To my close friends reading this, will one of you do me a solid and make sure this is the song they’re playing as they lower my casket into the ground?
Was Birdman attempting to be meta?
I ask because the film is supposed to be a dark satire of art versus Hollywood consumption, but I don’t know if I’ve ever paid so much money to see so much pretension on the big screen, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any work in any medium so infatuated with itself.
When characters weren’t talking like fifty-year-old men finding out about viral videos and comic book movies for the first time, the film was expounding on things like self-doubt, artistic worth, and the existential crises inherent in performers and creators who live for the undying devotion of a fickle public, and are unable to comprehend shifts in cultural preferences or artistic standards. It confronts consumers and critics, and in a way it challenges them.
Unfortunately, “Birdman” fails to rise to the occasion and meet any of the standards it sets for itself. Perhaps instead of “the Unintended Virtue of Ignorance,” the sub-title should have been “Do As I Say, Not As I Do.”
Which, again, has me wondering if this was all meta. Maybe the ham-fisted critique of pop culture was intentionally misguided as a means of manipulating the intended targets of their angst. Perhaps it’s only those “basic bitches” that are supposed to be wowed and impressed, while the filmmakers laugh at having pulled one over on critics who have given up on trying and popcorn-munching audience members easily charmed by anything that winks at them every five minutes.
I was conflicted throughout the film, feeling like an alien being as I sat, by myself, as the lone still presence in a theater of highly amused human beings. It’s worth noting that I went to see it in the Upper West Side, which meant the rows were filled with a mix of hapless young people who earnestly had no idea what they were going into, and older film-goers whose laughs weren’t visceral reactions to something amusing so much as manic bursts of self-congratulation.
"I get this," one man beside me practically yelled out with a guffaw. "I understand this joke, because actors are needy!"
"Yes, indeed!" exclaimed his wife as she contemplated which NPR podcast to listen to on the subway ride home.
Other reactions were more reserved. As I was exiting the theater, a man and a woman, two attractive early twenty-somethings, remained in awe of what they had just seen.
"Whoa," gasped the female, as if she’d been rendered speechless from the moment the film ended until she met the bright fluorescent lights of the theater lobby. “That was so trippy.”
"I had no idea what that was going in," said the male. "I felt like I was on drugs."
Hearing these two mistake this movie for a surrealist work made me gag so hard I vomited, right there in front of them. Everything stopped for a moment, and to their credit, they were kind souls and immediately stopped to ask me if I was okay. I apologized, breathlessly, then saw something mixed in the with bile, popcorn, and pre-packaged dinner I’d picked up from the market five hours earlier.
I stuck my fingers in, sifting through the mess, and removed the object. It was a pill, black and yellow, though God only knows what color it was originally.
"Wh——what is it?" the boy asked.
It dawned on me immediately. “It’s…a hallucinogen,” I replied, then jammed the pill down his throat. “Now you’ll have something to compare it to, you basic bitches. FUCK OFF!”
That didn’t really happen, because nothing that interesting happened before, after, or especially during the viewing of “Birdman.” At least, not on purpose.
Am I exaggerating? I don’t know. Maybe this blog post is art. You know what? It’s definitely art, because I said so. Things are art and are worthy of praise simply because of their existence. That’s the major takeaway from “Birdman,” the Boondock Saints of the 2010s: the apex of film for people who use phrases like “mouthbreather” and “sheeple.”
By the way, the film is shot as an uninterrupted single take. Of course, CGI and flawlessly clever edits are used, and technically, it’s masterful. It did accomplish a claustrophobic atmosphere owing to the self-obsessed neurosis of the main characters, although that might have been more of a happy accident than anything else.
In the end, I suspect this will be one of those films where I’m just on a fucking island in hating it as much as I do (see also: “The Departed,” Scorcese at his laziest directing scenery chewing actors on vacation). Although in watching it, I was also reminded of “Requiem for a Dream,” another movie that was released to universal acclaim bordering on the fanatical, only to age like an open carton of milk.
When it eventually lands on VOD, cable, or a premium streaming service (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, the WWE Network or what’s left of it, etc.), I recommend you check it out. It’s worth seeing the performances of Keaton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, and Andrea Riseborough. Not necessarily in that order. But God, what a shame and a waste of all those actors’ talents, particularly the women, who play characters who only exist to be abused, fucked, or both. In fact, there’s only one scene where two women interact with each other, and…well, let’s just say you’d think I was making a terrible joke if I told you what happened. You have to see it to believe how offensively braindead these men are when it comes to thinking about and portraying women. It was so absurd I’d think it was comedy if I thought anyone involved in the writing of this script was even capable of such a thing..
Speaking of which, how can a film have four credited screenwriters and still feel like it needed at least two more rewrites?
Ugh. The more I write, the more I hate this…thing, this laborious trudge through middle-aged male dysfunction.
Do not believe any of the hype surrounding this film. There is absolutely nothing new being done or said. It’s a pastiche of film school posturing, and I think any adult in their right mind would and should at least groan a little bit at this Emperor as he shows you his new coat by swinging his dick around. "Birdman" has a cast that puts in fantastic performances, only to have them wasted on what came off as not much more than hacky navel-gazing.
Dudes and dudettes, before you start flaming with your bullshit - you don’t know me. I say that because if you did, you’d know how excited I was for this and how badly I really, really wanted to like it. It’s not good and in ten years, maybe even five, you will be embarrassed by the things you say in its defense.
Worth reading - http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/why-hasnt-the-u-s…/
More travel restrictions, though, aren’t going to make the world safer when it comes to Ebola, according to several global public health organizations. In fact, they might make the situation worse.
Air travel restrictions ignore the way Ebola is transmitted
"Ebola can only be contracted through direct contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids. That means saliva, feces, urine, blood, vomit or semen. It isn’t transmitted through the air, so you are more likely to catch a cold on a flight than Ebola.
“It is not an optimal measure for controlling the import of Ebola virus disease,” said chief United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. “The measure does not reflect what is known about the way in which the virus passes between people.”
Travel restrictions make fighting Ebola much harder
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are already economically isolated because this epidemic has spread far wider and lasted much longer than any other Ebola outbreak in history. What those countries need most now is assistance from the world.
More flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for life-saving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa. The restrictions already in place have proved so problematic that U.S. military forces are building an “air bridge” to get health workers and medical supplies to affected areas.
"Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses and human resources entering the country, the transfer of biological sampling and equipment for hospitals," Daniel Menucci, a representative for the World Health Organization Travel and Transport Task Force, said in August. “All of this needs international transporting, international airlines. This will create more problems in helping the countries most affected.”"
This is backed up by pretty much every major health organization on the planet when it comes to diseases including but not limited to ebola.
Iconic Punk Albums With Kittens On The Cover
Legacy of Brutality is not an album, it’s a compilation.
Reblogging for the absolutely correct comment.
Kitten punk albums? I should love it. But then you throw a fucking comp on there like a kid buying his t-shirts from Hot Topic and his punk rock vinyls at Urban Outfitters.
Come see this show this coming Saturday afternoon…or suffer the consequences!
LIST OF POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES