Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009

It’s funny to watch the pundits weigh in, humorous in the kind of sick, twisted and very dark way that comedy can occasionally creep up on you. Critics were kept away and still they had comment on how something so obviously mediocre (since it wasn’t screened for them, you see) ended up becoming a $29 million pre-Summer season smash. Many point to the actress (or “talent”, in this case, one Beyonce Knowles), while others suggest that the urban market, well known for supporting their favorites, took some of the money they set aside for Tyler Perry every year and spent it instead on this ersatz thriller. There’s even the suggestion that race - in this case, the African American as victim vs. Caucasian as cruel villain angle - brought in viewers ready to uncork four decades of civil rights struggles on their local Cineplex.


So which is it? Why did Obsessed, a poorly received, sneaking through the backdoor entry into the typically tepid Spring movie cavalcade, become the exception and not the rule. Tracking had the film making something in the middle teens over the 24 April weekend, and yet when all was said and done, that tally was almost double. It’s nothing new. Every year, some movie comes in with mediocre expectations and thoroughly exceeds them. It’s as much a given as some highly hyped mega-hit in the making walking into the blockbuster foray and coming up short - as in ‘someone’s gonna get fired’ short. But there is something a tad more sinister here, a suggestion that seems incongruous to the way we view the social fabric and, instead, signals a jaded and somewhat racist view of the media, and the movies that rely on it for publicity and purpose.


Going back to our man in drag for a second, it’s always stunning to watch young white male journalists joust over why a film like The Family That Preys or Madea Goes to Jail winds up near or at the top of the three day totals. They blame organized church groups and other special interests for stepping in and buying up entire theaters, while others use an insulting “they don’t know any better” sort of rationale. When teens show up en masse for another Saw sequel, PG-13 horror romp, or stupid sex comedy, they aren’t accused of being compelled as a group no matter the title, or even worse, aesthetically out of step with what is proper and right. True, fright films are often dismissed outright because of their content and craven appeal. But when it comes to movies made for a certain niche, the analysis is not so nice.


Though it might sound brazen to suggest it, people like Tyler Perry and producer William Packer (who tackled both Obsessed and the previous stepping hit Stomp the Yard) realize that, like George W. Bush, Hollywood hates black people. Oh, they don’t dislike their money, or their motivation to see something familiar and fun (right Transporter and Fast and Furious series?). No, what Tinsel Town takes away from all ethnic cinema is the same narrow-minded, common denominator view that finds them changing the nationality of the main characters in 21, or allowing M Night Shyamalan to hire non-Asians to play Asian characters in his anime adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Since they don’t understand people outside their own xenophobic sphere of influence, they instead dumb everything down to a level of ludicrousness that’s truly offensive.


Granted, no one is saying that Perry or his offshoots make the most complicated or realistic looks at life within their community, but if African Americans were really offended by their antics, they certainly wouldn’t line up to fund their farcical morality plays. No, what a film like First Sunday, or Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins offers is a motion picture experience that actually understands (or tries to understand) the minority experience from the inside out. As Spike Lee has often said, filmmakers of color are the only one’s capable of speaking to their people’s sensibilities. And when you have 85% to 90% of Hollywood run by Caucasians, what does that tell you about the ‘voice’ within the films being made? The stereotyping is so blatant that it’s been the source of several scholarly looks at the industry’s inferred intolerance.


Again, no one is arguing for the artistic merit of a movie aimed specifically at a certain sector of society. There are dozens of high minded entries that fail to resonate with their proposed demographics’ ideals. When you watch one of Tyler Perry’s PLAYS (not the film adaptations of same), you instantly understand the difference. The playwright turned cultural phenomenon doesn’t start with characters or situations, he starts with philosophies and racial identity. He combs through the community and picks out things that matter the most - love, religion, hardship, faith, hope, displacement, togetherness, the inevitability of failure, and the enduring reality that family can overcome almost all such strife. He then pulls out some noted archetypes, plugs in some amazing gospel soul music, and - viola! - an instant hit.


It’s not unlike what someone like Judd Apatow does. Knocked Up is nothing but accidental promiscuity taken to the ultimate biological ends, the shiny white TV goddess given over to a relationship with a schelpy Jewish boy in hopes that he will mature enough to become a meaningful partner. Toss in some stoners, a collection of couples clichés, and enough scatology to make it all seem like a frathouse joke, and you’ve got a movie still praised by critics (including yours truly) as something genuinely clever and insightful. Yet how many would argue that a film like Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? or Meet the Browns isn’t the same thing, just shifted over into the world of African American? Even more homemade efforts like So Fresh, So Clean and Family Reunion, The Movie resonate better than a standard slate of opening weekend offerings.


So it’s not surprising that Beyonce, a superstar within the music business, and a movie geared toward taking the minority position in a standard he said/she said thriller winds up walking away with box office gold. Just like when Perry hired Janet Jackson and Jill Scott to be in one of his films, such tied promotion pushes the media transversely across boundaries it may never experience otherwise. Of course, the kicker comes when you look beyond the numbers and see what is really going on behind the scenes. Obsessed may have been produced by people of color, but it was actually directed by a white man from London (Steve Shill), and written by another member of the majority (David Loughery) responsible for other ‘race’ related material like Lakewood Terrace and Passenger 57. Talk about a twist ending. Maybe Hollywood has finally wised up. Or maybe, just maybe, they’re doing what they do best - carpetbagging a concept that someone did first, and does better. 


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Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009

Of all the supposed masters of macabre, Wes Craven has been the most prolific…and practical. He constantly makes movies, even if fans refuse to take him or his latest titles (Vampire in Brooklyn, Cursed) seriously. He’s also been a shrewd businessman, making sure that he keeps control over almost everything he’s done. That’s why, along with John Carpenter, you see so many of his past “glories” being recast for current audiences. As part of the horror remake craze, Craven has seen The Hills Have Eyes redux become a 2006 hit, and he’s got several more projects in the pipeline - Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, even a new version of his ‘80s classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. Yet messageboard fever has been furious over the proposed plans to take on his most notorious film, The Last House on the Left. Some see it as the ultimate form of sacrilege. Others - with a much clearer memory of the original - wonder what all the fuss is about.


With the Craven approved update arriving in theaters this Friday (13 March), SE&L is going to step up and guide you through the major changes and narrative twists that the new version of The Last House on the Left has to offer. While nominal in most cases, those contemplating a Friday evening trip to the Cineplex may be interested in knowing the score. Be warned though - there are MASSIVE SPOILERS o’plenty here. In fact, both movies have the facts and fatalities completely given away over the course of the article. Perhaps a better plan would be to wait until after a viewing to visit this piece. After all, both the original and new Last House rely on shock value as a means of making their point, and nothing spoils suspense faster than a little firsthand knowledge. Either way, here’s the compare and contrast between 1972 and 2009:


The Characters
At the beginning of the original film, Wes Craven offered the standard “true story” tease, stating that certain names had been changed to protect those still living. Oddly enough, something similar could be said about the update. Gone are the goofball cops who provide more slapstick than protection for the local populace. Equally missing are all counterculture sidebars (harassing hippies) and throwaway local color (chicken farmer Ada Washington). Krug is still here, as are Sadie and Junior. Fred “the Weasel” has been renamed Francis and is given a slightly smaller libido than his 1972 equal. He’s not a fellow escaped con but the actual brother of Krug. Troubled girl from across the tracks Phyllis has been replaced by good natured grocery store clerk Paige, and all the subtext about Mari’s friend being “bad” and “slutty” has been swapped for concepts like “trusting” and “innocently reckless”. Again, this is probably to make her death that much more senseless, but it does remove a rather strong element from the wilderness wilding to come. Perhaps the biggest change happens for Junior, however. Instead of being a strung out junkie selling out everyone for a hit, we now get a weak willed kid who just wants to be liked. His transformation is one of The Last House on the Left 2009’s strangest surprises.


On the other side of things, Mari is a strong swimmer (a fact that makes the middle act escape seem rather obvious), Dad is a workaholic type ER doctor (perfect for suturing wounds and delivering emergency chest cavity venting) and Mom is a slightly sexy teacher with a hidden talent for payback. Gone are the arcane, erudite conversations of the 1972 couple. In their place are a matter of fact pair of parents who see no other solution than destroying the people who imperiled their child. Our new guardians are more thoughtful and “hip”. The original were so old school and square that their sudden switch over to maniac mode was truly disturbing.


The Story
Oddly enough, there is little difference between the basic plot of the 1972 film and this 2009 redux. Screenwriters Adam Alleca and Carl Ellsworth are very faithful to the initial movie’s main set-up (sorry, no trips into NYC to see some scummy rock band) while attempting to expand the emotional core between the characters. We learn that the Collingwoods have faced a tragedy the year before with the death of their oldest son Ben. Everyone, especially Mari, still carries complex memories. Our heroine and her pal Paige fall into a kind of trap, although Junior is far less complicit this time around (in fact, one could argue for his complete innocence). The lure of pot is still the main sticking point for the gals’ deadly fate, but sex is now secondary in Krug and company’s plans. As you’ll see below, Mari doesn’t die instantly after her ordeal, and there is less hospitality and interpersonal interaction between the Collingwoods and the criminals before the mayhem begins. In a recent interview, Craven claims to really like the subtle changes. By keeping Mari alive, mandating that she get to a hospital soon or die, the parents have a real reason to go apeshit on her tormentors. In the original, the vengeance felt anarchic and animalistic. Here, it’s in direct correlation for the couples’ need to help their child.


The Killings
It’s SPOILER time, and if you don’t want to know the fate of any character in either film, turn away now and prepare for Friday’s opening. Indeed, the biggest difference fans will see in the recent remake is the way in which all the deaths occur. For those unfamiliar with the Craven original, Mari and Phyllis are taken out into the woods. Both are tortured and tormented. Phyllis is stabbed repeatedly and then disemboweled. Mari is raped, and then as she tries to escape, is shot in the back and left for dead in a nearby lake. Craven originally intended for the girl to remain alive long enough for her parents to find her (the scene was shot and is available on the recent Special Edition DVD release), but he figured that it was better to leave said reconciliation on the cutting room floor. Instead, Krug and his gang show up at the Collingwood house, they have dinner, and then the killing begins. Junior shoots himself. Fred is seduced by Mom, has his “manhood” removed orally, and is left to bleed to death. And in the film’s shocking climax, Krug and Dad battle until the latter gets the advantage via chainsaw. Mom slits Sadie’s throat and leaves her to rot.


In the remake, Mari burns Sadie with a cigarette lighter. This causes a car crash which breaks Francis’ nose. The gang takes the girls out into the woods, where Paige is stabbed. She bleeds to death. Mari is raped in a very brutal manner, and as she escapes to the lake, is shot in the back. She indeed survives, and manages to make it back home. Desperate to get her to a hospital, Mom and Dad soon discover that the individuals who showed up at the house earlier were actually the fiends who did this to their child. After some emergency meatball surgery, Mari is secured away while her parents exact revenge. Francis is semi-seduced, stabbed, and bludgeoned. Mom tries to drown him in the kitchen sink, and Dad steps in to help. Francis’s hand finds its way into the disposal, and the couple throws the switch. Finally, while screaming in agony, Dad drops the butt end of a hammer into the guy’s skull. After retrieving a gun from Junior, Sadie is shot in the face.


Once again, Krug and Dad fight to the death, and before we know it, the escaped murderer is supposedly dead. However, in a key last minute addendum, Dad returns from the hospital to find Krug lying on a table, paralyzed. Seems our father figure cut his spinal column so he couldn’t move. As the criminal pleads, Dad puts his head in a broken microwave, cranks up the juice, and waits for the moist results. One fried face later and Krug’s coconut literally explodes. The End. Now, in some ways, both films are cruel and callous in their disregard for human life. There is much more physicality in the remake, more fisticuff back and forth between the Collingwoods and Krug’s clan. At the same time, however, the deaths in the original seemed more apropos. Fred’s demise in particular mirrored the horrific way in which he treated the girls, and the original Krug’s animalistic bravado required something as extreme as a chainsaw to end its power. Still, the microwave gag is a wonderful denouement, and audiences will surely respond to the comeuppance given these heartless, soulless creeps.


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Wednesday, Mar 4, 2009

This time next year, if there is any justice left in this baffling business called show, Jackie Earle Haley will be reaping the same kind of universal accolades that followed the late Heath Ledger when he starred as the ultimate sociopath, The Joker, in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight - and here’s hoping that the middle aged former child star does so without all the tabloid hysteria of a publicity fueled (or God forbid, posthumous) Oscar campaign. In 2008, Ledger’s unhinged criminal, compelled by nothing other than his innate need for chaos, transformed the Batman franchise into a true psychological thriller. There was never a moment’s doubting the character’s motives - he was insane. But Haley’s latest turn as Alan Moore’s anarchic anti-hero Rorschach in the big screen adaptation of Watchmen is every bit as bugfuck - and beautiful.


As our main protagonist, our personal private investigator and overall window into the Watchmen world, Walter Kovacs (otherwise known as the aforementioned masked vigilante) is a truly disturbed and uniquely fashioned personality. While part of him plays like an FBI profile gone exploitative, there are several, more solid dimensions to the character’s complicated arc. For his part, Rorschach is the last outlaw, the rebel who refuses to drop his caped persona, no matter the law or the legal ramifications of violating same. He is brutal and unapologetic, staring justice square in the face while using whatever means necessary to get his advantage or point across. He refuses to back down, taking the death of The Comedian as a sign that his own lifeline is growing short. By decipher the clues as to who killed the aging icon, Rorschach hopes to find meaning in his own isolated ideal - and the purpose of the once prevalent superhero situation.


In this regard, the man in the ever-shifting mask is the prohibitive polar opposite of the nameless villain with a penchant for perverting everything around him. The Joker is perhaps the most symbolic of Batman’s many villains, since he wirewalks on both the notion of humor and horror quite effectively. It’s the same kind of mixture that makes up the Caped Crusader’s demeanor - especially in Nolan’s version of the comic. Batman wants Gotham City to return to some semblance of normalcy, to get the communal courage to take back the streets and stomp out the various crime lords who appear to rule reality. The Joker wants something similar - he exists for no one but himself - but in his version of the metropolis, Id has replaced Ego as the main means of expression. Random acts of incoherent menace will be his chief way of achieving said aims.


In this regard - the sadistic desire to harm - Rorschach and The Joker are very much alike. Both even have baffling back stories that try and suggest the reason for their simmering psychosis. Of the two, our Watchman’s is the better, since we get to witness how the life of a prostitute’s son turns into a man on a murderous mission. This is especially true when Kovacs speaks to a prison doctor about his past. Indeed, Rorschach’s investigation and “resolution” of a missing child case is more than memorable. It bristles with a kind of cruelty that a certain clown (and scared) faced trickster would totally appreciate. Similarly, The Joker’s take on certain mobsters, self-absorbed and bloated on their own sense of supremacy, would definitely make his ink blotted buddy smile - if only for a second.


But there are real differences between Rorschach and The Joker, differences that go beyond personality and dig deep within the concept of each character’s humanity. Both are philosophical to a fault, but only the former finds a principle behind the prostylitizing. He may often sound like Travis Bickle with a huge hard-on for righting wrongs, but Rorschach is all about returning balance to a world gone wonky. The latter, on the other hand, just wants to tip things over the edge once and for all. He will burn money for no other reason than he can, going so far as to destroy a hospital as a test of personal will. One has filled a prison with his purpose. The other sees nothing wrong with pressing an inmate’s moral mantle against those in the supposedly civilized outside world.


As far as being a complete bad-ass, though, the comic book movie may have a new champion. While Ledger truly turned The Joker into the kind of man who clearly “doesn’t have a plan”, Haley’s Rorschach is so multi-dimensional it hurts. He’s part hero, part villain, part victim, part abuser. He’s torn and broken inside, preferring his mask to a life outside his identity. When he is framed for the murder of dying nemesis Moloch the Mystic, his only concern is his “face”, the expressionistic cloth that covers his frightened, fragile façade. During his interrogation scenes, Haley’s efforts are heartbreaking. He gives Rorschach the kind of dignity we just don’t expect from a psychologically unbalanced individual. Through the actor’s expressionistic eyes, we witness a lifetime of struggle and striving. In his broken, beleaguered words, we understand everything The Joker misses. Crime may pay for a while, but the ultimate price comes for those trying to stop it once and for all. But don’t take this as a sign of weakness. When push comes to slaughter, Haley’s Rorschach rips people apart with the best of them.


Again, if there is any justice, Watchmen‘s arrival as a media event will start the Jackie Earle Haley nomination ball rolling. His work is just as strong - and sometimes stronger - than Ledger’s, and his character is not just some loose canon bit of grandstanding. The Academy did indeed do the right thing by giving the late actor his due. Turns in Monster’s Ball, Brokeback Mountain, and I’m Not There mandated as much. But Haley has the same strong performance past to draw on - and he also has a previous nom for his sensational comeback as “reformed” pedophile Ronald James McGorvey in Todd Field’s Little Children. It can’t be stressed enough - Haley dominates a film filled with amazing, accurate portrayals. He’s the reason Watchmen holds together over its long, elaborate running time. When he’s onscreen, we’re safe. When he’s gone, things threaten to spin out of control.


In a perfect world, Watchmen will walk away with much of the pop culture debate for the next few months, giving way to Summer’s popcorn purpose before re-rearing its raison d’etra again for the eventual DVD/Blu-ray run. Within all that commercial sturm and drang, outside the natural tendency to cast assertions as facts and opinions as truths, there will hopefully be a discussion about Jackie Earle Haley, his turn on the oddly appealing psychopath, and how it compares to ones that have come before. And inside this conversation, between the exaggeration and the evisceration, someone will see the similarities to last year’s equally enticing event movie and draw the only logical conclusion possible. If Heath Ledger deserves awards recognition, so does Haley. Rorschach and The Joker are cut from the same cloth - and it’s some might messy material indeed.


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Sunday, Feb 22, 2009

In a little less than 12 hours, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will finish up the 2008-9 awards season with the handing out of their precious, publicity-oriented Oscars. In preparation for the critical shoulder shrug to come afterward, SE&L offers these articles written about the coveted little gold statues. They range from reaction to the nominations, a discussion of the Dark Knight snub, and an overview of the multiple times when the Academy got the winner wrong. So put on your designer duds and get ready to walk that torn and tattered red carpet. It’s time for the movie biz to pat itself on the back - and as usual, we can’t resist being spectators.


The Race is (G)On(e): Oscar Surprises and Snubs


The Darkest (K)Night


Critical Confessions: Part 14 - The Art of Backlash


Who’s Number 2?


And the Winner Isn’t…10 Oscar Blunders Revisited (Part 1)


And the Winner Was WHAT?...10 More Oscar Blunders (Part 2)


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Monday, Feb 16, 2009

Outcasts rarely have a bully pulpit from which to preach. For the most part, those so afar from the maddening crowd are meant to stay there. Yet I find myself in the unique position of being one of those outsiders with a regular gig to spew my own specific point of view. This past weekend, I reviewed Friday the 13th 2009, the remake/reimagining/revamp of the moldy old ‘80s slasher epic. In said article, I stated that the film was a reverential and relentless exercise in horror from a man - director Marcus Nispel - who really understands the core concepts of fear on film. Awarding four out of five stars, I claimed this recent version of the Voorhees story was a “classic” and went on to tackle more imposing problems - like Confessions of a Shopaholic. As you can imagine, the hate has since been hot and heavy.


Over at Rotten Tomatoes, that collection of overall critical consensus, I am currently only one of 34 writers who enjoyed this post-millennial update. The rest of the 117 opinions - meaning 83 negatives for those of you who are math challenged - range from minor dismissal to outright rage. The overall feeling was that, as a scary movie, Friday the 13th 2009 was not very much of the former and barely the latter. Many complained about the failure of the film to match the merit of the original, while the standard anti-terror bias appears in spades. Naturally, I stand by my version of the facts. I enjoyed the movie from the moment it started and loved how Nispel maintained a serious, no nonsense tone throughout. Like the Dawn of the Dead remake, the Texas Chainsaw redux (also by Nispel), and Rob Zombie’s tale of the hallowed Halloween, Friday the 13th is a new kind of modern macabre masterwork.


So the question is begged - how come I am so outside the majority view on this film - nay, the SUPER majority perception of this motion picture? Am I really that out of step, or is there something far more sinister and conspiratorial going on. Granted, I guarantee I see more horror movies per year than the average mainstream critic. Looking over the 300+ titles I took on for 2007-8, a good 17% (or about 50) followed the typical genre format. Some were wide release theatrical experiences - Quarantine, The Eye, The Strangers, etc. Others were independent efforts from unknown quantities, while more than a few - [REC] , Let the Right One In - were amazing foreign fare. But the sad fact is that, for every great experience in fear and dread, I spent many a night bored out of my skull. Let’s face it - most horror films suck and suck hard.


This creates a sense of expected anticipation. As I have written about before, the very hit and miss nature of the category creates a kind of unfair if pragmatically warranted predetermination for critics. Most fright flicks are going to be bad, just as most so-called comedies are going to be lacking in the laugh department. Drama is more or less universal. What sends the shivers up your spine, or the jollies through your belly is a totally personal and subjective experience. Oddly enough, it’s a lot like pornography. Some people won’t even recognize XXX material as valid. It’s a stance very similar to how some audiences view horror. As an emotional experience, being terrified is not considered pleasant or positive. For them, Jason and his haunted hockey mask might as well be Jenna Jameson and her lewd, loose virtues. 


And it’s not just among the masses. Most mainstream critics HATE horror films. I know from anecdotal experience. For them, a scary movie is the cinematic equivalent of a hair in your soup, a green-tinged potato chip in your bag of Ruffles, or a squawking brat at a public/press screening. They are things to be avoided, and if forced to confront them, superficially considered and then quickly cast aside. Since the genre doesn’t have the greatest track record for consistent success, such a belief is simple workaday shorthand. It’s an easy way to approach a review - expect the worst and be nonplused when your hunch is correct. After a while, the 400 to 600 words write themselves.


Now many have accused me of suffering from something quite the opposite. Since I see so many horror films, and find so many of them lacking, I apparently appear to latch onto the first thing that doesn’t absolutely disappoint. That would explain my love of the aforementioned remakes. But the truth is that, because of such a vast perspective, I believe I have a keener eye than most on what works and what doesn’t. A critic who sees two or three fright flicks a year has little to base their opinion on - especially the print person who doesn’t seek out and pay for the latest movie macabre when a studio doesn’t stand up and offer a free screening. The reciprocal nature of the treatment and the title is something the studio can blame itself for. If they really believed in a project, they’d put all bad word of mouth jitters aside and preview all of their movies, no matter the genre.


Fans are just as bad. Instead of broadening their scope and seeing more than one kind of horror offering, you’ve got your zombie-philes, your vampire addicts and your ghost geeks. There are audiences who would never ever favor a foreign fright film and visa versa. There are even those who dismiss the classic works of the past for being too tame and cinematically lightweight. Once again, such narrow-minded viewpoints can’t offer a truly considered response. Instead, it has to be viewed like those with an already established anti-horror bias - their opinion is tainted by a tendency toward only appreciating one kind of dread. Naturally, a response could be made that a person proficient in slasher would be the best critic for this latest installment in the slice and dice dynamic. But without a wider view of everything the genre has to offer, any such statement would still be suspect.


Marcus Nispel has made an excellent example of the type. He doesn’t offer up some goofy tongue-in-cheek charade or pretend to appreciate the seriousness of the subject. His Jason is brutal and animalistic and his treatment of the narrative is inventive and iconic. In essence, he delivered exactly what was expected. He doesn’t turn Jason into an abused child looking for an FBI profile to fill out (as Zombie showed with Michael Myers) or an extension of George Romero’s social commentary. Instead, he views the genre basics, breaks out the viciousness, and goes directly for the throat. Those who find this over the top or offensive haven’t seen many horror films. The Hostel series (again, some very potent motion pictures) is far more cruel and craven. Besides, Nispel needs to stay within Sean Cunningham’s original hack and slash objective. Had he turned this into some exploration of Jason’s psyche, the devoted would be chomping at the Inter-nation bit.


Perhaps this is more of a mea culpa than anything else. I truly enjoyed Friday the 13th 2009 and have since paid to see it again. I await the arrival of the Unrated DVD, knowing that Nispel does not disappoint when it comes to digital packaging and added content. I do admit that my overexposure to crappy horror might make me more susceptible to something borderline good/bad, but I don’t think that applies here. I can see and argue the artistic qualities that Nispel brings to all his projects and the overall effectiveness of the film itself. If the original movie was merely 80 minutes of waiting until the wonderfully whacked out Betsy Palmer shows up to wreck her own brand of batshit vengeance, so be it. This movie is all bad-ass Betsy from beginning to end.


So brand me a crackhead or someone capable of only clouded critical judgment. Wonder out loud what it means that you agree with me on certain films but not on this particular bit of slasher superiority. Granted, Friday the 13th 2009 is not Suspiria, or The Exorcist, or Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. No, it’s a serviceable scary film with a bite and a bravura that’s rare within the industry. Hate the movie all you want, but deconstructing the messenger because they disagree with your disapproval seems silly. This is all opinion after all, not assertion. There is a difference. History will bear out who is right and who is obviously influenced by their own particular point of view. For now, I’ll play the outcast. It’s not so bad - especially when you know you’ll probably be proven right somewhere down the line.


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