On movies I want: I saw THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

24f6204e7a529a196605512d65a151e9.jpgLast night I reviewed a movie that I consider sort of unreviewable because the act of discussing it will make it impossible to properly enjoy it.  Tonight my wife and son and I went to a movie that doesn’t need a review: the Lego Batman movie.  You already know what you’ll think of the Lego Batman movie.  You already know whether you’re going to see it.  Chances are you know what thought of the Lego Batman movie, and could write this review for me.  And chances are you’re right about all those things.

After leaving the movie, I was thinking about what I’m always thinking about when I leave a Batman movie, which is that I will never get the Batman movie that I want.  Batman has been the star of a comic book called Detective Comics since nineteen thirty goddamn nine.  That was a really long time ago.  There have been approximately three hundred Hollywood films with the word “Batman” or some variant thereof in the title since then, and some of them actually had Batman in them.

Can we get a damn mystery Batman movie, please?  One where he has to actually solve a crime and act like a detective?  I mean, hell, they’re basically making one of these things every two or three years and seem likely to be planning to continue that until I die.  Can I get one of those to be a detective movie?  Bonus points (this will never ever happen) if it’s a noirish piece and actually set in the 1930s or 1940s.  You can still end the movie with a slam-bang action sequence, just make all the stuff before that be quieter and give me a Batman who uses his brains and not his gadgets and ninja skills.  Yes, Batman Begins, the movie about black-wearing-ninja-sword-fighting-not-Batman-angry-guy, I’m looking at you.

Don’t take this as a criticism of Lego Batman, by the way.  There’s nothing wrong with it; as I said, it’s exactly the movie I thought it would be (perhaps a bit more clever) and is probably exactly the movie you think it’ll be.  But gimme just one dark, shadowy, film-noir Batman crime movie where he has to slink around and detect some shit and doesn’t do a lot of punching.  I promise it’ll still make money.  Please?

On mostly unreviewable movies: I saw SPLIT

split_ver2.jpgSo, I’d call myself an M. Night Shyamalan fan, right?  I’ve seen most of his movies, or at least his adult thrillers (I haven’t seen The Happening or The Visit, and from what I’ve seen that’s at least 50% good news) and I’ve liked damn near all of what I’ve seen.  I will defend Signs to the death, for example, and I remember really liking Lady in the Water although if I’m being honest I can’t tell you a damn thing about it now.

(There’s gonna be some minor spoilers about a paragraph down.  Don’t panic, no big deal.  But just FYI.)

Here’s the thing about Split.  You should see this movie if you’ve ever liked anything by Shyamalan.  All of the things that he’s good at are on full display in this film, along with an incredible performance– set of performances, maybe?– by James McAvoy.

There is– brace yourself for this– not a twist ending on this one.  Sort of.  I guess.  But what’s getting frustrating about Shyamalan is that he’s done the twist ending so many times at this point that his movies have this weird metatextual thing going on that rather than watching the movie you’re trying to figure out the twist.  There is a thing at the end of this movie, and the more of a Shyamalan fan you are, the more likely you are to walk out of the theater with a huge smile on your face.  If you are not a Shyamalan fan than the ending of the film– which is more of a Marvel-style stinger than anything else– will likely leave you more than a little bit confused.  But there’s not a twist, so don’t go looking for it.  Bask in the good performances and the creepiness and enjoy the film.  Because the performances are great and the film’s excellently creepy and Shyamalan’s directing skills are used to their fullest effect.

All that said:

I feel like I ought to warn you that this film is going to be triggery as fuck for a lot of people, and there are about to be a couple more spoilers.  It’s about three high-school aged girls getting kidnapped by a maniac with MPD, right?  Which is a problem on a couple of levels: one, you spend the whole movie playing the “when are they gonna get raped?” game, which is always horrible.  The answer: there is one scene of implied molestation in this film and it will come at you sideways and not the way you expect it to be.   There is a lot of implied child abuse.  There is not actually any sexual violence between the kidnapper and his victims.  There are also a lot of angry disability advocates out there who are upset that once again dissociative identity disorder is being used as a crutch for a villain.  I’m… a little more sympathetic toward the folks who will be triggered by the film than the disability advocates, if only because McAvoy’s character’s therapist is also part of the film and she has some very interesting comic-booky theories about DID that… well, probably won’t make anything better for those bothered by the disorder being featured in the film but it certainly makes it more interesting for the rest of us.  That’s probably not entirely fair of me but it’s how I’ve reacted.

Another thing I just realized

5104389f26c12.image_.jpgMy kid’s school is cancelled tomorrow– not because of the weather, which is supposed to be absolutely outstanding, but because nearly 40% of the students in some grade levels and a not-inconsiderable number of teachers and subs have been sick lately.  The email from the principal named no less than four different diseases that had been running rampant in the building lately, and apparently the janitorial staff will be boiling the building tomorrow.

It’s probably good that this happened, because the email also made reference to the “four-day weekend” that the kids were about to have, which made both my wife and I realize that he actually does have Monday off, which neither of us had really realized because we don’t have any idea how the hell to check a school calendar.

So here’s the cool part: I started the Current Occupation in June, right?  And it’s mid-February now, as insane as that might feel.  During all that time I have not missed a single day of work due to illness.  I’ve come home and died a couple of times, and had some less-than-fantastic days, but I haven’t really been sick in months.  And that’s after fifteen years of missing, usually, around a day a month every single year I was teaching.  I was rarely if ever able to carry sick days across from one year to the next and had to dip into the sick bank twice.  And not one illness worth any serious consideration since June, despite constant contact with the public throughout that time.

Add that to the pile of reasons I don’t miss teaching, I guess.

It has been a long day

One of my co-workers found out over the phone that his pregnant daughter’s doctors had failed to detect a fetal heartbeat during a routine examination this morning.  The last time he was at work, he got a call that his father had just died.  That sort of day.

I’m going to leave this link here.  It won’t cheer you up, mind you, but it’s crossed my mind that pissing off our own intelligence services may not have been the shitgibbon’s best possible move, and while I’m not always fond of the proprietor of Gin and Tacos I think he’s in the right here.

More cheerful tomorrow.  I’ll do my best, at least.