I spent most of this weekend watching movies. Something that Netflix On Demand has allowed me to do is the revisit movies from my childhood that I haven't watched in a long time to determine once and for all if they deserve the fond memories that I have attached to them. I'll just say a few things about that here, namely that 1) Spaceballs somehow magically jettisoned all of its jokes somewhere between when I was ten and now, because I remember that movie being funny. Recent inspection of Spaceballs reveals that, in fact, it isn't funny anymore. I consider it a marvel of technology that such a well loved movie can somehow lose everything that was funny about it over the course of sixteen years or so. 2) The Crow is gothy and confusing, but not as bad as I assumed it was going to be. That doesn't make it less embarrassing that I loved it as much as I did when I was young, though. 3) Driving Miss Daisy is exactly as boring as it looked when I was a kid, which caused no small amount of cognitive dissonance in my tiny mind considering it featured a young Dan Aykroyd, to whom I hold a strong and unhealthy attachment for his role as Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters.
I love that dude.
Hit me up, Dan Aykroyd. I <3 U
Most unsettling to me, however, is a convention from old movies that carries with it some harsh implications. I'm talking about the tradition where, in medieval era movies, the hero's lady is carried away by the brutish bad guy, and it looks like he's going to force her to marry him. This happens in all manner of movies, and many of them are geared toward children. In fact, this is the plot device that drives literally every Popeye cartoon ever created. It usually goes like this:
Bad Guy: "I'm going to make you mine!"(Grabs girl and carries her toward a tower)
Damsel: "No! Put me down, you beastly fellow!" (Struggles weakly) "Help me, [hero of the story]!"
This happens in a surprising number of these old movies (and every Popeye cartoon), and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with it anymore. When I was a kid, I didn't realize what was actually going down, but it could be translated like this:
Bad Guy: "I'm about to rape the shit out of you, bitch!" (Grabs girl and carries her toward a tower)
Damsel: "Oh, God, my tight hole! Not my tight hole!" (Struggles weakly) "[Hero of the story], only you can turn this rape into an attempted rape!"
It actually bothers me that this is an old-timey plot device, because when I see it now, it doesn't even bother me. It took me watching Robin Hood, Men in Tights to realize how widespread this convention is. And it bothers me even more that it's almost always geared toward children, thereby subtly telling them that sometimes, when they're an adult, they'll be carried off by some jerk and have sex forced upon them. If we're looking for harsh truths to force upon our nation's children, let's maybe get away from all the sexual assaults (I'm looking at you, Pepe Le'pew) and create some characters that have really mundane jobs and drink to get away from the nagging sense of failure that they've developed after having the American Dream forced upon them as the only standard against which success is measured.
They can also teach kids about the alphabet (for filing purposes), and how to use a double windsor tie knot to hang yourself.
Speaking of old things surprising you, I'd like to talk about Atheist.
I first became aware of Atheist a long time ago, in the glory days of being in high school and not being able to steal stuff from the Interbung. It was a magical time when finding new music sometimes required you to make a purchase with your hard-earned money that didn't pay off so well (I'm looking at you, Symphorce [and yes, that happened. I was young and stupid!]) I tried all sorts of ill-advised pieces of music out, ranging from Strapping Young Lad to Animosity to Wintersun. What a time to be alive! I would get paid from my first job and go buy three new albums every two weeks, hoping for a gem to rear it's brutal head and make my day.
But my tastes weren't always so good.
I tried out Atheist one time on one of those "Sample before you buy" kiosks at some music store. I remember listening to whichever album I was listening to and being confused by the sounds that assaulted my ears. I was hoping for something that sounded exactly like In Flames, which was the only death metal band for which I had developed a taste yet. But it didn't sound exactly like In Flames, no; this was more scattered and frantic.
This was tech death.
I feel remorse for my days as a metal n00b all those years ago, and it's chiefly because I hated Atheist the first time I listened to them.
Fast forward to now, and the Interhole has graced me with a vast catalog of music at my fingertips, waiting to be plucked from the ether and enjoyed without any financial risk, thereby maximizing the reward that I get from finding something that I enjoy. It's like being a bank robber, but instead of sticking up anyplace, I click on a button and the money pours out of my computer screen and lands in my lap. It's all the fun of winning without ever having to lose.
It was only recently that my ears were ready for Atheist, and I'm at least glad that I've learned not to rely on my ancient first impressions of albums, because if I did that, I'd still be hungrily consuming Luca Turilli albums like some kind of Pac Man with shitty taste in music. Jupiter is Atheist's bit return to the game, and it doesn't in any way disappoint the avid tech death fan whose interests include wanking, more wanking, and wanking harder. Shreddy, brutal, skronky, and complex, Atheist prove that their position as death metal gods were well earned and lasting. Do I feel like a fool for having effectively ignored them for as long as I did? Yes, for that reason and several others.
Like how I used to listen to *sigh* Stratovarius.
What I'm saying is, I'm sorry, Atheist. I think you're great. And I think Jupiter is great. Not like all those rapey childrens' movies and cartoons.
Seriously, what the fuck is up with that?
Seriously, what the fuck is up with that?
Watch out, bitches. Bluto's getting some pussy tonight.