And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Pearl Harbor (2001)
Full daylight? In a Michael Bay establishing shot? Revolutionary!

Full daylight? In a Michael Bay establishing shot? Revolutionary!

I’ve been dreading this. Re-examining Armageddon all but killed me, though that’s partially my own fault. I was the one playing that drinking game. Incidentally, Googling “Michael Bay Drinking Game” yields up some dangerous results. But while individual drinking games exist for individual films, apparently no drunk has the courage to construct a game applicable to Bay’s entire oeuvre. As that great old drunk Stephen Hopkins (my favorite character from 1776) once said, “So it’s up to me, eh?” That’s what you get for falling down on the job, fellow rummies.

Since Pearl Harbor bored me so damn much, my mind savored any distraction. I spent a good thirty minutes contemplating how hard I’d need to throw this movie off my balcony in order to ensure its disc would land at the optimum place in the street where it was sure to be run over by as many cars as possible. After I filled half a page with geometric calculations, constructing the Ultimate Michael Bay Drinking Game seemed a much more utilitarian distraction. I figured it would do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Throwing Pearl Harbor at passing cars would only annoy their drivers…who’d go on to annoy the cops…who’d go on to annoy me. Continue reading

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The Shadow (1994)

Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen.There are currents in the past, deep eddies in the sediment of time. They erode channels through their courses and join together to form deeper cuts, which in turn formed the modern world and all that drowns us within it. This is true for the modern concept of the superhero as much as anything else. Examining the headwaters of this genre requires us to go back “to the thrilling days of yesteryear,” as the Lone Ranger’s radio program used to say. And there are few yesteryear’s as thrilling as The Shadow‘s

We in the modern world owe the Shadow’s creators more than almost any other pre-modern superhero scribes (with the possible exception of Johnston McCulley, creator of the masked man known as Zorro). The Shadow and his contemporaries, the “masked adventures” and “mystery men” of inter-war adventure literature, afford us a remarkable opportunity to study a genre in its infancy, its key components only half-formed and unshaped. In particular, the Shadow offers a peek into the roll popular demand and sheer, blind chance played in the creation of this form. If not for the craziest of chance the Shadow (as we know him) wouldn’t exist at all. {More}