a loathsome pair that deserve each other. Maybe she should date him!

Yes, big girls do, in fact, cry. Then they dry their eyes, move out of the house, find a better boyfriend, get a few piercings, and duck mommy's calls.

"And we haven't even gotten into my issues with daddy."