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December 07, 2012

Noah Berlatsky on Gerard Butler, Playing for Keeps, and the lack of an analytical framework for attacking toxic views of masculinity

Berlatsky is one of those writers that I eat up like catnip. Cats eat catnip, right? I'm not a cat guy. Don't Let Gerard Butler Fool You: Fatherhood Isn't About Being Sexy - Noah Berlatsky - The Atlantic
That is sort of the issue. Feminism has given women a way to deconstruct idealized images on screen, to understand the media's manipulation of bodies, desire, and jealousy as both political and aggressive. Men, though, haven't developed the same analytical resources. You hear about how Bella Swan in Twilight is a bad role model for girls, or how Julia Roberts in Pretty Women is a bad image for women. But men on screen are rarely seen as bad role models, or good role models. They're just more or less attractive fantasies. If you as a man find James Bond oppressive—well, that just shows what kind of man you are. Or, rather, aren't. You can tell what kind of man I am, then, by the fact that I identified in the film not with that scamp George, but with Stacie's clean-shaven, nice-guy goober second-husband-to-be, Matt (James Tupper). Rooting for Matt isn't easy; the film gives him no abs to speak of, no soccer skills, and the personality of a stump. Stacie tells George at one point that Matt makes her laugh, but we never see him do so—nor do we ever see Matt interacting in any but the most perfunctory way with Lewis. Matt's not world-famous. He keeps his dick in his pants. He involves himself in the day-to-day tasks of raising a child. Ergo, he's boring and no one could possibly care about him. Let's go watch George do something sexily irresponsible again! The movie does flirt with the idea of having George suffer some sort of consequences for his years of neglect and priapism. But that's just the standard rom-com tease. He's in the title role, he's got that wounded smile—how can he lose? In one of his final lines of the film, George says he's learned the importance of being there—but Matt was there, too, and more often—and, really, could probably be expected to be there more responsibly and consistently in the future as well. George's charm isn't that he's there. It's his athleticism and his good looks and arguably most of all his faithlessness. If fidelity and responsibility were what mattered, Matt would get the happy ending. But he hardly ever does. Every so often you'll get some sweet guy hero like Lloyd in Say Anything. But more often you're presented with supposedly charming fixer-upers, from Han Solo to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman to Eddie Murphy in Boomerang to, again, that ongoing archetype of rakishness James Bond. It's as if the folks who make movies think that even Matt wants to be George—so much so that the faithful goober will cheer for the star even as said star is pissing on him from a great height. So, on behalf of all the Matts out there, let me take a moment to piss back.

The Year in Hate-Watching

As in, watching TV you hate just for the pleasure of hating it. I don't have time for this kind of shenanigans, but I like reading about other people hate-watching things. The Year in Hate-Watching -- Vulture
The Newsroom Was it really that bad? Yes. Oh God, yes. Come for the jingoism, stay for the misogyny. Who was the most fun to loathe? It was actually not that fun to loathe any of these people, because within every terrible jerk bag (Don, you suck) is the hint of a previous and beloved Aaron Sorkin character. Sure, Maggie Jordan is incompetent and seemingly unfamiliar with the concept of human kindness, but … doesn't she remind you a little of Donna from West Wing? Oh, Sam Waterston's voice sounds weird and he curses constantly, but isn't he a little bit like Isaac from Sports Night? Is the hate-watch going to turn into a regular watch? One would hope. We want to love this show the way we loved Sports Night and West Wing, not the way we "loved" Studio 60.

December 06, 2012

Trailer: Star Trek Into Darkness

Starring Sherlock Holmes as Growly McVoiceover, the one man killing machine.

November 30, 2012

Stephen King's Under the Dome coming to tv this Summer

I really loved the book which felt largely like powering through an entire season of a particularly good tv show in terms of its pacing. It's a natural fit for tv. No surprise there. In good news Brian K Vaughn is attached as a writer and producer. Vaughn has done great work in comics and breathed a lot of new life into LOST when he joined up. Stephen King’s Under The Dome Coming to CBS - GalleyCat
“UNDER THE DOME is the story of a small New England town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The town’s inhabitants must deal with surviving the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what this barrier is, where it came from and if and when it will go away.”

November 12, 2012

Bits of 22 James Bond movies, edited together to form a new coherent narrative

Because nothing is as formulaic as Bond. Scenes from every James Bond film edited together to form a single coherent movie