Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm watching Made in Britain. I should rename this blog "Movies you've never heard about- And probably don't want to." It's an older British film, Tim Roth's first. It might be made for TV, I'm not sure. Tim Roth plays a British juvenile delinquint going through the British government's JD reform system. It's not a very entertaining movie. For some reason the social worker is convinced that Tim Roth's character is smart and reformable, but he continually frustrates everyone by refusing to adopt the straight and narrow. The entire film is watching a punk commit random crimes and consequentially get in yelling matches with well-meaning social workers until everyone in government washes their hands of him.

There's a scene in the Breakfast Club where the one punker teenager aggravates the principal and is given a bunch of extra detentions. Hmm. According to the internet, that scene goes something like:

Richard Vernon: You're not fooling anyone, Bender. The next screw that falls out will be you.
John Bender: Eat my shorts.
Richard Vernon: What was that?
John Bender: Eat... My... Shorts.
Richard Vernon: You just bought yourself another Saturday.
John Bender: Ooh, I'm crushed.
Richard Vernon: You just bought one more.
John Bender: Well I'm free the Saturday after that. Beyond that, I'm going to have to check my calendar.
Richard Vernon: Good, cause it's going to be filled. We'll keep going. You want another one? Just say the word say it. Instead of going to prison you'll come here. Are you through?
John Bender: No.

The parody in Not Another Teen Movie of this scene was particularly funny.  Anyway, now you remember the scene. Take that scene, stretch it out to an entire movie, add a few racist rants and some benevolent authority figures, and you've got yourself Made in Britain. Talking to this guy is like trying to convince a Goth kid to save himself some grief and change his makeup. He'd rave about "conformists" and "sell outs" and there'd be nothing more you could do.

Tim Roth does an fantastic job. By the end of the movie even I wanted to punch him. You get the sense that the kid knows that he is spiraling downward, but that by this point his highest realistic ambition, to be a taxi driver, would require swallowing an unmanageable amount of pride and admitting mistakes. Tim Roth can't do it and instead steals cars and breaks windows. Some people have to choose between being true to themselves and being happy.

(from Moby Dick)
"Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!"

Friday, June 8, 2012

I saw The Avengers yesterday. I should retitle this blog "The Movie Snob." I'd been resisting The Avengers, mostly because I've been continuously disappointed with Marvel comics' movies. I'm also reluctant to contribute to Hollywood's "more is more" mentality, where more explosions is equated to more money and all the finer subtleties of filming are ignored. So I'd skipped Iron Man 2, and Fantastic 4, and had only seen Thor and whatever else on DVD where I could read or play solitare on my laptop at the same time. But Kate Reid wanted to see The Avengers, and she was kindly helping me pick out glasses frames downtown, so I compromised my values and went to see another Marvel comics movie. I'm a rather inexpensive whore, as whores go.

The movie actually wasn't half-bad! Maybe because my expectations were in the gutter. Robert Downy Jr's endless quips were only a little annoying, same with Captain America's pouty earnestness and Thor's archaic way of speaking. Iron Man's archery still look silly, but you can see why everyone might choose to politely indulge his idiosycrasy.

I found myself appreciating how they stayed true to my childhood memories of the comic books. They show Captain America's shield magically absorbing the vibrations of Thor's attack, how Mjolnir can only be lifted by the righteous, and I was quite entertained when Bruce Banner walked into a scene wearing ill-fitting, unnaturally large pants (by coincidence in the story, but we all know it was in preparation for his pants-stretching transformation).

It turns out that if you throw enough 2.5D characters into a scene, you stop noticing their individual lack of dimension. Also if you squish enough layers into a premise, you stop noticing that there isn't really a narrative plot. Marvel pulled a lot of tricks with this one. The only thing they can't disguise is that this is a franchise movie and no permanent changes can be made to any of the characters. Captain America might get randomly bruised and cut, but none of those bullets are going to blow off a finger or hit an eye. The characters are invulnerable, and they know it. They are cartoonishly carefree when in supposed danger. The one somber part of the movie is when a minor soldier guy dies. And you know its the sad part, not because any actors pretend to be saddened, but really because the characters take a few minutes off from their usual quips. (Looking back now, I suppose I complained about this same thing a few entries ago regarding Burn Notice. I guess it's something that bothers me more than most viewers.)

Even the hook after the credits was entertaining. Possibly only because of my particular circumstances. I had to explain to Kate Reid whose face it was that we saw, and then she asked me if his line therefore had a double-meaning, and it was only then that I saw that it did have a double-meaning. Usually I hate waiting for post-credits hook scenes but I appreciated how that bit of cleverness snuck up on me after the fact.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This afternoon I reached out to kill a tiny spider that was on the wall. No big deal; I'm a man. Somehow I missed it though and the next thing I know a tiny spider is running around on the back of my hand. I yelped and viciously shook my hand like it was on fire. No idea where the spider is now.

I was worried that the barista at the local coffee shop had given me her phone number without my asking for it, which would cause some awkward coffee orders in the future.  But now I think this to-go bag just coincidentally has someone's name and phone number written on it. It also has some kind of weekly schedule, with AM or PM written for each day of the week, but it doesn't say "call me" or anything. It's be a very organized and impersonal note, if this is a note. I'm hoping it's not because Starbucks is a long block further to walk.