L’année des méduses (1984), dir. Christopher Frank
Getting my 1986 on for an upcoming episode of thedewover. For the purposes of this exercise let us presume that I watched Hannah and Her Sisters in Spanish. (I might as well have, if ya know what I’m sayin’.)
SPEAKEASY WITH PAUL F. TOMPKINS: BILL PAXTON
Mr. Paxton is the director of the music video for “Fish Heads.”
Bill Paxton is the best we have. Excepting perhaps Bill Paxton’s dad.
“We live in a commercial world, where you’ve gotta come up with ‘trailer moments.’”
I really, really miss Damon Lindelof. I miss his voice, I miss his tweets, I miss the seemingly endless quantity of “what writing fan properties in Hollywood is like" knowledge he was willing and able to share.
Double clicking on a supporting document from that Star Trek article I posted 2 days ago, here’s Lindelof on blockbuster writing, c/o a great article from Vulture last summer. Seriously, if you want to know exactly why Hollywood movies are the way they are, read the whole thing.
Director cameo: Francis Ford Coppola as a documentary filmmaker in Apocalypse Now (1979)
In retrospect, Khan was a bad choice for Star Trek Into Darkness—the character doesn’t look or act like the Khan of “Space Seed” or The Wrath Of Khan—and for its director’s obsession with secrecy. As a reveal, the Khan twist is either unsurprising (to fans who expected it) or confusing (to franchise newcomers who don’t know who Khan is or why they should care about him). The most ironic part of the whole Khan fiasco: If Star Trek Into Darkness has a message, it’s a call for more transparency from government. The ultimate villain is not Khan, but Admiral Marcus, who uses Khan’s terrorist acts as a pretext to instigate a war with the Klingons. The movie is deeply skeptical of people in authority, and their tendency to abuse their power in secret. And yet its entire marketing campaign was based on hiding information from the public. It’s not exactly hypocritical, but, to quote an old Vulcan proverb, it is highly fucking illogical.
A new Dissolve column looks back on the biggest hit of the month from one year ago. This time out, Matt Singer looks at the secrecy, hype, raves, and backlash around Star Trek: Into Darkness, and evaluates how the film looks from a safe distance away from its crash-landing.
This is one of my favourite articles from last month, and I am seriously jealous of the column idea as a whole.
Unlike Godzilla, Pacific Rim doesn’t try to be serious even when it’s being serious. Characters have names like Stacker Pentecost and Hercules Hansen. The film requires you to believe that the best way to battle a giant monster is to build an even larger robot to fight that monster.
Much of the Act 2 drama derives from inter-pilot tension airlifted from the Val Kilmer scenes in Top Gun. It’s the polar opposite of the Godzilla school of drama, where everyone is a total professional who has absolutely no personal goal besides Saving The World. In Pacific Rim, Idris Elba is Rinko Kikuchi’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, and two of the last Giant Robot-pilots in the world frequently get into sneering fights over who’s the bigger badass, and Charlie Day is a scientist.
So, for all these reasons, Pacific Rim is a movie that I’ve heard perfectly smart people describe as “stupid” or “silly.” The problem with this line of thinking is that, really, that every blockbuster is pretty “silly,” in the context of Things Adults Should Care About. Godzilla is not less stupid than Pacific Rim just because people frown more. […]
The difference, I think, is that Pacific Rim glories in its own silliness. There’s a flashback scene where Idris Elba rescues a little girl, and when he emerges from his giant robot, the sun shines upon him like he’s the catharsis in a biblical epic. There’s a moment when one giant robot swings an oil tanker like a sword. Then it grows a sword out of its wrist. Then it falls from space to earth.
There are real complaints to make about Pacific Rim, I guess, all of them fair and most of them pedantic. I know a lot of people who have issues with the story. (“Why didn’t they use the wrist-sword earlier?” is a popular one.) Conversely, I don’t really know anyone who minds the story in Godzilla, possibly because everything stupid that happens is prefaced by Frowning Watanabe saying “This is why the stupid thing that’s about to happen makes sense.” Godzilla wants so badly to make sense. Pacific Rim wants so badly for Ron Perlman to wear golden shoes.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 did NOT set the box office on fire as we all expected, reminding us of another big ticket sequel from a few years back which also underperformed. Does Dreamworks have a sequel problem?