Thursday, November 27, 2014

Of Dead Mice and Men

It was a massacre.

And it was one of my own design.

I had been left to my own devices, somehow.  Sent on an expedition to replenish the pantry.  My mission was to acquire the necessary foodstuffs to keep the family going for one more week.  So, of course, my first stop was to the hardware store.  Lowe's.  There was a line that needed to be drawn, and the time had come that I could no longer ignore past transgressions.  Accounts would be made.  Payments made in full.  Balance restored.  That was the way it had to be. It wasn't for sport; I took no pleasure in it.  It was a grim responsibility.

"Where do the mice go after you catch them?" she asks, eyes wide.

My children were both looking up at me, their faces the very definition of childlike wonder.  They knew only curiosity.  They didn't know where it might lead or that they might not like where it took them.  They knew only that they must follow wherever it beckoned.  That is the Childhood Creed that we are eventually all guilty of breaking.  Payment made in full...

Standing with one hand on the garage door and the other holding a knotted plastic Walmart shopping back to keep its contents sealed, "Outside.  I set them--they go outside."

"Can I see?"  My son this time.  Looking down into his eyes, his face, life, how can I tell him that I am a dealer of death?  How can I explain my grizzly business?  Convince them the monster is really still a man?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Amazing Spider-Balls 2: The Quest For More Cash

  • causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.
  • e.g., "an amazing number of people attended the community orgy"
  • startlingly impressive.
  • e.g., "she takes the most amazing dumps"
synonyms: astonishing, astounding, surprising, stunning, staggering, shocking, startling, stupefying, breathtaking

Putting the word "amazing" in the title of, well, anything will inevitably invite a certain level of criticism based on the incredibly high bar of quality that you set for yourself.  Indeed, it is a descriptor that should be used sparingly lest it lose its impact.  And you had better make goddamn sure that any product bearing that moniker can--if not live up to--then at least aspire to such a lofty ideal, a paradigm of excellence.  
The seemingly premature rebooting of the Spider-Man franchise back in 2012 was met by many through a wearily skeptical lens, and it could effectively be argued that this was rightfully so.  By now, the licensing issues surrounding major comic book properties have come so much to the forefront of public consciousness that they have become practically taken for granted.  It's become part of our core understanding of the movie industry that Sony has to make a Spider-Man film every couple of years in order to maintain the movie rights.  Come hell or high water and sometimes in total disregard to standards of quality or basic human dignity.

The first movie in the culturally unnecessary yet legally required rebooted series was solid, but THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN retread a lot of the same ground from Sam Raimi's wall-crawling trilogy and didn't do too much in the way of innovation or trailblazing.  Were it not for the charisma of the leads, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, much of the otherwise middle-of-the-road script might have fallen flat.  It was also super frustrating watching them tiptoe around and have Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) say, "With great power comes great responsibility," without actually literally saying, "With great power comes great responsibility."

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Avengers: The Next Generation

For the past several weeks, fanboys and girls, a variety of geeks, and corporate execs and their usual trains of cronies at both Warner Bros. and Disney have been involved in a strange sort of cultural orgy after several (sort of) major developments in the ever-expanding genre of comic book movies.

With an almost orgasmic glee, Disney and Marvel released their upcoming superhero movies up to the third and fourth Avengers films, spanning all the way until 2019.  No to be outdone, Warner Bros. and DC announced their slate of superhero films to be released until 2020, well after the predicted time period where we'd have self-tying laces on our shoes, miniature hair dryers in our jackets, floating boards of moulded plastic, and an entire new legal industry based on the unforeseen (but undoubtedly substantial) liability issues involved in the widespread proliferation of flying automobiles. Assuming we all survive the onslaught of Skynet and various murderous cyborgs (not to mention the latest TERMINATOR sequel, which will be an ordeal in and of itself), audiences will be "treated" to a literal slew of superhero films, an onslaught in its own right.