Bukowski, Batman

First, I have to say that I really hate the fact that this RSS script takes my first line and uses that. It makes me really self-conscious of how I start a journal entry, like I need to write it as if it were a newspaper article. I also don’t like the fact that I have to wait for some large idea to accumulate before I come here to write. It’s easy when you have a straight up blog and you can post 47 random thoughts a day, but since I am trying to write something bigger here, there’s a certain amount of performance anxiety.

The other issue I have as of late is that I try to power through the rest of the first draft of this book, and all of my creative energy goes into that. I don’t blog about work, or write about my relationship or family, and I’m not a gossip nut. So it seems like the only things I have left by the time I get here are reviews of books, movies, or music. Fair enough. So today I will just start writing reviews until I get completely sick of this shit and/or have to go get lunch.

So a copy of Bukowski: Born into This. I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and somehow missed it and didn’t see it when it was in limited art house showings a few years back. It was in “when is the DVD coming out” mode for a few years. Anticipation was high. And I got it, and… eh. It’s probably the most popular Bukowski film ever made, by a director who probably knew the least about him.

Here’s the deal: it’s an interesting film, but it’s a bit sloppy. It doesn’t touch all the bases, it doesn’t do all the research, and it doesn’t hit hard to get the most out of the people he did manage to bring in for interviews. It is good at digging up old footage, especially the video B/W stuff of Buk driving around East Hollywood to do his laundry in 1976 in his old Volks with a smashed in windshield, courtesy of crazy girlfriend Linda King. But there was just something missing for me. He just barely skimmed. It was a movie version of any of the many Bukowski biography books that have been published recently, that only tell part of the story. Seriously, you’d do much better reading the Howard Sounes biography. The only explanation, other than the director being relatively new to Bukowski, was that he closely worked with his widow to get started on everything, which meant he only had the “official” view on everything. Oh well. It’s entertaining, but it’s a rent-not-buy for me. (Well, pretty much everything is now, though.)

Next up, I saw Batman Begins. Not sure why, but I thought it might be interesting. I should probably preface this by saying I really hate comic book films. I really hate comic books in general, and I really don’t get into the legitimization of comics (or graphic novels, or whatever they’re called this week) as “art” or “literature”, because to me, it seems like the same argument as saying a guy with a turntable and a sampler is a “musician”. Maybe that’s just me. But my dislike for comic book films has to do with the fact that every comic book film must spend the first hour or more telling a genesis story that the core audience already knows, but they are required to tell it so that comic book nerds can say “Oh, he took the idea for that staircase from Action League #17” or “He’s totally going against the canon by making his powers radiation-based” or whatever. They also need to tell the genesis story so non-comic fans can tell what’s going on, but any comic book fan will tell you that you need to read every single issue of the comic, or you’re not going to get the full experience. Of course, if you read every comic, you wouldn’t need to waste half the film on this intro and you could just start with the action, but you can’t do that either, because then people couldn’t beat off over the origin of the utility belt.

The new Batman movie’s genesis story is different in two ways: one in that it shows more of Bruce Wayne’s training, and two in that it does not involve a Prince video. The movie is not about camp or homoeroticism like the original TV series or the 1989 Tim Burton flick. Instead, the film brings up more of the mystical ninja vibe, and tries to document more what Bruce Wayne would have done between his childhood when his parents were killed, and when he started dressing up as a bat and fighting crime. The genesis stuff is okay, although I’m not a fan of the whole ninja mystique, as I am not fourteen years old.

There were a few major problems for me on this one. First: Katie Holmes simply cannot act. No way, no how, she cannot carry any role other than some kind of Dawson’s teenage softcore wankfest. She did a horrible job, and because of that, every part of the plot line that involved her suffered tremendously. Her character was about as believable as a hundred-MPG carburetor. So in sum, you had this dragging-on genesis story, which was okay, but made you look at your watch and think “when the fuck is the movie going to start”, and then you had about ten minutes of big story, completely ruined by the lack of acting by the new Scientology princess. Most would say that her marriage to Tom Cruise was to distract from his homosexuality; I would theorize it was to distract from this film. Anyway, a good chase scene and a neat car add back a few points, but I’m glad I didn’t pay full price on this one.

I started reading Neil Peart’s book Ghost Rider in anticipation of our Alaska trip at the end of May. The book talks about how he took off solo on his motorcycle after his wife and daughter died, crossing Canada into Alaska, and then later into Mexico and Belize. It’s an interesting book, and he talks a lot about Alaska, so it’s good to get that started.

Nothing else. Well, my knee is fucked up again. Last Sunday, I twisted it or did something, and by Monday, it was swollen, painful, and immobile again. I went back to the doc on Friday for another draining (not as much fluid, but I still won’t be eating chicken noodle soup for a while) and this time I got a cortisone shot. Getting an injection into a joint is never fun, but it feels a lot better, and I’m back off the cane and moving around much better. Too bad the weather’s shit this weekend, or I’d go outside and take a picture or two.

Okay, now about that lunch…