Tuesday, May 17, 2011

stuff...

Hello, I just wanted to check in and write something to keep this blog alive. I've been really negligent of it over the past year or so, part of a greater negligence towards my writing in general, something I'm working, albeit very slowly, or remedying. It seems that teaching writing actually makes me want to write less, not more, which is a bit counterintuitive, but also the way it is. Actually it's not really a matter of wanting to write, I have to desire, it's a matter of sitting my fat ass down in front of the keyboard and actually typing up some words that's the problem. I just haven't had it in me lately. I guess I've been going through kind of a rough patch, not really getting excited or caring about much, not really feeling my thoughts on things were particularly interesting or worthwhile, not really feeling like anybody cares if I write or not, which of course is totally counterproductive, people do tend to read this blog when I post, and seem to get into it somewhat when I post frequently, and I certainly keep meaning to post with more frequency, I just haven't, but tonight I'm posting, for better or worse.

One thing I've been meaning to write about is how much I hated Black Swan. I knew I was going to hate it going in, and there were no surprises. I hate Darren Aranofsky. I think he makes pretentious, boring movies and it shocks me that he gets so many accolades for them. Black Swan was no different. It's basically a rehash of every American remake of every b-movie Asian horror flick, with the main character seeing things and questioning their reality, but to no real end. At one point I even said, "All this needs is a little pale kid coming out of the shadows" and at that moment, a shadowy figure emerged from said shadows and ran across the screen. I'm also perplexed by the popularity of Natalie Portman in this film. Her entire performance is based on being on the verge of tears and about to cry, or crying. On the whole, I found the film very predictable and formulaic, and I wish everybody would stop coming off like it's some great artistic masterpiece, cuz it ain't.


One "artistic masterpiece" I did see was Glen and Randa, directed by Jim McBride, and written by the great Rudolph Wurlitzer, one of my favorite screenwriters and novelists. Glen and Randa is kind of a hippie dippy sci-fi flick, with the titular couple roaming the post-apocalyptic wasteland, looking for the nonexistent city of Metropolis, which Glen has idealized through reading comic books. Along the way they encounter several generally well-meaning if eccentric characters, Randa becomes pregnant and things become somewhat grim, despite the generally absurdist comic nature of the rest of the film. I really dug it. It was show as part of a Wurlitzer retrospective at Anthology Film Archives this spring, and after the screening the audience was treated to a Q&A with Wurlitzer and his friend, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. Wurlitzer was soft-spoken and modest, Downey a bit more gregarious and good-humored, both were absolutely terrific. I'd just like to put both of them in my pocket and carry them around. Wurlitzer told a couple of stories about working with Sam Peckinpah, both of which involved Peckinpah naked and waving a gun around.


Meanwhile, to nerd out for a second, I haven't really written much about new comics on this blog in a long time, but I'm a pretty avid reader of all things DC comics these days, have been for several years, and I recently finished their last big crossover series, Brightest Day. I generally don't like crossover series, although there have been some good ones, Crisis on Infinite Earths, of course, and more recently Identity Crisis, which some people criticized as being too violent, but I thought was a pretty good depiction of classic superheroes in a more realistic, difficult situation that the books often present. Everything since then has been a bit overreaching and disjointed for my taste. Grant Morrison's work on Final Crisis made no sense at all. He's a writer I've really had my fill with, all of his work is intentionally fractured and confusing, and there's really no point to any of it. Something about madness, I guess, but, god, isn't that kind of trite? Darkest Night was really repetitive, with countless comics full of dead characters coming back to life as Black Lanterns and then being defeated, it was basically the same story told over and over again. Finally Brightest Day seemed to be building up to something with a 24 issue series, multiple characters in multiple storylines, but the finale, in which Swamp Thing is resurrected to fight some kind of evil Black Lantern Swamp Thing, totally came out of nowhere. Deus ex Swamp Thing, if you will. As much as I like Swamp Thing, and as much as I'm glad to have him back as a character, the ending didn't fit the story, and that was really a shame. I think I'll be sitting out DC's next big event, Flashpoint, and I'm bummed they're cancelling some of my favorite books- R.E.B.E.L.S., Doom Patrol and Streets of Gotham, to make way for dozens of Flashpoint tie-in comics. My problem here, in the end, comes down to storytelling, which I think is being neglected in favor of scale and spectacle. Of course, there's no reason these three things can't co-exist, but it seems beyond the likes of Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns. Anyway, I'll still be reading some of DC's non-Flashpoint comics...

So, yeah, just a little bit of a late nite roundup right here. It's good to write and think about things and get some opinions out there. Hope somebody's still reading!