Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Five Day Vacation

I want to thank my guests JA, Robert and mB for keeping the place warm and sweaty in my absence. Speaking of warm and sweaty, can summer be over now? I'm not a summer person. I spent my short break sweating. A lot. Summer is hateful. Anyway, here's the parts from my break worth sharing with you, my hundred thousand closest friends strangers... "frangers?"... "striends"?

Where I've been...

@ the Met's Superheroes: Fashion & Fantasy exhibit.
Among the many delicious sections was one on Catwoman (pictured above, La Pfeiffer's actual costume stitched seductively over a mannequin) and the "paradoxical body" I love this bit
Superhero comics have tended to promote an ideology that is both masculinist and driven to mastery. Nowhere are these biases more blatant than in the representation of female superheroes. With unabashed and unapologetic obviousness, women are portrayed as objects of male desire and fantasy with absurdly exaggerated sexual characteristics ... the frisson of fetishistic sexuality presented by female superheroes is adduced with one hand only to be dismissed with the other. This offering and denying of sexuality, which helps to resolve the sexual fears and desires of developing males, is the eternal paradox of the superheroine.
Offering and denying of sexuality, indeed. The same can easily be said of the superhero movie genre. God forbid if women actually got to do anything in the genre outside of being indisputably hot. There was a lot more to this exhibit including costumes for films from Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Batman franchise, and couture inspired by the same ("A Must See!" -The Film Experience) but I spent the most time with Catwoman. It was a bittersweet moment since I knew that as I stood there contemplating the costume, Michelle Pfeiffer's reign over the kingdom of "best performance in a superhero movie. ever" was coming to the end of its 16 year reign. The "now now now" of pop culture demanded that the crown be passed. I have no wish to rain on the Ledger worshipping parade --I too loved his performance-- and quibbling with The Dark Knight this week seems about as smart as strapping an explosive to yourself and handing a convention of fanboys the detonator. Will they think you deserve to live if you only liked the movie? They don't believe in anarchy like The Joker. They don't believe in good citizenry like Harvey Dent. They don't believe in whatever it is Batman believes in. They demand conformity! I am trying valiantly to not let this mass craziness spoil my pleasure in parts of the movie and in the wondrous Heath Ledger. It's too bad that bandwagons get so crowded.

@ the Movies
I saw the thriller Transsiberian (which I've reviewed for Pajiba) and The Dark Knight. I'll try to write that one up here. Perhaps in a few days. Once the villagers have put down their torches or lowered their guard a little. Everybody gets hungry eventually and returns home. Mobs dissipate.

@ the Yazoo reunion tour
Gah. This night was so cool. I've listened to Upstairs at Erics (be suspicious of all 'best album' lists that don't include it) and You and Me Both more times than I can count. They're embedded in my DNA. I was able to listen to both live for the first time ever (they performed every song but two I believe), with Alison Moyet doing her supersized vocals and Vince Clark doing his trademark shy genius keyboardist/computer guy thing "How did I get to be a famous gazillionaire rock star responsible for Depeche Mode, Yaz and Erasure? I hate being on stage. Don't look at me! Why are you here?!?"

Only You Them: Vince Clark & Alison Moyet

That was my week that was. Was yours eventful?


Anonymous said...

I'm curious how it is that the general reaction to TDK could alter your feeling for the film so much. Will you be giving a review sometime I hope? I think the readers of TFE would handle it sanely unlike commenters of Rotten Tomatoes e.g.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

We've missed u!

FYI long time reader, first time commenter. Love ur work.

Robert said...

I agree with you about summer. I'm tired of it too. I'm ready for autumn.

And I agree with your assessment of the Dark Knight fanboyism. Don't get me wrong, I thought the movie was very good but flawed (the best depiction of Batman is still The Animated Series).

It's a shame all the way around because it overwhelmes intelligent discussion. If you have a well thought negative opinion, the fanboys attack. If you disagree with a poorly made negative opinion, you're tossed into the realm of blind fanboy.

I've been both in the past week.


dean --i'm just being honest. sometimes if you really love something, love from others increases the love and sometimes if you're waivering on something super strong opinions in either directions coming at you can have strange effects.

I'm not trying to say "i'm better than [insert other people here]" but I always wonder why more people aren't honest about how other opinions about movies affect theirs. It's totally impossible not to react to other opinions. Movies are a communal entertainment after all.

jofo thanks. i love hearing from first timers ;)

robert i can see why that's tricky. I've been all over the place about the movie... which is why i haven't written anything yet. I want my feelings to settle

This is why all the opening weekend madness is madness... nobody's feelings have truly settled. Think how often movies feel differently a week, a month, a year after we've seen them. Many people who love the movie with the fire of 10,000 suns will do so next month too. Some of them will not. People always calm down.

On opening weekend of Iron Man peopel thought that that was the greatest superhero movie of all time, too. I wouldn't be surprised (if someone brought this up on a fanboy board) if that was ripped to shreds too to further support Batmania.

tim r said...

Erm, have you heard about Christian Bale being arrested for allegedly assaulting his own mother and sister? Huge story, just breaking here:


Patrick Bateman or what?

Anonymous said...

I agree that often times people downplay the effect the mass opinion of a film has on their own, so I definitely see where you are coming from.

TDK is an unusual example though for me because all the hype made me want to almost want to like it less. But having seen it, I think it is a great film-despite the hype, not aided because of it, if that makes sense.

So I guess since I'm not in the "waivering" category it makes my view different. I do remember being perplexed when you decided to not reveal any opinions after seeing There Will Be Blood but I realized why after having seen it myself. TDK was much more clear cut to me I guess but I could see why others might want to mull it over.

J.D. said...

I miss spring. :(

Runs Like A Gay said...

I'd much rather a review on Yazoo than The Dark Knight.

Glad you had a good time.

Glenn said...

Upstairs at Eric's is brilliant!

And, agreed about the whole Dark Knight stuff. Some of those people just can't seem to understand that not everybody has the exact same opinion as them. If you don't absolutely 100% LOVE a movie then it's who is wrong, if you like a movie that they don't like then it's the opposite.