You Don’t Have To Choose A Side In The Culture Wars

I’ve had pieces lined up about my thoughts on things like the Ghostbusters trailer nonsense, the release of the new DOOM, but decided against them, as they seemed to be outdated by the time I coalesced my thoughts around them. More importantly, I found there to be some evergreen elements of both pieces that I could expound on here.

With the culture wars currently taking place on The Internets, there’s this wrongheaded notion that you have to pick a side in them. Both side express frustration at the countless people in the middle that just can’t seem to give a shit about the great “wrongs” that are happening…if only they would care!

It’s easy to care about the goings on of the culture wars when you’re getting paid to do so. It was the greatest takeaway I had from my time at Reaxxion. You could care quite a bit about what an element was perceived to be doing, but it did no one any good if no one was really buying it. Moreover, while I never really aimed at perpetuating the culture wars, I tried in earnest to do what I’ve always done: expose those who prey on others with fear and prejudice, using ignorance to their advantage by not making a full, truthful account to push an agenda.

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Yawn.

I have no problems accepting the flaws in my given ideology. I am not locked in to one way of thinking, and am grateful to hear other arguments and viewpoints. There are some I find loathsome, and just by being exposed to them I know more about their ideology than most of its practitioners, but I’ll humor most.

The problem I’ve had with social justice, and those of the left-wing as of late has been the perpetual need to choose a side in a given culture battle. On top of this, this notion has to be correct or ALL of social justice and liberalism will fall to major setbacks. Women will be forced back in to the kitchen, and the men will have to do manly things like chop wood and build furniture…or some shit.

More disturbing is those of social justice who are more prone to roll up the windows of their intellectual curiosity for fear of being like their enemies. I’ve discussed this before, in great detail, but I never fail to be disappointed by this.

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Blast away those bad comments with science fueled FEMPOWER!

In the Ghostbusters trailer debacle, several SJWs found themselves in a pickle: they had to defend the obviously shitty trailer, by making up nonsense like the “toxic internet community” full of misogynists were hating on the movie because “Feminism” or be labeled as “MRA-supporters” and women-haters themselves! Oh dear!

I watched several SJW-tinged writes take a knee on this decision. Demanding that they not be bothered by this nonsense…they didn’t have to chime in on EVERY single battle in the culture wars. Really? When it’s expedient for your SJW bonafides, you have a hot take on EVERYTHING, yet here, you can’t be bothered?

This hypocrisy has been constantly crippling to social justice. However, it’s human hypocrisy that makes this whole thing humorous. You don’t have to like the new Ghostbusters trailer; it is indeed a piece of shit. It looks to be another in a long line of tepid Melissa McCarthy paint-by-numbers-remake vehicle. The only reason this movie is getting any real attention is that it’s “Ghostbusters but with ladies!”

You’re not suddenly going to be labeled a misogynist because you agree with the vast majority of people that this looks like a dumpster fire.

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Look at all these women hating down-voting having misogynist men!

I mean what’s a more reasonable notion, that nearly a million women hating men cared enough to “down vote” a shitty trailer because they just HATE the idea of an “ALL woman Ghostbusters” movie so much. On the other hand, that perhaps, a million people can see through this pile of shit that calls itself a movie trailer to the cynical cash grab social justice pandering nonsense that it is. I say it’s pandering to social justice because apparently it’s the new culture zeitgeist cash cow to milk for all it’s worth.

This new Ghostbusters movie will do just fine at the box office, which is why I find it odd that a culture war sprung up around it in the first place. It will make its $250 million at the box office and everyone will move on. Thus the cycle of the culture wars continue, with people on the outside looking in and wondering just what all that fuss was about?

No one is making anyone choose sides in the culture wars. SJWs have the over-inflated sense that they must be ideologically consistent for some reason. It’s humanly impossible, thus why they perpetually look so goddamned silly in the face of something as absurd as “defending the honor” of a trailer for a shitty movie.
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It is shameful that SJWs, and those of the left leaning proclivity that they “other” people of differing ideologies. In addition, as we all know “the other” is a nothing but a horrible thing to be. “I can’t hate this thing, because then people might think that I’m one of ‘the other’” seems to be the thinking. That derision is what sickens me the most.

It’s because of those wedges that people can perpetuate the culture wars for both profit and the senseless continuation therein, eschewing deeper discussions on the things that truly matter. Guess what, it’s not fucking movie trailers for shitty movies.

You Don’t Have To Choose A Side In The Culture Wars

Movie Review: The Nice Guys

In the last moments of The Nice Guys an antagonist yells to Holland March (Ryan Gosling) “Why’d you have to bring the goddamned girl!” which is exactly what I was thinking as I watched this film!

Writer/Director Shane Black has a penchant for putting know-it-all asshole kids in to his movies, and in that, The Nice Guys doesn’t disappoint. With more than a few showing up to say the darnedest things…for comedy or levity…or something. More often than not, it lands, but with March’s daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) it’s starts to wear thin as you notice that she’s more or less crammed in there to provide unnecessary stakes to the proceedings.

However, that’s not nearly an issue as the movies turgid pacing in between excellent action scenes.

The Nice Guys is a buddy cop movie that Shane Black could do in his sleep, and as such it kind of feels like he was dozing a bit as he pads out action scenes with supremely dry “detective” work and clue sniffing, all in the hopes of it all tying together in the third act.

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“Greetings precocious teen, may you guide us to the next plot point? Oh my, you have such a potty mouth…how cute!”

 

I’m loathe to admit that I bought in to the hype of what The Nice Guys could’ve been. I mean, look at that trailer; it sells a pretty epic movie. But it’s in the watching where the film gets mired in all the puzzle pieces floating around, coming together just so, but in the end, not really meaning much of anything.

In interviews, Shane Black sold what the world of The Nice Guys was to be: a dirty, seedy late 70’s Los Angeles with all its dirty people and filthy smog. A noir of some sort, with two broken men just trying to do right. Moreover, it’s in the movie, but it gets crammed way down to facilitate Holly being mixed up in the shenanigans and “Oh you kids!” nonsense that started to take me out of the movie immediately.

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More often than not Holly felt like more a plot propulsion device rather than a fleshed out character worth caring for. To be cornered by antagonists only for Deus ex machinas coming out of nowhere to reset the plot to focus on two men trying to solve a case. The more I reflect on this film, the more I don’t care for it.

The late 70’s Los Angeles is talked about being a character in the various Shane Black interviews, but you couldn’t tell outside of the obvious overtures the film makes in loudly proclaiming the movies is set in the 70’s. With the cars, garish clothes, television (Hey, The Waltons was huge then!). Nevertheless, outside of that, it doesn’t matter what period this film was set it as it doesn’t take advantage of any of it. It’s feels more like Shane Black thought it would be cool to set a film in the 70’s and that was that.

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“Some lengthy, plot thread tying expository dialogue would go nicely here, thank you.”

Outside of some of the best movie action sequences in a long time, the lone bright spots in the film are Russell Crowe and Ryan Gossling as the leads. Both have great chemistry, which is vital for a buddy cop movie. Nevertheless, they’re stuck with two characters living in a movie that doesn’t quite fit them. The whodunit isn’t nearly as engaging as it tries to be, with the big bad kind of being a no brainer and you’re not really sure why all of this is such a big deal in the first place. The only thing I can think of is that it’s narrative justification to escalate to bigger, meaner action sequences. Which is fine in-and-of-it-self, but it starts unmooring itself from the gritty, grounded world that the writer’s have established.

With his work on Iron Man 3, Shane Black proved that he was and still is the master of action movies. The Nice Guys proves that maybe his lesser tendencies need to be corralled a bit more and he still has a long way to go as a director. His camera hangs preciously on almost every scene, as if they have much more importance than first glance. For a noir type film, that certainly could be used effectively, but in this film it only goes to slow the pace down to a constant watch glancing crawl, where you just want the next action scene to pop up, if only to be punished with more turgid meandering clue work afterwards.

Perhaps The Nice Guys will be better as an edited for time cable movie that cuts a lot of the fat off the films run time. I’d say start with the Holland March family house rebuilding C-story, as it really does nothing for the film. At almost 2 hours the film is just too damn long, and is in desperate need of more editing.

Movie Review: The Nice Guys

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War

Let’s get this out up front: I don’t care for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I don’t like the MCU birthed onslaught of the worse mouth breathing, talking-during-the-entire-run-of-the-movie fan boys (and girls) that make watching these movies such a chore. I wish the movies in the MCU could stand on their own. I would really like to be able to get up and exit the theater after the movie without stepping on those same mouth breathers who are glued to their seats in sweaty anticipation of a couple of post-credits scenes that “set up” other MCU bullshit.

That being said, I like the Captain America movies, and am quite fond of Iron Man 1 and 3. I think of all the MCU nonsense those movies stand better on their own than the rest. I made the mistake of reading reviews that asserted that knowing what happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron would go a long way in enjoying what happens in Civil War. Of course, they were wrong, I should’ve boned up by re-watching Winter Solider. And we wonder why no one listens to critics anymore?

Sure, Civil War takes place about a year after the events of Age of Ultron, but the only continuing action from that film is the destruction of Sokovia having dire implications to how the world views the actions of the Avengers. Coupled with a bunch of other cataclysmic events both seen and unseen, it is decided to reign the Avengers in. Iron Man/Tony Stark thinks this is a good idea Captain America doesn’t…CIVIL WAR!!!!

To keep with this faux Avengers sequel notion, I’d like to note that I’m glad the Russo brothers are helming the next Avengers movies. While I respect the effort Joss Whedon went through in helming the previous Avengers movies, he just doesn’t do the superhero movie justice like the Russo brothers have shown with their Captain America movies.
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Ostensibly, Civil War is a mini-Avengers movie set up inside of a Captain America vehicle and the Russo brothers are seemingly dealing with a veritable boatload of characters to service. The previous Avengers movies would always grind to a halt in order to deal with characters and the various underlying issues/plots. Did we really need that protracted Hawkeye’s family bullshit in Age of Ultron? The Hulk and Black Widow nonsense…and on and on. Civil War includes tiny characters moments, especially furthering the Vision/Scarlet Witch romantic subplot…but it doesn’t bog down the film. In fact, a lot of elements that would’ve ground down lesser comic book movies, are more the aperitif of the film instead of a monstrous side dish of distraction.

Unlike Whedon, the Russo brothers are experts in staging fight sequences with too many characters and making it work. The problem I had with both the first Avengers movies and Age of Ultron was that the fight scenes were either too busy, or  more often felt like a calculated “What is Character X up to…let’s see!” checklist, instead of feeling organic and fluid as it does in Civil War. It could be argued that perhaps the vaunted Marvel Studios malfeasance was to blame in that, but one could also argue that Civil War was met with a similar stick and turned out a better product for it.

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After watching Civil War, I’m more prone to fancy the idea that Marvel just starts utilizing a cadre of directors for their films. This committee of directors would “direct” all the MCU movies and they would be much better “products” for it. Even though his action direction is a bit sub par, Whedon does play the smaller more “comic book” elements of the movies better than others do. Get James Gunn to round out all the films in that odd, fantastical element that resides in the comic books as well. Since the fear of any of these movies failing is becoming farcical at this point, why not?

They’re already doing something in Civil War I’ve long been asking for: dispensing with the character origins. They introduce Spider-Man to the MCU; they cover what he’s all about in a little less than ten minutes. They introduce Marisa Tomei as the new Aunt May and throw him in to the mix. This same economy of plot is given to introducing Black Panther, I’m sure they’ll go a bit more in depth with these two characters in their respective movies, but Civil War itself gives these characters just enough motivation to pick a “side” in the conflict, but not grind the film to a halt in doing so.

Contrary to many critics, Civil War is indeed a Captain America sequel. On top of this, it goes a bit farther in filling in the gaps in the past with both Cap and Iron Man with the respective Winter Soldier tying the two together in even further Civil War-ing in the revelation that he killed Stark’s parents.
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If this was indeed an “Avengers-lite” sequel as we are led to believe, I think we would’ve gotten a bit more of Iron Man’s motivations and thoughts to the proceedings, but we are not outside of a broad stroke “Tony Stark feels bad because a woman was all ‘You guys killed my boy!’ to him one time.”.

Speaking of Tony Stark feelings, a lot of praise has been heaped on Robert Downey Jr’s performance in this movie, as if he wasn’t the entire catalyst to the MCU having any respectability?! Being a good actor was the entire point of having him in Iron Man, and thus lending the notion that these Marvel comic book movies were going to be different from past comic book movies. That Marvel Studios was going to do the work in making this MCU thing something great. They have used a philosophy to great success. It’s why these Marvel movies have attracted such a wide variety of mouth breathers to their gates, it simply cannot be ignored.
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All that being said, Downey Jr’s acting is the least important thing in the entire movie. That’s MY biggest problem with all these MCU movies: they’re fine. There’s nothing so great about them, they’re filmed competently, acted competently, but they don’t take risks. Say what you will about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but at least Zack Snyder tried something with the DC characters. It’s biggest problem, critically speaking, was that it wasn’t like the MCU movies or some shit. And to me it was readily apparent critics were just waiting to shit on that movie, regardless of quality.  Parlaying their general feelings of comic book movie fatigue on to a perceived “lesser” movie, moviegoers be damned!

Captain America: Civil War is a good movie and a great way to kick off the summer movie blockbuster season. We can only wait and see if the next Marvel property based movie Dr. Strange can keep the whole MCU ship upright.

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War