Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I hate Stephen Spielberg.
Side note: Spielberg would return to Hitchcock-territory with 2002's Minority Report. Yes, the ending was a bit too Spielberg for my taste but the rest of the film is a gripping thriller, based off of Hitchcock's "wrong-man-on-the-run" genre of movies. One scene was even based off of a cut sequence from North by Northwest.
Exhibit A is Schindler’s List, the touching story of Oskar Schindler, a businessman who risked everything to save hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust. Spielberg adapted this story into film in 1993 and it went on to not only win Best Picture, but also to place in the top ten American films of all time in an AFI ranking.
I hate Schindler's List. The first time I saw it, it rubbed me all the wrong ways. However, everyone else hailed it as a masterpiece. I was mortified that Spielberg had made what I considered a sentimental film about the Holocaust. Stanley Kubrick said it best when he began work on his own Holocaust movie. When Frederic Raphael, screenwriter of Eyes Wide Shut, asked Kubrick what he thought about Shindler’s List, Kubrick responded, “Think that was about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn't it? The Holocaust is about six million people who get killed. 'Schindler's List' was about six hundred people who don't.”
It reminds me of those films that came out a few years ago about September 11th that were so controversial. I remember September 11th quite well, and am glad it's over. Any film that does anything but depict the true horrors of that day will only lack perspective. These are human failures, and to view them as success stories in any way, to me, belittles history. This wasn’t the only thing that bothered me about the film. The portrayal of Amon Goeth, the Nazi who distrusts Oskar Shindler, is also shown out of perspective. Spielberg portrays him as a stone-cold killer with no human qualities, and at the end of the film there is a cathartic moment for the viewer as he is hanged. Fair enough, since this is how the historical Goeth died, but what about all the former Nazis that continued to live alongside the Jewish survivors following the war? Killing Goeth symbolizes the end of the Holocaust, and, to me, that shows only a rudimentary understanding of the Holocaust.
As anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, or even read the first half of this entry knows, I bring almost every film discussion back to Stanley Kubrick. To me, he is the unrivaled master of filmmaking. Stanley Kubrick died in 1999, and I believe nobody could be angrier with that than Kubrick himself. Before he died however, he had already lined up his next film project – A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Kubrick spent almost thirty years thinking out this project, writing and rewriting screenplays, directing voice acting sessions, coming up with character and art directions and planning filming locations. In the early 90s, after seeing Jurassic Park, Kubrick decided that Spielberg should direct the film, with Kubrick collaborating closely as the films producer. Spielberg said yes at first, but later opted out, saying that Kubrick should direct it. Following Kubrick’s death, Spielberg was convinced to make the film, based on the extensive amount of work Kubrick put in to it. The film, which should have been a Stanley Kubrick production of a Steven Spielberg film, became completely Spielberg. Like Eyes Wide Shut, A.I. was going to push the limitations of the MPAA’s R rating, but Spielberg softened everything about it to ensure a more audience friendly PG-13 rating.
All the adult concepts are dropped, and the movie is given just about the happiest ending imaginable. The only Kubrickian part of the movie is the first act. It is a reworking of the biblical Cain and Abel (except in this case Cain is a robot). After the first act, it all goes to shit. Kubrick isn’t even personally mentioned in the credits, that’s how far from his vision Spielberg went. There’s no doubt that Spielberg’s version is more popular with audiences than Kubrick’s version would have been, that’s just how Hollywood works.
I agree that A.I. should of been 20 minutes shorter. Ending with him frozen under the ice praying to the Blue Fairy for all eternity has a nice poetic sound to it. It's about the futility of fate and the hopes of a little boy. What we get, however, is an epilogue so obviously tacked on that it is almost laughable.
I am quite certain many people will openly disagree with me on many parts of this article. What I am attempting to do is bring down a man who’s the biggest figure in the Hollywood system, and he has many devoted fans. I welcome your arguments, that’s when I feel I learn most about films, when I’m forced to argue about them. If you liked this entry, or hated it and want to let me know, check out my blog, Welcome to Pottersville, at dirtybrokebeautifulandfree.blogspot.com
Thanks Don for letting me have this spot this week, best of luck on future endeavors.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The threat of alien invasion didn't really come until H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. A parable for England's own imperialism, Wells' novel decided to give England some perspective by taking the Empire on which the sun never sets and wrecking it with Martians. Since then, Wells' tale of invaders from the red planet has been retold countless times. Even after we discovered Mars lacking in life, the idea of humanity facing an enemy from the stars is still in our consciousness. Look no further than the recent outbreak in cinema and television.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
PARTY TIP: Stretch your mind past the breaking point.
I'm here to help you pull it all back together. -Andrew W.K.'s twitter.
and then to just party. -Andrew W.K.'s twitter
Let all the money in the world be spent on joy!" -Andrew W.K.'s twitter.
PARTY TIP: Do what you want today. By tomorrow, it could be illegal. -Andrew W.K.'s twitter.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Six hours ago I was only a casual reader of this blog. Before I was merely a reader, having read and shared with Donny my thoughts on the topics he discussed (usually complaining that he didn’t cite me when ever Jesse Hall was mentioned). And then came the life changing moment, I received a text from Donny asking me to contribute to his blog. (I just think he wanted to feel like William Randolph Hurst). So I figured I would try my hand.
Editor's Note: I do want to be like Hearst, minus the "killing a man on a yacht" part of his life.
It took me a couple of hours to decide what I wanted to write my first blog about and as I laid in bed attempting to go to sleep I began to run over topics that had been bugging me recently. Well ultimately, I decided to write about something that I had recently fallen in love with. And that is the most recent single by Dr. Andre Romelle Young, but for the rest of the article we ll just call him Dr. Dre.
Note: Not an actual doctor.
Now I am by no stretch of the imagination a rap fan. But I have always enjoyed anything that Dr. Dre has had a hand in (why did NWA break up again?). Anyway, for those of you who have not heard the song yet, stop reading and go watch the music video on Youtube. Go ahead I’ll wait. And do me a favor watch the whole damn thing I know that the music doesn’t start for three minutes but the thing is a work of art. And please just ignore the weird things that Skylar Grey does, I don’t know who she is or what she is doing so just let it go.
Paging Dr. Dre....
Anyway seriously I am in love with this song (and video), which is a big deal for me. Honestly the last rap song I really enjoyed to this level was I Think My Dads Gone Crazy by Eminem (notice how it all feeds back to Dre in the end?)(Note to self: white, suburban people loving Eminem for future topic). Anyway, I really thought that this song deserved a shout out to a crowd that I am assuming has yet to hear it because, like Donny, I still consider Quadrophenia to be the end all be all of musical accomplishments. (or Ferris Bueller’s rendition of Twist and Shout).
Quadrophenia: Great album or greatest album?
In all seriousness though this song is awesome, and it really shows how much Dr. Dre has meant to rap since the genre's inception (for some reason he feels the need to do this about once every ten years, anybody else remember a song called Forgot About Dre?). I do think the world does need to be reminded about Dre, just look at the changes in the pictures that get flashed up. Dre’s been around for so long that he pre-dates gangsta-rap. That’s right, the guy who influenced Biggie and Tupac is still alive … that’s gotta be some sort of miracle.
Dre as a gangsta: Exhibit A.
Really though this song just shows how much life has changed for Dr Dre over the past 25 years that he has been a performer (and that's rounding down). He has been involved with every major change that has gone on with the rap game since 1986 when he founded NWA and the beginnings of gangsta-rap. Since then, just look at the names of the artists that he helped come into the national spotlight. Hell, Snoop Dogg and Eminem should be enough to convince anyone that he has left his mark. Regardless once again, Dr. Dre comes forward and reminds the world that yes I am still alive and do more than commercials for Dr. Pepper.
In one of the classiest moves I’ve seen in a whil,e the video fades to black while Dre stands over Eric Wright’s grave and you can just see the regret all over his face. For those of you who don’t know who Eric Wright is, he was Eazy-E (a member of NWA) who died in 1995 shortly after making amends with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (after NWA broke up they didn’t really get along so well … their solo albums at the time were testaments to their mutual hatred).
Songs about hating Dre and his affinity for hats (may have made that last part up).
The reason I decided to pick this topic as my first article is because I think that it will be one of Dr. Dre’s songs that transcend his typical audience, and also the song has yet to get the chart recognition that it truly deserves.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I choose to take the Black Horse Pike on my drives from college to home. I drive it because it is a much more interesting drive than the expressway. I take the pike because there is more to look at outside my window. And, most of all, I take the pike because it saves me $3.75 in toll charges. I don't, however, take the pike to learn news of the coming rapture. But as I slow down my crappy sedan, worried about the police car behind me, I spot a billboard. It's not an anti-drug billboard or an always entertaining Chik-fil-A billboard. It's space rented out by Family Radio, a christian radio station. And like all prophets, Family Radio chose to spread the word on ad space revolutionized by South of the Border.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
We were the generation that grew up watching the World Trade Center collapse. It was horrible for everyone but to grow up seeing that made it personal to us. I remember when it happened, I was in middle school. The principal made an announcement that morning not to turn on the news or go on the computers because the internet and cable were out (as kids we believed everything on the loudspeaker). We weren't even allowed outside for recess. Then when I got home I saw my older sister watching the news. When she told me I could hardly believer her. Like Bin Laden's death, it didn't seem possible. It was too big of an idea to comprehend.
That day would be the catalyst for all foreign policy made since and has affected everyone's lives. Really, news of Bin Laden's death is our Berlin Wall moment. The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the end of a terror that engulfed the lives of a whole generation. But at the end of the day, destroying that wall did not mean the end of communism. There was still a lot of work to be done. The Berlin Wall was, at the end of the day, just a wall just as Bin Laden was just a man. And just like with the wall, there is still a lot of work to be done. Both events however defined a fear for a whole generation.
I'm not naive. I realize that killing one man does not change the world. But with that being said, Bin Laden's death was a symbol. Just like the Berlin Wall, it was a symbol for triumph in this more cynical world. And when you're dealing with a war against an abstract idea like terror, symbolic victories may be the best kind. Be warned, whoever takes Bin Laden's place as a leader in terrorism may try to make a name for themselves soon. But for now lets enjoy this victory. We've waited long enough for it. My generation grew up being constantly reminded of our time's great tragedy. Well that chapter can, for the most part, be closed.
Thanks to the internet, everyone can express themselves over the news. Then again that also means that conspiracy theorist have an even bigger pedestal to act crazy. While it's completely shady that he's been buried already, those people need to learn to not be so cynical. My personal favorite is the meme. It's a style that no other age group really has but mine. And lately the interwebs have been flooding with one-off jokes about Bin Laden's death. People our age passionate about such an event. Patriotic without having to be told to be patriotic. Making captions in bold, white font isn't just a cheap joke. It's how we get our revenge. Now, that we finally realize he is gone and no longer in fear, we can make fun of him without remorse. It's the American way.
So where were you when you heard Bin Laden is dead?
And I want the increase in page views...
2. You have to help pimp out the blog (at the very least link your blog post on your Facebook).
p.s. You don't even have to use the same Cracked-model I use. I just prefer it because I like writing captions.