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#380: One-Track Mind

July 30, 2009

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #376: Hiding in Plain Sight; #377: History Lesson

The movie they're watching is, of course, (500) Days of Summer (as noted in #378). It's a really fun film — perhaps just shy of being a great film — but I enjoyed it more… on almost an intellectual level than an emotional level.

I feel like it's being sold as a romantic comedy (despite a narrator saying "This is not a love story" in both the trailer and the film), and I don't know how accurate that is. Summer is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's film, without a doubt. While I am utterly in love with Zooey Deschanel (as I've mentioned several times in the past, I'm sure), Summer Finn is more of an idea of a perfect girl than a well-rounded character. This is not, at least in my opinion, a flaw with the film; it's sort of the central conceit: that the "perfect girl" doesn't exist. I love this movie for that — but it does make it something other than a romantic comedy, I think.

In the film, JGL's character Tom is a failed architect of sorts. He takes Summer on sort of a walking tour of downtown LA early in their relationship, but rather than point out modern buildings (booooring) he pointed out some of the older, ornate skyscrapers that often get forgotten about when people think of Los Angeles. (You can see a few photos of the gorgeous Fine Arts Building mentioned in panel 2 at Public Art in LA.com.)

Summer doesn't dwell on the architecture stuff too terribly long or anything, but rather than just mentioning that Tom wants to be an architect and casually tossing off the most famous architects' names the screenwriter could think of ("Oh yeah, I used to want to be an architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, blah blah"), they actually talk about the buildings a little bit. Shocking.

I might be talking up this aspect of the film more than I ought to, because it's really not a huge part of the movie, but I adore (500) Days of Summer for that little touch— and not just because it played so beautifully into the storyline I'd already started.

Here's the film's trailer (from which the movie still was taken):

The website Devi mentions — Cinema Treasures — is one of my favorite websites on the internet. The database lets me easily track down and read about every single movie theater that has ever existed, and its wonderfully passionate users often link to photos they've taken or found of the buildings. (They also have an absolutely gorgeous coffee table book.) You can read a little about the Million Dollar Theater mentioned in this strip and glimpsed briefly in (500) Days of Summer at Cinema Treasures or check out some photos of it via Google Images.

UPDATE: Oh, and I almost forgot. There are two new, long overdue reader cameos. One is hempy (a.k.a. Paul Hempseed, who has the coolest name ever) with the red hair towards the back in panel 2, and the other is... umm… I forget at the moment. The Asian guy next to Paul. I'll edit this bit later. Psyrick! That's who!


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Multiplex Movie Review: The Island (2005)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

multiplex-island

This is  not as accessible to people who haven’t seen the movie as I like these reviews to be, but if you’re not familiar with The Island or Never Let Me Go at all, the premises are that clones are raised and educated as “spare parts” — which is just plain absurd. (The idea that such a thing would be allowed by any reasonable society made the premise impossible for me to swallow, except as a very far-fetched Twilight Zone-style scenario. At least in The Island, it was secret and illegal.)

An absurd premise isn’t a deal-breaker, though, really. But The Island never lets you go past its implausible premise, because it is constantly trying to explain how it all works in equally stupid ways, further compounded by Bay’s typical disregard for logic and continuity:

  • Once Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) learns the truth about their lives, he goes to the apartment of Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johannson) so they can escape. She greets him at the door by saying, “How sweet! You came to see me off” (I’m paraphrasing some of that)… yet their next scene, moments later, she is surprised and exclaims that he isn’t allowed in the female tower (as it’s called). This might be able to be explained away by some contrived explanation, but… the two moments feel completely incongruous.
  • The massive underground facility the clones are kept in is maintained by presumably hundreds of normal human employees (including Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean, and Yvette Nicole Brown’s characters) — complete with a showroom for ultra-rich potential clients. Yet Lincoln and Jordan emerge from it into desert with nothing around. No helicopter landing pad, no parking lot… nothing. We even see a helicopter landing pad later in the film, yet it is again nowhere to be seen at the very end of the movie.
  • Pursued by mercenaries, Lincoln and Jordan end up in a train station. The mercenaries open fire, killing Steve Buscemi, and a panic ensues inside the station… yet Lincoln and Jordan run onto the train with oblivious workers and passengers milling around calmly — and it then proceeds to leave the station as if no one has just gotten murdered… and arrives some time later in Los Angeles, without incident.

Minor or not, the sheer number of them just keep piling up. sigh

Anyway.

This is the last of the Multiplex Movie Reviews I’ll be sharing here in the Deleted Scenes blog for the near future. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

Patreon patrons and Kickstarter backers will see more of these in their respective feeds come January — as well as the Multiplex: The Revenge bonus comics, of course. (There may even be a few movie review comics during the semester as time permits, but I can’t really promise anything. I’ve got A LOT of work to do for my thesis!)

EDIT: By the way, I wasn’t familiar with Parts: The Clonus Horror when I did this strip. (I don’t watch MST3K; I can’t bring myself to watch movies that shitty, even if there are incredibly funny motherfuckers talking over them.) But several people have told me about it since. These kinds of things are usually largely coincidental (or unintentional) — different people independently arrive at similar ideas all the time. $130 million movies generally don’t need to rip off obscure B-movie (or book, or comic book) plots when there are thousands of equally good ideas that they can legitimately use for less money than a settlement.

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