Mar. 7th, 2017

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La La Land - “We can’t just use the same script as The Last Five Years with different music!” “Well, okay, we can change around a few things, and I saw this play called If/Then—we can use that as the ending.” It really lost me with the idea—which appears constantly in media—that if you aren’t following your original dream, you’ve failed or sold out. Seb gets a well-paying, steady gig that puts him in front of sold-out crowds…but because it’s not his original ideal (which everyone in his life thinks is unobtainable), it’s failure. And that’s terrible. And I’m sitting in the audience going, “Okay, it’s not the original dream, but it’s a damn good dream! Why can’t you just run with that?”

Mad Max: Fury Road - I ended up very impressed at how “Angry Andy vs. Plastic Skeletor” is an excuse for this to be an action movie about abused women finding revenge and redemption. They went balls-to-the-wall insane with the worldbuilding (Flamethrower guitar! Pole-riding soldiers! Hedgehog monster trucks!) but I suspect that absurdity value actually helps the film rather than hindering it. And I have a theory that Max has post-apocalyptic mutant healing powers that allow him to, among other thing, regenerate his blood and survive excessive trauma. (There’s a wonderful fan theory I read that the Mad Max movies are all pieced-together mythology, a la the Arthurian legends or Greek myths, and that Max himself was shoehorned into the “original” story of Furiosa vs. Immortan Joe.)

Ghostbusters (2016) - I think it’s an amusing theme that, in pretty much all of the recent female-led action movies, the villain is a whiny white guy with entitlement issues. Also, where the original Ghostbusters was in a lot of ways a conservative movie (the villain was the EPA, the heroes were effectively privatizing a public service, etc.) this is in a lot of ways a progressive one (the villains are the unchanging establishment and a whiny man-baby who didn’t want to listen to competent women). Also, I loved the cameos and Hemsworth is clearly having a glorious time—almost as much as McKinnon is.

Ant-Man - As I suspected, I hadn’t missed much in the continuity when I missed this in the first go-round—it’s a by-the-numbers Marvel movie in a lot of ways, that exists just to bring Ant-Man (and possibly the Wasp) into the universe. I think it was an interesting choice to use Scott Lang and make a second-generation character, as the MCU didn’t have one of those yet. It leaves the fate of Janet Van Dyne uncertain (Shrank into a timeless void? That’s a “death” you can recover from if ever I’ve heard one) but also renders her unnecessary to the overall narrative. This was fun and there were some very funny bits, but nothing groundbreaking.

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