Friday, June 20, 2008

The sleeping monster

So, if you don't know, David Sedaris is a genius. If you do know, then go get his new book When You Are Engulfed in Flames. I dare you to read it without laughing out loud. If you tell me you didn't, I shall slap your face with my dainty white glove and call you a liar, my good sir.
The only thing about the book that troubled me was to learn of Mr. Sedaris' love of spiders. I fear nothing more than spiders- well, except maybe death, with first place going to death by spiders. I've seen Mr. Sedaris lecture on two occasions. Both were glorious, in ways that could be described but it would take far too long. It is heartening to pick up a book, and in the author see a reflection of your exact sense of humor. It makes you feel less alone.

For Father's Day, my dad, my brother and I went to see "The Incredible Hulk". I had not wanted to see this movie, because I liked Ang Lee's "Hulk". Sure it had outrageous action sequences involving gamma radioactive dogs, but it also had the driving force of a brilliant director. It was a haunting character study about isolation. "The Incredible Hulk" seemed like a franken-movie. Two movies sewn together as shoddily as the pants the big green guy wears. One half of the movie is about Ed Norton as Bruce Banner, alone, a fugitive, wisecraking, genius scientist, separated from his true love. The other half of the movie is Peter Jackson's "King Kong" with some army guys and a green ape. Seriously. The Hulk even brings Betty, Steven Tyler's daughter, to a rocky cave and then steps out front to get his alpha-male on by roaring at the night. All that was missing was the chest pounding. The moody half that actually had a decent story, even the weird Frankenstein sub-story of William Hurt and Tim Roth. Oh, except for when the general actually says "What have I done?" I think they could have been a little more creative. All that said, I have made a decision. You cannot make a Hulk movie that will ever be great. The big green monster trashing tanks, explosions, it doesn't fit well with the mild-mannered scientist story. Why? Because the movie spends so much time making us like Bruce, that it seems impossible he has the Hulk inside him. The Hulk is meant to be in Bruce the whole time. Bruce probably picks bar fights and gets his ass whooped. He has little man syndrome, and he just gets angrier and angrier, stuffing that angry down. One day, some gamma sets the rage free. The Hulk is green for a reason. He IS envy. He envies the big and the strong, and so he hates them. So, Hulk smash. That's why I could accept Lee's Hulk. He had repressed memories and repressed anger. That Bruce was just waiting to snap.
I have consumed numerous movies since I last posted. So, I have lots more to share.

News bulletin: The Seventh Seal is on demand for free right now through Comcast. You watch, you learn, you ask yourself "If he got it so very right, so long ago, why are crappy movies still made?"