The other night, I had a dream that I got to watch what turned out to be the perfect Batman movie.

In the dream, I was walking down what appeared to be an AMC theater hallway, and I saw the title above a theater read “Batman Unleashed” (I think). And I rolled by eyes, because — as we all know — “Unleashed” (I think) was supposed to be lame. But since I was just strolling through this cineplex hallway with nothing else to do, I decided to give it a shot.

I cannot properly explain it, other than the feeling throughout the dream was excitement and happiness. But it was directed by Christopher Nolan and it featured Batman and Superman, both of which were portrayed in animation. All other parts were live action, including a remarkably creepy Billy Crystal as the Joker, based largely on Joel Grey’s “Cabaret” role.

There was a prison breakout scene and a battle in Saudi Arabia.

After the dream movie, I ran into the AMC hallway, met up with my wife and gushed about it. Then she wanted to watch it with me, and we did and it all happened again — animated Batman, Crystal Joker, prison break, Saudi Arabia.

This recreation of exact dream events feels like the most remarkable part of the dream. I might be remembering it wrong, but it feels like it was all there played twice.

Then I woke up.

Five dream stars.


As soon as I read Alex’s article, I knew I should respond. I went through the suspicious thoughts like, “This is Alex’s way of trying to prove that “Attack of the Clones” is actually really enjoyable,” or some such nonsense.

But the more I considered this theory that perfection isn’t as enjoyable as something imperfect, I realized it had a ring of truth for me. The funny thing was that the best example I can come up with to support this theory is not another movie. It’s the NBA, and particularly the career of LeBron James.

I’ve written about LeBron before, mostly about how a player with such incredible and obvious skills can actually be boring to watch. My earlier thesis had to do with LeBron’s lack of a suitable rival capable of giving him a fight. Even Superman has Lex Luthor. LeBron seems to simply be Superman, and always has been thought to be this way. Without a rival, it’s not interesting to watch a man who seems to have been designed by God to play basketball better than anyone else play basketball better than anyone else. As I said, I chalked this up to his lack of a rival, but then that would just be Superman vs. Superman.

Now I’m thinking the “problem” is that LeBron to me (like “Fury Road” to Alex) is too perfect, and the problem with perfection is that you can’t relate to it.

When someone writes about LeBron James, he is required to compare him to Michael Jordan, and this will be no exception. Because while Jordan did elevate to some kind of Superman-like level in the second half of his career, he struggled to reach his full potential in the first half. Try as he might, he could not get the Bulls beyond the Detroit Pistons. Then once he did, he stepped away from the NBA to play baseball for a year. Then he came back and struggled (which I remember thinking was impossible), worked his way back and then dropped 55 against the Knicks. He played through the flu, dealt with a very public murder of his father, and wore stupid shorts. Somehow, Jordan — with all his abilities and drive — felt human. So to see a human achieve incredible levels of success helps the fan invest in that success.

Let me put it this way: if I designed a 10-foot-tall robot to play basketball, and that robot dunked every time for 100 points a game for 9 seasons in a row, it would not be interesting. You would just be watching something inevitable occur. This is how it feels to watch LeBron James play (“Like watching a 10-foot-tall robot dunk for 4 quarters?” “Yes, inner voice!”)

And actually, Inner Voice, watching LeBron can feel like that sometimes. He actually does a lot that makes you stand up and scream because it’s technically amazing. Moment to moment, it’s exciting. It’s when you start thinking about his career or his Legend that things start to get less interesting. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but since I’ve come to expect amazing things from LeBron, that makes those achievements feel less amazing.

Now ON THE OTHER HAND, I think it’s a little crazy not to like “Fury Road,” just as it’s a little crazy that I should fight for someone to “have to” love a movie. And perhaps the feeling of “this is too perfect” may have more to do with the fact that there are a zillion movies to see in a year (which are undisputedly of higher quality per capita than movies were 30 years ago), and that this is all a complaint of riches. On the other other hand, I felt the same feelings of “It was just OK” about “The Dark Knight,” so who knows?

Maybe repeat viewings will allow us to find more evidence of humanity in “Fury Road” which will make it more relatable.


ROTD-V2

Coming in late January, a chance to go through the entire Ramones song catalog, alphabetically.

My good friend Molly Hale and I are about to release our podcast Ramones of the Day and we are very excited.

Get ready to get bombarded with promotion about it. We’re talking 3 or 4 posts about it, 10’s of tweets! (btw @RamonesPodcast).

It’s going to be fun. Big fun. Be one of us, we accept you, one of us, one of us!


I saw it, so here I am…

1.) It’s undoubtedly good. Let’s just get that out of the way: people looking to have fun at a fun movie are going to find that fun movie here. Not getting into the “artistry” or lack thereof (I’m not sure I can fully explain the weird paranoia surrounding that claim… but I do here), but I feel that’s the work of the Disney Movie Machine. They make good products, and this is clearly one of them. I’d maybe go so far as to say it is as well made or better than “The Avengers,” but that might be nostalgia speaking. But, really, most of the movie was designed for nostalgic purposes, so what are we saying here?

2.) Good Casting and Acting. This may be hollow praise, but “Awakens” is probably the best acted “Star Wars” movie to date. That’s kind of like saying you have the best pitching arm on your T-Ball team, but it doesn’t make it untrue. And not for nothing, but a lot of that is* simply showing up and appearing to have fun. Then to have actors give it a little extra oomph, and you really have something. Something more than the Prequels at the very least. Continue reading ‘9 Thoughts on “The Force Awakens”’


Hollywood loves sequels. It’s obvious and stupid, but it’s true. But not every movie gets a sequel, which is more of a testament to laziness. After all, if people were dumb enough to make a sequel to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” then there’s no reason why every successful movie shouldn’t have 5 sequels.

Independence Day — This is the number one untapped sequel, for every reason you can imagine.

Reason 1.) The original made a zillion dollars.

Reason 2.) The original wasn’t that original, so it would be easy to repeat.

Reason 3.) The original had a huge cast, so you could make a sequel with all of them returning, some of them returning, none of them returning or all of them returning plus some others.

Reason 4.) That couldn’t have been all of the aliens and all of their ships, right? They had to have had a full navy back on their home planet, and when they got word that a computer nerd and the Fresh Prince beat them with a computer virus, they would download McAfee and mount a counter attack.

Really the only question would be whether the attack would happen on the Fourth of July again, but that’s an easy one to solve.

This will be solved very soon, as most of the non-Will Smith cast will reunite for the sequel, but how did they possibly hold off so long? Continue reading ‘ELEVEN Successful Movies Without A Sequel’


I’ve been re-watching “Vertigo.” And re-rewatching, and re-re-rewatching. I’ve actually been listening to the audio, without images.

With all this study, I’m not 100% certain of my opinion about it. I’m not sure I love it, or if I do, if I love it because it gives me something to think about as a film lover, or if I’m just trying to love it so I resemble a film lover. But that’s all subjective. In studying it very carefully, I’ve noticed some facts that have eluded me for far too long.

1.) There is some world-class foreshadowing in the second scene. This is at Midge’s apartment, and I’ve always kind of passed over this scene, as I’m sure many others have as well. Initial reviews of “Vertigo” noted that the opening hour is rather dull, but that’s because the exposition and foreshadowing is so well done that you think you’re watching a standard Meet-The-Characters scene when you’re actually getting fed vital information — information which plays directly into the nuts and bolts of the story as well as (and this is the more impressive part) the character traits and themes, which go on to support the later, weirder elements of the story.

Specifically: Continue reading ‘“Vertigo” and Repeating Repetitions’


I’ve recently developed the hypothesis that the band Blur may be the least consequential good band of my lifetime. I own one album of theirs (1997’s “Blur”), I’ve heard a bunch of other songs. I neither love nor hate them. I neither like nor dislike them. And I can’t think of any friends who would identify themselves as “Blur Fans” or “Blur Heads” or whatever fans of Blur would call themselves if they did, in fact, exist, which is doubtful at the moment.

To my knowledge, Blur never played SNL, never won a Grammy, and nobody has ever argued about these being cultural crimes. They have never had a real controversy of any proportion. The only way I can prove they existed is by their tangential relationships to other bands (those being the weird rivalry with Oasis, and the fact that someone in Blur dated someone in Elastica) (but I could tell you more about Oasis and Elastica; I own more Elastica albums than Blur albums – 100% of the Elastica catalog as opposed to whatever percentage one album of Blur’s catalog is). Continue reading ‘Blur Was Inconsequential’




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