- - Monday, January 10, 2011

Low point

“Over at Salon, the headline for a Sarah Hepola essay says that the early ‘00s grim metal song ‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool had its ‘encore’ in Jared Loughner’s murder spree, because he seems to have liked the song — his ‘favorite’ YouTube video being one that featured the tune, which because of its grinding unpleasantness has also been used by the army to torture and unnerve people.

“The tune has, you see, ‘a troubled past,’ that is to say, that various people who the author seems to disapprove of have liked or used it in ways that trouble her. She notes, ‘It’s a sign of the shifting culture wars that little attention has been paid to Drowning Pool since the Arizona shooting on Saturday.’ Perhaps more a sign of the utter intellectual emptiness of any premise that connects a song on a soundtrack of a video someone liked with his committing murder. …

“While this article is the silliest attempt to shift blame for the killings I’ve seen yet, I won’t mark it as a sign of an intellectual or political culture gone mad with its attempts to deny the reality of individual evil choices — it’s more a sign of a media culture in an age of abundance that has, at times, just far more space to fill than interesting or entertaining observations to fill it.”

Brian Doherty, writing on “Loughner Explanation Watch: Bad Metal Music,” on Jan. 10 at the Reason blog Hit & Run

Caged Cage

“Nicolas Cage has starred in plenty of questionable Hollywood fodder. But, really, why is he starring in what apparently looks like a under-budget Uwe Boll video-game adaption? ‘Season of the Witch,’ directed by Dominic Sena (‘Gone in Sixty Seconds’) has bewildered Cage fans, critics and general audiences about the conceit of the title: what is it? A medieval action-adventure? A comedy re-edited as a thriller? An elaborate trick on the American moviegoing population?

“Gawker’s Max Read condensed the general sentiment nicely: ‘I can never remember if I am supposed to like Nicolas Cage sincerely and enjoy his movies ironically, or like him ironically and not enjoy his movies at all?’ Nearly all reviewers can’t figure that out either.

“Nevertheless, for those insistent on seeing this movie, here’s five reasons that — if you squint hard — can be seen as arguments in favor of paying to see ‘Season of the Witch’ in theaters: 1. It Appears to Use Leftover Sets From ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’”

Erik Hayden, writing on “Nic Cage’s ‘Worst Movie Ever’ Arrives,” on Jan. 8 at the Atlantic

Evil 101

“Corporations and their leaders are seldom cast as movie heroes. But in the movies of 2010, whether you were at the multiplex or the art house, the go-to bad guy was the American corporation.

“Even the adorable ‘Despicable Me’ has super villains who need to finance their nefarious schemes and pay a visit to the Bank of Evil, or, as the posted sign indicates, the former Lehman Brothers. From ‘Tron: Legacy’ to ‘Inception,’ the choice of evildoer was so consistent it was a relief to find that Colin Firth’s stutter in ‘The King’s Speech’ was not caused by bad guys in expensive suits.

“Business is a logical target when so many Americans are frustrated with the economy and with income disparity. But it’s also a convenient alternative when so many other options are worn out, obsolete, or a political minefield.”

Nell Minow, writing on “Why Business Is Hollywood’s Go-To Villain, Especially Now,” on Dec 30 at BNET

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