Half-baked idea: A remake of Apocalypse Now with Nicolas Cage starring in four of the most prominent roles. De-aged, he plays Captain Willard, dancing and twirling, drunk on expensive cognac in Saigon while waiting for a mission and hurting himself. As in the original, it would be an improvisational tour de force, perhaps ending in something more outrageous than a shattered mirror and a bloody hand. Either way, he’d be naked.
Later, Cage appears as Colonel Kilgore. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. BOOYAH!! Let’s do this!” Then he hops onto a surfboard and paddles out into the glorious six-foot swirls, mortar and artillery shells fountaining the sea around him.
At Kurtz’s compound, a long-haired, bedraggled Cage comes out from behind the menacing gathering of Montagnard fighters, cameras hanging from his chest, guiding Willard and company in to dock, haranguing them with tales of Colonel Kurtz’s god-like prowess.
Finally, of course, is Cage as the crazy Kurtz himself, a study in pre-explosive tension, conflating poetry and dime-store philosophy in a hopeless attempt to reconcile his conscience with the things he has done. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Ghost Rider”
I think I may have seen too many movies. That’s the only reason I can think of to explain why I did not like Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios’ 2014 money machine. It hit all the right notes when it comes to action, pacing, and story. It kept things simple, avoiding all pretension, and at no point did it strive to be something greater than it was. But...
I think the movie showed a profound disrespect for its audience. Big action movies aren’t just simple anymore. Rather, they have been simplified, stripped of any sort of nuance or individuality in the pursuit of massive box office receipts. There is nothing inherently wrong in trying to maximize profit. But what it does mean is that, in seeing a movie like this, no viewer can expect anything beyond superficial uniqueness. There are new stories out there. But new stories require an entrepreneurial spirit that Hollywood is currently anathema to. It’s hard to explain how much the studio system has changed in a generation, so I’ll just give this example: Taxi Driver was a Hollywood studio film. That’s right. Taxi Driver. A film featuring a violent psychopath, who develops a crush on an underage hooker, as a protagonist. These days, the talents of that film’s young director, Martin Scorcese, would be steered into projects that are designed from the very beginning to be sanitized versions of past successes. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Guardians of the Galaxy”
Dictionary.com defines MacGuffin as “an object or event in a book or film that serves as the impetus for the plot.” Wikipedia goes further, defining it as “a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) is willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to pursue, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so desirable (emphasis added).” Alfred Hitchcock is credited with popularizing the term in the movie industry, employing it himself, even turning Cary Grant into a MacGuffin in North by Northwest.Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: The Avengers, or, the War of the MacGuffin”
President Dwight Eisenhower once described the shame and the dangers of the military/industrial complex. He decried “spending the sweat of [the world’s] laborers, the genius of its scientists...” in pursuing the means of war. He went on to say that this was no way of life at all, “...it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Iron Man”