I’m in the final days (I hope) of a nasty, ugly chest cold that I think is bronchitis (no health insurance means lots of self-diagnosis and treatment!), so maybe that’s why I’m so fucking cranky today. Yes, I am cranky, and yes, I will spend this column only bitching about things, so if that doesn’t appeal to you, don’t read on. I will get back to loving things soon – I adored Sukiyaki Western Django, Takashi Miike’s awesome new film featuring Quentin Tarantino, and once I get this poison out of my system I will go back to writing a glowing review of that. I’ll also go back to working on CHUDsploitation #2, featuring one of the most depraved porn films of all time, Water Power. But first, here’s what’s pissing me off today:
Terrible Batman 3 fan art
Some days I feel like I’ve woken up in an alternate reality. Today is one of those days. Some dude at DeviantArt (surely one of the worst places on the entire internet) has mocked up a bunch of fake posters for Batman 3, which he’s taking to calling Gotham City. Setting aside the fact that I always find this kind of fanwank irritating, I’m doubly irritated at the fact that this guy didn’t even do a very good job of this shit. That horrible cocksucker Alex Billington at First Showing, a guy who lives with his parents (unless he recently moved to LA, in which case I’m sure his parents are paying his rent), posted a much better (but still dumb fanwank) fake Batman 3 poster a couple of weeks ago. So why are these ugly things getting attention? Besides the terrible casting – David Fucking Tennant as the Riddler? Kristen Bell as Harley Quinn? Also, Harley Quinn and The Riddler in Batman 3? Fuck you – these are ugly posters that essentially take the existing Dark Knight posters and poorly glue other people into them. Look at this fucking atrocious poster featuring Marion Cotillard as Catwoman.
And why the hell is everybody so damned excited for Batman 3? Are we bored with The Dark Knight already? Why am I not reading more fanboy sites delving into what’s in THIS movie, now that they’ve seen it five times, as opposed to jerking off about what’s coming next or how much money it made? There’s a hell of a lot happening in The Dark Knight, stuff that lends itself to analysis and dissection, yet I just see people arguing if Harvey Dent is dead and who might be the villains next time. It’s almost like the people who profess to love this movie are walking out with nothing from it except ‘Hey that was cool!‘
If you’ve written something interesting about The Dark Knight – textual analysis, subtextual analysis, cinematic analysis, any kind of thoughtful, smart critique or examination that doesn’t take the form of a top ten list – please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I think there’s a lot to talk about in this movie, and I’d love to read what some intelligent people think about it outside of CHUD’s message boards, which has been the only place I’ve seen people coming at the film from an interesting point of view. And no, I’m not saying people should be tearing the film apart, but I do have to say the fact that no one seems to be talking about the film indicates to me that maybe a backlash to it is on the horizon. Will people rethink the movie when it’s on DVD? That would be too bad, because it’s a legitimately good (but not great) movie.
Yes, the Fox suit against Warner Bros about Watchmen is kind of ugly and puts a damper on a film we’re all very excited about. And yes, there is the possibility that the suit and a potential out of court settlement will really hurt the movie’s bottom line. And yes, I am friendly with the producers of this movie and it’s a bummer to see a grand slam like this taking on less happy connotations for them
But Watchmen will be in theaters on March 6, 2009. I keep seeing write-ups of the case that make it seem like Fox will be stopping the film from being released. Yes, the studio is seeking an injunction, but this is only a legal manuever. There is nothing to be gained for Fox in stopping this movie from opening or in any way hurting the film’s opening. The studio wants money, possibly points on the film, so having it open and play well would be in their favor.
But even if they don’t get points, they don’t want to be the studio that killed one of the competition’s big movies in a year that, thanks to the writer’s strike, won’t have that many of them. That’s just bad business. Hollywood is cut throat for sure, but it’s sneaky assassination cut throat, not blowing up a bus. As my erstwhile colleague Mr. Beaks explained, killing Watchmen would piss off the exhibitors, who are looking at a 2009 without a lot of exciting product. Now, I could be wrong and Fox has lost their fucking mind (and their slate of films since 2006 does sort of bear that out), but I honestly don’t think they’re going to do what would be the Tinseltown equivalent of a nuclear strike.
So if you’re another web guy writing about this issue, please tone down the hyperbole. Money might be lost, people might be seeing the ends of their careers, but for the fans there will, almost certainly, be a Watchmen on March 6, 2009.
Sushi At Tiffany’s
I’m not going to stand here and apologize for the insensitive racial content of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi, Holly Golightly’s neighbor, is a terribly racist charicature. This is indisputable. But I will stand up for the film as a really great movie, and one worth seeing.
But not worth seeing in some kind of PC edit, which is exactly what’s happening in Sacramento tomorrow. The film is playing as part of a series of free movies in a park, and after Asian activists complained about the film, vice mayor Steve Cohn has agreed to ‘bleep out’ the offensive scenes in question.
How fucking stupid.
Cohn has said that he tried to switch out the movie but that the print had already been mailed to him – obviously no one in California could get Cohn another film. I don’t mind canceling a free screening of a movie because of minority group pressure… well, wait, I do mind and I would still be annoyed by that, but I really hate the idea that Cohn is going to try to somehow cut out the stuff that’s racially insensitive.
First of all, I don’t know how he can and keep the film coherent. Cohn sounds like he doesn’t even know the movie that well: “It wasn’t necessarily my favorite movie,” he tells the Sacramento Bee. “It’s got nice music, the ‘Moon River’ theme song, and Audrey Hepburn’s a great actress, very classy, playing a young woman in New York City trying to strike out on her own,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a love story attached to it.” I’m sure, you moron.
Anyway, Yunioshi is in the movie throughout, and while I haven’t seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s in some time, I imagine cutting all of his scenes will render the movie disjointed at best. It’ll be a miserable experience for anyone trying to sit through it.
Hey Cohen, how about having a representative of an Asian group get up before the film and explain why the character is so bad? Or play the producer’s apology from the DVD commentary? Listen to Sacramento County Supervisor Jimmie Yee, a Chinese American: “I don’t have any problem going back and looking at historic movies,” said Yee, who compared it to Charlie Chan movies, which aren’t socially acceptable when viewed through a modern lens.
“You don’t teach people things by keeping everything quiet,” he said. “A lot of young people are not aware of these stereotypes and don’t even think they’re offensive. But it’s particularly offensive to those of us who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s — they were used to insult and taunt us while we were at school.”
The movie is the movie. The racism is unfortunate, but it’s a sign of the times in which it was made. Talking about that racism instead of hiding it is the way to go. Man up, Cohn. Show the whole movie.