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The Case Against

The Case Against Iron Man

case against

IronmanposterIt launched the Marvel Studios and became the cornerstone of the Avengers series. It’s unbelievably beloved by many, many people.

So why aren’t I one of them?

I eagerly anticipated the release of the film, eating up all of the commercials enthusiastically. Even though I’m very much a practical effects apologist, this is one circumstance where CG was essential. There was just no way to properly capture that suit outside it and what we got looked better than anything I could imagine.

Pity we see so little of it.

I think that’s the crux of it. I realize you’ve got a big name actor who you don’t want to hide behind pounds of armor, but the balance of Tony in the suit and Tony out of costume is so off that it feels like I’m just forever waiting. Indeed, it seems like the entire point of the third film is to have Tony in the suit as little as possible.

We get War Machine or other stripped down versions as a consolation prize occasionally, but you’re not kidding anyone. The name of the film is Iron Man. That’s who I’m here to see. That’s what’s on the posters. That’s what these movies stubbornly refuse to give me.

What’s infuriating is that it can be done. It really can. You can get that pathos and story and character development and still have a better balance of action and armor hijinks.  They managed it beautifully in the Avengers movies. Indeed, I’ve often said that The Avengers is the best of all the Iron Man movies. It may also be the reason three is my favorite, as it feels like a direct epilogue to the Avengers.

Here’s the thing. I don’t hate the Iron Man movies. If I’m flipping through the channels on TV and I come across Tony-in-the-suit fighting an evil behemoth, I’m going to stop and watch for a while. But I’m not going to stay. When the fight is over and the next commercial comes on, I’m back to flipping. I don’t do that with Thor or Captain America : The First Avenger. I’ll sit an watch those all day…and that’s the point. Iron man should be better than this. I’m sad that it isn’t, but that’s okay.

I can always go watch Avengers instead.


The Case Against The Big Bang Theory

case againstYou would think that I would like the big bang theory. I mean it on the surface it seems like it’s marketed toward me, or people like me. The problem is, even while they’re trying to court us into watching, even while they promise that this is OUR show (“Smart is the new sexy!” one ad declares), they are spending most of thier time on the show making fun of us.

That’s my real dilemma, I never quite feel comfortable watching the it – I feel like I straddle the line between being in on the joke, and being the butt of the joke, and far too often, they cross over on to the side of me feeling like I’m being made fun of. It’s an exaggerated parody of course, but nevertheless it still feels insulting.

Where this really shows, is in the “control” character. Perhaps we should refer to her as the “normal “character. Penny is supposed to be the Every-man that people can relate to, the one who helps the average viewer enter into this world. The thing is, Penny is a horrible person. I’m going to come right out and unapologeticly slut shame here, because quite frankly Penny deserves it. She’s been ridden more times than a second-hand Harley and this is portrayed as normal and acceptable behavior. Please don’t give me any nonsense about her being an empowered free spirit who takes control of her own sexuality and can make whatever choices she wishes. Her behavior is unhealthy from an emotional standpoint and she’s outright admitted it. And this is an issue for me because she actually IS the one being held up as the positive role model – and if not that, then at least she’s portrayed as the ideal the rest of the characters wish to strive for.

There’s more to Penny that bothers me though. We don’t really ever come out and say it, but watch the show – Penny is an alcoholic. What we see isn’t just social drinking, it’s compulsive. It’s rooted in a deep self loathing, and part of that can probably be traced back to not being made to feel worthwhile by her father. I get that, but this is supposed to be the sympathetic character that everybody relates to. This is supposed to be the “normal character” Occasionally she’s called out for her bad behavior, but it’s defended or shrugged off. It’s never consequential. If there’s any humor to be found in it, it may be in her lack of intellect especially in comparison to The other girls in their show that are smarter than her, but even then it’s portrayed as the preferred state. Better to be pretty and popular than an egghead. Bernadette and Amy are portrayed as outcasts and abnormal.

I don’t like this I still feel like I’m being made fun of, and that the stereotypes presented are not being betrayed in a positive light that and you know what, that’s the heart of the problem. Back in the day, the “revenge of the nerds” movies may have made you root for the nerds, but they never made you feel like it was okay to be one of them. I have no problems with stereotypes on screen, the stereotypes exist for a reason – because people like this exist in great numbers. But if the stereotypes you are displaying are the nucleus of both your program and its audience, you owe it to yourself to make sure they come off well, and that’s just not the case here. Big Bang Theory could be a fun show, often it is. But I can’t recommend it, because to often I feel like I’m being made fun off in it, and that’s not who I want to be or what I want out of my entertainment.


Star Trek 4 :the voyage home

case againstMV5BMjEzOTk1ODU1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODEwNDI4OA@@._V1_SX214_AL_There been times when Star Trek four has actually been considered the best of the series. I mean superior even to Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Kahn. I never understood that, in my mind is actually one of the least successful of the series.

I think its biggest sin is that it is so dated. This is a quintessential 80s film. It’s not just the setting either, not just the product placement of things like Winchells or Michelob or specific places,  it’s the save the whales conceit. It’s the fish out of water conceit. It’s the brand of comedy is being used here, the RUSSIAN looking for nuclear wessels. It’s all just so very 80s. So very hanging out in San Francisco in 1984. Star Trek should ever be dated like this. Sure you can look at Star Trek Next Generation and tell that the hairstyles began in 1987 and ended in 1994, but the series doesn’t feel like a product of its time (with the possible exception of counselor Troi, then again really she’s just doing a job that Dr McCoy qualified to do but still took on in the original series).

One of the great arguments here for this film is that everybody has something special to do. The only other little bits whether it Sulu in the helicopter or Scotty figuring out how to house the Whales and giving over the formula for transparent aluminum. Little bits – I’m not sure how good that small focus is as an argument.

I kind of get that and it’s something that William Shatner tried very hard to do with Star Trek five. It’s also something he failed to do there, but that’s neither here or there. Still it’s not about them having something to do, rather it’s how goofy and stupid those things they have to do are. Goofy antics? This is not what I watch Star Trek for. I want to see the beautiful starship and the red uniforms and charcters in peril and intrigue and this is none of that. It just fails in so many ways for me.

I think time has helped my argument on this by the way. Wrath of Khan is nowgenerally considered the best of all the Star Trek films and Star Trek 4, while still enjoyed doesn’t enjoy quite the notoriety that used to. Still for me, this is an even weaker entry then Star Trek 5.