Film Micrœview #478: Eighth Grade

12.10.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Shrug.

Less edgy and psychological, and more sentimental and unnatural than I’d hoped. Will be forgotten in a few years.

 

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Dream 577: More Rick & Morty

12.08.2018 § Leave a comment

“Black girls won’t show their bodies for money” some announcement out the window says as if it’s newsworthy. Karin steps away from the 8th floor apartment window and into my arms, her body that of a large black woman’s, giving me a big hug, saying that the statement is almost true of her. “Except… that you’re not black?” I ask.

Karin and I accidentally left food out in our kitchen that is open to the street overnight. Disaster ensued.

It’s the Rick & Morty VR experience. If you’re lame you’ll never leave the bathroom, where Morty spies on Jessica in the shower. If you’re mildly more interesting of a person you may step into the living room where Rick is getting it on with some hideous alien monster. If you have any real substance, though, you’re in the basement with Rick’s brother (who is more obviously Mexican looking) who speaks directly to you and calls you out on shit and shows you even crazier shit.

Film Micrœview #477: Masters of the Universe

12.02.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Bad.

I laud that this film gives zero fucks. What else do you need to know about He-Man besides that he’s *this* guy? It feels something like if the team behind Axe-Cop was altered slightly such that the older cousin, rather than bringing to life everything his five-year-old cousin makes up as comically true to his imagination as possible, instead polished it and imbued it with a bit of generic narrative cohesiveness. That said, I still found it immensely frustrating that even after Skeletor wins and gains the power of the entire universe, the Sorceress doesn’t die as he promised, and he’s still just as useless. He can zap one of his minions out of existence before that point, but after that point he can be zapping He-Man with a different type of evil bolt and during all that he’s still able to rip his sword out of his locking mechanism which was supposed to hold it forever??? Especially after giving him a like 30-second-long orgasmic power-up sequence? I dunno about that. Some pretty loose threads left around. I guess I could have imagined this being a lot worse, and I suppose it maybe even exceeded my expectations, but it’s still a pretty bad movie.

Dream 576: Dimension Animation

12.01.2018 § Leave a comment

It’s an episode from season 3 of Rick and Morty, except they’ve gotten really experimental with the animation style. One character is tumbling across the living room floor being maleviolently transformed, and its rolling in the shape of a teardrop triskele of which each tear is a vastly different animation style.

Dream 575: Worst Alternate Ending Ever

11.25.2018 § Leave a comment

U.S. government agents raid a heroin cartel operated by black Muslims, slaughtering and plundering indiscriminately, obviously never intending to actually shut down the operation, just inflict suffering. The very second the agents are gone, the drug cartel operators are right back to work, not even cleaning up the dead bodies right away.

I’m an agent who stayed behind, hanging out in the kitchenette of their tiny one story house, eating some of their yams topped with chocolate pudding. The drug workers who are in the living room sitting on the couch watching the tube feel this is too much insult added to injury, that I can’t be allowed to witness what life is like in this immediate aftermath. I shrug it off, so they go and fetch their leader: Dave Chappelle. When Chappelle storms back into the kitchen, though, he sees that I am reading some of the newspaper clippings stuck into the grooves between the surface of the cabinets and their beveled out borders. One of them is about how while he’s in his late forties he is studying people in their fifties and sixties because he finds them to be the most interesting people and wants to incorporate more of their spirit and perspective into his comedy. So he lets me stay.

It’s the climactic scene of Jurassic Park. Ellie Sattler jumps over the railing of the Visitor Center mezzanine into the open oval center area and breaks her legs on landing. Robert Muldoon clusters up with her and the one remaining surviving kid as they are trapped on two sides by raptors. A showdown ensues, lasting several minutes (which feels like an eternity) while all parties consider their options before the “draw”. Muldoon’s got his rifle but is not going to have enough time to reload to get both the raptors, so he tells the kid that (s)he’s going to have to dive for the nearby scimitar in order to behead the second raptor.

When Muldoon speaks this aloud, one of the raptors gets a sad look on its face and bows its head. Voiced by Jon Hamm, it explains that while it’s easy to engineer flesh, it is no small matter to make a soul. While the obvious interpretation would be that the raptors bodies were made without souls, as this philosoraptor continues it becomes clear that it means that the humans it is surrounded by have not chosen to make for themselves souls. It is the humans who are murderous beasts, not the raptors. At this point the raptor actually just is Jo(h)n Hamm(ond), in a fuzzy deep blue sweater, scruffy, with professorial glasses.

The news crew gathered in the lobby gets all of this on live television, as Muldoon takes his hand and leads him out the front door of the Visitor Center, which is floating alone as an island in itself amidst a body of water extending to the horizons. Tied up just outside the door is a Ferris wheel carriage, which they step inside, untether, and begin floating off in together toward Korea. The camera turns 180 degrees before panning up across the surface of the water to the sky in the opposite direction. It’s not even sunset like in the original ending – it’s just some drab cloudy mid afternoon grey-blue.

“Worst alternate ending ever!” we all shout. It’s me with a bunch of my old elementary school friends at some reunion playing out alternate Jurassic Park endings via a game board. The board is completely abstracted away from any dinosaur models or figurines of characters, completely made out of Duplos and elastic straps. The sidebar of the board has some light-up Duplos which represent which characters are talking; unfortunately there is a limitation, like radio buttons except that not just one but at most two can be lit simultaneously, and while that corresponds to screenwriting standards (horizontally shared occupation of two dialogues is infrequent, but any more is unheard of) I feel it is too limiting for this game. As for the main area of the board, yeah, there’s a different color 1×3 very tall Duplo representing each character, place, film effect, and concept, and you just tug on them, tying strings around and stacking in different ways to evoke the story as you describe it and everyone collectively imagines the variant movie.

I think I’ve done something to offend my elementary school friends.

Film Micrœview #476: Isle of Dogs

11.25.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Bad.

Worst Wes Anderson film I’ve seen. Scrambled, weird, lame.

Film Micrœview #475: Last of the Mohicans

11.25.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Shrug.

I saw this film in my childhood, and was compelled to re-watch it from the airline selection as I flew home from Thanksgiving visitings, interested to see if this 25-year-old film’s depictions of Native Americans were superior to those in the 2018 Ballad of Buster Scruggs I’d just seen with my family. They were. Though that isn’t a high bar to meet. But for what it’s worth, TLotM at least pays lip service to navigating the complex tangle of tenuous integration and assimilation attempts, the multidimensional bonds and conflicts between people and their beliefs.

But more than anything this film is a super-90’s, uber-romantic and uber-dramatic set piece with its unforgettable score and visuals. Amusingly, it was shot in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which, when I visited them a couple times ago visiting family, we thought looked kind of like the Last of the Mohicans landscape.

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