I am another you

I went to see this film curious how it would compare to “Into the Wild.” You know the trite sayings like “Not all who wander are lost”? I have been looking for someone who chooses this life and also, well, isn’t lost. Hint: I still haven’t found that story.

Director Nanfu Wang is curious about the same, and follows Dylan, who she thinks may be that ideal. She discovers that the story is more complicated, and Dylan himself eventually admits that he didn’t really have a choice about his lifestyle.

Based on the trailer, I thought Dylan would be a criminal mastermind. There’s a snippet of a SWAT team breaking down a door. The mundane explanation is that Dylan’s father is a detective and the SWAT team had nothing to do with him.

Still, the director asks interesting questions. Like, “why are people so generous to Dylan, but not to other homeless people?” Is it because he’s attractive and personable? Or could it have something to do with his having chosen the life? She asks herself if she is exploiting him. She asks and answers whether his choice to live on the streets is a result of his family life.

In the end, this movie is about the romance of something that may not exist*: the person who truly chooses this life for themselves in a clear-eyed and thoughtful way. That person isn’t Dylan, at least.

* Yes, I still need to read Walden. It’s probably the closest I’ll find.

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Birdman

I only watched this movie because it won the Academy Award for best picture. Unsurprisingly, I found it to be thoroughly mediocre. I guess the award was because the voting members could see themselves or people they knew in the struggle of the celebrity-turned-stage-actor main character?

One annoying feature was the drum noise. It happened throughout, sometimes during dialogue, sometimes while characters were walking around. Yeah, there was an unnecessary amount of people walking — down the street, in hallways, back and forth on the stage, etc. Even more obnoxious than the drum noise was the attempt to cleverly explain it, e.g. the walking character would pass a guy drumming in the street.

There was character development that never amounted to anything. Details that had nothing to do with the main story and weren’t interesting or detailed enough to be side-stories. Too many scenes left me wondering, “what was the point of that?” This question was never answered. There was no point.

If a movie can’t have a compelling plot or an interesting story, I understand. Not every story can keep an audience interested just on the merits of its plot. Then at least the characters should be appealing. I should want to know what happens to them — I should care. And lacking both of those things, a move should at least be visually stunning. This movie offers none of the above.

The acting is mostly people getting worked up and shouting monologues at each other. The one worthwhile scene is when the main character’s daughter (played by Emma Stone) tells him that he doesn’t matter:

Actually, I think it’s a good message for everyone. Let’s say the movie wasn’t a complete waste of time. The moral is good: I don’t matter. You don’t matter. No one cares. Get over yourself. Or, to spin it in a more positive way, don’t let what others may think of you dictate what you do with your life.

The Dark Knight Rises

count this as a spoiler alert, even though i found the movie itself so devoid of content that ¬† “spoiler” is almost a joke.

i think my disappointment can be explained by how high my expectations were after the last batman movie. this movie did not make me care about any of its characters, and it did not make me believe in any of their motivations. where does that leave me? repetitive  fight scenes and flashy fake futuristic vehicles. here are some more specific comments:

1. it was impossible to understand any dialogue from the two main characters. batman, with his billions and billions of dollars, doesn’t have a voice-disguiser more sophisticated than talking in an incomprehensible growl. bane’s face mask mixed in just enough static to make him sound like he wasn’t speaking english.

2. why were they driving around every day with the bomb? why not keep it somewhere undisclosed?

3. how does bane eat?

4. if the goal was to annihilate gotham, why twiddle around for 5 months? why was torturing batman important to any of the characters?

5. why was hopping from one ledge to the next necessary to get out of the jail-hole? there were foot/hand holds all the way up, and if a rope could be anchored where it was, couldn’t someone just be pulled up to that point using the first rope and install an anchoring point a foot or two up, then repeat until the top?

6. why did the other prisoners care enough about a kid escaping to tear off bane’s face?

7. why would the federal government believe that the trigger-holder in gotham would be aware if a single person escaped the city?

my main problem with this movie is that there was never a point at which i wanted to know what was going to happen next. the characters, motivations, plot and dialogue were all so weak that it just didn’t matter. i would rate this movie a don’t-even-bother-once-it’s-on-tv.

The Avengers

I was bribed to see this movie. I am helpless before buttered movie theater popcorn.

Dislike
– Drawn out fight scenes
– Preaching about nuclear weapons
– Black Widow & Hawkeye because:

    • their characters were not explored enough to make me care
    • they were very mortal, without neat superpowers
    • they were generally uninteresting

– Ironman, because he’s arrogant in an ugly way and his technologies are contrived
– Redirecting of a nuclear warhead by Ironman in his flying suit

Like
+ Loki (this is another post entirely)
+ Dynastic/fraternal struggle between Loki and Thor
+ Hulk and his Hulk-smashing, especially of Loki and of Ironman
+ The idea that freedom is an illusion
+ Captain America’s naive, lost little boy outlook
+ Those giant flying worm-type creatures at the final battle

I understand now why I don’t volunteer to watch these things. They’re addictive. There will probably be at least one character I’m drawn to, and then I become a ridiculous fan girl. I also don’t find epic battles, intergalactic struggle (at the government level), explosions and combat that fun to watch. This means I was bored for about 80% of the movie, but I’ll likely watch the next one to learn a little more about the one character I care about. I’ll be bored for the vast majority of that movie too, and inevitably feel wistful at the very end of the series that I never got to know that one mischievous god well enough to satisfy my curiosity.