It’s the weekend! Let’s get em!
After reading about the screening at Comic-Con, I went into this petrified I was going to hate it.
It’s not the greatest adaptation, but nowhere near a disaster either.
Based on one of the most respected ‘one-off’ stories in Batman mythology, this possible Joker origin was pretty much a success as soon as they brought back Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy. As others have noted, these two are the defining voices for the Joker and Batman for at least one, now probably two generations. I’d probably put the voice work in the ‘Arkham’ video game series above this, but this goes pretty high on the Mark Hamill performances as well. I don’t know what else he can do with the character.
Now, the ‘twist’ that makes up the first part of the movie and started a shitstorm. Needed? Probably not. But they explained it before getting into the part of the movie that’s a remarkably faithful adaptation of the graphic novel. Won’t say much ado about nothing, but didn’t remotely ruin the movie either.
As much as anything, since this movie is about the Joker and Batgirl (making Batman the third most important character if you’re putting him behind Commissioner Gordon), it kind of suffers from that old ‘a Batman movie not really about Batman’ thing. There are a lot of nice touches in there though (I really liked the Easter Egg that paid tribute to nearly every version of the Joker in TV, film, and the comics), and Hamill really nails that last joke. I saw it in the theater and the crowd genuinely laughed.
So maybe not the best Batman movie ever but still a must see.
Even if, as the myth goes, ‘Every actor really wants to direct,’ every actor can’t. Completely different skill set, you have to be open to so many other things outside of yourself, while still maintaining ‘your vision’.
But Don Cheadle can.
His debut feature, ‘Miles Ahead’, is a fun film that, if you have to give it a genre, I guess you’d throw it in ‘biopic’, but it’s really about a moment in time in the life of Miles Davis. Kind of…
The setup: during Miles’ retreat from the scene in the 70s, a Rolling Stone reporter (played by Ewan McGregor) goes to interview the famously reclusive musical genius on the verge of a (studio induced) comeback. From there we get not a full life story, but a window into where Miles may have been at that moment, with flashbacks to his marriage to his wife Frances (played by Emayatzy Corinealdi who some of us recognize from Ava’s Middle of Nowhere).
From jump I remember Cheadle saying he wanted to make the type of film Miles himself would approve of. Personally I think he did. As I alluded to at the beginning, you have to put it into a category because, business, but it’s very individual. More because I’m a film geek then guilt by association, the time period and ‘directorial debut’ reminded me a little of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. You’re never lost as a viewer, but the style of the storytelling has you questioning at the end, ‘How much of this really happened and how much was amplified for my entertainment?’
That’s storytelling. Kudos Don.
Available now on Netflix, Google Play, most home video outlets I’m guessing.
Caitlin, when this thing blows, there isn’t going to be a magazine anymore. If you want to make this about Mike, make it about Mike. I don’t give a shit. You can resent me, you can hate me, but come Monday morning, we’re all going to have to answer for what we let happen here. We’re all going to have an apology to make! Jesus Christ! Don’t you have any idea how much shit we’re about to eat? Every competitor we ever took a shot at, they’re going to pounce. And they should. Because we blew it, Caitlin. He handed us fiction after fiction and we printed them all as fact. Just because… we found him “entertaining.” It’s indefensible. Don’t you know that?
(Shattered Glass, 2003)
If you come here on a regular basis, you know the state I was born. On the most extreme end of things, there’s the Westboro church, but on the whole it’s not that conservative. But I don’t think I’m insulting anyone when I say it’s accurate to call Kansas ‘Bob Dole Country.’ Percentage wise, it’s overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly conservative, overwhelmingly Christian (you discount the college towns, KC, and Wichita, and diversity doesn’t really exist). I’m also reminded now every time I go home, by and large people in Kansas are SUPER friendly and smile and speak to strangers and are generally nice. So don’t make the leap to me saying conservatives are inherently…anything.
I was on the forensics team in high school, and I recall on one of our overnight trips I got into a discussion with one of the guys who was running the Young Republicans (really, again, not an exaggeration). It certainly wasn’t about recruitment; it wasn’t about tearing each other down either. It was the debate team: talk me through the logic of your point of view, let me see where we agree and where we disagree, and then I’ll present my side and why I came to my point of view. All these years later, I couldn’t tell you if we were in Lansing or Leavenworth, but I do remember something he said to me that night that still sticks with me: ‘The older you get, the more conservative you become.’
We were teenagers, I was in the apex of my militancy. I laughed and laughed. Never me.
But he was right.
It’s very dependent on where you start from and what values are passed down to you, of course. But once you start owning property, when you’re not the child but the protector who has to look out for your own children’s best interest; when you get the first pay stub that says ‘Here is what you grossed, here’s all the money the government is taking that you likely will never see again, and here’s what you get to actually take home with you. I’ve seen people genuinely change .1%. And I’ve seen people BECOME the 1%. But every adult I know has felt at some point, on some issue, ‘the Government needs to mind their own business on this one.’
So, for those of us who lean in a certain way but who genuinely want to hear both sides make their argument, what’s happened to the Republican Party has been appalling. Where it’s at now isn’t completely surprising; we’ve watched things gradually move farther away from ‘these are the detailed policies we’re fighting for,’ and more name calling and ‘let’s just shut everything down because we can’t get our way’ for 8 years now. There was no one single incident, I believe, that changed things from ‘a political party’ to a ‘reality show’. But it’s outrageous to me that with a four to six year window to plan ahead for the best possible candidate to run for the open Presidency in 2016, the candidate presented by the GOP is someone with no experience in government at any level, and either completely ignorant or arrogamt to the constitutional limitations that every President is bound to. And yes, the fact that he has a realistic chance of winning is incredibly telling for what people think of the Democratic Party and their candidate. I have to let them get through their convention before I start throwing daggers their way.
But as many others have expressed this week, I kind of don’t even want to critique her (right now). Going back to my simpler, teenage train of thought, ‘why is the Republican candidate even running for President?’ Seriously? Because Obama cracked some jokes on him at a Correspondent’s Dinner? Or because he wants to make America ‘Great’ Again? Hear me out. Successful businessmen are heavily involved in politics all the time. That’s how these campaigns get funded. The majority of these people we don’t know by name unless you’re following very closely. But you can point to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett as men who use their influence to express their politics in one way; you can look at (my fellow Kansans!) the Koch Brothers as men who, up to a few days ago, seemed to have their fingerprints heavily involved in more conservative pursuits. Being the President of the United States would probably be a step down for all these guys, honestly. So again, why does this ‘successful businessman’ feel that being the leader of the free world is the best way he can use his influence? Or is it just an ego thing?
empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
We had a nice little team potluck at the Office last week. It was supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago, but since I was fasting for Ramadan, it was delayed.
I didn’t request the delay.
One of the guys, who I honestly rarely interact with even in a professional manner, made jambalaya with a sausage that wasn’t pork sausage. There was more than enough food; he didn’t have to do this, but he did. I had some of his jambalaya, it was delicious and I personally thanked him for making a version I would eat.
I have no power over any of these people and people have been eating lunches and throwing other dinners left and right over the last month regardless. They watched me grow my beard out and take a month’s worth of lunchtime naps, but as usual I don’t go out of my way to talk about or bring unnecessary attention to my personal life. But for whatever reason, my team decided to make concessions for me and my respect/desire to reciprocate went up accordingly.
So why does respect feel so hard right now?
We’ve been living in the ‘Too Much Information Age’ for a nice little spell now. With slight retrospect, it’s been pretty light hearted until now hasn’t it? We’ve watched people with no traditionally recognizable skill set become rich and famous because they know how to draw our attention. Because of spaces like this, we’re able to keep in touch with each other and know what’s going on in each others’ lives much, much easier. We feel intensely connected to people we’ve only spent time with in the flesh once or twice (if ever). The world feels a lot smaller.
Now we’re dealing with the dark side of knowing everything and the world feeling a lot smaller. What used to (maybe) be one line in a newspaper has to feed the 24/7 news cycle for days on end. Most of us who are plugged in know ‘the news’ now before ‘THE NEWS’ reports it officially. Everyone has a readily available camera and keyboard. You can fairly accurately judge where people stand when something goes down, either by what they’re saying or by their complete silence. Those with nothing constructive to offer and seemingly not much of a purpose in their own lives, have seemingly never felt more empowered to bully and antagonize on the light days, and to murder and scapegoat on the darkest days.
No, I don’t have ‘the answer’. I’m figuring this out just like everyone else invested in the Future, whatever that looks like. I have theories on how we got here, but I’m going to keep tabs on the National Conventions the next couple of weeks before I go there.
Going back to the story I started with, in my experience, the vast majority of people will respect your space and your lifestyle and your thing for one very simple reason: they want you to extend them the same courtesy when the shoe is on the other foot. But everyone won’t and everybody doesn’t and it’s just the way of the world: most conflicts can be delayed for a time, but somewhere down the line, you’ll have to ‘do’ something.
You’re upset, you feel bad for others, you have empathy. Great.
But are you doing anything about it?