Solo, a Star Wars Story, failed in large extent because the writer was trying to force together four different genres—genres with different character archetypes, incompatible visual styles, and above all, wildly differing pacing—into one movie. It wants to be a Heist Movie AND a Film Noir AND an Action-Comedy AND a Space Opera flick. Take out any one of these elements—dropping Film Noir would be the easiest, and best, IMHO—and you could have a movie that works. But all of these together in the same film is a guaranteed disaster. Even if everything else (casting, writing, directing) had been done right—and it wasn’t—this would have sunk the movie.
I think Adam Sandler is bored of comedy. I think he wants to be making dramatic movies, and he might actually be good at them, but he’s not getting offers to make any.
I think Pixels and most of his Netflix ouvre are him just going through the motions because, hey, easy money, but you can tell his heart really isn’t in it. I hope he gets a chance to either step up to drama, like Robin Williams did, or get it out of his system so he can go back to making off-kilter comedy movies that everybody loves. His current mid-career slump is beginning to weigh on me.
I watched Netflix’s The Rain, a Danish sorta-kinda-Zombie Horror series. (It’s as much Zombie Horror as The Kingsmen was, which is to say, not very.) Somehow a virus gets released into the air, which when it rains infects people with a disease that drives them mad, or sometimes just kills them outright. A brother and sister are locked away by themselves in an emergency bunker, safe from the weather, their dad swearing he’ll be right back, but he doesn’t return. After six years, they head out into the no-man’s land of the post-apocalypse, naifs in a cold and brutal world.
The series had some promise—the notion that rainwater, puddles, and even running streams are VERBOTEN as they will either kill you or turn you into a raging homicidal maniac is actually quite effective, the few scenes it was highlighted—but the series never lived up to that promise. The danger of the water isn’t really dealt with that imaginatively (as compared to, for example, A Quiet Place, which exploited its conceit quite effectively), the characters are not that dynamic or interesting, and the climax feels tacked-on, and breaks all the rules set up in the rest of the series. It’s 10 hours, way too long for this sort of thing, and despite having promise, ultimately comes up short.
After I called for a Pulp Revolution in the comics industry way back when, it’s beautiful to see some movement on that front. Zach Yaboi, of Diversity & Comics, did an Indiegogo for his Jawbreakers comic (nearly $330,000 as of time of writing), and because of shenanigans with Mark Wade probably violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act whilst bullying D&C’s original publisher into dropping the title, Zach went and started his own comics company. It’s only publishing his titles, for now, but there’s definitely room to grow.
Ethan Van Sciver, long-time legendary DC artist, is also running an Indiegogo for his comic, Cyberfrog. It’s off to a roaring start ($128,000 bucks, as of day four), and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all falls out.
Indie publishing is becoming a reality in the comics space, and I hope more and more people are able to do an end run around the corrupt comics tradpub monopoly. “Artisanal” distribution looks to be the wave of the future. Good luck, guys!
I think we underestimate the true tragedy of the ongoing bastardization of popular culture from entertainment into propaganda. Yes, there’s the despoliation of classic characters, the utter inability to entertain, the substitution of robotic recitations of ideology for genuine human virtues, drives, and emotions, not to mention STORY, but above all there is this:
It’s a massive waste of talent.
Talent is a scarce thing, talent wedded to skill even scarcer. When people whore their talent out in service of a morally inverted and inhuman ideology, their talent begins to fade and very quickly it evaporates altogether. I have no explanation for this, but it’s based on empirical observation of the many artists who once had a consummate command of their medium and mode of expression, and can now barely squeeze out marginally passable work.
Talent, wielded properly, is balm for the suffering, insight for the callow, and diversion for those burdened with everyday cares. It’s an act of service, of true charity, and deserves nothing but the highest of praise. When people squander their talents, it’s a tragedy. Something good and worthwhile vanishes and the world is left a little darker and poorer. Under these circumstances, wonder and awe evaporate, and joy becomes a rarer thing, and that is truly tragic.