GOP Debate Audience Boos Gay Soldier

Ideas are priceless. Beliefs are worthless.

I don’t like to play the “what if the OTHER SIDE did it!!??” game, because it’s mostly pointless; but sometimes it’s pretty damn stark. Can you imagine what might’ve happened if, during the 2008 Democrat primary, a member of the military asked a question of a candidate and was BOOED by members of the audience? Every single candidate would’ve had to cut TV spots denouncing the action, and we’d still be knee-deep in repeats of it as “proof that The Left HATES soldiers!!!”

Here’s the clip from the most recent GOP debate, as a gay soldier calls in from Iraq with a question assigned to Rick Santorum (hilariously placed directly beside a giant “Google” logo) about repealing DADT:

Listen to (some) in the audience boo the soldier, THEN listen to damn near the whole room wildly cheer Santorum’s rambling, ridiculous “social engineering” response.

At the end of the day, there are two kinds of people in the world: Thinker and Believers (and before anyone asks, that is NOT code for “atheists and religious people,” I’m talking about broad intellectual approaches to life not specific ideologies.) So long as American “Conservatives” are beholden to the “B” side over the “T” side they are unfit to hold lawmaking authority, and this is Exhibit A.

Hat-tip Jeff Wells

Will Patty Jenkins Become Marvel’s (Literal) First Lady?

THR and Deadline both report that Disney/Marvel may have made up their mind as to who will direct the sequel to “Thor,” (yes, already greenlit – that’s what that monster of an overseas boxoffice gross will net you) and that the selection will be yet another Marvel Studios head-scratcher: Patty Jenkins, primarily known as a TV director (late of the pilot for AMC’s “The Killing”) save for 2003’s Charlize Theron Needs An Oscar” (released in most territories as “Monster.”)

If selected, this will make Jenkins the first woman to direct a Marvel Studios feature. The extremely-underappreciated “Punisher: WarZone” was directed by Lexi Alexander but produced and released by a different studio.

This is the part where we’re all supposed to speculate that the script may have a heavier emphasis on the relationship drama and/or Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster (the issue of “how did Thor come back to Earth?” will, of course, be answered by “The Avengers” because Continuity Is Your Friend) or that female villain The Enchantress may make an appearance; but the truth is probably closer to Marvel’s “Moneyball”-style management (re: right fee, right availability, project is producer-driven enough to afford a directorial risk, etc.)

In any case, it’s pretty interesting as a development: Female directors have a tough time in the feature realm unless they’re working in the “chick-flick” ghetto, and women getting assigned to big-ticket genre fare is basically unheard of; to say nothing of getting assigned to the follow-up to what is thus far Marvel’s second biggest-earning screen hero. Kenneth Branagh turned out to be an inspired choice, so we’ll see.

What The Hell is "Monstrosity?"

It’s kind of strange for me to realize that Tim Burton has now been around for so long that it’s time for film students to add him to the “stylistic homage” pool, but there ya go. With that in mind, below you’ll find what is apparently the “teaser” for a movie called “Monstrosity” which appears to be – I shit you not – a mashup of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Dragon Wars.”

As near as I can determine, the premise here is that Earth and a planet of Monsters (which looks more like Planet Halloween, actually) get fused together somehow. The director is Colton Tran, who (again, near as I can determine) is a youngish dude mainly doing shorts and spoofs on the YouTubes, and the film itself is a feature(?) extrapolation of an earlier short called “Unpleasantville,” which appears to be an Addams/Munsters riff with a kiddie/Halloween aesthetic.

For what it’s worth, the project’s “official site” can be found HERE. Anyone who may have a better idea of what the hell it is I’m looking at here is invited to tell me 😉

"The Grey" trailer

Via Hollywood-Elsewhere:

Director Joe Carnahan aims to one-up “The Edge” in the respected-British-actor-in-silly-killer-animal-flicks game with “The Grey;” in which Liam Neeson leads a group of plane-crash survivors through an Alaskan wilderness beset by a pack of hungry wolves. Given that they’ve evidently managed to survive against both the elements andpsychotic governor’s bloodthirsty helicopter death-squads, I’m inclined to bet on the wolves…

The title, of course, likely refers to both the breed of wolves themselves, the bleakness of the harsh Alaskan landscape they inhabit and also the morally and ethically ambiguous depths of both psychology and behavior the characters will have to plumb in order to blah blah blah WHATEVER. Did you SEE that last beat?? Qui-Gon is wearing improvised DIY “Wolverine” knuckle-claws so he can fight the Boss Wolf hand-to-hand. That’s gonna be fuckin’ awesome.

Two Uncomfortable Observations

In case you’re given to ask; the reason these are getting posted as blogs instead of new “American Bob” episode is that A.) I’m tinkering with that format and B.) This takes five minutes whereas the videos take several hours…

There is not a single “radical” thing about either President Obama or the era in which his Presidency is taking place. Everything from his policy proscriptions to his general tone to his fixation on centrist-compromise are the polar opposite of “radical.” The non-superficial differences between him and the last 30-40 years of Democrat Presidents and politicians in general are essentially nonexistant. What’s more, the economic downturn currently occuring is, while grim, not meaningfully worse for most Americans than the economic/energy crisis of the late-70s to the recession of a decade or so later.

Despite this, both Obama and his Presidency have been regarded AS “radical” to such a wide and fervent degree that an entire movement, the so-called “Tea Party,” has sprung up specifically as a “counterweight” this supposed radicalism. Given the (empirically provable) lack of actual radicalism or even meaningful policy difference between Obama and pretty much ANY Democrat or even moderate-Republican who has taken the national stage in any of our lifetimes… what, precisely, would be the “Occam’s Razor” answer to the question of what it is about him that really fills the “Tea Party” – on the primal, subconscious level – with so much panic and consternation?

The key problem facing Obama’s so-called “Buffet Tax” or “Robin Hood Tax” is that – despite the fact that a plurality of Americans tend to favor such a measure – 40 years of an incredibly successful campaign of subtle race-baiting subterfuge on behalf of conservative/Republican political strategists has successfully conditioned huge chunks of Middle America to hear “Tax the wealthy to help the poor” as “steal from hardworking Whites to give away to ‘undeserving’ Blacks and ‘illegal’ Latinos.” (What, after all, do you suppose the repeated dog-whistle stump phrase of “Real Americans” is supposed to mean?)

Fire Burns. Water Flows. Ellison Sues.

Folks in my circle who fancy themselves fans of serious science-fiction movies are seriously excited for Andrew Niccol’s “In Time;” set in a world where they’ve cured aging. To keep overpopulation from being an issue, nobody physically ages past 25… but all hearts are on a “timer” and “minutes left to live” is now the sole form of currency – rich people get to be immortals, poor people live day-by-day. Justin Timberlake is the hero, a working-class schlub who winds up with a suicidal rich guy’s massive time-surplus and ingratiates himself into wealthy-immortal society, ultimately becoming a Robin Hood-esque figure stealing time and giving it to the poor. I like this concept because it’s the best kind of “idea scifi,” using a “what if?” hook as a metaphor for something relevant to the real present (in this case, social-economics.) Hollywood, on the other hand, no doubt likes this concept because it provides a story-driven excuse to cast every single role with model-gorgeous twenty-somethings (Olivia Wilde and Amanda Seyfried co-star, so… there ya go.)

Now, as if the incidental tea-leaves weren’t already looking good for this one, the film has now crossed into a potential-scifi-blockbuster rite of passage: Being sued for copyright infringement by Harlan Ellison.

Ellison believes that the film shares enough similarities with his 1965 short story “Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman;” and is suing to block the film’s release and for compensatory damages. This sort of thing happens a lot in genre film – typically it’s quietly “taken care of” by a settlement to avoid bad press. Ellison, however, prefers to go big with this stuff – famously, he sued “The Terminator” for similarities to two of his “Outer Limits” episodes.

FWIW, “Repent” is prescient less of this film and more of “V For Vendetta” – the main character dresses like a clown and commits acts of vigilante nuisance in order to disrupt a dystopian society where timely schedule-keeping is federally-enforced and punishable by lowering life-expectancy.