We went to the midnight showing of the new Batman flick last night, and it was a great time. I was trying to recall, but while I’ve stood in line plenty of times for movies I’ve never done the midnight preview thing. It was well worth getting home at 3 AM and only getting 4 hours or so of sleep, I loved it. My only criticism of it is it probably runs about 30 minutes long; there is a lot of stuff going on at the end that really didn’t need to be there. Still a top shelf flick though, no doubt about it. Very, very dark . . . and definitely pushing the limits of PG-13. There are some laughs, but this is a grim, serious gangster movie that touches on a multitude of themes very relevant to today’s world. I will absolutely see it again.
Heath Ledger, wow. I’m going to say his portrayal of a villain is one of the best “bad guy” performances, ever. The menace and tension he brought to every scene he was in was captivating; that he was portraying such an iconic character as the The Joker only made it better. All the hyperbole over his performance is justified. Go see the movie, if only to witness the last work of an actor who was on the cusp of true greatness.
What a bummer he’s gone. Julia and I were discussing his death last night, and where it measures for our generation in relation to the generations that have mourned their artistic heroes like Lennon, or Jerry Garcia, or Marilyn, etc. Kurt Cobain is certainly part of my pantheon of dead artists, though at the time, while I was bummed, I had such a low opinion of drug addicts that, frankly, it left me with an attitude that he got what he was ultimately after. Of course I’ve become more enlightened since then, but I didn’t buy into the entire “voice of a generation” bullshit he has been often tagged with. Kurt — and Layne Staley, for that matter — is a tragic loss, but it isn’t something I lament much because he never really touched me with his art.
Heath bummed me out, though. He seemed like a genuine person to me, and I’m no celebrity worshiper. The first role of his that utterly blew me away was his portrayal of Skip Engblom in the movie Lords of Dogtown. It was one of those roles where you don’t even recognize the actor in the character, and I thought he was brilliant. At the end of the movie, where all the young superstars he helped get started are basking in adulation, the scene of him working on a surfboard as an employee at the shop he had to sell to get by, broke my heart.
Then, of course, was his performance in Brokeback Mountain. What a magnificent movie, and what a tragic, heartbreaking performance he delivered. The surest way to earn my loathing is to be one of those people, usually guys, who uses the “no way I’ll ever watch that fag movie” line. What an ignorant fuck that reveals a person to be. I don’t see how you can be a person with love in your heart and not be devastated by that movie.
I hope Heath gets the posthumous Oscar, because he deserves it. What a talent. What a loss, and what a waste.
Homogeneity Threatens Democracy
Running a week behind, as usual, I read David Sirota‘s column from last Friday today. I can’t agree more with what he is saying; read it here. This bit really paints the picture I see everywhere I go in this country, and it is a gripe I’ve been voicing to just about anyone who will listen for the last few years:
— the contemporary road trip tells the tale of hegemony better than even shared holiday experiences. Turn on your car radio and your listening experience is standardized. No matter where you are, you find yourself unable to find much other than either Rush Limbaugh rants or Bad Company songs on a dial now owned by a tiny group of conglomerates. The off-ramp pit stop — once the spicy outpost of local flavor — today seems mass produced from a Chinese factory, a bustling harbor of franchise commerce astride Jack Kerouac’s endless road. Towering signs for Applebee’s, Wendy’s and Bob Evans are the boat masts on a sea of corporate food below.
To compare and contrast; Higgins Avenue downtown is what America should look like, in my view. It is what the America I like is all about — the look, the feel, the energy of a vibrant place where people live. Like last night, with Downtown Tonight or whatever was going on, there were people out everywhere. And it is like that practically every time I go downtown, which is a couple times a week. Compare that with Reserve Street. Rows of big box stores that look the same, right down to the architectural flourishes, whether you are in Arizona or Iowa. You really don’t see people, just cars. And it sucks. I’m grateful I rarely have to venture out there.
What amuses me about the Sirota piece is the use of the word “homogeneity.” Way back in 2001, the first song I wrote post-9/11 is a tune called Dissent. It is basically a rant against the common notion of those times, still prevalent today, that basically said “you are either with us or against us.” So I was pissed about that, and I also went off on a tirade about how this country was being led down the path to homogeneity. Jimmy and Bubba thought that was hilarious and didn’t believe it was an actual word. But it is. So suck it, boys.
Oh, and here’s the song, in case you’re interested in hearing it. It is on the first LAZERWOLFS album, Get Mad.