Kick-Ass Fails to Kick Ass

Random blogger hazards movie review out of boredom... Lord save us.

I saw 'Kick-Ass' yesterday for a matinee. It cost me $4.50 to get in; $7.50 for the small popcorn and regular-sized Sierra Mist. I was actually on-time for once, which meant I sat plugging my ears, humming the Om in an attempt to drown out the five minutes and 105 decibels of ghastly local advertising.

Previews were curious. There's an 'A-Team' movie coming out that should be fun if you're not religious about the old TV series. As much as we all liked the A-Team, I don't think anyone will care if today's Hollywood blasphemes it a bit. Those characters were all caricatures of themselves to begin with, so the worst damage Hollywood could hope to do them would be in attaching some over-rich backstory and depth of character they were quite happy without. ...Then destroy the old trademark GMC van in some epic sequence and replace it with the highest bidder's newest-model big, ugly SUV.

Yes, I am psychic, thank you.

On the way passed the ticket counter I also caught glimpse of a poster heralding a new 'Tron' movie in the works. Now that one will suck... balls. A Tron sequel in 2010 will be blasphemous - with little doubt - and in no way worthy of the original. The best you can hope for there is some "amazing CGI" -- presumably the same "amazing CGI" in EVERY movie these days. I'm sure if you look hard enough The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dildo, or whatever, had "amazing CGI" too.

So, Kick-Ass, right... Summarily, it lacks acting. Though you mustn't hold that too much against the actors. Not that they haven't their share in the blame, but the film, as written, plainly just didn't call for any acting.

The main character is the modern movie stereotype of likable teen dork. At least, I suppose Hollywood would call it "likable." As this character might pertain to acting cues: When girl in scene, bumble, crack voice, and look stupid. When danger, bumble, crack voice, and look stupid. When in doubt of motivation...

Before I get too far gone, I should say that the plot is very well-constructed, and both the story and the story-telling have many charms. The movie is persistently self-aware and never manages to take itself seriously, even during what are supposed to be the most rending, grandiose climaxes. (Where the viewer might otherwise appreciate the moment's gravity.) All in all, the framework of the movie is very good. In fact, that's just what I'd call it: The framework of a movie. Girders, columns, beams... An excellent substructure upon which to erect an actual movie, which at this time does not exist.

These characters are dragged along by their collars at the whims of an intractable plot. They don't contribute to it. Their personal decisions don't influence its direction. None of them ever takes hold the rudder and turns the boat. We've got a script here, folks, and we're heading toward the end of it.

No one is likable. The geeky main character never grows a pair; or by the time he does it doesn't count because the story has devolved, by then, into self-parody. This is by design, of course. He's not really meant to stop being an everyman; or rather an everydork; but be it intentional or not the result is you spending two hours watching a nervous, fidgety, voice-cracking leading man whose character must force himself to overcome the same innate sense of mortality and weakness in every third scene, all the way to the credits.

The female lead and love-interest is way too blue-eyed, sugar-bear, flawless complexion, cute to be considered in any way sexually attractive, even when she's nude from the waist up, holding a breast in each hand for modesty, and getting an oily rub down from our half-naked protagonist. Yep, that's in there. Nope, not aroused.

Then there's Nick Cage who plays... Wait a second, I love doing this:

Nick Cage is Adam West as Big Daddy.

Nick doesn't get enough screen time for his particular brand of crazy, moody, monotone to become something humanly relatable. Even in his own films it tends to take a while. So there's another undeveloped character just sort of trucking the plot forward.

Even 'Hit Girl,' the eleven year old show-stealer/death-bringer is written with so little personality that even her bloody, too-cool-for-Neo action sequences can't really carry her into your heart. Oh how I long for Natalie Portman's Matilda.

But okay, here's the thing: It's not really a bad movie. It's good in a lot of ways. It's best if taken as a sort of snake-eating-its-own-tail parody of comics and the modern movie-making standards of comic-based films. Would I recommend it? Meh. If you got time and money...

The reason I'm so down on it here is that I see what could have been. Kick-Ass is a great movie that never got made. Hollywood stopped working on it when they realized there was enough already to sell a reasonable amount of popcorn. It's an abortive film, to my mind, that was either written too well to just be a summer-movie or too poorly to achieve the greatness it hints at, and between these worlds lies my contempt.

That and too much exposure to congested, nasily teenagers, pretending to pretend to be cool.

Same Old, Same Old

Our Constitution really looks like crap, doesn't it? I can only hope our descendants will laugh their asses off reading it someday. We start with the statement "all men are created equal" and spend the next four hundred years having to write in, "that means black people too," "that means women, too," "that means native Americans, too..." And here we stand in the far off year of 2010 - where flying cars dot the sky - arguing over whether it should mean homosexuals too. Not to mention whether torture counts as cruel and unusual; whether water-boarding counts as torture; whether a citizen has a right to their citizenship; whether it's illegal to spy on people sans cause or warrant; whether an individual gets a say in their own proliferation; whether the opinion of the department of justice should be held as incontrovertible fiat; whether war-crimes are war-crimes; and what the definition of the word 'is' is.

The mutual lunacies of American politics, law, and the media organizations claiming to cover it in a "fair and balanced" way drove me to NPR at first. NPR provided the only news media I could entertain without being driven to fits of fury by the "common sense" stupidity being bandied about as wisdom. Eventually, NPR couldn't keep me sane either. I found that even -they- were guilty of filtering and censoring content and contributors based upon popular consensus, regardless of that body's irrationality. In fairness, I suppose no one can present the daily news in a tolerable way when the day's news itself is become utterly intolerable.

The Bush era of lies, ignorance, bigotry, lawlessness, murder, and conspiracy nearly drove me to what some have politely called 'direct action.' Thankfully I managed to pull myself away for a view from a longer perspective and concluded that the world, taken en masse, is really just some sort of sickness. That there's a reason all the great spiritual figures of the various religions teach abandonment of it and its concerns, and that I could only do myself and others harm by taking personal responsibility for the behavior and policies of nations.

As I say I started by switching to NPR, then even that had to go. As of today I don't watch television; I don't listen to the radio; I don't read the paper. To quote Joseph Heller, "I don't spend much time keeping track of the world and can't see that it would change much if I did. I mind my own business. What's important I hear about."

Despite my media blackout I still hear more than I want to about politics. How people can be angry about Obama's health plan, which is so paltry an act of legislation, such a band-aid on a hemorrhage... That some should deride it as being "socialist" when it's the most capital-centric, corporate-friendly thing that could have happened to the private insurers... That no one, for all the months of commentary and conjecture and idiots shouting into the wind, ever saw fit to propose the concept of simply collecting and allocating enough federal tax dollars to cover everyone's health needs, all the time; and especially in a country that claims to be eighty percent Christian, and is thereby obliged to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the sick and imprisoned, lest their God should forsake them...

Well, it's all just as ridiculous and meaningless as ever and I'm happier to turn a blind eye and deaf ear and let the devil put on his little stage show. I figure, if you do what's right on an individual level, person to person, then all the lofty declarations of all the over-educated, under-literate, morons wearing suits, feigning global-ownership, don't amount to any effect anyway.

White Kids Love Hip-Hop


So, I'm a rapper now. What? You gonna bring some? You best step son!

I heard this song for the first time yesterday and today I'm covering it. This is a little number by 'MC Chris' of Adult Swim fame. I had way too much fun layering vocals here as you shall soon hear.

Gypsies by 'Stevo'

This is a song written by a local artist - and fella' I used to wuz in a band with - who goes by the name of Stevo P. Rockenstein. It's long been one of my favorite songs to play - the strumming patterns are particularly endearing - and, hey, what do you know? Here I am playing it!

Easter Weekend - A Retrospective

So, okay... So like... Like...

On Thursday, dad picks me up, we go to the Big Apple for lunch, or dinner, or something.


His latkes are over-browned. Somethings always over-browned with him. Then we go disc golfing at Bay Court Park.

Put a shirt on, you dirty hippy!

We drive back to his place in Flat Rock and on a whim he fixes (re-rigs) the yoke on my bike.

Egg whites.

Then he fixes up his own bike and we take a night-time ride with neither helmets nor flashers of any kind.

Safety hazard.

Somehow we survive, watch movies, fall asleep. Next day he washes and vacuums the Focus.

Love of his life.

We gear up and head out for the links. The golfing begins - the golf-golfing, I mean - at Willow Metropark.


"They're both mine. I like a wide selection."

Dad swings.

Son swings.

"Someone bring me a cart."

I'm out with a 61, in with a 56. Hang on, math skills required... 117 on a par 71. Best I did was three bogeys. Walking the Willow Park course is not recommended. Eating more than salad before hand is recommended.

Go home, sleep. Wake up, golf more!

Well, first get gas.

Oh and I suppose we'd better eat hardily this time.

No, I'll take a non-illusory eating establishment, thanks.

Hash-browns were over-browned.

Hooah! Let's do this thing! Get some! GET SOME! You hear that Lake Erie Metropark? We got your number, baby! Uh! (Hey is it windy out here?)


The club house.

The freakin' wind!

Turned out to be 30mph gusting wind with intermittent sprinkling. Great day to golf! (<-- facetiousness) The 18th hole was so windy I couldn't stand still in it to hit the ball! Out with 58. In with 59. 117 again! At least I'm consistent.

Plus, I picked up a par 3, this time... Hit the 5W off the pad. It sails out nice and straight, sets down on the green thirty feet left of the pin. My first putt tops the hill, rolling down and well passed the cup leaving a ten footer, which I sink the hard way -- in the back door, even. (maybe)

Later that night we catch the 6:55p showing of 'How to Train Your Dragon.' Not bad. I'd recommend it.

Next day, home for Easter supper.

Dad and Josh discuss tires, pickup trucks, and how to be Men.

I eat this.

"Say pa!"

"Yes son."

"You know what we haven't done in some time?"



Nope. Still not sick of it.

After supper, another quick nine at Indian Springs Metropark and I'm in with 54 on a par 35. I was on fire! Sixes for fours all day, one bogey and my first-ever par on a par four. Two on, one up, and one long nail-biter in.

My drives are short, but consistent. My 3W is magic. My putting ain't half bad. Who's up for a quick 18?