Archive | July, 2013

How Man Of Steel Saved The Superman Brand

24 Jul

It’s actually very simple: by taking the property seriously. You might not think it matters with a comic as the source material, but just hear me out.

Let’s start with the premise of what Superman really is. He’s an extraterrestrial alien being with near-godlike powers. He can fly at supersonic speeds. He’s nearly impervious to physical harm. He has the strength of ten thousand retard gorillas. He can shoot heat rays out of his eyes that burn through rock and metal. He has X-ray vision. And for most of his childhood, he has no idea why the hell he can do the things he can do, because his parents neglected to mention that they pulled him out of a crashed spaceship as an infant. Sorry, son. We were just hoping to avoid having you vivisected by Uncle Sugar or milked for your alien man-juice so that the Army could create a race of hybrid super-soldiers.

And that causes real problems for young Clark Kent. And they should. Do you think a little kid could take the manifestation of some pretty disturbing abilities in stride? Or would he maybe be upset by them and ask Why am I so strong? Why are the slightest noises so deafening to my ears? Why do I set shit on fire with my death ray eyes whenever I get – OH MY GOD WHY CAN I SEE EVERYBODY’S BONES AND INNARDS THAT IS SO FUCKING GROSS! MOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!

If you saw Slim Goodbody every time you opened your eyes, you might be a little upset, too.

If you saw Slim Goodbody every time you opened your eyes, you might be a little upset, too.

A little kid who’s freaked out and upset by all the things he could do, compounded by a family who wants to keep his abilities secret makes sense.  That’s what I mean by taking the property seriously – the characters in this movie may make good or bad choices, but you can understand why they make the choices they do.  Dad’s scared for his son – so much so that he would rather die than be saved and risk exposing him as an alien.  The Army wants to put Superman in chains.  Wouldn’t you?  Motherfucker is Hovering. In. The. Air.  Mayhap he’s a little dangerous.  They also want to hand him over to General Zod.  Wouldn’t you?  “I don’t even know this asshole, Mr.  Zod.  Can I get you a beverage or something?”  Again – this makes sense.  They don’t want to involve our country over some foreign spat in which we have no national interest.  Hmm – he’s not shown on screen, but maybe the President is Ron Paul in this scenario.

Speaking of General Zod – his actions may not make sense to us, but they make perfect sense to him.  “There’s only a handful of my race left, I was born and bred for the sole purpose of protecting that race, and the only way for that race to survive is to juice this Kal-El kid like a fucking space orange and reconstitute the Kryptonian race.  Oh, and they’re going to need air to breathe when they’re born, so I’m going to have to just refuckulate Earth’s atmosphere until every living being on it that isn’t a Kryptonian suffocates to death.  Sorry about that.

Well, no.  Not really.  Can’t do nuttin’ fo you, man.  Tha Z-O-Dizzle’s got problems of his own.”

Speaking of which, and this may be a throwaway part to many of you, but this next bit perfectly illustrates my thesis in just thirty seconds of film:

To set up the clip, General Zod’s henchmen, Nam-Ek – a nine foot-tall giant, and Faora – a smallish female, have been fighting Superman on the ground and kicking his ass.  Which makes perfect sense – they’re soldiers who were bred for battle and trained in combat for their entire lives.  Clark Kent hasn’t been in a single fight in his life, because he’s afraid of killing someone with a light jab that ends up with bits of pancreas on his knuckles.

They haven’t had as much time to adjust to their new powers as Clark Kent, but they were also expecting that they would gain them because they understood the significance of Earth’s sun type – they even have a scientist in their crew.  So Colonel Hardy, played by Chris Meloni, has just witnessed Zod’s crew not only beat the shit out of Earth’s only hope, they’ve soaked up whatever damage America’s weapons can dish out, and he’s just had his chopper swatted out of the air like a tsetse fly with a gimpy wing.  Now Faora moves in for the kill.

 

So Colonel Hardy dumps an entire magazine of 9 mm into this broad’s chest and face and she doesn’t even drop her smirk.  So what does he do?  He pulls a knife.  A. Knife.

 

Why?  Because Fuck Her, That’s Why.

 

This is what I loved about this movie, and what I hated about the first Superman movies, in which our soldiers ineffectually rattle off a few shots while backpedaling in terror.  All humans in these films are simpering pussies who are waiting for Space Daddy to come along and save their bacon.

Col. Hardy isn’t having any of that shit.  “You want my blood?  You’re gonna have to work for it, honey.  See this?  I’m going to shove this knife up your ass and tote you around like a Krypton-flavored bitchsicle.”

He doesn’t look terrified.  He looks grim and determined.  The humans in this movie are fighting desperately for their survival, and generally losing pretty badly.  But they keep fighting, because that’s what you do.  That’s taking the subject matter seriously.

No campy bullshit.  No Otis.  No Lex Luthor fumbling with his toupee.  No Jimmy Olsen, with his useless “Gee willikers!” faggotry.  Lois isn’t a helpless, bowling alley-grade, two-pack-a-day Margot Kidder gutterskank, but neither does she swing all the way into some annoying, unrealistic Grrl Power! asskicker.  She uses her smarts and turns out to be very useful.

Oh, and the Kryptonians’ godlike powers are GODLIKE.  When they collide in Metropolis, the worst thing that happens isn’t some guy’s ice cream cone blows into his face when General Zod uses his totally gay Super Breath and we get a Keystone Kops slide-whistle sound effect.  Oh, hey!  There’s a guy in a telephone booth that just blew over, and is sliding down the street, and he’s still talking on the phone!  He’s so clueless to the titanic struggle taking place all around him!  (Sproing! sound effect).

FUCK YOU, RICHARD DONNER.

No, when Kryptonians fight, skyscrapers collapse.  Shit catches on fire.  Thousands of people are burned, lacerated and crushed to death in the mountains of rubble that these superbeings create.  And in the meantime, our armed forces don’t sit on their hands and wait for some alien dude in a fucking cape with unknown motives to come and save their asses.  They make their own plans and take their own actions as best they can.  When you take your subject matter seriously, it makes it easy for the audience to suspend their disbelief and lose themselves in the world that the filmmakers have created.  Thank you, Zack Snyder for making this one of the easiest movies to enjoy that I’ve seen, especially in the superhero genre.

 

Great movie, great cast, good script and backstory to set up the final showdown.  Highly recommend, and I’ll definitely buy this one when it hits DVD.  My only criticism, and this is more of a general criticism of all action movies these days:  Why does EVERYTHING have to be in 3-D?  I understand the economics behind it, but for once, I would love to not have to either wear those stupid glasses which are still slick with some kid’s pimple grease if I don’t want to wait until the home release.

 

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The Value Of Being Judgmental

23 Jul

Stop me if you’ve heard these before:

“You shouldn’t be so judgmental.”

“Judge not lest ye be judged.”

“You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

Really?  I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover?  How am I supposed to anticipate what’s in it?  What do you think this one is about?

Surprisingly, Swamp Lust was NOT about wetlands preservation.

Surprisingly, Swamp Lust was NOT about wetlands preservation.

And yet, every time we make a stupid decision, we’re told “You should have used better judgment.”  It sounds contradictory, because it is.  Judgment is a valuable tool that keeps us from making stupid decisions and alerts us to take advantage of opportunities that may not be readily apparent.  Good judgment tells you that being 95% sure that the hot chick you’re talking up in that French Quarter bar is actually a chick just isn’t good enough for a guy like you.  That is, a guy who doesn’t want to wake up with a pounding ether headache and a rubber hanging out of his ass.

Bad judgment tells you that it’s perfectly fine to let your hammered friend drive you home, because hey – if he gets into a wreck, HE gets the DUI, not you.  Great plan, until it ends with the Fire Department hosing your ashes out of the flaming wreck of your buddy’s car while he walks away without a scratch.

But we’re not supposed to judge each other, right?  That’s what it’s all about – and it’s usually coming from people who are super defensive about the shady choices they’ve made.  Fuck all that.  Some people are assholes.  People like Amanda Marcotte,  who if I were being judgmental, strikes me as a bitter, man-hating, fishlicking tuna boat captain who will only be mourned by her five cats.  Until day three, when they’re finally hungry enough to eat her corpse.  Here’s Amanda pissed that anyone would be happy to celebrate the birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s new baby boy:

  ‏@AmandaMarcotte22 Jul

I’ll give everyone a couple of hours to enjoy this arbitrarily selected baby to gush over before I start reminding you of infant mortality.

Really, bitch?  Really?   What are you mad about – that people feel happy to see a married heterosexual couple bring a new life into the world?  That you’re not getting enough attention?  Or are you mad that God didn’t love you enough to make you pretty?

I'm guessing her cat is named "Sontag" and loves playing with the chain connected to her wallet.

I’m guessing her cat is named “Sontag” and loves playing with the chain connected to her wallet.

You know what’s really got to chafe your undoubtedly unshaven hamhocks, dearie?  That you can’t spell Amanda without “MAN.”  See how the patriarchy keeps hammering you with its giant rapey Dick of Oppression?

But she can’t be   all bad.  After all, it was because of her that I stumbled across my new daily read:  JUDGYBITCH.

“JB” is one of the best writers I’ve come across on the Intertubes.  She seems to put out about a post a day, but they’re all fairly lengthy, well thought-out essays ranging from antifeminist ranting to more antifeminist ranting, and some surprisingly poignant observations on the nature of true, mature, everyday married love, which was buried in the middle of some quality antifeminist ranting.  Plus, there’s lots of pictures for simpletons like me to stare at when the thoughtwords hurt my headbrain.

I am well and fully aware that there is a huge disparity between me and my husband when it comes to the idea of “romance”, but I have never, for one moment confused “romance” with love.  Love is going to work every day.  Love is paying all the bills.  Love is being here even when I’m being unreasonable or I’m in a bad mood or I’ve had a rough day with the kids and I take it out on him.

It happens.

My love is providing all his meals, keeping our house (somewhat) neat and tidy, caring for our children with as much kindness and patience as I can muster, being here even when he’s boring me into a coma with the details of some stupid planning meeting or yelling at me because something at work pissed him off.

For my husband, that’s enough.  Devotion, commitment, tolerance, patience and the rock solid knowledge that I will never leave.  For me, it’s not.  I want all those little fairy tale gestures, too.  Yes, I realize it’s not fair.  If he is happy just knowing that I am here, I should be happy just knowing that he is here.  Well, I’m not.   Boo fucking hoo.  Buy me some flowers.  Life isn’t fair.

When he falls off the “I must please my irrational wife” bandwagon, I don’t confuse that with “he doesn’t love me”.  Pleasing me is not love.  Sharing my interests is not love.  Love is being here.  Forever.

 

If you are amused by my puerile brain shittings, you’ll be thoroughly impressed with the thought and wit JUDGYBITCH puts into her posts.  Add this one to your daily reads – everything I’ve seen so far has been top-notch.  She’s on the blogroll now, so get to clickin’.

Hiking in Muskoka – Day 2

1 Jul

If you read my last post, you know that I was hiking up near Huntsville, Ontario, searching for “Dogleg Lake,” an unnamed L-shaped lake I found on Crown land (public land).  The reason I chose it was that there were no hiking or ATV or snowmobile trails that went near it, so it would be a little difficult to get to.  In my experience, the more difficult a place is to reach, the less likely it is to be visited by a bunch of yahoos who get hammered and throw their fucking trash everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid to cut down a live tree or two to turn a good campsite into a perfect campsite.  But I’m not going to hammer the place flat, toss empties everywhere,  leave piles of shit and toilet paper lying around on TOP of the ground, and generally turn it into a nastier version of a highway rest stop.  When I’m gone, you won’t know I’ve been there. 

Plus, I like having the place to myself.  Part of getting away is escape.  Feeling like you’re the only one on the planet.  It’s hard to reach that Zen-like state of calm when 100 meters away, there’s a group of potheads whooping it up and playing Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” at maximum volume.

I couldn’t take my truck the first day and got dropped off, spending most of my exploring time hiking up the logging trail that led to the point at which I intended to hit the woodline in search of Dogleg Lake.  So, rushed for time, I stupidly followed what a couple of different maps showed was an active logging road, even though the satellite photos didn’t show it.  Even if there’s heavy tree growth, if there’s a trail, you can see what looks like a “crease” in the trees on the satellite photo.

Dumbass move.  It wasn’t there.  And the harder I tried to make my way up it, the more not there it became.  I turned back about 300 meters short of the lake, according to my GPS.

That’s why I ended up doing the Solo Stove video – I was out of time and energy. 

The next day, I went back and took the route I originally had planned and made it to the lake, but it still wasn’t ideal.  On the way back to my truck, I tried yet another route and it was way easier.  The north shore of Dogleg Lake looks like it’s got some promising high ground to make camp, once black fly and mosquito season are over at the end of the summer.  My buddy Mike is coming up with me in a couple of weeks and we’ll scout out that side.

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