I adore accent marks as much as I do footnotes
So, as I said last week, we watched most of the Oscar-nominated movies. Living was a shabby remake of Kurosawa’s Ikiru, and To Leslie was another Hollywood treatment of addiction as something you just need to get over. And The Whale… was terrible. Brendan Fraser, I like the guy. But that role… even if it wasn’t in a fat suit… was not a character. It was barely a caricature. I lost a ton of respect for him and Darren Aronofsky, whose The Wrestler remains one of the best movies set in my home state of New Jersey. But I’ll let Lindy West tell you how bad The Whale is:
People aren’t metaphors.
I love a good allegory. But characters need to be people first, not symbols for something you want to say. And the guy Brendan plays is a series of writing decisions in a fat suit, and he loves “Moby-Dick” because it’s ironic, I guess. It’s really one of those movies where you’re watching a badly written play performed by a great cast who don’t seem to know any better.
And fuck fat shaming. You’re not better than anyone just because you’re not overweight. Anubis weighs our hearts on his scales, not our ass cheeks. Anyway, even wild animals are getting fatter, possibly thanks to endocrine disruptors in the water supply.
Speaking of hefty critters, naturalists are studying the enormous Madagascar elephant bird through the many shards of its giant eggshells that still litter the island centuries after its extinction. They don’t know why they disappeared, but they did so shortly after humans inhabited the island, so Giant Drumsticks For Everyone is one theory. The photo below is from this Audubon article about a rare intact egg not selling at auction. It belongs in a museum! Where’s Indiana Jones when you need him…
Back to movies: Everything Everywhere All at Once won big at the Oscars, and that’s cool, because it was a wildly imaginative movie with some great performances and kung fu, and revisited the immigrant parent who doesn’t understand their child story in a powerful way. And it has James Hong as grandpa, and he’s wonderful as always. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly better than The Whale, or The Power of the Dog, or Avaturd. So was Jordan Peele’s Nope, but it didn’t get much love. It criticized Hollywood, much like She Said, and they tend not to like that at The Academy.
I also watched a Lovecraftian horror film called The Void which wasn’t great, but was certainly entertaining, revolting, and terrifying. It was a little confusing, but it’s everything you might want from a movie that begins with a rural cop bringing an injured, babbling man to the hospital, which is then quickly beset by uniformed death cultists and patients who burst open like The Thing to reveal shoggoth-ian horrors. Fun times.
If you like animated films, and stop-motion like Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio in particular, have I got a movie for you! It’s not out yet, but it’s based on the wooden puppet automata of an Edo period folk character named Jingorō Hidari, and is also inspired by samurai films and Evil Dead. They wrote it up at Animation Obsessive, and they have a trailer there that left me eager for more:
I should get back to watching my Agnés Varda collection, because her movies are always unexpected in some way. I’ll try to have another entry in the Vardathon for next week.
This Sunday’s post will include a visit to a little-known battlefield of the American Revolution. And then I need to go explore more, because I’m out of shit to write about!
If you’ve managed to avoid this trend, good for you. Here’s a cookie.
Making another sequel, which actually sounds interesting! He’s fighting Nazis recruited for the U.S. space program, which really happened, if you recall Werner von Braun, Tom Lehrer’s sound about it.
Holy shit The Whale sounds terrible but that article was hilarious, I’ve just signed up for the newsletter. And in terms of the paper on animal weight, I’ve long assumed that there’s something in our environment that has affected our average weight and probably our overall fertility rates, rates of inflammatory diseases, etc. as well. Sorry the animals are also affected.
I loved EEAAO... It was confusing the first time I watched it... And I liked it more the second time?