it 2017

i watched the new IT film at the duncan caprice movie theater last night. it was quite an experience so i wanted to write it down here to capture all my various thoughts on.

first, the theater. i’ve only been there once that i can remember in the last, ooooh, 15 or 20 years, and it was positively dead in there that last time i went. i think there were a dozen people that night. but last night — tuesday, aka cheap night — the place was PACKED. the line was almost around the block, like i remember from going to movies as a little kid. it was almost nice to see such a classic sight except for the fact that 99% of the people in line were duncan’s lowest mutants. what a collection of underbites, acne-faced and horny teens, skull sweaters, and all other manners of freaks.

the line moved notoriously slowly. when we arrived, we were just outside the door but it took a half hour for us to get in and get seated. there were only maybe 15 people ahead of us in line so they must have had their ‘B’ team on last night. among the staff was a skinny, 60-yr old, leather-faced, bandana-wearing biker/welder, and a baby-faced, early 20’s, 6’5″ overweight fella who wore surgical gloves with all of the fingertips cut off and was stressed to the tits, sweating like a pig. it seemed like this tubby gent was the one running the show. the young woman who served dana and i must have been brand new because she had no idea what she was doing, but she was very nice so i didn’t mind her at all.

the signs for the snacks were incredibly shitty. the stock popcorn and coke images were just slightly different on each sign, sometimes positioned poorly so one obscured the other. the generic candy bar on the sign had a wrapper that only said ‘chocolate.’ and these appeared to be professionally made signs, specially made for that particular sign holder. it was so lousy that we were incredulous.

the decor of the theater is amazing. nothing has changed since i was a kid. so many oranges and yellows and reds. painted bricks, gross carpeting. fantastic.

on to the movie: believe it or not, i liked it! it certainly wasn’t a great, substantial film like the exorcist or blade runner but i thought it was fun and entertaining. i was surprised by and liked all the gore, and finn wolfhard stole the show with his performance. i also liked how the local bad kid, henry, was made to appear more mentally unstable than in the original IT in 1990. that makes more sense with him being institutionalized in the ‘adult’ portion of the film. i liked some of the sound effects, and i liked how pennywise’s blood floated. that was a small detail but i thought it looked neat, kind of dream-like.

but what didn’t i like, you ask. well, let me tell you.

  • the new pennywise the clown. that was pathetic. i’m so sick of this ‘face down/eyes up/”this is my creepy look” aesthetic, and pairing it with a clown is just even more typical. the thing that made tim curry so great as pennywise was that he managed to be creepy without acting creepy. he spent a lot of time in the original just being a legit clown but somehow made that scary, and that was special. the shit i saw last night tried way too hard and failed miserably.
pennywise-stephen-king-780x438_rev1

if you look up pics of bill skarsgard’s pennywise, he has this STUPID FUCKING LOOK ON HIS FACE IN EVERY SINGLE PICTURE, EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT SCARY AT ALL. besides that, what murderous person would make such a face, and why? it’s absurd.

  • period incorrect lingo. the film is supposed to be set in 1988 but early on, we hear the boys say “best…feeling…ever” while dumping their school books into the trash. but no one started using that lame, overdone line until well into the 2000’s. it’s a millennial thing, obv. the rest of the film was pretty accurate with it’s 80’s details but that one really pissed me off. what bothers me even more is that the film makers may have been aware of all this but used it anyway since it would allow the film to connect with a younger market. god damn it, how artless. i remember the stranger things tv show suffered from this very same problem.
  • mean parents. all the parents we were introduced to in the new IT were over-the-top mean, like so mean it was ridiculous. it was totally unbelievable and unnecessary. what was the point of that, to make all adults seem bad? why?
  • CGI special effects. not much needs to be said about this beyond the fact that despite many years and technological advances, CGI still looks like shit. if this movie really wanted to be a throwback, retro affair, it should have gone with old-fashioned special effects. you know, the shit that actually looks cool.
  • incidental music. i hate when films and tv shows insert popular songs to try to heighten a certain feeling in a scene. it’s a ham-fisted film technique. most notably in the new IT was the use of anthrax’s antisocial¬†during the rock fight and the cure’s 6 different ways during the bathroom cleanup. in the former, it’s supposed to increase the raucous roughness to the scene. in the latter, it’s supposed to increase the awkward feelings of childhood friendship and crushes. both were totally unnecessary, those scenes would have been better without the songs. i’m not so stupid that i need really loud music to help me figure out what i should be feeling during a scene.

i think that’s most of my thoughts on the new IT. however, i want to point out that despite all the gore, murder, violence, incest and child abuse, the movie is only rated 14A. i thought that was crazy. dana said out that if there were any tits in the flick, it would suddenly be rated R. i think he’s right, and i think that’s so fucked up. our culture has such a twisted, backwards relationship with sex to think it’s worse than a father abusing his daughter, or a son stabbing his dad in the neck — both of which we saw in IT last night. god, humans are stupid and fucked up.

but like i said earlier, i actually liked the film. if it only tim curry had reprised his role as pennywise — if we could basically have the 1990 pennywise in the 2017 film — i think the new IT could have been something special. oh well. at least it’s not a complete write-off, i suppose.

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no love

today i was thinking about why i like the exorcist so much. there are obviously a ton of good reasons — strong cast, excellent character development, amazing special effects, religious themes that resonate with me in a big way — but today i realized something else about it i hadn’t thought of before: no romantic subplot!

captain_howdy

except between me and captain howdy, of course.

i couldn’t believe i never noticed this before. i mean, romantic subplots are ubiquitous, and one of the things i hate most in film, TV, and books. nothing ruins a story for me quicker than a predictable, paint-by-numbers story arc: boy meets girl, they seem perfect together, a misunderstanding makes one doubt the other, the misunderstood one vindicates themselves, happily ever after. barf.

what’s even worse is that so many movies and TV shows actually focus largely on this kind of romantic subplot formula but use different story backgrounds so that they can market the show at a different audience. walking dead and true blood for horror fans, mad men for hipsters, breaking bad for skids, game of thrones and big bang theory for nerds…the list goes on. all these shows employ the same old “i thought i could trust you, tim..i thought you were different from the others. i guess i was wrong…” bullshit romantic melodrama, and it’s not just a small side story. that’s actually the focus of the show. the zombies, sword battles, and meth labs are actually the minor details in those shows. they just provide a seemingly unlikely stage where the romance can take place.

yup, everyone just wants to watch the same shitty love story over and over.

i’m veering way off topic onto one of my usual rants so let me rein it back in here. my point is that while most shows employ hackneyed romantic techniques not only for subplots but for primary plots, the exorcist doesn’t even contemplate romance at all. there is zero romance in it. it’s about other things: good, evil, faith, loss of faith. what a breath of fresh air.

but then i started thinking about some of my other favourite films, like the deer hunter, blade runner, the last temptation of christ, akira, the shining, princess mononoke, and apocalypse now, and i realized that there is very little romance in those too. and what romance there is, is far more complex and understated.

i’m not surprised that i prefer subtle, more interesting approaches to typical themes like romance but what i am surprised by is that i didn’t even notice until now that the greatest films of all time (in my opinion, anyway) would place so little emphasis on romance, if any at all.

that just reinforces my belief that romance for the sake of romance in art is just a cheap technique to sell shoddy products to disinterested audiences. i’m sure the same applies to every other medium, too.

people are so disappointing.

all that being said, i still really like love story from 1970. that was a touching flick.

love-story

it’s a guilty pleasure.

“whole alternatives” is a whole lot of bullshit. so are big film awards.

fuck these guys

i haven’t had popcorn in years and have been watching lots of crappy stephen king flicks with dana recently so i decided to pick some popcorn up. there was all the usual big name stuff but then i saw some stuff with “USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC” and “GMO FREE” writing on it, and it was on sale for less than the big name stuff. i like organic shit and think monsanto is an entity of pure evil that cannot be trusted (although GMO’s themselves may have some place in the world) so i gave this upstart popcorn a shot.

but it sucks, and that sucks.

the god damn stuff didn’t pop worth a shit. after the instructed time in the microwave, less than half the bag had popped. it tasted fine but i felt ripped off that i got such a paltry amount of popcorn. i didn’t lose my shit over it though, i just thought, “maybe that was a bad bag,” and dana and i continued watching the first episode of the 1997 made-for-tv version of ‘the shining’ (which was awful).

then last night i tried to watch an old jack nicholson film, ‘the passenger.’ it earned some awards back in its day but it sucked. i turned it off halfway through, so boring. you know what i’ve learned? basically, if a film gets academy awards or anything like that, it’s a guaranteed piece of shit. for instance, the whole motivation of nicholson’s character in ‘the passenger’ was unclear from the start. he stole a dead man’s identity but i wasn’t sure why until i read the story online afterward. that’s dumb. shit should be clear, unless it’s an abstract art film. then nicholson met a young girl and she asked who he is. he said he used to be someone else but traded him in. then he asked the girl what she’s doing and she replied that she’s talking to a man who might be someone else. this was not delivered in an abstract, interesting way. it was delivered like two normal strangers just talking, even though what they said was far too unlikely, too implausible, to be a casual conversation. and that pissed me off.

dialogue like that is so fucking pretentiously artsy in the lamest, most flaccid way possible. it’s the sort of shit that gives wannabe art losers boners. it’s for the sort of turds who watch the academy awards and think that they really matter. that’s the sort of people who would say “wow, what great dialogue.” suck my dick. it’s not good dialogue, it’s smug and simpering. it’s shit.

the sort of idiot that thinks limp, unrealistic, vaguely mysterious and romantic dialogue is clever and intriguing.

now think about all the amazing films that didn’t clean up at any awards — akira, eraserhead, the exorcist, mad max, the shining, eyes wide shut, edward scissorhands, bladerunner, batman (the michael keaton/jack nicholson one), polyester, the tenant, repulsion, blah blah blah. i could go on. i think all those flicks are a lot more interesting, more multidimensional, more thought-provoking than anything the academy awards has ever gushed over. my point is that any movie that has any edge to it, any aesthetic other than soft, benign, unobjectionable, any film that is not palatable for mass consumption in some way, is overlooked by the major awards. major awards are just a way for a bunch of phony fucking industry types to pat each other on the back and get drunk on champagne. it’s a sickening thing.

ANYWAY. so i was watching that lousy fucking film and i thought, “maybe some popcorn will make this bearable.” i threw a bag of organic, GMO-free popcorn in the microwave for 3 minutes, like the directions said. and by the end of it, nothing had popped. nothing. the bag was as flat as when i put it in. i had never encountered such a faulty bag of popcorn before so i didn’t know what do do. i put it in for another 3 minutes and the stuff popped intermittently but by the end, the bag looked pretty full. i shook it, opened it, and found once again that less than half of the stuff had popped. i thought, “fuck,” and ate it because it was getting late and i needed to get through this god damn movie. i was left with a half-full bowl of popcorn kernels staring at me, mocking me, reminding me of my wasted $4. so i put a plate over the bowl and put them back in the microwave for 4 more minutes. by the end of that, most of them appeared popped. i tried one and it was bland as all hell. that was it, i gave up. i threw the shitty popcorn out, turned off the stupid fucking movie, and went to bed.

it was a bad night. i considered it.

do you know what really pisses me off about the popcorn? not my wasted $4. i can suck that up. what pisses me off is that other people who may be on the fence about supporting organic and GMO-free stuff might try this popcorn, have the same shitty experience as me, and say “holy fuck, organic stuff sucks. i’m just going to stick with cheetos and their chemicals and unsustainable palm oil farming practices.” i’m worried about this crappy ‘whole alternatives’ brand giving organic, GMO-free food a bad rap.

so i went to their website, which is so terrible that it looks like a fake site. i clicked on ‘contact us’ and expected to see an online comment/complain form, but nope. just a phone #. that’s ridiculous since no one talks on the phone anymore. but i called anyway, and guess what. wrong #. it went to some lady’s voice mail who does not appear to have any connection to ‘whole alternatives’ whatsoever. so i’m not sure how i’m supposed to complain to them.

don’t buy this junk. or better yet, find a way to contact them and give them shit. i sure as hell can’t.

and that’s how i wound up here, bitching at great length about my terrible popcorn and film experiences of last night.

first world problems.