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The online journal of Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon.

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Stuff I’ve been meaning to blog about

Posted on Jul 30, 2008 by billsimmon in blogging, comics, filmmaking, Life of Bill, SF, whining about being busy | 3 Comments

How lame is this: A blog post about all the would-be blog posts that I haven’t gotten around to writing.  Pretty lame.  Still, these are the things that I’ll try and tackle when my time frees up a bit (sometime around Christmas at this rate)…

  • John (GMD) Odum responded at length in the comments of my Dark Knight post and I have several responses I want to articulate — probably in a new post.
  • The NYTimes’ A.O. Scott wrote a provacative piece about the super-hero genre of films peaking this year…

as soon as the main character is suited up and ready to do battle, the originality drains out of the picture, and the commercial imperatives — the big fight, the overscaled action extravaganza — take over. “The Dark Knight” has some advantages from being the second movie in a series, with less need for exposition and basic character development, and its final act is less of a letdown.

Instead the disappointment comes from the way the picture spells out lofty, serious themes and then … spells them out again. What kind of hero do we need? Where is the line between justice and vengeance? How much autonomy should we sacrifice in the name of security? Is the taking of innocent life ever justified? These are all fascinating, even urgent questions, but stating them, as nearly every character in “The Dark Knight” does, sooner of later, is not the same as exploring them.

  • A two-part blog post about why Star Trek: TNG “failed” caught my interest and there are a few thoughts around that I would like to address at some point.
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  1. On August 1, 2008, Molly said:

    I don’t want to get involved in the essay dueling on the other post, but I have to say I was relieved when I started to find reviews like the A. O. Scott piece. This paragraph very eloquently summarizes my feelings about the movie, but for awhile I was starting to think I was nuts because clearly every other thinking person on the planet adored it because it was SO GREAT and SO DARK.

    I’m not a cineast. I’m not a comics junkie. The only authority with which I can speak is that of a horror fan – fandom that does have some overlap into both mainstream cinema and comics (Blade, Swamp Thing, 30 Days of Night, Constantine [Hellblazer], Tales from the Crypt, Hellboy, etc.).

    Anyhoo, I did not find anything great about Dark Knight, and the darkness of it felt obtuse and cloying and tired and over-processed. I actually dozed off a little when they went to China.

  2. On August 1, 2008, billsimmon said:

    It’s okay, Molly. You can be bored by The Dark Knight. We won’t ostracize you. :)

    Actually as a horror film, TDK is kind of gruesome, particularly in light of Ledger’s subsequent death — it’s almost a snuff film.

    That said, I’ve seen my fair share of horror films and I’ve read comics that are REALLY dark, so the relative “darkness” of TDK isn’t what impressed me so much as the subtexual stuff about chaos and order and the nature of sanity and how it relates to both.

    I’ve seen the film twice now and my 2nd viewing did lower my esteem for it somewhat. I expected a lot of the stuff I missed the 1st time through to reveal deeper layers of the “meaning” onion, but I discovered I got everything there was to get the first time through. Oh well. Not every film can be Schitzopolis.

  3. On August 1, 2008, Molly said:

    I am relieved you won’t ostrich-size me. Especially because I need your help to murder the kickballers.

    Do you know where I can buy parasitic nematode worm larvae? We could scatter hookworm eggs on the grass. There are two species that inhabit humans but not dogs or cats.

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