Dryvember Day Twelve Still Not Chugging Along

Dryvember day twelve was probably my best day so far this month. What made it so good? I’m not sure I can explain it, so I won’t even try. Suffice to say, it was good and for that I am grateful. One thing that probably helped was the fact that all my classes went well, which is always nice. Another thing that made today good was laughter. Not that I was laughing at anything in particular, but I did have quite a few good laughs today. It’s as if it were some kind of weird mirror image from Saturday when I couldn’t stop crying for no reason. In case you were wondering, laughing for no reason is better then crying for no reason.

Something else that was good about today was the fact that at no point did I feel like drinking. Sure, I’ve had that before, but it’s nice to feel again. I’m almost halfway through the month, so to have a day where booze wasn’t occupying my mind feels good. Hopefully typing those words out won’t jinx me on Dryvember day twelve.

In other, less happy, news: I still haven’t cleaned my room. Also, I still haven’t finished a short story I want to submit for publication on Friday. I am about halfway done, so that’s good. What’s no so good is I this is the third time I have written the story. The first time, it was too long. The second time, I wrote it by hand. That time, it wasn’t too long, but there was too much navel gazing. Hopefully, third time will be the charm. I would really like to have it done so I can submit it. Even if the result is a rejection letter.

I leave you with this signage from my university.

The image shows a picture from my university, where I taught today and had a wonderful Dryvember day 12

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Birds of Prey Trailer Reaction: I Don’t Hate It

Here is my Birds of Prey trailer reaction. I watched it last night and again today. Anyone who knows me knows that I dislike the movie version of the Suicide Squad for a multitude of reasons. And, anyone who has seen that movie should agree that Harley was the best part of it. So, I am glad to see Margot Robbie reprise her role here in this movie, despite it’s unwieldy full title.

Anyway, onto the trailer. At first blush it looks like it’s carrying on the aesthetic of the Suicide Squad. Fine, if that’s what DC wants to do. Beyond that, I am happy to see that Harley is distancing herself from Joker. I know we need a little bit of that relationship because it is what defined the character for so long. Still, I hope they don’t spend too much time on it in this film. Get in, establish she’s left him behind, and move on. Easy peasy, giant hammer to your facey.

The image shows Harley Quinn form the new Birds of Prey trailer kissing a hyena.
Harely has a new Pudding!

Difficulties abound when judging a movie based on its trailer, and this one is no different. The sorrowful song playing over the whole thing makes it feel generic. Seriously, so many movie trailers do this nowadays it’s become boring. At least this one is a little different thanks to the song choice. Beyond that, though, it looks like there will be some good action, and comedic beats. Again, it’s truly difficult to tell because we don’t get much dialogue, though we can get a sense of the plot. Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask is apparently a new player in town, and it’s up to Harley and the rest of the birds to take him down.

Birds of Prey Trailer Reaction–Fans are Hard to Please

Even before the trailer dropped, people were complaining about the Black Mask not wearing a mask. And yeah, I get that. After all, it is kind of the character’s whole schtick. It would be like Joker looking like a gangster rather than a clown. Oh, wait…. Man, I dislike Suicide Squad so much.

Another fan reaction I have heard since the Birds of Prey trailer dropped is “This isn’t my BoP team!” Again, I can understand that. Everyone has characters and teams they love, and I am no different. While it’s true that Harley hasn’t traditionally been part of the team, movies are different. Plus, she’s the most bankable character in the movie, so of course they’re going to go with her. Why couldn’t they just make a Harley movie? Good question, and one I don’t have an answer for. Furthermore, I don’t really care.

In closing, I think this movie will be all right. Will it be a masterpiece of cinema? Doubtful. Will it have at least a few good performances and action sequences? I really hope so. Am I more excited about this than Joker? Definitely.

So, what’s your reaction to the Birds of Prey trailer? Let me know in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading.

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The Boys E01 Superheroes Suck

The Boys e01 (The Name of the Game) introduces us to a world full of superheroes patrolling the streets and fighting crime. Only, these heroes are dicks, rapists, and criminals. Think of The Watchmen mixed with Squadron Supreme, and you may have some idea of what to expect. The series is based on the comic series co-created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. I haven’t read the comic, and I don’t know if I will. This review refrains from spoilers by not describing events, but rather providing overall general impressions.

The Picture Shows the Seven, a team of superheroes in The Boys E01

Watching this series opening episode, I kept wondering what the joke was. The set up is straightforward enough: The Boys e01 exists in a world where people with super powers are part of daily life. From this premise, the show extrapolates that people with powers would be greedy dickheads. On one hand, this is always a fun idea. On the other hand, it’s only fun if there’s a punchline beyond Ha superheroes suck!

As the first episode, The Boys e01 delivers on establishing the world, characters, and tone. That world, however, is brutish and horrible. It is a world where costumed Supers, sponsored by the Vought corporation, can murder and rape and steal at will.

There is fridging and superhero on superhero rape, and it is all played seriously, which is good as these are serious topics. But, the episode doesn’t really explore these topics, rather treating them like the tropes they are. So, instead of providing viewers with something fresh, the episode leans heavily into traditional superhero conventions. I suppose I was looking for a bit of a bigger twist.

Did you watch The Boys e01? Are you planning to? If not, why are you even reading this? If you have, comment and let me know what you think.

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The New Joker Trailer is Stylish but Boring

I am a huge fan of the Joker as a villain. I really dig his craziness, and he puts forth the contradiction of silly and violent. Plus, clowns are freaky, so he’s got that going for him. However, it is difficult to make a story that features him as the main character. He works best as a villain, a response to the insanity of the world, or the harsh rigid control of Batman. In order for him to stand on his own the audience has to see him as sympathetic. And while that may be possible, it is also misses the point of the character. We should never root for the character, which is what the new Joker trailer clearly wants us to do.

The whole look and feel of the trailer wants to remind us of a 1970s flick about a man whose life is in the toilet, and suffers one too many grievances at the hands of society. In the trailer, goons attack him several times. One time they steal his sign and hit him over the head with it when he gives chase. In another scene, they beat him up on the subway. All of this takes place with his voice over about how the city is going to hell. The call backs to Taxi Driver are blatant. Of course, these comparisons make sense, considering Scorsese’s name came up quite a bit surrounding this movie when DC announced it.

Look, Scorsese has made some good films, and people like his aesthetic, especially his 70s aesthetic. However, I don’t think we need this kind of movie right now.

That’s Not Joker in the New Trailer

Sure, they call him Joker, and he wears a clown mask, and later suit reminiscent of Joker’s style. But really, the character looks to be the Clown Prince of Crime in name only. Joker is a psychopath; a sinister murderer, and rapist. We should never feel sorry for him, or have sympathy for him.

The image shows Joker in the new trailer as he walks down a hall. He is in a stylish suit and wears clown makeup.
Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker. I like his suit if not much else. Click image to enlarge.

In The Killing Joke before he turns into Joker, he’s a chump and a stooge who we don’t feel too sorry for. He maybe deserves our sympathy at that point, but not once he turns into Joker. And how does that happen? He gets pushed into Acme goo and it breaks him. He doesn’t, however, becomes the resident psycho clown of Gotham because he was picked on too much.

Maybe there is some catalyzing event in the film that the new Joker trailer isn’t showing us, but even if there is I don’t know. I don’t need to see another movie about the white guy pushed to him limits and them goes crazy. We’ve seen it in Falling Down (one of my favorite movies, BTW). We also saw it in Taxi Driver. It’s happened in Death Wish, and a variety of other films, and is old hat by this point.

It’s Not a Small Movie

Plus, as arthouse as DC want this movie to look, we have to keep in mind this is a mainstream flick with a wide release. It’s not some indy film that will release in 20 theaters and blow our minds with its choices. It’s a part of a multi-million dollar juggernaut that will just reinforce the white man’s vengeance tale yet again. I am a white dude who tends to enjoy these types of stories, but I don’t need any more of them.

It isn’t necessary to tell a movie where Joker is the hero, or to try to make the audience relate to him. He is the boogeyman, an agent of chaos, insanity in an already insane world. The only Joker stories we should tell are the ones where he gets his comeuppance. Batman handing him his ass? I want to see that. Jim Gordon blowing his kneecap off? Sign me up! Barbara Gordon breaking his spine? I’ll see that movie twice in the theater. Joker is there to hate and despise, not to emulate or adore.

I am not saying audience members will fall in love with Joker in this movie, nor am I saying that’s what DC wants us to do. However, I do find it ambiguous and a little dicey that they have decided to present the new trailer for the Joker movie in this way.

On a positive note, it does have Zazie Beetz in it, and she’s spectacular. Also, Joaquin Phoenix is a good actor, so the performances should be good. It might end up being a good flick, but I won’t be holding my breath.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

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