July 24, 2012

Colorado, Christopher Nolan, and "Following"

From my new essay in Taki's Magazine:
Are criminals in real life ever even one-tenth as fascinating as they are in Christopher Nolan movies? Can you think of a real criminal as intriguing as the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight or Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cobb in Inception? Or is “master criminal” just a fantasy where filmmakers such as Nolan project their own considerable talents onto a class of dismal individuals? 
Whenever some creep shoots a lot of people, as at The Dark Knight Rises midnight showing in Colorado, journalists are expected to generate instant analyses of The Meaning of It All.  
Yet if we have to concoct far-reaching theories based on a sample size of one, I’d much rather ponder somebody accomplished and interesting, such as Nolan. The director’s first movie, Following, a miniature masterpiece from 1998, demonstrates that Nolan has been fretting for his whole career about this question of whether he’s glamorizing lowlifes by portraying them as creative leaders of men, as auteurs modeled on himself.

Read the whole thing there.

125 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Are criminals in real life ever even one-tenth as fascinating as they are in Christopher Nolan movies?"

Joker and Bane are fascinating?

Anonymous said...

"Nolan, in contrast, is a tremendous commercial filmmaker, comparable to, say, Alfred Hitchcock."

Lol.

Anonymous said...

One thing about all these whacky shootings and killings. The killers are so obsessed with pop culture.

Hinckley was a Jodie Foster nut and saw himself as Travis Bickle.

Chapman worshiped Lennon as a god and then hated him as a false god.

Seong-Hi Cho was channeling PULP FICTION and OLD BOY.

Columbine killers were videogame freaks.

It's the Passion of the Killer Geek.

Anonymous said...

FOLLOWING sounds like an interesting movie. I can't say I liked MEMENTO, but it is brilliant. And I liked the remake of INSOMNIA to the original.

But his BATMAN stuff.... I mean enough already. I only saw part 2 and thought the damn stupid thing would never end.

Anonymous said...

Nolan's first Batman movie was very good, far better than any of the Tim Burton jobs, and IMO the best iteration of the Batman story that I've seen.

The second one was about twice as long as it should have been, and with the exception of Ledger's edgy performance, there was really nothing new in it, no advancement of the major themes that I could detect.

Don't know if I'll see the third one: it sounds like it's too big, too loud, too-everything, for human intake. I thought Inception was just a lot of ruckus and noise. It had exactly one good line in it.

By the way, does anyone know whether the Colorado murderer did a particularly competent job in booby-trapping his apartment? That sounds like a difficult thing to do. I suppose the gun-rampage part wasn't very hard to plan and learn, but booby-trapping sounds like a pretty complicated thing for a young grad student to have worked out in his spare time.

I wonder if this guy had help: the timing is suspicious -- now that Eric Holder's Fast and Furious gun-control fantasy has collapsed, along comes a new, convenient massacre, with a conveniently white-white-white villain (Psst! just like Romney!) just before the election gets into full swing.

Maybe this thing will turn out to have a more fascinating villain than you thought, after all.

Anonymous said...

"Joker and Bane are fascinating?"

Compared to actual criminals?Yes.

sunbeam said...

Why draw the line at criminals and how they are depicted on the screen?

I mean nothing in real life is as fascinating as the movies.

I was kind of changing the word criminals in your article to all sorts of things (like politicians) and what do you know, it worked for them all.

Anonymous said...

One thing about all these whacky shootings and killings. The killers are so obsessed with pop culture.

Is it obsession? Or just the water everyone's swimming in since pop culture is ubiquitous?

Jate said...

The guy who made the bomb collar in the Brian Douglas Wells case was pretty cool to read about.

Anonymous said...

http://www.newcriterion.com/posts.cfm/1962--not-1968--was-the-year-everything-changed-6845

Anonymous said...

IQ is orthogonal to criminality. Capability is orthogonal to intent.

Criminal acts on a large scale are just a cheap way to get attention. Someone with an IQ of 140 will probably be able to kill a lot of unsuspecting people and get away with it, or kill a lot of people in a short time and get caught. Most don't. Why? If you are that smart you will be able to get a lot of the good things in life just by showing up - money, wife, kids, etc.

If you don't value your own life or desire a family - commit a large scale criminal act and you will commit your name to the history books. But it's cheap, and evil. Almost no one does it because the compulsion to kill people is rare. Even for completely amoral sociopaths, the reward is poor and not worth the risk.

Because such criminality is rare, as soon as we find a criminal with a high IQ the media erupt into a frenzy over them, calling them a mastermind etc. The reality is that half of the commentariat here could have killed as many people or more as Holmes did, if they had a mind to do it.

For every person with the IQ of Holmes, there are hundreds if not thousands of people out there contributing to society in a positive way. Or even in a negative but not pointlessly and sadistically homicidal way.

I wonder how many people would commit such acts if they believed they would face reprisals against their family members. Sure, some would still do it, but this would give an incentive to family members who know or suspect and do nothing. His mother "knew they had the right person". Where was the police report? I guess the life of her precious homicidal darling is worth more than 12 randoms. Maybe if she faced going to jail or being shot, she might have went to the authorities with her suspicions when it had the possibility of doing some good.

Anonymous said...

Nolan's nihilism always bothers me and it's starkly evident in "Following". Like "Dark Knight", it's film I feel morally soiled for having seen, even though it was quite well done.

Anonymous said...

My friend, while stone drunk, fell asleep on the subway and somebody stole one of his high top combat boots, while he was wearing it. It had long laces and probably over a dozen sets of eyelets. I always thought the message was "I could have really messed with you, but you were lucky to run into such a merciful and witty criminal."

School shootings are a form of extreme vandalism, committed by people with too much self esteem to do something as mundane as deface a wall with spray paint. "Pure" vandals seek nothing but destruction and therefore see themselves as being motivated by something holier than gain. But St. Augustine viewed vandalism as a heinous crime because it benefits no one, not even the perpetrator.

Anonymous said...

I haven't liked any of Nolan's movies. I think the humorlessness you pointed out might be the reason. Hitchcock's movies in contrast are often very funny.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

I have a far-out conspiracy theory regarding the Colorado shooter I'd like to throw out there. It was well known that the CIA was involved in mind-control experiments at one point (see MK Ultra). The CIA has always had a major presence in the Denver area, and that presence has only grown over the years. In fact, for whatever reason the University of Denver has always been a recruiting ground for the CIA.

Anyway, you see where I am going with this. A neuroscience student? The odd spaced-out behavior? The fact that this and the equally bizarre Colombine shooting took place in the same area?

Anonymous said...

The second film was supposed to be two movies. The first was supposed to end when Rachael died, and the second to focus more on Two Face. The trilogy would end with the defeat of the Joker.

However, they ended up getting slammed togethor and were too long.

Nolan's films are all clever enough but not actually clever.

Thomas said...

My guess is that 9/11 and its aftermath had something to do with the fall off in spree killings over the last decade. Possibly it made mass murder look uncool or set the bar for it so high that there would be little chance for middle-American loners to measure up. Or the wars and attendant social glorification of military and special forces activities offered young men who were obsessed with weapons and violence and desperate for attention and acclaim an alternative opportunity to pursue those interests.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, does anyone know whether the Colorado murderer did a particularly competent job in booby-trapping his apartment? That sounds like a difficult thing to do. I suppose the gun-rampage part wasn't very hard to plan and learn, but booby-trapping sounds like a pretty complicated thing for a young grad student to have worked out in his spare time."

Well, he made an assumption that the police would come through the front door. I would say he made two mistakes: (1) Leaving the booby-traps in plain sight and (2) using fireworks as his main weapon along with two liquids that would catch fire when combined. A more devious individual would have hidden the trigger wires and have them connected to a timer so that law enforcement would assume nothing happened after entry so it was safe. Assuming he had some sort of chemistry background he could have constructed an IED using some sort of homemade high explosive. But perhaps his hypergolic booby-trap would have worked as envisioned if he simply place it in a cardboard box on a shelf. I'm assuming his device was an energenic dsign using RFNA and hydrazine aka "rocket fuel."

Anonymous said...

"I mean nothing in real life is as fascinating as the movies."

I dunno. Weren't there REAL criminal groups using nerve gas in Japan in an attempt at mass murder? And Al Queda's 9/11 attacks was not only theatrical it was beyond belief even if it followed a a Tom Clancy novel. Carlos and the 1970s German terror groups Beider Meinhoff attacked the West with the aid of East Bloc commie countries. I'd say thats pretty close to James Bond movies!

Anonymous said...

Yes, master criminals exist; they simply don't get caught. High-level members of gangs or other criminal organizations who don't get their hands dirty. White collar thieves. These people can operate for years mostly anonymous or untouchable. However, the vast majority of prosecuted crimes are opportunistic and executed with minimal planning by dumb criminals. Law enforcement officers are barely competent in many cases too, but since its difficult for these criminals to commit "The Perfect Crime", most get nabbed anyway. Eventually.

About these films. I wouldn't say audiences are depressed by reality, just bored. Who wants to see "semi-competent good guy pursues middling criminal until caught. Also there are zero explosions. The end."?

Costumed crime fighters and criminals with origin stories are interesting. A compelling protagonist needs a compelling antagonist because that simply creates engrossing drama. Superhero movies turn the volume up to 11 and turn the conflict into a battle between good and evil avatars. The Joker commits crimes because he loves causing chaos and antagonizing Batman.

If it is printed it must be true said...

The little MSM I subject myself to seemed to try to paint James Holmes as the typical conservative: geeky, white, Christian male whose family regularly attended church.

Looking at recent court photos of Holmes sporting anime-style orange hair with disconnected druggie expressions it's hard to think this guy was anything but religious or conservative.

Anonymous said...

Are criminals in real life ever even one-tenth as fascinating as they are in Christopher Nolan movies?

Brilliant, fascinating real life sociopaths with intelligence and impulse control end up as Wall Street traders, corrupt politicians, shadowy figures at the top of the Russian mob, etc. Any kind of 'retail' criminality is a losers game. Especially now that the money is on the web.

Truth said...

"Whenever some creep shoots a lot of people, as at The Dark Knight Rises midnight showing in Colorado, journalists are expected to generate instant analyses of The Meaning of It All."

Like the Thornton case, EXACTLY Steve-O!

Atoz said...

Nolan's first Batman movie was very good, far better than any of the Tim Burton jobs

That movie was boring as hell. The villains were laughable. A burlap sack and a wanna-be nobleman with a stick up his ass?
The protagonist is supposed to be a scary bad ass but he gets bitch slapped by a woman and handles criminals with kiddie gloves. Yawn.

Though the screenwriter deservers credit for trying to come up with a realistic and engaging origin story instead of the usual cheesy garbage.

kaganovitch said...

"His mother "knew they had the right person". Where was the police report?"

His mother as it happens plausibly denies that she said anything of the sort
http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/07/holmes-mother-suggests-abc-news-mischaracterized-her-129835.html

Anonymous said...

o/t

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18987678

"Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been expelled from her country's Olympic team over comments she posted on Twitter which were deemed racist.

Papachristou was due to compete in the London 2012 Games, which officially start this Friday.

But the Hellenic Olympic Committee said her posts mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right party went against the Olympic spirit."

Kylie said...

Yes, most criminals are more like the real-life petty criminals seen in "Cops" than they are the fictional criminal mastermind in Lang's Doctor Mabuse movies.

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

"Why draw the line at criminals and how they are depicted on the screen?

I mean nothing in real life is as fascinating as the movies."


I think Kim Philby and T.E Lawrence were.

Anonymous said...

"One thing about all these whacky shootings and killings. The killers are so obsessed with pop culture."

Which is left wing and globalist.

Probably Holmes figured after years of exposure to public education, Hollywood movies, and commercial TV that killing white people is a good thing.

Beefy Levinson said...

Real criminals are mostly dunces. I recall a story that circulated around the time of John Gotti's death that reported his IQ as being around 115 or so; above average but nothing to brag about. People asked how a man of such modest intellectual means was able to run a criminal empire. The response was that 115 put Gotti in the super genius category within the criminal community.

Marlowe said...

John Waters once described his movies as his great crimes.

Anonymous said...

Spoiler should come AHEAD of the sentence, not inside it.

Anonymous said...

"I haven't liked any of Nolan's movies. I think the humorlessness you pointed out might be the reason. Hitchcock's movies in contrast are often very funny."

But the idea of MEMENTO was kinda funny as well as sobering.

I think part of the problem is generational. The earlier generation, especially of the 70s American cinema, was very expressive. I think this is why INSOMNIA works so well as drama.
MEMENTO was a neat movie but the actors weren't so memorable except for maybe Guido the pimp guy. I never liked Guy Pearce. He's so expressionless in all of his movies. Same thing with Christian Bale.
But Pacino and even Williams can act up a storm.
But look at the young guys in INCEPTION. Dull.

I only saw the trailer for 'guano boy rises', but here's the problem. The material is silly as hell, but Nolan gave it not just a serious treatment but a serious EURO ART FILM treatment. The situations and dialogues are silly or stupid as hell, but everyone's talking like they're in a Bergman movie grasping for truth about life and God.

Robin was just kidding with his 'holy' talk.

http://adamwest.tripod.com/robin.htm

But Nolan seems to think his batman movies are indeed HOLY SCHMOLY BATMAN!!!

Anonymous said...

Some dude named Charles Hurt penned a a blistering letter at the Washington Times.

Anonymous said...

Nolan's first Batman movie was very good, far better than any of the Tim Burton jobs, and IMO the best iteration of the Batman story that I've seen.

May we take it for granted that you never saw Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman?

BTW - for anyone who has seen the new movie - is Anne Hathaway as disastrously miscast as I feared she would be?

Anonymous said...

"Nolan, in contrast, is a tremendous commercial filmmaker, comparable to, say, Alfred Hitchcock."

Lol.


Seriously - was that supposed to have been a joke?

Because I'm not getting it.

Whiskey said...

Sure, there are criminals who are interesting. Pablo Escobar. Manuel Noriega. That guy who had a whole zoo at his drug kingpin estate. The Baader-Meinhof Gang. The Manson Family (the two are basically the same). The guy who ran Shining Path, an upper class college prof addicted to killing.

Very, very interesting. Just not American Upper Class WASPs. Pablo was a poor indio made good by ultra violence and patronage networks, and his over-reach particularly threatening Presidents Bush and Clinton sealed his doom. Noriega was another Indio who shot his way to the top, ala Saddam in Iraq. The Baader-Meinhof Gang were a bunch of deranged, upper class thrill killers led by Germany's answer to Charles Manson. The Manson family, another thrill kill cult. Sendero Luminoso, led by Abimael Guzman, upper class college prof who found killing both more sexy and powerful.

But lets get real. Most artists, writers, film-makers spend most of their time screaming with their fingers in their ears and eyes screwed shut "I can't year you or see you." They actively AVOID thinking about or observing the real world, because that would invite Thought Crime.

Thought crimes including, a non trivial number of women find cruelty and murder sexy, lower class non-Whites often kill their way to the top, the Third World is massively corrupt, and pseudo-Leftist Marxist clap-trap can be a pathway to murder AND power, for a long time. Best not to think about that.

Ali said...

There's plenty of humour in his Bat-movies.

Matthew said...

Off-topic, but in some parts of the planet it's perfectly natural to acknowledge that support for illegal immigration is really just about money and power.

Truth said...

Hey, I went to the ultimate Swipple Concert last night (Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler, Cracker, Big Head Todd).

The venue holds about 4,000 and I'm guessing there were 3,500 hundred in attendance. I counted 5 blacks including myself, and I would estimate 100 Hispanics.

I came to one inalienable conclusion being at this concert:

Y'ALL WHITE BOYZ LUH-DA HA'ELL OUTA SOME NEUTRAL COLORS!

Going on vacation, try to make it through the weekend without me.

pat said...

IQ is orthogonal to criminality.

No it isn't. Do you understand what that means?

From Wikipedia:

independent variables that affect a particular dependent variable are said to be orthogonal if they are uncorrelated

IQ and crime are certainly correlated.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

@ Steve -- Thanks for the heads up on this "following" movie. Looks really good.

@ 1:45 anon

"I guess the life of her precious homicidal darling is worth more than 12 randoms. Maybe if she faced going to jail or being shot, she might have went to the authorities with her suspicions when it had the possibility of doing some good."

Yes, her son's life was worth more to her than 12 randoms. Are you surprised by this? My mother would trade her life for mine any day of the week. I sincerely hope she would trade 12 randoms lives for mine. I would kill (or allow to die) 12 -million- randoms to protect my own child's life, if that were somehow the scenario. Wouldn't anyone?

Steve Sailer said...

"I mean nothing in real life is as fascinating as the movies."

James Jesus Angleton was more interesting than he was portrayed in The Good Shepherd.

alonzo portfolio said...

the Saudis pumped so much oil in 1986 that it drove oil prices low enough to pound the last nail in the Soviet Union's economic coffin.

I've been reading opinion magazines since '86, and I never heard that one. Anyone have a MSM link?

Frank Winston said...

Carlos the Jackel is the only interesting real life villain I can think of.

agnostic said...

I think the heavily restrained emotions work in Nolan's movies. We live in such a mistrusting, fragmented, and cocooning period that it's too much to expect actors to be as open, vulnerable, and expressive across the spectrum as they were from the '60s through the '80s.

We're back in a mid-20th century zeitgeist, and we have to accept the limitations of that before writing a script, delivering a performance, etc. The characters in Edward Hopper paintings and film noir movies are generally not very expressive either, because they couldn't be. People stuck to themselves and felt alienated back then, as now.

But that doesn't mean their creators couldn't do something great with them. Edward Hopper sure looks better than the campy visual culture of the '50s (let alone the abstract expressionist junk). And film noir was a welcome relief from the 1957345th movie adaptation of a dopey gay stage musical.

I think most people will still prefer movies and paintings from rising-crime times, where there's more expressiveness. But there are still ways that the more withdrawn culture of a falling-crime period can use its social anxiety to its advantage and produce great subdued art.

Rembrandt from the Age of Reason, Gerome from the Victorian era, Hopper and film noir from the mid-century, and Nolan and the later Lynch from the PC era.

agnostic said...

"is Anne Hathaway as disastrously miscast as I feared she would be?"

I didn't think so. She plays a tall, sexy, manipulative bitch who, however, isn't pure evil or single-mindedly driven by revenge, just using people however she needs to at the moment, setting up the possibility that she might change how she treats a character.

The script calls for several scenes of butt-kicking babe action. But compared to other similar characters from the past 20 years, that part is played down. Nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, which was only there to give nerds shower nozzle masturbation material for weeks.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but I can think of several serial killers who are fascinating. The Zodiac Killer, Bundy, Gein, Albert Fish, Gary Ridgway. They're fascinating because they were real. What the heck was going on inside those guys?

- A Solid Citizen

Marlowe said...

Whiskey displays his deep knowledge of cinema:

Thought crimes including, a non trivial number of women find cruelty and murder sexy [Bonnie & Clyde, Monster, To die for, Heathers, Happy birthday to me, Play Misty for me, Basic Instinct, The Bad Seed, Mommie Dearest, Carrie], lower class non-Whites often kill their way to the top[American Gangster, Scarface, Colors, Boyz in the Hood] the Third World is massively corrupt [Lord of War, Hotel Rwanda, The Last King of Scotland, Black Hawk Down, Salvador, The Year of Living Dangerously] and pseudo-Leftist Marxist clap-trap can be a pathway to murder AND power, for a long time. [Firefox, Red Dawn, Rambo, Rambo 3, Rocky IV, The Beast, every James Bond movie featuring the Soviets as bad guys] Best not to think about that.

Best not remember too many movies.

Marc B said...

Carl Panzram is about the most interesting serial killer/mass murderer I've run across, but most I've read about were boring people living worthless lives. Few individuals living a fulfilling and rewarding lives would be willing to risk giving it up for the thrill of the kill. Most of the typical serial killers are working out psychological issues through killing.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, which was only there to give nerds shower nozzle masturbation material for weeks.

Uhh, ah, uhm, gosh, gee whiz - this is a COMIC BOOK MOVIE we're talking about, right?

Isn't that exactly what a comic book movie is supposed to deliver?

Or maybe I just misunderstood all those 8th grade health classes about "Family Life".

Kylie said...

"I never liked Guy Pearce. He's so expressionless in all of his movies. Same thing with Christian Bale. But Pacino and even Williams can act up a storm."

Huh? I think both Pearce and Bale are excellent actors. Pearce was so good in LA Confidential as the nerdy cop willing to climb the ladder by hook or by crook that it was hard to believe he was also the gorgeous outlaw in The Proposition. Bale is just all over the place in his choice of roles, convincingly playing a mentally slow man in All the Little Animals, a guilt-stricken man in The Machinist and a yuppie killer in American Psycho. His work in The Prestige alone was dazzling--he played three discrete roles. He's a very low-key, intense, inward actor, though, not a lot of histrionics. But very expressive in a realistic way, though he does tend to go for out-there characters.

I adore what I've seen of Pacino, the person, (no wonder Babs Walters got all giddy when she interviewed him and he "dipped" her, I got all giddy just watching it) but he's total ham. Every movie I see he's in (very few, I avoid them as an effective way of avoiding him)), I brace myself for the patented and usually superfluous Pacino bellow. Williams? Who? Robin? Treat? Other? Robin and Treat are both way better actors than Pacino. I'd put Robin in the Guy/Christian category, not with Shrieky Al.

Anonymous said...

" I have never known a man capable of turning out first-rate work in a trade, a profession, or an art, who was a professional criminal."

Dashiell Hammett, "From the Memoirs of a Private Detective" (qtd in DASHIELL HAMMETT,page 8, by Julian Symons)

Hammett's opinion carries more than usual authority, as he was that rare creature, a detective story writer with first-hand knowledge of criminals (Hammett was a former Pinkerton man).

Syon

the fez said...

Is there anything in the actual movie to suggest that Cobb is not real? It seemed to me when I saw it that the horror of the ending is how perfectly the hapless hero has been framed, and I recall a final shot of Cobb disappearing into a crowd, suggesting that he got away with it.

Anonymous said...

IQ and crime are certainly correlated.

Albertosaurus - not to pick nits - but my impression is that IQ is correlates with GETTING CAUGHT.

If the smart folks want to commit crimes, then either they're clever enough to cover their tracks, or else they simply purchase sufficiently many publicists and regulators and legislators and jurists so as to get their behavior decriminalized [or pardoned].

Paul is dead said...

"I have a far-out conspiracy theory regarding the Colorado shooter I'd like to throw out there. It was well known that the CIA was involved in mind-control experiments at one point (see MK Ultra). The CIA has always had a major presence in the Denver area, and that presence has only grown over the years. In fact, for whatever reason the University of Denver has always been a recruiting ground for the CIA.

Anyway, you see where I am going with this. A neuroscience student? The odd spaced-out behavior? The fact that this and the equally bizarre Colombine shooting took place in the same area?"


-No.

Anonymous said...

Anne Hathaway is young Matthew Broderick in drag.

Anonymous said...

"May we take it for granted that you never saw Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman?"

Didn't see the movie but Puffer is too big to play catwoman. Also, what was with the mask with stitches? That was ugly.

Anonymous said...

They used to make comic books for kids. Now they make 100 million dollar comic book movies for adults. What does that tell you about this country?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this attack was the latest in 3D technology.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, master criminals exist; they simply don't get caught. High-level members of gangs or other criminal organizations who don't get their hands dirty. White collar thieves. These people can operate for years mostly anonymous or untouchable."

A guy like Meyer Lansky is a good example of this, but like a lot of organized crime figures, he is more a businessman who chose illegal activities to make his money rather than someone who commits crime for crime's sake. It's still a risk. For every Lansky there is a Capone or Gotti who do get caught.

Often the only way this can work is if the criminal is frugal, commits one huge heist, after which he leaves the country and lives a low profile existence. And doesn't have the sort of criminal makeup that compels him to commit crimes just because he can. That guy who jumped out of a plane into the wilderness is the best example of this.

Even master criminals often get caught in serial crimes, for several reasons. One is linkage analysis - there will be common threads in their crimes that sometimes even they are unaware of.

Another is that each crime is a roll of the dice. They cannot eliminate the risk; they can only minimize it. Sooner or later their number is going to come up. And it's not only the police they have to worry about, sooner or later they may piss off "the wrong dude". Like J. Frank Norfleet, for example.

Even if they luck out with the above, eventually most if not all start to think that they are bulletproof. Their ego gets the best of them. Each crime is a success that gives them a high, increased confidence, and eventually arrogance. They get sloppy, they make mistakes. Once some pressure gets put on them, they get even sloppier.

Someone unfamiliar with criminals might think that they can stop. The ones who are genetically compelled to criminality can't do that though. They are addicts, and their addiction is their weakness.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, her son's life was worth more to her than 12 randoms. Are you surprised by this? My mother would trade her life for mine any day of the week. I sincerely hope she would trade 12 randoms lives for mine. I would kill (or allow to die) 12 -million- randoms to protect my own child's life, if that were somehow the scenario. Wouldn't anyone?"

That works great until you or your family meet someone who feels the same lack of empathy. Say someone kills your child, who you would gladly sacrifice 12 million randoms to protect. If the family members of the murderer know but do nothing, will you blame them?

I guess you illustrate my point: that at the moment in the Western world there is no real cost to being the knowing family member of a murderer of innocents. If you had two children, one a murderer and the other not, and the cost of you not turning the murderer in was that you ran the risk of losing both your children, it would certainly change the calculus of your thinking.

There is also no real cost to murdering someone if you don't value your own life or freedom. Even if you don't care about your life or freedom, you may still care about family members.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

Beating a Dead Horse Dept.




Lee Harvey Oswald was a pretty interesting real life villian(?).

Whiskey said...

Somewhat OT, Steve no doubt you are following the nascent Latino riots in Orange County, particularly Anaheim after the shooting death of two Latinos/Mexicans crystalized the anger by non-Citizen Mexicans over a city run by wealthy White citizens?

The Guardian link leaves out that most of the poor, angry, Latino Western half of Anaheim is made up of illegal aliens speaking only Spanish. And the wealthy White people in Anaheim Hills to the East are not about to give up control of the city to what amounts to Tijuana North. Nor are the business interests in Disney, the Angels, and Ducks/Honda Center eager to turn Anaheim into Santa Ana, aka Tijuana Norte. Complete with Latino councilmen arrested for sex abuse of minors, IIRC.

Udolpho.com said...

I don't get the hate for Nolan. His movies seem well put together, well written, and well paced. I've been comparing him to Hitchcock for awhile--Hitchcock had a lover for the visceral, and since Batman 2 Nolan has been telegraphing his interest in doing James Bond stunts in his movies. Dark Knight Rises delivered on all levels. Tom Hardy's physical performance is worth the price of admission.

Anonymous said...

"a yuppie killer in American Psycho"

That was shit.

Anonymous said...

"I don't get the hate for Nolan."

He sold out. Worse, he sold out and then bought in.

He began as an art filmmaker and then made blockbusters. That was the selling out part. But as if he wanted to hold onto his 'art film' credentials, he made incredibly pompous blockbusters like DARK TRITE.
I mean trash can be fun as trash but not as faux art.

ATBOTL said...

Being a criminal in real life is ten times more fascinating than watching criminals on screen.

Anonymous said...

"I think both Pearce and Bale are excellent actors."

They are good actors, but you realize that most male actors today look alike and act alike? They all seem to be frozen in age at around 25-30. There isn't much physical differences among Caprio, Bale, Pearce, Pitt, Cruise, Colin Farrell, and a whole bunch of other mooks.
If they all exchanged roles, their movies would still be more or less the same.

But consider the great range/diversity in looks and personality among the older generations of actors: Wayne, Lee Marvin, Cagney, Bogart, Stewart, Coburn, Bronson, Heston, Brynner, Lancaster, Cooper, Sinatra, Brando, Newman, McQueen, Holden, Wallach, Borgnine, Alan Ladd, etc.

All the new guys are like updated and cloned/normalized version of James Dean. They are like replicants made to never age. Dean was a maverick in his time, but he's been formulized, like the clone army in ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

Same thing with the gals. I mean who is the Joan Crawford or Patricia Neal of today? Who is the Rita Hayworth or Barbara Stanwyck? No one even comes close. Yes, there are good actresses, but they make no impression, and they all seem to have come out of the same doll factory, albeit one that doesn't even make good looking ones.
Katharine Hepburn may have been no great beauty but she was lively, funny, and special.
But look at the ugly-mugler who played her in THE AVIATOR. It was sickening.

Anonymous said...

"But St. Augustine viewed vandalism as a heinous crime because it benefits no one, not even the perpetrator."

St Augustine was a nut then. According to him egging your house is a heinous crime like brutally raping your daughter?

I think you would rather have your house egged.

Anonymous said...

"He began as an art filmmaker and then made blockbusters. That was the selling out part. But as if he wanted to hold onto his 'art film' credentials, he made incredibly pompous blockbusters like DARK TRITE.
I mean trash can be fun as trash but not as faux art."


I'd take Dark Trite over Bat-Nipples Forever any day.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw a different la confidential. Ed exley is the opposite of get ahead by hook or crook a point Kevin spaceys literally says out loud when he questions why Ed wants to investigate the night owl case that made his reputation.

Anonymous said...

"One thing about all these whacky shootings and killings. The killers are so obsessed with pop culture...It's the Passion of the Killer Geek."

I think there's a killer geek element in the white / east asian version but most multiple shootings aren't done by them.

#

"They used to make comic books for kids. Now they make 100 million dollar comic book movies for adults. What does that tell you about this country?"

It tells you the things from American history that could be used as the backdrop for mythological story telling have all been made tainted and unclean by the PC culture.

#

There's a percentage of people (of all IQs) who commit crime because they're inclined to criminality and another percentage who commit crime simply because they're stupid.

There is a big IQ difference in who gets caught.

Anonymous said...

ABOTL:"Being a criminal in real life is ten times more fascinating than watching criminals on screen."

More like the reverse; being a criminal is indescribably boring.

Syon

Udolpho.com said...

Nolan sold out but Hitchcock didn't?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"A guy like Meyer Lansky is a good example of this, but like a lot of organized crime figures, he is more a businessman who chose illegal activities to make his money rather than someone who commits crime for crime's sake. It's still a risk. For every Lansky there is a Capone or Gotti who do get caught."

Lansky was intelligent only by the standards of his fellow criminals.It's not hard to come across as a mental giant when your associates are intellectual pygmies.Lansky would not have been able to compete in the legitimate business world; he wasn't smart enough.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Are criminals in real life ever even one-tenth as fascinating as they are in Christopher Nolan movies?

In fairness, that applies to most movies. And most TV shows. Why do you think that bad guy on "Law And Order" or "CSI" and similar shows is always a white guy (or if not, a white woman) and not, as in real life, some dumb black thug?

Anonymous said...

Yes, master criminals exist; they simply don't get caught.


If you are smart, ruthless, and amoral enough to make it as a master criminal, you don't need to be a master criminal. You can make more money legitimately in law or finance and not have to worry about going to jail or getting shot. This is why in real life "master criminals" are so rare, not that they exist but don't get caught.

This is the case in America. In other places, like Latin America, it may work differently.

Anonymous said...

I can't tell Orlando Bloom apart from DiCaprio.

Anonymous said...

"Nolan sold out but Hitchcock didn't?"

Hitchcock began as an entertainer and remained one all his life. Only later did he consciously work as an artist with stuff like VERTIGO. And he succeeded.

Anonymous said...

Nolan sold out but Hitchcock didn't?

Nolan did. Hitchcock didn't. Hitchcock never made a comic book movie.

Ron Woo said...

Agnostic said:

"Rembrandt from the Age of Reason"

Rembrandt didn't live during the Age of Reason - he lived during the 17th century, and witnessed the carnage and atrocity of the Thirty Years' War from outset to conclusion.

"I think the heavily restrained emotions work in Nolan's movies."

What movie were you watching? Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" was a lavishly produced superhero movie about an angst-ridden protagonist - not the big-screen version of an Edith Wharton or Henry James novel populated by uptight Episcopalians.

Did you also fail to notice Michael Caine's mawkish performance as a overly attached Alfred?

Ron Woo said...

There are circumstances where you encounter criminals who are every bit as intelligent and fascinating as those in superhero movies - and that's when market-dominant minorities living amongst hostile host populations confront onerous discrimination from the official authorities. I'm thinking specifically of Chinese crime families in South-east Asia, and Jewish mafias in the constituent parts of the former Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

I lovê how Truth always hás a decent rebuttal,and whiskey always pushes his Nice White LAdy mem. I wish we could all meet in person one day...

P.S. Sorry for not mentioning the rest of the fantastic commenters on isteve, but rest assured you all have special placê in my heart. And to Steve: you, and maybe pjb, have been the most influntial people I have had in regard to how I think about the world around me, thank you for that....

Steve Sailer said...

"I recall a final shot of Cobb disappearing into a crowd, suggesting that he got away with it."

Or that Cobb doesn't exist.

Either interpretation is plausible. Nolan likes ambiguity and is really good at conjuring it up.

Anonymous said...

"If you are smart, ruthless, and amoral enough to make it as a master criminal, you don't need to be a master criminal. You can make more money legitimately in law or finance and not have to worry about going to jail or getting shot."

If someone like that has the capacity or family connections to become a big shot in finance then they will commit financial crime - and still not have to worry about going to jail.

Anonymous said...

"There are circumstances where you encounter criminals who are every bit as intelligent and fascinating as those in superhero movies - and that's when market-dominant minorities living amongst hostile host populations confront onerous discrimination from the official authorities. I'm thinking specifically of Chinese crime families in South-east Asia, and Jewish mafias in the constituent parts of the former Soviet Union."

This guy deserves a movie... but Hollywood will never make it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semion_Mogilevich

Anonymous said...

"Nolan likes ambiguity and is really good at conjuring it up."

Fair enough. The ending of 'Memento' was very ambiguous - so much so, that I didn't get it at all. The only thing that seemed certain was that the memory-loss guy killed Joey Pants.

agnostic said...

"he lived during the 17th century, and witnessed the carnage and atrocity of the Thirty Years' War from outset to conclusion. "

He lived during a period of steadily falling homicide rates, which returned to a falling pattern ca. 1630 and lasted through ca. 1780. "The Age of Reason" is a short-hand for that period including the Scientific Revolution.

He saw little carnage of the 30 Years War during his career as a major painter. Most of that was the tail-end of the Wars of Religion, belonging to the rising-crime period of ca. 1580 to 1630.

"an angst-ridden protagonist"

I'm talking about his movies as a whole, not just Dark Knight Rises. But even there, he doesn't flip out, go all emo, etc. It's not hard to see that Nolan's characters are generally not highly expressive.

"Michael Caine's mawkish performance as a overly attached Alfred"

Wasn't that over-the-top, and he's a minor character anyway.

Svigor said...

But Nolan seems to think his batman movies are indeed HOLY SCHMOLY BATMAN!!!

That's how Lucas got rich. He took something that "should" be approached only as camp and played it straight. Star Wars isn't "a serious EURO ART FILM treatment," of course, just family entertainment, but it is played straight.

Y'ALL WHITE BOYZ LUH-DA HA'ELL OUTA SOME NEUTRAL COLORS!

Go to Scandinavia. Last time I checked those buggers love 'em some bright colors. 'Specially orange and yellow.

Didn't see the movie but Puffer is too big to play catwoman. Also, what was with the mask with stitches? That was ugly.

She was pretty skinny in her prime. "Big" is not a word that springs to mind.

Hitchcock had a lover for the visceral

Slippy, verrry slippy.

In fairness, that applies to most movies. And most TV shows. Why do you think that bad guy on "Law And Order" or "CSI" and similar shows is always a white guy (or if not, a white woman) and not, as in real life, some dumb black thug?

Because liberals and Jews are too busy whitewashing blacks, and blacks have a grievance industry?

I mean, everybody knows blacks make great scientists, genius hackers, criminal profilers, etc., so everybody knows they'd make great evil geniuses, too (Joss Whedon is one example of a guy who isn't afraid to go "full retard" in this manner).

Nolan did. Hitchcock didn't. Hitchcock never made a comic book movie.

Not really a fair comparison. One, comics were a very different medium in Hitchcock's time. Two, comic movies weren't nearly as viable a proposition technically as they are now. Three, comic movies weren't an established thing.

Steve Sailer said...

Hitchcock didn't make comic book movies, but he _invented_ the genre of the slasher movie. And he didn't do it as a hungry young director either. He made Psycho in his 60s after conquering the world with North by Northwest. I still don't know what to think about that.

Overall, I'd say Nolan is a cultural conservative. Personally, he's married with four kids. He dresses like the bourgeois that he is. His obsessive political theme is one that Edmund Burke obsessed over: how do you balance order and liberty?

His latest Batman movie is inspired by Dicken's Tale of Two Cities, and there are some Kipling angles to it as well. The Man Who Would Be King is one of his top 10 favorite movies of all time.

Steve Sailer said...

You have to give Richard Donner credit for making comic book movies viable with Superman in 1978. Spielberg and Lucas get all the credit for inventing the summer blockbuster in the later 1970s, but Donner may have had even more long term influence.

Also, he made Lethal Weapon in 1987, which was a jaw-dropping leap forward in the action genre.

Marlowe said...

Hitchcock released Vertigo between North by Northwest and Psycho and it failed to conquer the world, possibly because it wasn't a comic book movie like its predecessor (Cary Grant gets the girl at the end; the villains wind up dead or in custody. In Vertigo Jimmy Stewart very definitely fails to get the girl and the villain gets away with murder). The phrase was commonly used in Hollywood long before literal comic book based movies appeared. William Goldman discussed it in his 1982 book on film writing Adventures in the Screen Trade and admitted he found it hard to come up with a precise definition and so disagreement would arise over which films counted as such. He also noted how the comic book movie already by 1982 had started to predominate. His rough definition of the type went as follows:

1. Generally, only bad guys die. And if a good guy does kick, he does it heroically.

2. There needs to be a lack of resonance. Like the popcorn you're munching, it's not meant to last.

3. The movie turns in on itself: Its reference points tend to be other movies. If, for example, there had been no Saturday afternoon serials, there would have been no frame for
Raiders of the Lost Ark.

4. And probably most important: The comic-book movie doesn't have a great deal to do with life as it exists, as we know it to be. Rather, it deals with life as we would prefer it to be. Safer that way.


Fantasy certainly prevails at the box office today. Hitchcock himself once said: Movies are not a slice of life, they are a piece of cake.

These days more like an entire cake.

Anonymous said...

Pablo Escobar an Indio?? He looks completely white to me, probably pure Spanish. I don't think hes any swarthier than Che, who's part Irish after all...

Kylie said...

"I think I saw a different la confidential. Ed exley is the opposite of get ahead by hook or crook a point Kevin spaceys literally says out loud when he questions why Ed wants to investigate the night owl case that made his reputation."

True. But I was thinking of the way he was willing to step all over his colleagues to rise to the top fast, not so much that his police work itself was corrupt.

Of course, with my memory as poor as it is (IIRC, I've had 3 concussions, maybe 4), I may well have seen a special Kylie version of the film. So I need hardly add that the Pearce film that really speaks to me is Memento. Finally--a character I could identify with!

Kylie said...

"Hitchcock didn't make comic book movies, but he _invented_ the genre of the slasher movie. And he didn't do it as a hungry young director either. He made Psycho in his 60s after conquering the world with North by Northwest. I still don't know what to think about that."

No, he was a hungry old director when he made Psycho, hungry and angry. If Vertigo is his most personal, intimate film, full of romantic yearning, then Psycho is that yearning, frustrated for too long, turned to murderous rage.

Florid wording, I know, but I think it's apt, having just read Donald Spoto's Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and Leading Ladies. It was so distasteful to me--distasteful because I don't doubt its veracity--that I threw the book away after finishing it and frankly, am sorry I read it.

After reading it, the reasons why Hitchcock made Vertigo and Psycho and in the order he made them, seem quite clear, insofar as we can ever have insight into the psyche of another human being.

Anonymous said...

"Donner may have had even more long term influence."

No, the style of today's cinema owes more to lucas/spiel and hk cinema.

Anonymous said...

"That's how Lucas got rich. He took something that 'should' be approached only as camp and played it straight. Star Wars isn't 'a serious EURO ART FILM treatment,' of course, just family entertainment, but it is played straight."

I disagree. The vision, scope, and design of SW were indeed great--and channeled myths in a truly imaginative way--but Lucas sold them short by pandering to little kids.

Anonymous said...

If someone like that has the capacity or family connections to become a big shot in finance then they will commit financial crime - and still not have to worry about going to jail.


If you're a big shot in finance you just bribe the politicians to change the law to make what you want to do legal. Wall Street owns Congress. Why would they need to break the law to make money?

Norville Rogers said...

Must agree with TontoBubbaGoldstein--Oswald was, if not the most interesting man in the world, a very different kind of cat. In fact he was a brainiac Renaissance man compared to Hinckley, Squeaky Fromme, or Frank Corder

Norville Rogers said...

A key to the Shane Black script sensibility, displayed in Lethal Weapon and in the ensuing action style of the early 90s, is taking a semi-realistic duo who are witty but somewhat blunt-edged as characters, dropping them into the fray and letting them react to organized villains (a pretty similar format to most Marvel/DC comic books actually). So then the lead actors, if they're any good, can get loose and play it by ear--less writerly "depth," but more fun. However, recently the screen's seemingly not big enough for both that plus heavy CGI/fussy art direction at the same time

Anonymous said...

What we have is the fanfication of culture. DARK KNIGHT RISES is the most expensive fanfic ever made.

In the past, guys used to come up with their own material, like Tolkien with LOR, some Jewish guy with Superman, Lucas with STAR WARS, Spielberg with CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, etc. Sure, they drew on earlier sources for inspiration, but they worked their own material and created something unique. This is also true of STAR TREK. I hate it but it was original when it came out.

But there's a bunch of people who are too lazy or unimaginative to create their own universes and so they try to 'expand' on the universes of others.

On the internet, there are fanfics on Star Wars, Star Trek, superhero stories, anime, Buffy, Harry Potter, and etc. It's like these people, since childhood, were immersed in the universes created by others and are content to be 'creative' within its confines and premises. An ever more pitiful variation of fanfication is role playing games.

Whatever one thinks of Batman, it was something original when it came out. And I suppose it was fair enough that others added something to the story for a few decades after its initial release. But hasn't the Batman universe been exhausted already? Not according to fanfickers. DARK KNIGHT RISES that came out as a 1986 graphic novel was clearly a fanfic that somehow made it to the presses.

99.9999% of fanfics are worthless, and I'm not gonna waste my time looking for the 0.0001% that may have some redeeming facet. I've come across some fanfics online some yrs ago, and the worst of them take themselves soooo seriously. So, even though the dufus is riffing on STAR TREK, BUFFY, or even SAILOR MOON or POKEMON, he or she'll think she's working on the spirit of Shakespeare or Fitzgerald.

And based on what I've been able to gather from DKR, Nolan seems to be doing the same crap. His movie is the most expensive fanfic ever made that takes itself sooo seriously.

Anonymous said...

http://www.fanfiction.net/comic/Batman/

Nolan clones.

Sword said...

On the colorado shooter:

I looked up the city of Aurora on wiki. It is stated to have a non-hispanic white population proportion of 47%. However, both the shooter and all killed victims seem to of that ethnic group.

Unless we assume that the shooter was selectively targeting whites - then what is up with that 100% white victim percentage?

Anonymous said...

Norville Rogers:"Must agree with TontoBubbaGoldstein--Oswald was, if not the most interesting man in the world, a very different kind of cat. In fact he was a brainiac Renaissance man compared to Hinckley, Squeaky Fromme, or Frank Corder"

A rather low bar, that.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer:"Overall, I'd say Nolan is a cultural conservative. Personally, he's married with four kids. He dresses like the bourgeois that he is. His obsessive political theme is one that Edmund Burke obsessed over: how do you balance order and liberty?"

Spot on, Steve. Every year I organize a conservative movie week on my campus (last year the bill consisted of: THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, THE BIG SLEEP, THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO,MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, THE OMEGA MAN*).THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a sure bet for next year.

*OMEGA MAN is one of the most anti-revolutionary films ever made (at least until DARK KNIGHT RISES), with Charleton Heston (having played everything from Moses to Michaelangelo, he was Western civilization incarnate)holding together the tattered shards of Western culture in the face of assaults from a literal death cult.

Syon

Anonymous said...

"Overall, I'd say Nolan is a cultural conservative."

This shouldn't matter when we are assessing books or movies. Bad movie is a bad movie.

Anonymous said...

"Dumb crooks run from cops, smart crooks run for office."

TGGP said...

I thought Memento was one of the best movies I've seen. I can barely remember Insomnia, and what little I can was nothing special.

Anonymous said...

"The CIA has always had a major presence in the Denver area, and that presence has only grown over the years. In fact, for whatever reason the University of Denver has always been a recruiting ground for the CIA."

Then there's the Denver airport with its bizarre apocalyptic murals & rumors of vast underground bunkers. There's something going on out there for sure.

Udolpho.com said...

Hitchcock started out making lowbrow cinema and never stopped. He just made it with such style that even cineastes were captivated, and he was unfraid to pile on the gimmicks. I guess you could say he never "sold out" simply because he never pretended to be above pulp material and never tried to elevate it beyond what it was. All he cared about was getting some thrilling stories up on screen.

Hitchcock never got deep or arty or even thoughtful, he always played to the crowd, especially if that involved a stab of light flashing from a pointy knife. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Nolan pretty clearly shares Hitchcock's love of telling an exciting story with a lot of moving parts, and for awhile I've thought he is somewhere in between Hitchcock (an unabashed crowd pleaser) and Spielberg (a conflicted crowd pleaser). I've come to the conclusion that he's more like Hitchcock--and I hope he never proves me wrong.

Anonymous said...

"If you're a big shot in finance you just bribe the politicians to change the law to make what you want to do legal. Wall Street owns Congress. Why would they need to break the law to make money?"

Because criminals commit crime because they're criminals.

This isn't hypothetical, just read the financial blogs. For example the activity underlying MF Global was illegal in the 90s and as you say the crooks in Wall St got that law changed so they could dip in and out of their client's funds overnight and make money out of it.

But that's never enough - like Johnnie Rocko they always want MORE - so they always take it one step over the line to get MORE.

Kylie said...

"Hitchcock never got deep or arty or even thoughtful, he always played to the crowd, especially if that involved a stab of light flashing from a pointy knife. And there's nothing wrong with that."

I'm not one to despise middle- or even low-brow work (as my husband discovered to his great surprise when he watched me literally fall on the floor laughing at Naked Gun). And I tend to prefer Hitchcock's earlier work, just as I tend to prefer Graham Greene's earlier work. Both created some terrific thrillers back in the 1930's.

But to say Hitchcock never got deep or arty or even thoughtful is just wrong. Starting in the 1940's, he made some films that have a lot going on beneath their thrilling, suspenseful surfaces. Notorious, Rear Window and North by Northwest all have some interesting things to say about male/female relationships. And Vertigo is a masterful depiction of romantic obsession and its depersonalizing and destructive aspects. It's an extremely personal film (so much so that I'm not comfortable watching it) and was constructed not to play to the audience but to play out themes that obviously had preoccupied Hitchcock for some time. It was not well-received by contemporary audiences and critics and only later gained its current reputation as one of his masterpieces.

But you don't have to take my word for it. The film has been analyzed extensively. You can google "Vertigo Hitchcock analysis" and get over 3 million hits.

Anonymous said...

http://artinfo.com/news/story/814420/hoberman-christopher-nolan%E2%80%99s-dark-knight-of-the-soul

Svigor said...

I liked Memento too. Not because it was "ground breaking" - it's obviously only so in a proprietary way - but because I found it really interesting and engaging. It was like a jigsaw puzzle.

Svigor said...

"That's how Lucas got rich. He took something that 'should' be approached only as camp and played it straight. Star Wars isn't 'a serious EURO ART FILM treatment,' of course, just family entertainment, but it is played straight."

I disagree. The vision, scope, and design of SW were indeed great--and channeled myths in a truly imaginative way--but Lucas sold them short by pandering to little kids.


So, where's the disagreement? He didn't sell out until Return and the Ewoks. And other than the Ewoks, Return wasn't a sell-out. It could've been better, and it certainly fell short of the first two films, but it was still head and shoulders above the complete sell-out that followed.

FredR said...

I agree that fan-fiction is mostly terrible, but on the general principle of reusing other people's universes I can't go along. By that score a large portion of all great art is fan fiction, including, for instance, Paradise Lost, or most Shakespeare plays.

Udolpho.com said...

8 1/2 is arty and deep...Notorious is Hitchcock working out his woman issues in a particularly transparent and obvious way

I guess we have different definitions of "deep"

Anonymous said...

"OMEGA MAN is one of the most anti-revolutionary films ever made (at least until DARK KNIGHT RISES), with Charleton Heston (having played everything from Moses to Michaelangelo, he was Western civilization incarnate)holding together the tattered shards of Western culture in the face of assaults from a literal death cult."

No, you got the movie all wrong. Civilization was brought nearly to end by men of LIGHT(science) like Heston.
The so-called 'death cult' is like Christians during the Dark Ages who are trying to keep alive the spirit of man(since the reason of man led mankind to ruin).
Heston redeems both himself and mankind by becoming the fusion of light and darkness, light and spirituality.

Anonymous said...

"I disagree. The vision, scope, and design of SW were indeed great--and channeled myths in a truly imaginative way--but Lucas sold them short by pandering to little kids."

"So, where's the disagreement?"

In the story and characters. From the beginning, Lucas made a mess of characters and dialogue.
Great stuff with design, light sabers, darth vader suit, space ships, etc. But the characters were boring, lead actors(Hamill and Fisher)weren't very good.

As for RETURN, its very opening scene was total crap, with fat hog guards, Jabba the Hut(one of the worst ideas in the movie; what is it? A pile of turd?).

Svigor said...

RPGs are not "fanfic," they're Cowboys and Indians with dice.

Anonymous said...

"I agree that fan-fiction is mostly terrible, but on the general principle of reusing other people's universes I can't go along. By that score a large portion of all great art is fan fiction, including, for instance, Paradise Lost, or most Shakespeare plays."

No, Milton and Shakespeare knew what to draw inspiration from. They had broad and deep interests.
Fanfickers are fanboys who narrowly immerse themselves in silly stuff like comic book stories or TV shows and wanna live inside them.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IL-4wAzVCg

Loser-killers here are interesting.

Anonymous said...

The CIA looks for language skills and squeaky clean lifestyle, which means Mormons. Are there a lot of Mormons in Denver?

The FBI doesn't so much look for Mormons as Mormons look for the FBI, but are well respected within.

Anonymous said...

I had a great-uncle (father's father's brother) who was a wireman and phone man for the mob. He was a Bell system employee and did work for the Giancana mob in Chi and a couple of independents out West.

He claimed his life insurance was some reels of tape hidden somewhere. His third wife destroyed them, per his instructions, when he died of natural causes at 94. He was always happy to talk tech but silent on who, what and where.

He was plenty smart and he was seemingly a good judge of intelligence. He claimed that the average palooka was stupid: the capos were usually smart but not educated. He introduced me to Meyer Lansky and Bill Bonanno the younger. Both seemed polite and not stupid.

I was named in the will as the heir to all the tech stuff I wanted and his machine tools, which I unfortunately had to sell as I had no place to put them. No one else wanted that stuff. But it was mind boggling what he had: first line HP and Tek equipment bought new, Collins and Watkins Johnson receivers, Leica cameras, phone test equipment, a whole library of BSPs (Bell tech manuals, some secret). Machine tools included a jig borer, a Monarch 10EE lathe, Bridgeport mills, shapers, you name it.

Every item bought brand new. With all the papers.

Even at ten cents on the dollar, it paid off my house and bought me a nice boat.

But he wasn't the typical criminal-he was a tech consultant whose clientele happened to be unorthodox in business practices.

Most criminals as such are downright stupid and should be sterilized on those grounds alone, I think. True, smarter criminals are more costly and dangerous, but that's more than offset by the sheer numbers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"No, you got the movie all wrong. Civilization was brought nearly to end by men of LIGHT(science) like Heston.
The so-called 'death cult' is like Christians during the Dark Ages who are trying to keep alive the spirit of man(since the reason of man led mankind to ruin).
Heston redeems both himself and mankind by becoming the fusion of light and darkness, light and spirituality."

MMM...Your reading seems off-base.The Catholic Church preserved the tattered remnants of Western Civilization during the Middle Ages (The Bible, Augustine, Cicero, Boethius, Aristotle, etc).That bears no resemblance to the activities of Zerbe's Death Cult, which is devoted to destroying all that has survived (note how they spend their evenings pillaging libraries and burning books).Heston, the defender and preserver of science and reason (note how his apartment is full of classical statuary)is playing the role of Medieval Christianity, not Zerbe's death cult, which is intent on obliterating the past.

Syon