Consisted of three glasses of whiskey, half a container of chocolate ice cream, and three slices of pizza. In that order. Throw in a stripper and a speedball and you’ve got Charlie Sheen’s diet throughout the 80’s/forever.
—New Slaves (feat. Frank Ocean)
Saw Man of Steel last night and I’m pretty conflicted about it. Actually, with the exception of saying that it was entertaining, the film repeats history by proving that no one has quite figured out how to adapt our most American and iconic superhero from the page to the screen. So, why was MoS mediocre at best, treyf at worst? Zach Snyder. That’s why. Snyder is a hack of a director who doesn’t know how to tell a story. He can shoot an extended action sequence, but even then he’s a one trick pony. One of the film’s most annoying traits is that quick zoom that Snyder used too much, as if you held your finger on your camera’s zoom button for longer than desired. One moment deserved the technique. Just one. The battle sequences were drawn out, bloated, repetitive, reliant on environmental destruction/explosion, and featured some of the worst product placement in recent memory. Whether anyone likes to admit it, the film’s story and visual realization borrowed heavily at times from Thor and The Incredible Hulk - the fight scene in downtown Smallville seemed almost identical to the showdown near the end of Thor; Clark’s Everyman journey in the beginning felt like a regurgitation of Bruce Banner in South America. Speaking of not going anywhere, but this film has about as much character and plot development as the federal government has leaks. As much as the film exploits Henry Cavill’s obscene anatomy, it fails to provide Supes with any interesting character to interact with. Whether it’s Zod, Jor-El, the Kents, Perry White, or even, unfortunately, Lois Lane, the film is bursting at its seams with flat characters. Everyone could’ve disappeared from the film except Superman and the Phantom Zone rejects and it would’ve progressed just about the same as with the rest of the cast. All the time in which Clark wasn’t on screen just felt like a waste; like nothing was gained. While I understand that there is indeed a plot (Zod’s men wanting to resurrect Krypton on Earth) it seemed sophomoric compared to how other superhero films have carried out stories where the Earth is about to perish in ways that seemed much more interesting and intelligent. Man of Steel could be understood by an 8 year old, and I don’t think intelligence above that is required for the film. Maybe I’m spoiled by the intellectual gravitas of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Maybe I’m spoiled by the depth of characters seen in Singer’s X-Men films. Maybe I’m spoiled by the story development of The Avengers. Maybe. Or, maybe I just had too much hope that this would break the curse of Superman films that fail to achieve a greatness that our Kryptonian savior deserves.
P.S. The Jesus allegory was almost unbearable in MoS. I wanted to shout “Really?” when Superman defended his status as an Earthling by saying he’s been here for 33 years. It seems that the status of the Messiah is equivalent to that of a truly great Superman film: it just hasn’t shown up yet.
He would be Michael Sassbender.
Literary Caucus: Salman Rushdie, James Franco, and 28 More Notables Assess Philip Roth’s Career…
“Philip Roth turns 80 next month, with 27 novels behind him, but when he announced his retirement last November, it felt like he was actually cutting something short—possibly the most prolific, probably the most distinguished, and certainly the most debated career in postwar American fiction. Roth was never just a novelist to readers but an iconoclast and narcissist, a Jewish cultural hero (villain to some), a (probable) misogynist, a literary celebrity who folded his own life into novels like they were tabloids (or metafictions?) and, after Toni Morrison, our great American hope, The Man Who Should Win the Nobel Prize (If Any Man Should). Just ahead of Philip Roth: Unmasked, an intimate documentary airing on PBS next month, we asked a panel of 30 literati to assess his oeuvre.”
Read in New York magazine here.
What the fucking fuck is this shit?
The cruelest thing anyone can do with Portnoy’s Complaint is read it twice.
—Irving Howe, “Philip Roth Reconsidered.” Commentary, December 1972.