French director will not knuckle under to “fascists,” coherence

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It’s been a busy week, and ordinarily, I guess I’d feel compelled to weigh in about the Black List and the Golden Globe noms. But Justin Strout did a fine job of noting what a kick it is to see erstwhile OW scribe Cole Haddon on said list. And it doesn’t take a genius to discern that the concurrent preponderance of “hot” screenplays that concern some form of corporate or governmental malfeasance is a true and utter sign of the times.

Which is why I may blog about it later.

As for the Golden Globes, well, I was an eyeliner wrangler on The Tourist, so I’m contractually prohibited from commenting. Instead, I can just concentrate on doing what I do best: bitching about The Green Hornet.

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With the release of this monumental bug bomb mere weeks away, director Michel Gondry is doing just what the doomed always do in such situations: whining defensively that the plebes just don’t get it.

A link helpfully provided by the folks at Superhero Hype takes us to The Guardian, where Gondry can be found turning up his nose at the effete fanboy types who walked out of the Hornet panel at last summer’s San Diego comic-con. Ready to have some fun? Let’s go:

"I usually identify with the nerds, but these ones just reinforce the social rules. Their values are fascistic. All those people marching around in capes and masks and boots. The superhero imagery is totally fascist!"

Point A, meet Point Z. I never thought you crazy kids would get together so fast.

(And a historical factoid here: Not since Albert Goldman found something vaguely, well, Nazistic in the pumping fists he saw at a Rolling Stones concert has a member of the intelligentsia drawn a Third Reich parallel that was simultaneously so pat and utterly meaningless.)

"When you step into this genre, they feel it belongs to them. They want you to conform, or they won't like you. They want the conventional.”

Yep, fat guys dressed as Deadpool have truly become the gatekeepers of our rigid societal norms. In fact, as I understand it, the question, “Did you pledge West Coast Avengers?” is now the absolute dealbreaker in job interviews conducted among the Fortune 500.

“But it's fine. The movie's been doing very well, I think, whenever we've screened it to normal people."

Translation: We’re hoping to make a Friday killing from people who are too stupid to know what the outermost layer of popular culture looked like more than 50 years ago.

You’ve got to feel sorry for a visionary like Gondry, forced as he is to suffer the slings and arrows of the reactionary mouth-breathers who would stand in the way of true Art. Why, if they’d just give him his space, he could get on with his noble artistic mission of giving the world another Seth Rogen picture. If they’d just loosen up, they might recognize the Oscar potential of Rush Hour with a white guy. If they weren’t so all-fired enamored of their two-dimensional conventions, they’d see the unique cultural value in a movie about an irresponsible asshole who becomes a valiant crimefighter with a fixation on a green insect. Let the studio hacks churn out projects like Green Lantern (a movie about an irresponsible asshole who becomes a valiant crimefighter with a fixation on a green table lamp) or Iron Man (a movie about an irresponsible asshole who becomes a valiant crimefighter with a fixation on Radio Shack).

As my own hero, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, would be saying right about now, “Well, look

The real point here is that Gondry is trying pathetically to pin the blame for his impending failure on the very people he needs to court, and making them look like Philistines in doing it. Needless to say, it’s not going to work. Gone are the days in which the makers of comics adaptations could sneer down at the small and powerless sector of their audience that had a genuine emotional investment in such projects, knowing as they did that an abomination like Flash Gordon merely had to play to varsity bowlers in Peoria. By now, it’s old news that the fan contingent is the mainstream audience – that the people who have followed a property from its origins are the ones who can make or break it at the box office (and, not coincidentally, often the ones who greenlighted it in the first place).

If there’s an animal emitting a frightened howl of incipient extinction here, it’s Gondry, not any of his supposedly intolerant and unimaginative detractors.

And anyway, there’s a big difference between dithering about the flames on Optimus Prime and expressing blanket revulsion over a project like the Hornet -- which, as alluded to above, is so clearly a top-to-bottom, lowest-common-denominator perversion of respectable source material that the old saw “You can’t review it from its trailer” simply does not apply. Fans of a certain age remember all too well what a runaway train of ill-conceivedness like this one looks like while it’s still a few miles down the track. The good news is that, by now, we have just enough of the general public’s ear to warn them off, too.

Then again, what do I know? I can’t see anything from behind this Deadpool mask anyway.

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