Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sucker Punch: a response to reviewers and critics.

Right from the get go, I'll just say: Fuck you moronic motherfuckers. In the ass. With a candle rolled in broken glass. Now that I feel better, I can begin to speak with a modicum of civility and intelligence.

Sucker Punch has been getting beat around by critics. The overall gist seems to be that it's real pretty, but without substance and story, to which I can only respond by asking if we saw the same movie. I can frankly, unequivocally and without reservation say that this movie was genius in a bottle and you can go suck a bag of dicks. I won't bother with a full review (the almighty Arrow does it well here) and it is hard to present a full case without dropping spoilers like expletives, but I'll try.

First, I'll address the story overall, which has been called incomplete and nonsensical. Zack Snyder and co-scripter Steve Shibuya have done their job here and the only reason anyone has to complain is if they are too lazy to deconstruct the metaphors and make use of the presented subtext. If you do so, then it all makes perfect sense, but they don't make it easy on you. I think what is giving people trouble is that the metaphors are visual and symbolic, making use of a subtle (and sometimes quite overt) pattern of image “rhymes”. Even worse, the entire real story here exists in subtext. It isn't presented directly at any point, so you have to use your teeny tiny brains quite a bit.

What confuses me here is that many who have lambasted this movie lauded Inception for doing the same thing. The entirety of Inception is a metaphor arguing that fiction can create experiences that are just as valid as those gathered from real life, which is why it was called genius. The complex layering of dreams made it impossible to tell what was real, but in the end, it didn't matter. Sucker Punch does the same thing with delusions, but pushes the argument further by showing their affect on our actions in the real world. This movie is not just saying that fiction and dreams create valid experiences, but also that they provide us with a way to process the events around us that can at times seem too much to be real. In doing so, they provide us with the tools (or weapons, as stated in the movie) we need to survive and surmount the obstacles in our path. And this is all done by pitting the lies that occur within Babydoll's head against the lies presented by her pederast father and the orderly at the asylum.

***Please forgive the fact that I do not delineate how all the above is done, using examples, etc as should very well be expected. Perhaps after it has reached DVD, it will have been out long enough that I would not feel that I was doing a disservice to the creators of the film and to potential fans by giving away too much. For the moment, I can only ask that you see the movie taking what I've said into account and draw your own conclusion.***

Another problem seems to be what is generally called a music video style of film making, which is the world Zack comes from and it is particularly obvious during this film. When people complain about this, they are neglecting the biggest constraint a quality music video operates under: they have to tell a complete and satisfying story without the use of dialog. The first ten minutes of the film does this perfectly, giving us a full and incredibly powerful story without the utterance of a single word, using the combination of images and the emotional effect of the music to provide us with everything we need. In fact, the times this movie works best is when no one is speaking. You can complain about that, but the unique combination of fluid images and sound is what makes film different from other media and Sucker Punch is a story told in a way that could not be done in any other media but film.

My only real complaint is the last section. I personally feel that the screen should have gone black at the hammer strike, since the rest is merely pointing out what an observant viewer should have seen already as well as providing a bit too tidy of a punishment for the “bad guy”. Of course, given that people, including those who get paid to pay closer attention than this, seem to have missed it even with the clearly mapped out points, the addition seems justified. Otherwise, this is Art that deserves the capital A and I hope that time shows the morons and lazy dipshits for what they are.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bastards: The Dorchester Boycott

I won't go on too long today, but I wanted to toss my nickel into the ring. You may remember me mentioning my feelings on the dissolution of Leisure books awhile back. At the time, I made sure to keep my comments limited to my view as a fan but too much has come to light to keep my mouth shut. I won't bother outlining the whole thing, since Brian Keene says it much better than I ever could. Given how much this company once meant to me and the effect their output had on me as a reader, I feel personally hurt by this. Betrayed. Pissed.

Fuck yeah, I'm not buying shit from them ever again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Non-Wednesday WIP

It is quite possible that I will tear a hole in the fabric of space-time by violating the rule of aliteration, but so be it.

On the inspiration front, I’ve been running pretty dry lately. I know that’s a piss poor excuse for not writing –I mock friends readily for such things- but I just haven’t been doing it. Really, I’ve just been too lazy to peck away at ye olde keyboard. But today, I got started on a new one and it seems to be going well. 1000 words down and I might even know where I’m going with it. So far, I’m dealing with vampirism, isolation and that ugly, overused and dull saw of a narrator who is also a writer. But I like where it is going and I hope to have something decently depressing come out of this.

I’ve been in one of those moods.

On other fronts: I’ve had a story I thought no one would ever be willing to seriously consider (“Have I Got a Deal for You”, with a giant vagina as a timeshare salesman) get shortlisted. Also, the editor at Cutting Block asked for an alternate submission to replace the one they rejected, so I’ve sent them another story no one seems interested in. Curious to see how that pans out. Also, I found out that Weird Tales is currently accepting submissions, so my goal of being rejected by them is within reach.

Add to that some extremely loose employment opportunities that may or may not present themselves and you have a decent week for the me.

Then I came home to find out that my financial situation is crapping all over itself. Nice.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A line, crossed.

I’ve reached a point where I can’t hold off weighing in on the State of Wisconsin vs. its own teachers issue, especially since a similar issue has come up in my own state of Ohio. Before I continue, it is worth knowing that I am a prospective teacher. Currently, I work as a building substitute, but I would love to have my own classes and room one day. Obviously, that will flavor my thoughts on this matter.

I readily agree that teachers, as well as employees of several other government agencies, are going to have to be willing to make some tough sacrifices. Times have changed and what employers are willing to offer has changed as well. There is no doubt that benefits will be scaled back and pay will, at the very least, be frozen. This sucks horridly, but it sucks for everyone.

That said, if the right to collectively bargain for benefits is taken away from teachers, the results will be disastrous. First, this will, without a doubt, mean the eventual end of benefits for teachers or a reduction to the point of near non-existence. Without the ability to stand together, no single teacher will be able to protect themselves in this eventuality. Further, this won’t stop with teachers. A step like this will present a precedent that will be applied to all industries as a way to bust up unions.

In this day and age, with the benefits we are used to (such as the eight hour workday, paid overtime, the forty hour work week and the right to work in a safe workplace), it is easy to forget that the situation was not always this way. These things were not, as Utah Phillips put it, “gifts from a wise and benevolent management”, they were fought for and bled for by people that formed unions to protect themselves against the abuses of employers much larger than themselves.

I’m very afraid of where this could possibly lead.

(Later, I may rant some more about further specifics in the ohio bill that are even more frightening and which will have a hugely negative affect on education in the state, but that depends on my ability to stop weeping into my tie.)