A peripheral, stream-of-consciousness analysis of movies that happened to be playing in my line of vision from the middle seat of a red-eye flight. (Apologizing now.)
Quick Note: I see now as I write this that BvS is subtitled Dawn of Justice, which sounds heebie-jeebie-ishly Americanly creepy– a perfect preface, I realize now, to the fascist welcome home we received in customs that annexed my brown-skinned, long-haired husband, and not white-skinned, red-haired me, AGAIN, even though we are both U.S. citizens with the same visa history and Hispanic/Arabic surname, and to which he answered “because I’m a minority?” when asked if he knew why he was being super-screened, and which was followed by a series of security officers barking about water and liquids and shoes before a line of blinking, sleep-deprived passengers just before they examined our entrails via xray (this reminds me: was I supposed to claim the parasite I brought home?) Returning home gets more fascist every year. Neither the movie nor the welcome appeared to be much about Dawn nor Justice.
Batman v. Superman: which the guy on my left side is watching. So far, the movie seems to involve a whole lot of Amy Adams screwing up her face in a piney way over a square-jawed plastic man and I know I don’t watch a whole lot of movies (or any, really, except in these occasional vicarious moments) but I thought Amy Adams had more integrity than to accept such a dumb role. Turning away.
The 33: Which my husband is watching on my right side because he is already kind of fascinated with the abusive labor policies behind this Chilean mine and he just kind of lucked out that there was a recent movie made about it that neither of us knew about and which stars, to my knowledge, not a single Chilean actor, but a whole lot of most-famous-brown-skinned-ish-actors-speaking-English-none-of-whom-even-look-Chilean, including the Spaniard Antonio Banderas, the Filipino Lou Diamond Phillips, and the French (French!) Juliette Binoche. It starts with about ten minutes of family-and-friends time to set up an emotional connection (which reminds me why I prefer books to movies because books can’t play that montage shit, and besides, Antonio Banderas with THAT mustache, please…) before it dives into the catastrophe, so that’s when I turn away because what’s worse than watching a movie about claustrophobia from a middle seat on an airplane? (granted, we did end up with premium economy leg room by sheer luck.)
Back to BvS: at this point, it looks like a shaggy-haired Matt Smith has entered the picture, and he’s clearly the bad guy ever since he put that gummy bear in that guy’s mouth and then licked his fingers– I mean, if that’s not a bad guy move, I don’t know what is. The screen is small and I’ve taken out my contacts at this point and put on my glasses and they’re kind of on crooked because of the way my half-donut pillow is pushed against my face, but it looks like it might be Matt Smith because of the emphatic gestures and lack of eyebrows. Or, he might not be Matt Smith, but he is definitely the bad guy. I may have drifted off a bit because I came back to Batman and Superman having a quick go at it, and not in the way I would like, but that’s when I realize the title of this movie because I actually missed the opening credits, so I wasn’t really sure what I was watching until this point and now I remember that a lot of people were making a big fuss with bombastic negative reviews about how horrible this mainstream movie about Batman v. Superman turned out to be, as if we should all be surprised it sucks. Cut to Amy Adams making headache faces again.
33: Obviously something very bad has happened and the guys are trapped inside the mine and the movie cuts to all the not-very-Chilean-looking-women sort of throwing themselves at a fence and howling at the camera and then Paolo from Nikki-and-Paolo-from-Lost (Brazilian!) shows up and a woman hits him in the face and I thought about all the Lost fans who would’ve loved to see that since so many people were annoyed with his very-clearly-only-intended-as-a-plot-device character.
BS: Wow, it’s like this movie is all about Amy Adams and Superman. Just when I think Amy Adams couldn’t possibly screw up her face more, she does, and I’m experiencing empathic face pain.
33: Paolo from Nikki-and-Paolo-from-Lost is pretty much the main non-subterranean character, despite all those not-very-Chilean-looking-women howling in the background who probably have much more interesting backstories. He’s yelling at a guy behind a desk a lot– the mine boss, I presume, but I don’t recognize that actor. Underground, the guys are principally divided, and Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips are clearly on opposite sides of the struggle and Antonio is overacting, as he does, and both guys look pretty comical from this silent perspective– I guess watching movies on mute has the same effect as reading books on audio: it amplifies things you wouldn’t notice in the normal format. There’s your $10 observation; that’s all I’ve got.
BS: So it looks like things are ratcheting up into BIG DRAMA and Superman is in a courtroom and all garbed out and I’m wondering why they don’t tell him to go put on a suit and tie because that outfit can’t possibly be allowed in a courtroom (he definitely doesn’t have my asshole of a bailiff from last summer’s jury duty) and if he did put on a suit, wouldn’t somebody watching on TV be like, oh, that’s the boring, nervous guy who works for the newspaper, and then everybody would know he’s just Clark Kent and the gig would be up, and Amy Adams could finally let her face relax. And then I start wondering about Superman and fingerprints, because if this is a criminal trial, wouldn’t he have to be fingerprinted, and wouldn’t they match those of Clark Kent, or does he even have fingerprints or just conjure them up when he needs them? I’m sure these questions are answered in the lore, but I’m no Superman lore expert. Anyway, it looks like Holly Hunter is the judge, which is funny to me considering her accent: I don’t know how that must sound in the movie, but just imagining it makes me think she can’t be taken very seriously with all those hard Southern ‘R’s and I should know cuz I’ve been working harrrd since the 8th grade to control mine. But now her glass of water is pulling a Jurassic Park and now I’m nervous because they would do that, they would do just that: just like those dumb sci-fi books I read, they would throw in a dinosaur just because everybody’s bored with Ben Affleck already and for some reason, dinos sell. But then Holly Hunter looks at the empty Lex Luther chair (and since when do they label chairs in a courtroom?) and BLAM the building explodes and Superman etherealizes out of the flames and his face is hard to read, like he knows he’s supposed to be sad, but he’s not– just like a narcissist– and Amy Adams screws up her face again.
33: These guys are still underground. Antonio and Lou are still fighting and Paolo is still above ground and either doing good or doing bad, I can’t really tell. The claustrophobia is getting to me, so I turn away again.
BS: Amy Adams is back at her apartment after the explosion and she’s on the phone (I bet with her mom) and of course Superman shows up all mopey on her balcony and she comes out with her migraine face and I don’t even think they say anything to each other. He just mopes away from her and she piney-whiney worries after him and this is when my internal fantasy wish engine kicks in and I imagine her stomping out and being like, “Superman, either get your ass inside or go mope somewhere else. And would it kill you to use the door? Only creepers show up on balconies…. But while you’re out there, since you insist on being my emotional baggage, do you think you can fly out and pick up some food somewhere? Traffic is a nightmare right now thanks to you and your crazy buddies.”
33: Antonio and Lou again. Looking comically aggressive, covered in dirt and sweat. I know this movie is realistically limited to two settings: the mine and the village, but jeez, this is redundant. Also, I’m afraid to watch too much because I don’t want to watch anybody suffocate.
BS: I realize now that the Matt Smith guy is probably supposed to be Lex Luther, even though I thought Lex was older– or– was Lex the older guy he fed the gummy bear to?– is on a high rise scaffolding (isn’t it always a high rise scaffolding?) with Amy Adams and it looks like he’s in the middle of his bad guy explains it all monologue (and here’s where I start to wonder if Lex (?) and Lois (surely?) are siblings because they look so much alike and this is one of many good reasons why Hollywood needs to diversify its casting because too many actors look alike and it’s hard to keep track of all those perfectly symmetrical faces) and then he pushes Amy Adams off the scaffolding. Of course, you know Superman is going to fly to the rescue, so it’s not very suspenseful, and she knows it too because she’s not even flailing and BAM, there he is and they’re just eye-staring, and then they’re on her balcony and kissing and this is when I think, whoa, Amy, back off: this guy’s an alien; his saliva could be toxic.
Cut to Ben Affleck researching whatever and he has this super amazing facial recognition software that pulls photos from the 19th century out of thin air and matches them to ATM video and what the hell kind of incognito Superwoman would actually make the mistake of looking directly into an ATM camera? This is ridiculous.
Kung Fu Panda: I’m guessing. It’s showing two rows down, directly diagonal to my line of vision. I’m actively avoiding The 33 because somebody’s obviously going to die and it’s going to be excruciating and I suffer from powerful movie character empathy when stuff like that happens, like that time I sobbed during The Time Traveler’s Wife even though I had already read the book and cried then, too, but during the movie my sobbing was so bad the guy behind us was watching me instead of the movie, and even though I really blame it on the soundtrack– they’re designed to invoke those kind of emotions even when the rest of the movie is cardboard– I’m susceptible and it’s awful. Anyway, dancing pandas.
The Barbershop: I’m guessing this is a new Barbershop movie. Showing in the seat in front of the Batman v Superman seat. Nikki Minaj looks ridiculously gorgeous, in fact, everybody looks radiant and I bet they’re talking about “men do this, women do that” kind of stuff that’s all overtly binary and politically regressive, with the occasional touches on relevant hot-button stuff, but probably funny all the same. What’s really funny is that everyone who shows up for a haircut doesn’t actually need a haircut, in fact, they all look like they just walked out of a more expensive salon. But it looks relaxing to just sit in one of those chairs and have someone play with my hair while they cut up with one another. Ha, cut up. I get it. I bet this movie would be fun to analyze for Freudian symbolism!
BS: Superman and Lex (?) are back on the scaffolding and Lex is having yet-another bad-guy-explains-it-all moment (movie villains can never have enough of these) and it’s a whole lot of talking and I’m wondering why Superman doesn’t just push him off the ledge right there– or right there– or right there!–he doesn’t even have to use his alien superpowers, which it seems he doesn’t have anyway because his eyes get red and then fade and then Lex is basically just petting him on the head and– maybe they’re brothers?– and this is getting tedious. I think I drift off because at some point Batman comes in and I don’t really remember any more.
The Barbershop: Eve also looks amazing in this movie. I would want to sit in her chair because she has the calmest hands. I would stay out of Ice Cube’s chair because he’s always getting worked up about little things. It’s a good thing he has other people around to talk him down when he gets mad.
An Ice Cube and Kevin Hart movie: Going on in the seat that was showing the Panda movie earlier. Ken Jeong is in it– I’m always amazed that that guy was a practicing MD before his big acting break, though I’m sure his bedside manner isn’t that odd in real life, but still. Benjamin Bratt is the bad guy and is holding everybody hostage in a junk yard (isn’t it always a junk yard?) and, yes, I, too, am amazed that I know these people’s names, but they must’ve hit celebrity before I went screen-celibate. Kevin Hart runs a crane into a stack of barrels and the video editing is pretty terrible because it doesn’t even look like he aims the barrels in the right direction, but somehow he does and everyone scatters and then gunshots happen and I guess things resolve because now there’s a wedding and everybody’s happy and Ice Cube looks at Kevin Hart like, man, you’re annoying, but I’m stuck with you, my friend.
Man, you’re annoying, but I’m stuck with you, my friend. Seems like a nice place to leave off, considering my relationship with SF. I’m back, and with a backlog of posts and possibly *gasp* a podcast appearance this month, so you’ll be feeling the same about me soon enough.