What Would Christian Bale Do in Season Three of True Detective?

I’m one of the lone defenders of True Detective’s second season. So far, I can count on one hand the people I know who actually liked it.

People didn't like this season? What do you mean?
People didn’t like this season? What do you mean?
While I disagree with the complaints and criticisms that have been leveled and hurled against it, I’ll admit that some of the complaints were grounded in a truth I also see: too many main characters. The pilot felt cluttered, as did many of the episodes. The death of one protagonist (of the four) at the end of the seventh episode came almost as a relief, as it meant we would have fewer plotlines, fewer threads, fewer scenes to cut between in the finale.

There are those who say that, whether or not True Detective was good, you cannot say that it moved the detective genre forward in any meaningful way. I don’t necessarily get on board with that, as I think that this season had moments of devastating brilliance which I’ve already discussed.

What I do think is that the third season, in order to move forward, needs to look back. A story that is more classically noir, in which one character is the detective and this one detective is at the center of every scene. Something that resembles the works of Raymond Chandler or Dashell Hammett, the kind of first person hardboiled narrative emulated by Jonathan Lethem and Bret Easton Ellis, the kind of story where the only facts we get are the ones that we get through the eyes and ears of the protagonist.

Continue reading “What Would Christian Bale Do in Season Three of True Detective?”

Why Ben Affleck could be the best Batman ever

People like to predict that Ben Affleck will fail as the Batfleck. But what this blog post presupposes is, maybe he won’t?

The fact is, Ben Affleck is a good actor who is actually positioned better than any of his predecessors in terms of his ability to play Batman. Here are some of the reasons why.

Chasing Amy

It’s easy to forget that Ben Affleck was in comic book movies when no one cared about comic books. He starred in several Kevin Smith films during the ’90s and ’00s in which the characters were either readers or writers of comics.

One of the moments from Affleck's early work in which he is literally surrounded by comic books.
One of the moments from Affleck’s early work in which he is literally surrounded by comic books.
This includes Affleck as Holden McNeil, a New Jersey comic book writer in Chasing Amy. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a good reference point if you want to see that Affleck knows a thing or two about the comic book world. He also plays the villain in Mallrats, another comic-centric movie by Kevin Smith.

Continue reading “Why Ben Affleck could be the best Batman ever”

How accurate is The Economist in comparing Donald Trump to The Joker?

This is one of many articles on this site comparing the current state of American politics to the world of Batman. Read more here, or buy D. F. Lovett’s debut novel here for only $4.99.

In an editorial published on 7/23/15, The Economist likened Donald Trump to Heath Ledger’s Joker:

Mr Trump’s lust for attention, combined with his fortune, seemed to be all the explanation needed. “Do I look like I have a plan?” says the Joker in “The Dark Knight”. “I’m a dog chasing cars. I don’t know what I’d do if I caught it”. Mr Trump’s havoc-spreading run seemed to share this improvisational spirit.

They go on to argue that yes, Trump has a plan, and yes, there’s a good chance that he is a dog who has caught a car and knows what to do with it: “sell it for profit.”

While The Economist moves away from the Batman metaphors and focuses on the politics, it’s worth dwelling for a moment on this comparison. This is not to say that Donald Trump is a villain. But he is one third of a complicated, shifting cinematic circus of three-directional conflict.

The scene in which The Joker gives his famous "plan" speech.
The scene in which The Joker gives his famous “plan” speech.


The Dark Knight is a film of three-way conflict. All great films are. Consider Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (HAL v. Humanity v. The Monolith) or Raiders of the Lost Ark (Nazis v. Indy v. The Ark) or The Departed (Jack v. Leo v. Damon). In The Dark Knight, our initial conflict is that The Joker is stealing money from the mob and cornering them, drawing Batman into the fight. Batman goes after the mob, thinking The Joker can wait. “One man or the mob…” Continue reading “How accurate is The Economist in comparing Donald Trump to The Joker?”

Why Vin Diesel Should Be the Next James Bond

We are close to the end of what is, quite possibly, the greatest franchise ever: The Fast and the Furious films.  While I initially disliked these movies, (referring to the fifth installment, prior to actually seeing it, as “more-or-less the same shitty movie they made the last four times”), I had a change in opinion after seeing Fast Five.  Sure, I’m still uncomfortable being lumped into the same category as the kinds of people who choose to see films that are fast/furious, because I drive a station wagon and because I get the impression that many of the films’ fans (although, notably, not their creators) place a higher value on people driving fast cars quickly than they do on character development, realistic dialogue, or really any aspect of films other than cool shiny fancy cars.

But all of my arguments against the Fast/Furious Films are ultimately irrelevant because of one thing: they are very, very entertaining.

Furthermore, there is nothing pretentious or forced about these films.  In fact, they’ve been (rightfully) praised for their progressive approach to race and gender (you can find good articles on the genius and progressive attitude of these films here, here, and here, among many other places) .  The Fast/Furious films feature a variety of talented actors, brilliant cinematography, and clever, straight-forward, emotionally-driven plots on par with the original Die Hard.  Additionally, while most franchises lose steam after the second or third sequel, the Fast/Furious films have both maintained all the positives of their first installment (family drama, moral conflicts, cool cars) while continually diversifying and innovating (shifting emphasis from racing to heisting, adding talented actors such as Dwayne Johnson, Tony Jaa, and Jason Statham).  And yes, I have previously written about this shift in my perspective, in the post Why Bale should be in the “Fast Five” Sequel.

Unfortunately, it seems like that Fastest Seven is the end of the franchise.  Paul Walker’s death, along with the inevitable ending of all franchises, means that the Fast and the Furious cannot exist forever.

Similarly, Daniel Craig cannot be James Bond forever.

I'm not saying this guy isn't a great Bond.  He's a great Bond.  But change is inevitable.
I’m not saying this guy isn’t a great Bond. He’s a great Bond. But change is inevitable.

While, yes, Craig will portray Bond in 2015’s Spectre, it’s unlikely that he has too many good Bond films left in him.  Audiences grow bored, actors grow stale, and the dark-and-gritty-reboot seems to be on its way out.

The next step is simple: Vin Diesel as the first American James Bond.

See, he has worn a suit before.
Here he is, in a suit.  Is it that far of a stretch?

Continue reading “Why Vin Diesel Should Be the Next James Bond”

Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename (And Skyfall Proved it)

Is James Bond a code name?

James Bond is a codename, but James Bond doesn’t know that it’s a codename. Because the man who knows himself as James Bond has been brainwashed. And all the answers live within the 2012 film Skyfall.

For decades, there has been an ongoing debate over the continuity of the James Bond films.  You can call it the James Bond Codename Theory.

Specifically, the debate is between two options:

  1. the James Bond films do not care at all about continuity, and yes, each character is named James Bond, and he’s the same James Bond, who cares that he looks and acts different all the time, or
  2.  the James Bond films tell one long story, in which a variety of men adopt the codename of James Bond when they join MI6.

Well, the debate has mostly subsided after Skyfall, as many people found it to be proof that James Bond’s name is James Bond, considering that Daniel Craig’s Bond goes to his childhood home, named Skyfall, where he looks at the gravestones of his parents, whose names are Mr. and Mrs. Bond.

Seems straightforward... or is it?
Seems straightforward… or is it?

This suggests, definitively to many viewers, that James Bond is absolutely not a codename. Continue reading “Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename (And Skyfall Proved it)”

Guys, Let’s Take it Easy on the “Superhero Shaming” Concept

I watched only a little bit of the Oscars, mostly because I didn’t really want to watch the Oscars.  But it’s hard to miss all the things people talk about afterward.  The biggest topics seem to be a) Birdman is good, but maybe it’s not as good as some people say, or maybe it’s better  b) Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t that funny, or maybe he was  c) it was too white, d) it was very very very white  e) etc.

I'm not sure who the person singing is, but I am distracted about how the floor under her kinda looks like it has a Star Wars theme going.
I’m not sure who the person singing is, but I am distracted about how the floor under her kinda looks like it has a Star Wars theme going.

So all of that seems pretty standard.  No major surprises.  What surprised, and annoyed, and irritated, and flabbergasted me is one of the ideas that seems to have floated out of the mess, which is the concept of “superhero shaming.”  Apparently, in addition to the racism, sexism, and classism, the Oscars are guilty of a very bad crime: making fun of superhero movies. And yes, the label of specifically referring to this as “superhero shaming” has happened multiple times. Continue reading “Guys, Let’s Take it Easy on the “Superhero Shaming” Concept”

Why House of Cards is Dumb

Yes, everyone loves House of Cards, and everyone is excited about Season 3 impending breaking of the internet on February 27th.  And yes, it’s because it’s very entertaining. But let’s talk about why it’s kind of dumb.

I’m not going to comment on whether or not it’s a realistic show, because I have honestly no idea. It seems pretty unrealistic, but, hey, maybe it’s all super realistic and most politicians do commit an average of one murder per political campaign. And the other thing I’m not going to focus on, but which does bother me, is the way Zoe Barnes’s character and her peers are little more than caricatures built out of buzzwords and blog posts about the sociology of “millennials.”  But hey, maybe that’s also more realistic than I realize.

Look at this hip office full of millenials!
Look at this hip office full of millenials!

My concern is not with the content, but with the storytelling.

House of Cards is the kind of story that, the moment it has finished, “you want to watch it again.”  Why?  Because, once it’s over, with all the twists ironed out and the motivations explained, you want to see it again because, this time, you will really know what’s going on.

But all that really means is that it is dishonest storytelling. Continue reading “Why House of Cards is Dumb”

Do You Believe in Harvey Dent?

Remember The Dark Knight?  Who can forget Harvey Dent’s tragic line, the one which foreshadowed both his own downfall and the character arcs of so many of those around him: you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.


The question I have often come back to is whether Harvey could have ever died a hero.  Sure, they gave him a hero’s funeral, a hero’s legend, and a hero’s holiday (the second Monday of Gothamuary, presumably), but we the audience knew that he had been a villain ever since he got half his face burned off and a dead fiancee, and subsequently decided to murder everyone he held accountable.

Or do we?  Is it possible that Harvey was a villain all along?  Was he a white knight corrupted by The Joker, “the best of us,” as Batman called him, or was he just another corrupt politician with no ethics or heroism to speak of? Continue reading “Do You Believe in Harvey Dent?”

The Top Ten Christian Bale Films of 2013

A lot of movies happened in 2013.  Only a few of them had Bale in them, but many were connected to Bale, either through themes, tone, extended universes, future sequels, Nolan-esque qualities, etc.  This is a list of the Top Ten Christian Bale films, whether or not they actually had Christian Bale in them.

10. Man of Steel

It’s on the list, but barely.  The strangest thing about this movie has to be that it’s ostensibly a gritty reboot, yet it still features basically the exact same opening as the Superman movie from the 1970s.  Why so boring?

Try making it through the alien-explosion-flying scene at the beginning of Man of Steel and still call it a "gritty reboot" with a straight face.
Try making it through the alien-explosion-flying scene at the beginning of Man of Steel and still call it a “gritty reboot” with a straight face.

9.  The Great Gatsby

The success of The Great Gatsby demands a sequel, setting things up nicely for DiCaprio and Bale to make The Greater Gatsby in the next few years. Continue reading “The Top Ten Christian Bale Films of 2013”

The Cult of Welzein (Recommended Reading #2)

Karl has officially lost his job.  He has also been on the run from the police, has suffered from a general lack of structure, and has putting together a To-Do List for getting his life back together (including “Gonna do some ‘shups. At least 13.”)

But the more interesting developments are in the territory of a) articles about Karl and b) possible fan fiction about Karl and c) a book probably by Karl Welzein. Continue reading “The Cult of Welzein (Recommended Reading #2)”