A few films I’ve watched over the past few weeks have inspired me to break the radio silence on the blog. That, and the fact that apparently my awesome uncle Glenn got his copy of Running with the Pack that he had pre-ordered, so yay! I’m going to talk about the book more extensively after I’ve read a few more of the stories so for now: it is beautiful (I got my contributor copy), it is filled with awesome stories. Woo!
Sherlock Holmes: I went down to visit my parents recently and had a really good time doing all sorts of things, including watching a few movies. Of the three we watched, Sherlock Holmes was the only I hadn’t seen previously, and I have something to say about this film: it is fucking awesome. I say this having read every story/novel Doyle wrote about Sherlock Holmes, as well as a few spinoffs. Honesty compels me to note, specifically, that whilst in the throes of an early teen obsession with The Phantom of the Opera I read a mashup involving Holmes and the Phantom solving crimes? Or something? Anyways, that book wasn’t so great, but this movie is amazing. John was ambivalent about it; my parents were baffled but amused (I think). I loved it. It had just about everything I want in a movie: explosions, vaguely steampunk sets, occult weirdness, homoerotic tension, Robert Downey Jr. with his shirt off punching people sweatily. YES! It certainly took its liberties with the Doyle character, but I’m OK with that. I love Basil Rathbone and Brent Spiner aping Basil Rathbone as much as the next nerd, but it was really nice to see something different. Downey Jr.’s Holmes is just as insightful and brilliant as more canonical representations of Holmes, but I really liked the decision to play up the fact that Mr. “The Game Is Afoot” is kind of a fucking mess: drug-addled, reclusive, emotionally stunted, immature, messy, mixed up over Irene Adler and Watson, and willing to use both his tremendous intellect and tremendous strength to, say, beat people up viciously. Sure, it’s a big dumb blockbuster, but it kept me engaged visually and mentally: like the Star Trek reboot, there is plenty to make fans cheer without delivering the same old same old. The dynamic between Holmes and Watson is excellent, the decision to turn Irene Adler into a steampunk Fujiko amused me, the action sequences and patented Guy Ritchie “let’s speed things up and slow them down to make them look more awesome” was frankly dazzling. So, so good.
Gentlemen Broncos: Jesse convinced me to watch the latest from the Napoleon Dynamite team. While I thought Napoleon Dynamite was brilliant I disliked Nacho Libre intensely, so I was a little suspicious. No need: it was pretty fucking rad. The A.V. Club panned it for reasons passing understanding. . . well, I suppose they are right about the lack of plot, but I don’t really care if aesthetics trump action (I just re-watched 300 on blu-ray, after all). It’s especially good if you love pulp sci-fi and/or visit the Good Show, Sir! site once in a while (or more often). Gentlemen Broncos is worth watching for a number of reasons: the dude from Flight of the Concords does this spot-on Tim Curry impression, as well as doing an amazing job holding court at a broke-down writers’ workshop; Sam Rockwell plays Bronco/Brutus, a sci-fi hero in a series of cutaway scenes with simply amazing visuals.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Orig. and Remake): I had, seriously, made it to 28 without seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street. I’d seen parts and been alarmed by a too-young Johnny Depp, but that was it. Raechel has an obsession bordering on the unwholesome with the series (“I’ve seen the original probably over 100 times,” she said, and then added “and the rest of the films probably 8 or 9 times apiece.”), so she was super-stoked to see the remake. After copping to my ignorance, we watched the original last Thursday, which I found genuinely enjoyable, and then the remake on Friday, which I was somewhat less enthusiastic about. I thought some things about the remake were OK. . . but the decision to cast Rorschach as Freddy made the experience kinda surreal. Jesse and John spent probably 15 minutes after the film trading lines pretending to be a mashup of the two characters to my delight (“Saw a dead teenager today. This city’s going to hell.” That kind of thing). I guess what impressed me most about the original was how groundbreaking the special effects were and how good they still looked (but I will forever curse overuse of CGI in films); the new one, by contrast, pushed no envelopes. . . that said, there are some really nice visuals. I dunno. It’s just that thing with horror where my mind rebells at utter nonsense. Not perhaps so much things like “he was burned to death and so comes back to kill them in their dreams” which, admittedly, makes no fucking sense whatsoever, but I’m willing to suspend disbelief for occult weirdness (or gorgeous aesthetics, like in the aforementioned 300). I mean more how they decided in this remake (spoilers, I suppose) to have Freddy be. . . the gardener at a preschool? OK, sure, he looks like a creep but whatevs. . . then we get to the fact that he lives? Under? The preschool? In a dungeon with a dirty mattress and drawings done by the kids? Sure! Whatever! And a parent who participated in the mob justice administered on Freddy (where? This. . . uh. . . warehouse! Sure!) admits to never finding the kiddie porn cave or whatever, but two sleep-deprived teens find it with a flashlight in like. . . three seconds? Because they moved a corkboard? OK! Sure! Meh. That kind of thing just makes my brain move too much on its own to be really scared by any of the content of the film. I mean, it’s easy to make me jump–I’m the twitchiest motherfucker imaginable–but I need more convincing acting, dialogue, and plotting to really scare me. Or maybe not, as the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds gave me nightmares for months, but whatevs. I am irrationally frightened of alien invasion. SHUT UP!
That’s all, folks! Except for the tremendously wonderful news that my dad’s been feeling pretty OK during his chemo (he emailed me to say he’d eaten pizza and salad for dinner one night! GO DAD!) and the fact that I’ve written damn near close to half a novel in three weeks, things have been quiet. Probably going to see Kick Ass and the new Iron Man soon. I’ll review when/if that happens. Much love everyone!