Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Get it? Gay it? Good.

There are certain immutable rules of life. One of them is that once something societal reaches the pages of an Archie comic, it can no longer be considered "cutting edge," or in fact, "edgy" at all.

I refer you to the precedents of Betty and Veronica go Goth or, going back a little further...

Now Archie has put a gay character into their comics. This is unquestionable proof positive that being gay is not only acceptable in mainstream America, but it's actually a bit passé.

Riverdale High School, the stomping grounds of comic books' favorite teen and his friends, is opening its doors to an openly gay student - a first in the 69-year history of the character. the what-year history of the character?

You keep loading those fish into the barrel while I go get my gun, ok?

"Nothing against her." Yeah, that's one way of putting it.

(Get it? That was a double!)

Because seen through these eyes, We lead a double life. No one will know, So check it out, steppin' out, here I go: Are we, are we ourselves?

It's not uncommon for movies to be promoted with a line like "No one is who you think they are." The twist Dare puts on this is that most of the people in it aren't who they think they are.

I was surprised to read on the Rotten Tomatoes reviews page for Dare that at least a couple of critics took it as a comedy (and that's two of the ones that liked it). I didn't get that. To me, at least, it's a drama, probably even a melodrama.

It seems to have aspirations to be a kind of a psychological (psychosexual) horror story in a teen setting (or The Breakfast Club gone wild).

The story of three high school seniors, who reach out to define, or redefine themselves, on reflection it reminded me of a Mark Evanier line I quote a lot:

"We all do childish and insensitive things when we're 17. There are no exceptions to this rule and if you think you're one, you probably did more than your share."

But, it's a movie that knocks at your mind and never quite gets into your heart; never makes the leap off the screen. So we are just as happy to leave it there.

It is helped immeasurably by a trio of young star actors, two of whom were known to me previously. Emmy Rossum shows that she has it in her to grow beyond eye candy.

Zach Gilford, likewise, shows that he has the equipment for the long haul by rocking a character completely unlike his Friday Night Lights persona.

Ashley Springer completes the leads. New to me (and apparently to the screen), he allows humanity to shoot through what was in danger of being a caricature of the repressed gay.

Ana Gasteyer leads the older supporting players as his mother; there are surprising (in good ways, meaning they show parts of their craft I haven't seen before) cameos by Alan Cumming and Sandra Bernhard.Photobucket

A young woman named Rooney Mara also bears watching as an up-and-comer. Though her part is hazily written, she succeeds in making us--me, anyway--want to get to know her better, and it isn't only because she's sexy.

Emmy Rossum is sexy, and I wouldn't want to get to know her character in this movie any more than I do at the final blackout, thanks.

This is one of those movies that it's hard to say what makes it only good, not great. As I say, it isn't the acting. And nothing really stands up and yells "BAD" about the script (by David Brind), either.

My best bet is that it's the direction (by Adam Salky), which is notably "stage-y" on a couple of occasions. Not always, however. A lot of this movie is told through looks, and a lot of the time, the director dares to get us right up close.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You know you're a nerd when...

...Rachel Maddow says something sounds "1970s-era; Tron style"--and you immediately think "Tron was early '80s, Rachel!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I just posted a new Amazon review of a recent book

Molly Ivins, A Rebel Life, by Bill Minutaglio & W. Michael Smith.

Ho-ly mo'fucking shit....

You know how I've blogged before about Scott Baio being a Republican tool whose life of rich reward says all that need ever be said about how an entire generation lost their mind in the '70s?

You might notice that I've never said anything about his wife. This was because I'd only ever seen her on his uncommonly boring "reality" show, where she seemed like a perfectly nice young woman; maybe one who deserved something better than being paired with this asshole.

More fool I. Cupid's arrow really hit right on target with this one. She's if anything, even more offensively idiotic, anti-gay and anti-woman (!) than he is. I quote:

You bunch of FAR LEFT Lesbian s--tasses!!!!!!! No wonder you're all lesbos because what man in his right mind could put up with your c--tness? Scott Baio has more class in his piss than all of you all!!!"

Yes you can, Mr. President. When will you?

So there's an item going around about how President Obama "snapped back" at some hecklers who were protesting his glacier-like pace on repealing "Don't Ask. Don't Tell."

I first saw it last night, but didn't think of this until just now: Does anyone remember Obama ever...I mean, ever, "snapping back" like this at oh, say, anti-gay bigot homophobes?

No. People like that, he invites to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

You know what I was just thinking of?

All those great top 10 hits we've had from "Kat" McPhee, these past few years.

Not that she isn't a supremely talented artist in her own right.

(Jest a bit of old point-scoring, folks, ignore it and go on about your day.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

'scuse me...someone needs to say this

Attn, pundits who are having difficulties pronouncing the name of the volcano the eruption of which is stranding would-be travelers across Europe.

A modest proposal: Try "Buttafuoco."

Thank you.


Never mind.

ETA: Belay that curses and never mind, the Dragon's still on top!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Preach, Brother Roger!

Ebert returns to the argument of whether or not videogames are art.

Does art grow better the more it imitates nature? My notion is that it grows better the more it improves or alters nature through an passage through what we might call the artist's soul, or vision. Countless artists have drawn countless nudes. They are all working from nature. Some of there paintings are masterpieces, most are very bad indeed. How do we tell the difference? We know. It is a matter, yes, of taste.

This is the kind of thing on which intelligent people can disagree. Surely another definition of art is simply whether or not a particular entertainment is meaningful to its audience. Whether or not they recognize their own aesthetic philosophy within the work must also be relevant.

That said, Roger is completely right about this, and those who are reacting against him are completely wrong.

Go, Dragon!

Here's something no box office analyst was predicting headed into the weekend : How to Train Your Dragon 3D was number one at the box office. How the hell did that happen?

Seriously, this almost never happens. Can you name me another movie that opened at number one, dropped down to number three in succeeding weeks, then went back up to number one?

The Dreamworks Animation family film trumped [Kick-Ass] the power of excessive violence and dirty words with theater-goers this weekend, pulling in an impressive $20m haul in its fourth week of release.

I really like this.

Not because I particularly care if Dragon throws Kick-Ass to the curb or not. Kick-Ass has gotten mostly good reviews, but I've heard both bad and good things. I haven't seen it, though, so I have no right to an opinion.

Not because of dragons being my favorite mythological beastie either or because I saw How To Train Your Dragon last week and really enjoyed it.

No, I think I like this because I feel it's more a triumph of simple word-of-mouth than of family film over dirty words. People saw How To Train Your Dragon, thought it was cool and funny (which it is), and told their friends.

More of whom chose to see that than the latest ginned-up "controversial" movie. That's kind of the way it's supposed to work, or at least the way I (and maybe you) often wish that it would work.