Thursday, December 25, 2008

Getting Into The Spirit

Sometime around 2 AM on Wednesday morning I found myself half awake and wondering, “What’s that noise? And where is that breeze coming from?”
Driven by curiosity, I forced myself fully awake and discovered that my ceiling fan was on full blast.
This was puzzling enough on its own, but became even moreso as I fumbled in the dark in search of the remote. After all, if I turned it on – via the remote, which is the only method – I must have done so in my sleep, and given the difficulty I was having with finding the remote while fully awake I can’t help but be baffled at the thought that I was somehow more adept at finding and manipulating the remote while not actually conscious.
So I don’t what the hell was happening there.
Yesterday I headed down to Manassas to spend Christmas Eve at Scott and Stacy’s. I brought along the Riff Trax version of the movie Crossroads – the Britney Spears movie, not the Ralph Macchio one – as my way of repaying their hospitality with something dreadful.
And – apart from the various scenes featuring Britney prancing around in her underwear – it really was dreadful.
After that we watched Krull, as it’s been years since I last saw it, and, really, why not?
This morning found me on my way to Manassas once again for Christmas breakfast. While there, I got this from Scott and Stacy:

For the record, that’s Starfire.
I commented that at least this time around I don’t have to worry about Kathleen breaking Starfire’s fingers off the way she did with the Black Canary figure I got from them last year.
While I don’t have much Christmas spirit, and I was not visited by any spirits in the night – unless it was a spirit that turned on my ceiling fan, but that was a little too early on Christmas Eve morning to be a very well-timed visit – I did get some Christmas spirit in the form of seeing The Spirit this afternoon.
The earliest show was 2:15, and given that by 11:30 we’d finished the breakfast, everyone else there was eager to get into some sort of gameplay to pass the time. Because I didn’t want to suck the fun out of the room, which was rapidly filling with dog hair that was starting to overpower the generic Zyrtec I’d taken, and I had to give my family a call, I decided that I would head home and just meet them at the theater.
There wasn’t much traffic on the road yesterday or today, but driving still managed to be annoying, as the people who were on the road were uniformly driving well below the speed limit. I don’t know if they were all just being hyper-cautious for fear of being pulled over in some holiday sting operation, or it was just that the more reckless and aggressive drivers had decided to take a couple of days off, but either way it was irritating as hell.
Though I left for the theater with what I thought was plenty of time to spare, I didn’t get there until 2:00. I wasn’t expecting the theater to be as packed as it was – at least not that early in the day – and neither, apparently, was the theater management.
The people working there were overwhelmed, the ticket kiosks weren’t working, and between buying tickets and a drink and some candy I spent nearly 20 minutes standing in line.
When I got there, Scott and Casey were nowhere to be found. I thought about calling them to ask if they wanted me to just buy their tickets for them, but this thought didn’t occur to me until I was near the front of the ticket line, and the theater is a total dead zone for cell phone service.
I saw them come in while I was at the concession stand and met up with them while they were getting their snacks.
We ended up missing all of the previews and the first couple of minutes of the movie.
As for the movie itself, there’s been a lot of hate for it online for months now, as with The Day the Earth Stood Still, and as with that movie, once again, I don’t get it.
What the hell do you people want? I mean, seriously, The Spirit was a hell of a lot of fun. Sure, it looked a lot like Sin City, but personally I don’t view that as a bad thing.
Admittedly, in his comics work, for years Frank Miller has been showing signs of, to put it delicately, being bug fuck insane (The goddamn Batman, I’m looking at you…), but this movie had the right kind of Miller insanity.
I suppose that’s the problem with the haters; if you aren’t wired in such a way as to appreciate Miller’s sense of humor, then yeah, the movie is going to fall flat. But if that’s the case, what the hell are you going to see it for in the first place, or even bother reading about it and watching trailers?
I mean, there is no force on earth that could compel me to see Marley and Me – multiple showings of which were sold out today, by the way; when Scott mentioned that I said, “People are…well, you know what I think about people” – so I don’t see any point in agonizing over how awful it’s going to be and subjecting myself to the torment of watching clips or reading about it just so I have something to bitch about on some forum.
On the other hand, apparently a lot of the online outrage is a result of how much the movie differs from the source material. The Spirit is considered a classic, and its creator, Will Eisner, is a legendary comic book icon. In fact, one of the highest industry honors is the Eisner Award.
I can’t really speak to that, as my exposure to The Spirit on the printed page has been limited to seeing pages reprinted in articles about how great The Spirit is. I’ve meant to read more, but, well, I haven’t.
Beyond what I’ve read about The Spirit, my only other exposure has been the god-awful 1987 made for TV movie – which was undoubtedly a failed pilot – starring Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones in the title role.
So basically, this is what I know about The Spirit: it had a lot of femme fatale characters with goofy names who pranced around in skimpy outfits, the main character was a cop who died and somehow returned to life, one of his principal adversaries was someone called The Octopus, and he had a horrid, racist caricature of a kid sidekick named Ebony White.
As far as the movie goes when it comes to those elements, it’s check, check, check, check, and thank god, there was no Ebony White.
So…what’s to complain about?
But, if you don’t like it – even if you preemptively don’t like it – you don’t like it, and, so, whatever. Good for you. Storm every forum you can find and unload all the bile you need to.
I, however, enjoyed it immensely – as did Scott and Casey – and that’s just how it goes.
And for the record, Scarlett Johansson is positively inhuman in her hotness, and I wouldn’t mind having a photocopy of Eva Mendes’ perfect ass.
So yeah, I think it was a good directorial debut for Frank Miller, and the perfect vehicle for him, but I do hope that if he moves on to other projects he’ll move away from the Sin City style a little, as a little really does go a long way.
As a random aside, regarding that 1987 Spirit movie, I distinctly recall having difficulty setting up the VCR to record it. We had just gotten a satellite dish, which added another layer of complexity to setting the VCR to record, which was already complicated enough. In those days there was no such thing as on-screen programming. Setting the VCR to record at a specific time involved turning this array of weird little plastic dials into the correct position to set the time, date, and channel.
Anyway, that was my Christmas Eve/Christmas. I hope yours were at least as good.


Merlin T Wizard said...

I was going to write a big post on The Spirit, but now I see I don't have to. Well said.

Word verification: hyper
How boring is that?

Heimdall said...

Oh sure, make me do all the work.
And as far as word verification goes, that's hyper-boring.

Merlin T Wizard said...

As my father-in-law always says, work smarter, not harder.

word verification: hingsa
Cab Calloway in modified pig latin?

I love to hingsa
About the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a,
I love to hingsa,
About a sky of blue-a, or a tea for two-a,
Anything-a with a swing-a to an "I love you-a,"
I love to, I love to sing!