Posts tagged: alex MacFadyen
Screen Editor alex takes a look at two new iterations of Sherlock Holmes:
There’s something about the way Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead role in the BBC series Sherlock that seems like it could be Holmes’ fantasy version of how a brilliant detective behaves. In the episodes I’ve seen he’s twitchy and neurotic, but also cool and proficient with a performative quality that left me thinking the series could turn out to be a dream sequence where the last episode ends with young Holmes waking up in his bedroom, or an older version playing it all out in a psychiatric ward. Or for another twist on that cliche, the audience is seeing the whole series of events through Holmes’ own distorted self-image, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde split where Watson is his alter-ego, penning his own narrative.
image via the Denver Public Library.
Every April we mix things up at The Gutter. This week Screen Editor alex writes about video games and failure:
When I was a kid, my parents got me a later model Radio Shack Trash 80 (TRS-80) computer, but what I really wanted was an Atari. All my friends had them, so I spent hours in other people’s basements, pushing that one red button and twisting the joystick as we navigated pixellated characters through two-dimensional landscapes. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in addition to having fun I was also learning something about handling success and failure. In some ways, sitting down with my friends now and playing the Lego universe games (Lego Star Wars, Bat Man, Indiana Jones) takes me back to those days.
Screen Editor alex considers the implications of anti-climactic endings, beginning with The Lord of the Rings:
When I was about 12, my parents took me to see a stage version of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings performed with life-sized puppets. As Frodo was agonizing over pitching his precious ring into the fiery pit of Mount Doom, Sam, exhausted from the epic journey but determined to help his beloved friend, inched out onto the rocky promontory. He reached his puppety arms out to relieve Frodo of his burden, they both fell into the fires of Mount Doom, and the curtain came down.
Screen Editor alex wonders just when exactly he can no longer enjoy the art because of the artist.
This, in combination with the homophobic media bumbling of several San Francisco 49ers players prior to Superbowl XLVII, left me pondering the dilemma of bad people making good art. If someone is a reprehensible person, what does it make me if I find their creations beautiful? At the low end of the spectrum, readers might have enjoyed my writing, blissfully unaware that during the process I broke a toy, a promise, possibly a toddler’s heart, and barely resisted tossing my 19 year old cat out into a snowbank. More serious are the ever-popular examples of Wagner’s anti-Semitism or Ezra Pound’s proto-fascism, and somewhere in the middle of the road lies my ability to appreciate the athleticism of football players even when they don’t support my access to equal human rights.
Screen Editor alex ponders self-help books, Mansome and what it means to be a man:
As a transguy, the question “What makes me a man?” has meant both pretty much the same things to me as to any other guy, and also something a bit different. I had to figure most of it out on my own, going through a second puberty of sorts at a point when all my peers were full grown, and in the process I’ve read about and watched a lot of versions of masculinity. From Charles Atlas and men’s exercise magazines to feminist and gender theory, there are so many options and perceived limits around how to be a man. Men’s self-improvement books like The 4-Hour Body and movies like Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Mansome are just a few examples.
All the current Cultural Gutter editors plus Bride of Frankenstein, Gort, Jane Austen and Godzilla represent in the banner for our indiegogo campaign (which ends today).
(art by Carol Borden, who thinks Jane Austen’s presence is hilarious).
Screen Editor alex ponders useless superpowers and the British television show, Misfits.
My best friend growing up had a theory about people claiming to have special abilities like ESP, levitation, or astral projection. She had a babysitter who claimed she could levitate, but only when she was alone. My friend’s theory wasn’t that these things were impossible, but that realistically they wouldn’t be very cool. She figured that anyone who claimed they could astrally project to the Great Pyramids was probably lying, but someone who was willing to admit they could only astrally project an inch out of their body might well be telling the truth. Some powers are just useless and embarrassing enough to be real.
When ordinary people get superpowers, I often find myself wishing that someone would end up with an ability that isn’t very useful, or one that no one would actually want. The British series Misfits is a great combination of fantasy, humor, and realism, and it gave me some of the believability I’ve been looking for.
Screen Editor alex and Comics Editor Carol continue their discussion of The Dark Knight Rises:
This week Screen Editor alex MacFadyen and Comics Editor Carol Borden continue discussing The Dark Knight Rises. We both like Batman and we’re fascinated by how many different Batmans there are. Even though there are things we like about the film, we want to figure out what is it about The Dark Knight Rises‘ Batman that makes him not quite ours, who is, what we like about him and why. Because Batman is good to think about. Part 1 is here.
Nuclear bombs are not made by ACME. The 1960′s Adam West Batman may have had a lot in common with Wile E. Coyote, but Nolan’s Dark Knight series is deeply invested in realism. If a bomb detonated over the bay 6 miles out of Gotham, there would be no happy citizens the next day. That bus load of children who watched it explode would have suffered permanent damage, and Wayne Manor would have ended up as a hospice for blind, irradiated orphans. So why was I willing to suspend my disbelief about all kinds of other unbelievable things, but not about a nuclear bomb going off that close to Gotham and everyone being just fine and dandy the next day?
Screen Editor alex remembers watching horror classics in Grade 2:
When I was in grade two, my school thought it’d be a great Halloween activity to have a movie screening of old horror films. They showed us the 1931 adaptations of Dracula and Frankenstein, the original 1932 The Mummy, and the 1954 3-D classic, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. At age eight I had not yet acquired a taste for the macabre. That came a little later, with my grandfather’s old Chas Addams cartoon collections and the Edward Gorey “Gashlycrumb Tinies” poster my mother hung in her office. At eight, those movies gave me nightmares.