I Know Who Killed Me is a great bad movie. It’s so ridiculous that it’s entertaining. If only more bad movies were like this. There are some boring scenes, but watching the movie stumble to its unbelievable ending is undeniably fun. Or “fun.” I’m a fan of using color in movies, but this movie was the most exaggerated and blatant use of color schematics that can be imagined. My 3-year-old-daughter would have figured out the concept after five minutes because it’s so incredibly obvious. Hearing Lindsay Lohan’s hangover voice is great when you see her as a high school student. And let’s not talk about her robotic limbs, because at this point you don’t know what kind of movie you are watching anymore. If you like funny bad movies, this one will be for you.
“Humans are flawed and this is why they destroy the earth.” Would anyone doubt that assumption? Probably not. I do because I think it’s not humans but culture that is flawed. Anyway, I want to look at two comic books today that ask the question: What would happen if all the problems in the world could be solved? What would humans do then? Those are intriguing questions that revolve around the notion of humans being flawed or not. If they are not flawed, solving all the problems would save the world. If they are flawed, all the problems will just come back. Looking at these questions are Joshua Hale Fialkov and Brent Peeples in their mini-series The Last of the Greats, published by Image in 2011 and 2012, and Jonathan Hickman and Olivier Coipel in the best issue of the event comic Avengers vs. X-Men (or just AvX because it’s so cool), published in 2012 by Marvel (which was written by every major Marvel writer but was quite a mess overall).
American Psycho is one of those impossible book adaptations that you wouldn’t anyone who knows the book expect to even consider. That book is insane! Mostly in a good way and in a very disturbing way for the rest of the time. But Bret Easton Ellis knows how to write. The movie is relatively harmless in comparison and while it might not be completely successful, it is a worthy attempt that captures some of the spirit of the book. The direction by Mary Harron (a woman!) is excellent and the use of excerpts from the book works well. And Christian Bale of course, he completely sells the movie by his extraordinary performance. But the movie drags for a while in the middle because it doesn’t know what to do after the main jokes are made but the mayhem is not about to start yet, which bored me. Still, the movie, like the book (which I admire but never want to read again) made some great points about society and capitalism we can look at here.
These posts seem to be popular, so let’s finish up the Big Three with looking at the U.K. Singles Charts. Though, looking at all three now, I see that the difference between them is not as big as it once was, since there are many repeats. I remember a time when the U.K. charts was full of hip new indie bands. Yes, I’m old.
So maybe we have to shake things up a little next time…
Domino has been called a mess by many critics and maybe it is. Perhaps the fact that director Tony Scott called it his favorite movie and hearing Richard Kelly talk about his screenwriting process (on Jeff Goldsmith’s Q&A about Tony Scott), made me more forgiving for this movie. It’s not great, but messy and exhausting. But it has its moments. I liked Mickey Rourke in it and most of the other performances are good too. Scott has some fun with his movie, experimenting the hell out of it and it certainly doesn’t look like any Hollywood action movie you’d imagine. But it’s also too long and nearly incomprehensible, although the plot doesn’t really seem to matter. What matters to Scott is his friend Domino Harvey and she’s the focus at all times. The rest is just fireworks to celebrate her.
No gangsta rap analysis could be complete without taking a look former N.W.A.’s Ice Cube (and eventually N.W.A.). As far as I remember, his first album I knew was also his first album, so today we look at the provocatively titled AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, which was released in 1990.
Oh, yes, two in a row. After Dead Poets Society (and a lack of new movies to talk about), I decided to look at the other Robin Williams movie from the late 80s that had a huge impact on me: Good Morning, Vietnam. I saw it around the same time as Dead Poets Society and it cemented Robin Williams as one of my personal heroes of my late childhood. It is also a strange movie to watch at 12 when the Vietnam War is only something abstract I had no relation to. But around the same time I must have watched Apocalypse Now on repeat, so something must have been set into place there for my interest in this war and the dark sides of U.S. history. But this movie is mainly a comedy and primarily because it’s Robin Williams’ show. And in many ways this movie resembles Dead Poets Society in its structure: Williams plays the offbeat character that overthrows conventions, he has to fight against authority and has to pay for it in the end, nevertheless teaching everyone willing to listen something about being different. One more reason for doing this double feature.
My daughter (almost 3) loves reading books. I (almost 34) love reading books. There might be a connection. But because I’m me, I can’t help but look closer at the books she reads. Children’s books are full of ideas what kids are supposed to think and they are also full of stereotypes. If you want to read books with your kids and care about what they take away from it, you have to look very close and you have to think what you tell them or if some books need extra explanation. I’ve collected some examples, negative and positive ones, mainly from non-fiction books and since my daughter never gets tired of getting new books from the library, this will probably not the last time I’m doing this (and I’m sorry for some of the bad quality of the photos, I’m not a professional book page photographer). The title of this series refers again to J. Zornado’s incredible and mind-changing book Inventing the Child, in which he takes a look at children’s literature and shows the horrible things we read to our kids for decades.
Joining the Robin Williams honorary bandwagon? I’m happy to! Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite and most influential movies, so it seems obvious to look back at it now in the late aftermath of Williams’ death. The movie works for me on many levels, mainly in its depiction of a good and unusual teacher, but also by showing an authoritative, limiting and cruel society and the effects it has on its young people. This way the film inspired me in many ways, not just for becoming a teacher. I must have seen it the first time early, when I was around 11 or 12 and I watched it again and again. What’s really a shame is that in schools, the novelization is often read when there is no reason on earth not just to use the movie. Curiously, this is one of the few movies where I really disagreed with Roger Ebert (who got me into movies so much more than I already was, so I’m a big fan of his), who called it “manipulative” and full of “platitudes.” Reading his review makes you wonder how he even came up with two stars. I get what he says and maybe even understand how you could view the movie this way, but to me, it’s just a great inspirational movie. Here’s why.
Mara, a six-issue limited mini-series written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Ming Doyle and published by Image Comics in 2013, is the story of a woman who is the best and most famous sports star in a slightly futuristic world. The comic mostly shows how stardom and the media are connected and the consequences this has, thereby directly reflecting upon our society’s treatment of stars and sports (as Brian Wood rarely writes a comic without reflecting upon our society). It’s a great if slightly weird comic because it does never go where we expect it to go and the ending can’t do anything but leave you astonished in its boldness. It’s a really great comic and I can only recommend it, but since I don’t want to spoil it, I’ll just focus on one aspect today.