Monday, April 07, 2014


So, I really liked this movie.  It is a world-changer and before you are thirty minutes into it everything begins to go sideways.    Because of this, I can't really talk about the story much or I will ruin the whole thing.   However, [SPOILER ALERT]

Scarlett Johansen never does this pose in the movie.

Weird, I know.

But, while I can't talk about the movie, I can talk about Captain America.   As it turns out, I actually kind of like Captain America.  He is NOT a post-modern hero.  He's actually just a crusty old grandpa with the body of Adonis.

"This guy is my only friend.  We met working out.  He totally lifts." - Cap'n

 What's so interesting about him is how he never speaks to anyone like they are an adult.  I'm not saying he is condescending or patronising.  But, if you, as an adult, are speaking to another adult, and that person says something, like ... "Hey!  Wanna see the mechanical monsters I'm installing in the bushes of my front yard so I can scare school children as they walk home in the afternoon?"   Your first response would likely be something like "... Wow....  Where did you come up with that idea?  How do you think that will pan out, legally?"

If you are speaking to an (alleged) adult, you would question, and perhaps recommend alternate behaviour, or maybe bring up possible litigation which would follow their decision, but you would never say "No.  You are terrorist and a horrible person," and then just stand there looking at them.

Captain America DOES speak this way.   Because of this odd habit, he reminds me of this

a preschool teacher.

Wait, that's sexist.

There.  That's better.

Captain America is like a preschool teacher because he will flat-out tell you that you are wrong, and will do so without hesitation or delay.   He says it because he believes you have a choice and can change.  Obviously you just don't know that you are doing terrible stuff so he will help you by telling you.  And, like a good preschool teacher, he never does the wrong thing.   Poor preschool teachers will sit on tables while telling kids not to sit on tables. Captain Amercia ALWAYS does what's right so if you are listening to him tell you you're awful, there's no wiggling out of it by telling him he's a hypocrite.

Captn:  "This is a monumentally bad idea."
Fury: "Oh, COME ON, MAN!  Can't you just for once say that something is COOL??"
The interesting thing is that we don't quite know how to photograph someone who simply states the truth and quietly does the right thing.   We know how to film someone fighting.

or, when they're DONE fighting, as the case may be.
or flying

and how to show people who are thinking

"Hmm... why didn't I put bronzer under my eyes, too?" - Black Widow

or confused

"There's ANOTHER bad guy??  Who's shooting at us now!?"

or even what it looks like to threaten someone

"Hold still, threatening is not my strong suit."

but quiet do-right moments are not quite normal.    Inevitably Cap gets photographed from below, with everyone in the room appearing to look up to him, and probably there is some subtle stirring music in the background to make it seem more inspirational.    However, it never seems quite right because he just tells everyone what the right choice is and then looks at them.   It's actually kind of awkward and I can see how he has no friends.

"Susan, that is an unkind thing to say.  However, it's honest, so I will allow it." - Cap

So, Captain America is an old unhappy lonely socially-awkward preschool teacher of a man who has only two friends, but, I like him.   It actually makes him interesting.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

THE WIND RISES 風立ちぬ - (10)

I have been reluctant to review this film.  It was just so itself. After all, pieces of a butterfly do not a butterfly make.   Sometimes examining parts can destroy the whole.

I continued to justify this view with examples from other art.  Does knowing Samuel Barber's birth date make "Adiago for Strings" sound better?   Does knowledge of the Golden Ratio make the Mona Lisa look better?

"No, if you draw boxes around my nose I just look silly" - Mona Lisa
And, does a fantastic piece of chocolate cake taste any differently if you call it "Double Chocolate Cake with Black Velvet Frosting from Fair Trade Cocoa"?

Um, actually... yes, it is better with the name.
As usual, cake was my downfall.

I have realized that giving long pretentious names to food is kind of important.  It is hard to go through life with an open heart and fresh eyes.  Sometimes telling someone that their food was made with pink Himalayan salt carved from a mountain and ground by hand gives context. It's a signal to put down the cell phone and pay attention.  This is not food you eat while watching television.   This is not food you eat on the morning commute.   This is something you take time for, something you experience.  And, sometimes the best way to cut through distractions is to find the part of a person meant to experience magical things.  Sometimes, one must tell a story.

I have a story for you. Listen:

Hayao Miyazaki was a man who tells stories.  He told stories about witches' brooms and flying machines, princesses and dragons, great events and rainy childhood afternoons. He told stories about true things, like rage and greed and hope, and stories about untrue things, like giagantic snails moving across grassy fields like ships sailing out to sea.  

Hayao Miyazaki, who told many stories over many years, one day decided he would tell only one last story.  He thought about which story to tell.  He said to his friend, "I think, for my last story, I will tell a story that everyone likes.  That will make people happy."  But, his friend said no.  "Hayao-san, tell the story you like.  Then you will be happy."

For three years Hayao Miyazaki and his friends worked to tell a story.  It was about flying machines, about war and fear, about love and death and Japan.  But, it was also a story about what it means to build dreams and then let them fly away.

Hayao Miyazaki finished the story he loved and let it fly out to the world.  And, because this is a story about a story, you will not be surprised to hear that other people loved it too.