November 7th, 2003

breaking bad

Everyone failed

I like bellonatimes, a web log by an intelligent american critic. I enjoyed today's comments on National Lampoon's Animal House.

She points out that some comedies (of which NLAH is an example) are characterised by warm forgiveness of the stupidity of the perpetrators. Others - satire and black humour for example - do not forgive. Both kinds of comedies are OK, though I think forgiveness comedies are more common now than they used to be. The Farelly films are forgiveness comedies. Some of the greatest comedy films that have ever been made - Some Like It Hot for example - are forgiveness comedies.

But, while universal forgiveness is surely a good thing, selective forgiveness is almost a definition of what privilege means. In NLAH the teenage boy is forgiven, but nobody else. That doesn't really matter - we all feel included in the warmth that lets John Belushi off the hook.


Thus began the reign of the self-satisfied preppie, which turned out no better than the reign of the self-satisfied hippie. These boys had been presented with a platinum credit line of forgiveness even before their consciences had dropped. And they put it to use... the indefinitely renewable spiritual bankruptcy of those bible-thumpers who sinned at length, and were caught, and loudly and briefly repented, and then, excuse the interruption, returned to the fire and brimstone.... In my adult surroundings, folks have tended to switch brandnames -- Earth First to Transcendental Meditation to EST to PETA to the Atkins Diet -- but otherwise the cycle stays the same: Wash in the blood of the lamb; a new lamb born every minute.
breaking bad

No-one can hear you scream

Last night I went to see the Director's cut of Alien. All the way through I thought 'I love this film'. I love it almost like people support football teams or something, in the teeth of any flaws. To have a new chance to see it in a cinema is so wonderful.

I think the ship interior is fantastic. I like the alien planet. And I like the crew. I find them more believable than the people in (for example) Star Wars or the Matrix, or any of the other top SF films.

All in all, I think this is the best SF movie ever made. There are a few bits I think are disappointing, the worst being when the little alien scoots sideways across the table like an aggressive shaved teddy bear on castors. I'm afraid I laughed out loud at that one last night.

Seeing it back on the big screen was almost like stepping into a world you have imagined, which has now become real.