Home / Robert Farley / Movies on a Plane

Movies on a Plane

Khrushchev U2.gif
Khrushchev with U-2 Wreckage. By CIA – https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/images/v42i5a02p4.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9064582


Took two long flights over the past week and a half, which meant movies. Some thoughts:

Batman vs. Superman

This movie is not good, but I liked it more than I expected.  Wonder Woman is in the film for some reason, and Jesse Eisenberg decides to play Lex Luthor as a somewhat less menacing, less dangerous version of Mark Zuckerberg. I’m going to credit that last as an actual decision and not an accident, and it’s… interesting. Maybe the point is that Luthor has never conceived of a scheme to dominate the lives of everyday people so grandiose, and so completely successful, as Facebook?  Would Batman or Superman have destroyed the algorithm on Zuckerberg’s dorm room window?

With respect to the two principles, I thought Affleck was just fine as Batman, and that Snyder mostly got Batman right. Cavil’s Superman remains a disaster, however.  It doesn’t make sense for Superman to dislike humans as much as Cavil seems to dislike people.  A grudging sense of responsibility isn’t enough; even Brandon Routh’s Superman was clearly sad and unhappy, but he didn’t seem to resent human beings.  Unless they manage to fix this core problem at the heart of the DC movie universe, there’s gonna be trouble ahead.

Bridge of Spies

I guess I’m just done with Spielberg?  This is a movie about spies and airplanes, and it had Alan Alda; I feel that I should really have enjoyed it.  But nothing was surprising; every emotional punch, and every plot point, was hopelessly telegraphed.  Maybe Spielberg should stop making historical films, so at least we could pretend to be surprised?  Hanks mails in yet another Stand Up White Guy Beset by Troubles, and Sebastian Koch is in the movie for some reason.

The sole upside was Mark Rylance, who turns in the classic “I don’t know why I’m in this movie, so I’ll act as if I’m in some other movie” kind of performance that Alan Rickman perfected. That, and the shootdown of the U-2 was pretty cool.


I quite liked this one.  I’ve thought for a long time that Apollo Creed is really the most interesting figure in the Rocky universe, the only one that makes the story interesting from a political and social point of view.  Creed draws upon Ali, but he’s not a “streets of Louisville” kind of guy; from the first, he’s more comfortable in the boardroom than in the ring, which is a fascinating message to send in 1977.  He has to back Rocky in III, because he has to die in IV; Clubber Lang would never care enough about the Soviet Union to bother fighting Ivan Drago. Creed brings Apollo’s story full circle (including the reference to the third Creed-Balboa fight), and manages to get a creditable performance out of Stallone. And until the final fight (and including even much of that), the fight scenes easily clear the rather low bar of “most realistic boxing scenes in a Rocky movie.”

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  • efgoldman

    This is a movie about spies and airplanes, and it had Alan Alda; I feel that I should really have enjoyed it.

    Maybe the problem is that it’s a true story and what drama there is should take care of itself. Some of us are old enough actually to remember Powers being shot down, and Khrushchev pounding the shoe.

    • Marek

      I thought it was quite good, in an old-timey sort of way.

      • Moondog

        The old-timey wife-and-family “dramatic” subplot almost ruined the film for me. By old-timey in this case I mean something that only recently has become slightly less ubiquitous.

    • AMK

      I feel like I should have enjoyed it too, except it was actually boring as hell. The whole thing played like a documentary made for lazy high school history teachers to show the class when they have to do a unit on the Cold War. Spielberg’s Lincoln was almost the same way, but Daniel Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones are better actors than Tom Hanks.

      • Halloween Jack

        I thought that Lincoln was very good at getting the ambience of mid-nineteenth-century life right: the POTUS telling dirty jokes and simply opening the front door of the White House and going outside alone whenever he felt like it, the pile of severed limbs outside the Army hospital. Bridge of Spies was similarly competent at capturing its own zeitgeist, but since it was much closer to our time, not as dramatic.

  • JonH

    Farley likes Creed.

    That’s what I’m taking away from this.

  • wjts

    The sole upside was Mark Rylance, who turns in the classic “I don’t know why I’m in this movie, so I’ll act as if I’m in some other movie” kind of performance that Alan Rickman perfected.

    I really, really want Mark Rylance to take over for Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. (Never going to happen, obviously.)

    • Dave Empey

      I’m waiting for Judi Dench.

      • wjts

        I do not think Judi Dench (or Helen Mirren or Tilda Swinton) would make a particularly good Doctor. Well, maybe Tilda Swinton.

        • JonH

          Michelle Dockery might be good, actually, based on her performance in Hogfather.

          • wjts

            I could see that. As a rule, though, I share Neil Gaiman’s take on casting new Doctors. Capaldi, my hands-down favorite since Baker, T. surprised me because I’d only seen one episode of Armando Ianucci’s Shouty Sweary Political Man. I think I’ve seen too much Downton Abbey to be surprised by Michelle Dockery. Mark Rylance I exempt because I could see him doing something akin to a new take on Troughton’s Doctor, just as Capaldi has managed to do something of a new take on Hartnell’s Doctor. I think I’d also be willing to make an exception for Patterson Joseph, particularly if his costume incorporated an “I AM FROM SPACE” t-shirt.

        • Halloween Jack

          Natalie Dormer needs a steady gig now.

      • Ahuitzotl

        as good as Rylance is, I doubt he’d make a credible Judi Dench

  • Denverite

    I thought Creed was the second best Rocky movie after the first. And I loves me some Rocky III and (probably inexplicably) Rocky IV.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Hmmm. Can’t stand Rocky IV, except of course the line “he bleeds!”. During game VII of the 2001 world series I was reading real-time commentary from a Boston writer (forget who) and after Rivera let in the first run in the 9th the writer quoted from that line, entirely appropriately.

      • Denverite

        Oh, it’s not a good movie. I love it all the same. Though to be Scrupulously Fair to me, the training montage in the Siberian snow is pretty, and I barely prefer the Rocky-Drago fight to the Rocky-Lang fight.

        (True story: The parttime groundskeeper at my kids’ pre-K/kindergarten goes by “Mr. T.” The first year she was there, my daughter would come home saying that “Mr. T played soccer with us” or “Mr. T was mowing the grass” or whatnot. It took me MONTHS to figure out it was a different Mr. T. I just thought maybe he came on hard times.)

        • skate

          “the training montage in the Siberian snow is pretty”

          IIRC, that was shot in the Jackson Valley of Wyoming.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Oh, it’s not a good movie. I love it all the same.

          That’s okay, we all have our guilty pleasures. I could watch I, Robot (the one with Will Smith) 1000 times and never get bored but most of my friends thinks it’s just routine Hollywood Sci-Fi.

        • EliHawk

          I mean, Rocky III and IV are peak 80s cheese cable movies, easily digestible on a Sunday afternoon on USA, the way most people around today probably watched them the first time. They’re just big dumb formulaic sports movies, but the cheese is well maintained. And in hindsight, amazing to think that you could have a five (now 7) film franchise out of a sports movie. How many sports movie franchises are there that get past the Big Hit/Lame Sequel phase (i.e. Major League to Major League 2). Can’t think of any.

      • Dilan Esper

        “If he dies, he dies” is a pretty good line too.

        The Rocky series is underrated– and is also a refutation of anyone who thinks that Stallone has no talent. He actually created something that, while not particularly sophisticated, was enduring and good mass entertainment.

        • efgoldman

          The Rocky series is underrated

          In all my three score and eleven I have never watched thirty seconds of any Rocky movie, and don’t intend to start now.

          ETA: Not even Rocky and Bullwinkle. The TV shows are transcendent, but I’m surprised Jason Alexander hasn’t bought up every copy of the movie and shredded them.

        • LosGatosCA

          See Wepner, Chuck for the creation of Rocky.

          I read that Stallone wrote the Rocky screenplay in a weekend, which doesn’t say much since the Wepner-Ali fight stories had to be filed in just a few hours on the same day.

      • Halloween Jack

        There was a bit in one of Hunter S. Thompson’s later books in which he went to see Rocky IV, and it seemed like it was over before it really started–there are a couple of music videos and a training montage, and then Rocky is wailing on Drago. That’s really typical of much of Stallone’s output during the eighties; he took movies that had at least a little bit of depth or gravitas to them (First Blood, Saturday Night Fever, the first Rocky) and made sequels that were slick, weightless popcorn movies that really weren’t about anything but how jacked he was (or, in the case of Staying Alive, how jacked he’d gotten Travolta).

        That having been said, I did like the living special effect that was Dolph Lundgren in those days. My favorite part of the movie was when Drago was being lifted into the arena for his fight with Creed, and his absolutely thunderstruck expression as James Brown is doing “Living in America”, probably his last great song… and then his flat declaration, “You will lose.”

    • DrS

      Dr. Farthing: I know there’s really nobody to blame for this but myself, well, I don’t know, maybe the Buffalo Bills, the Boston Red Sox, or Mr. T or, or the Jets…

      Mitch: Wait a minute, Mr T.? Are you telling me that you bet on the fight in Rocky III, and that you bet against Rocky?

      Dr. Farthing: Hindsight is twenty-twenty, my friend.

    • Sly

      It’s hard not to like Rocky IV, really. It’s an 80s Cold War movie that manages to hit peak American nationalism without falling into the pit of Red Dawn or Rambo: First Blood Part II. That’s a tough feat to pull off.

      • Denverite

        Plus it ends with a world peace message, which gives it an endearing touch.

  • CrunchyFrog

    By coincidence we saw Bridge of Spies this past weekend – not the kind of movie we usually watch – and really liked it. I guess if you’re seeped in history it’s nothing special, but I thought they did a great job with the historical flavor of the period. I won’t argue with your assessment of the acting performances, and agree there was no suspense. But we still found it enjoyable.

    There was a quirkiness to it, and I thought they must have gotten a lot of the details wrong, especially as the Coen brothers were involved. But upon researching it after watching (which is my normal practice) it seems that it following the real story very accurately by Hollywood standards.

    • Jean-Michel

      The period flavor is what really made it work for me too, especially the details in the East Berlin sequences. I have this ingrained view of Eastern Bloc states as totalitarian hellholes that couldn’t possibly have something like roving youth gangs accosting foreigners, and while I know this is wrong on an intellectual level, it’s a lot more vivid to see otherwise on screen.

    • Moondog

      But we still found it enjoyable.

      Been married for a little while, eh?

      • CrunchyFrog

        Over a quarter century – but actually we do friday movies as a family event with all of the kids (3 now officially adult, but the college kids are home for the summer) so by “We” I meant the family.

        • Moondog von Superman

          Sweet!! Lucky family.

          • wjts

            [Shakes fist in impotent rage at new nym]

            (Only kidding – I like it!)

            • Moondog von Superman

              But is it a little too Alexander Supertramp?

              (cannot get handles right. It’s some kind of nervous condition. “Moondog” must be the worst one I ever barfed up.)

              • wjts

                Honestly, I think the Gidget/German aristocrat/comic book character mashup works pretty well.

                (Although I’m biased by the fact that you thought my dumb joke was funny enough to incorporate into your username.)

    • Kurzleg

      My wife and I enjoyed it, too. One thing that occurred to me is that there isn’t another director working that has the skill to employ what I’ll call classic filmmaking technique. Beyond the period aspect of the subject matter, to me that film represented period filmmaking. I think people take that for granted, but I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Good point. Another point I thought of in retrospect was the handling of the German language scenes. No subtitles. As per our normal practice, we watched the movie with English subtitles and when it got to the German language discussions all the subtitles said was [speaking in German].

        The effect was to make it difficult, but not impossible for the viewer to follow along and thus gave the viewer the same sense of being lost in a strange situation that Donovan was in. Now, as it happens my wife and I actually met in Germany and once were nearly fluent so, despite over 25 years of language rust, we could follow along. But our kids could not. During a break we took I asked the kids if they had trouble following, and although they didn’t know what was being said they got the gist just fine. (Donovan could speak hotel-level German, so was communicating but barely.)

        Over the decades I’ve learned that a director makes that kind of choice – to let the viewer figure it out rather than spell it out – only when s/he has high self-confidence in what s/he is doing.

  • twbb

    “Jesse Eisenberg decides to play Lex Luthor as a somewhat less menacing, less dangerous version of Mark Zuckerberg”

    Don’t the movies always play Lex Luthor as a clownish kind of guy? Which seems to me to weaken them.

    • Turangalila

      Gene Hackman will always be the only Lex Luthor to me.

      • twbb

        Right, he’s who I’m thinking as kind of setting a bad example for the ones who followed. The problem with Superman (other than his personality is not particularly interesting) is he’s too powerful so you need to come up with a good villain.

        Gene Hackman was a bizarre Lex Luthor. A small-time criminal, no technical genius, and no billions of dollars of resources.

        That’s why I, and I think most of the people in my age cohort preferred Superman II to Superman I.

        • Sly

          Terence Stamp will always be General Zod.


        • Latverian Diplomat

          The “comedy” Luthor bits in Superman I are pretty painful, as personified by Ned Beatty’s Otis character.

          But the scene where Luthor is monologing his evil plan to Superman is Hackman gold (except for a brief Otis intrusion, unfortunately).

          It’s important to remember that the Comics Luthor at that time was a spandex wearing ray gun guy, so they were actually doing something with the character that was an important adjustment and had some influence on the “Corporate Luthor” that came later in the comics and this movie.

          As for technical skills, Superman I Luthor theorizes the existence of Kryptonite and figures out where to get some, builds an ultrasonic communications device to lure Superman into his trap, and, of course, finds the perfect place for a nuke to trigger a massive megaquake. None of those are terribly plausible as science of course, but they are perfectly admirable “Mad Science”. :-)

      • CP

        I can’t say I enjoyed anything else about that movie, but I did like Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor a lot.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        It wasn’t a movie, but I always thought John Shea’s Luthor (Lois & Clark) was excellent.

        • Agreed. In general I’d like for Lois & Clark to be rediscovered. It has the millstones of two terrible last seasons, and some frustratingly 90s-ish attitudes towards its female lead. But it has its Superman down to a T, including his fundamental fondness for people, and its approach towards the life-work balance of Superman and Clark Kent has informed the character for two decades. Plus, a good relationship between Clark and Lois, and as you say, a good Lex Luthor.

    • Clancy Brown as Lex in the old Superman and Justice League animated series was the best possible Lex.

      • kenjob

        “President? Do you know how much power I’d have to give up to be president?” remains the quintessence of Luthor.

    • JonH

      To be fair, at root Lex Luthor is a guy who turned to villainy because he lost his hair. Which is pretty silly.

      • Pseudonym

        Although it seems prescient in light of certain presidential candidates.

  • NewishLawyer

    I liked Bridge of Spies in the theatre but don’t remember much about it except the basic plot and Rylance’s performance and Dana Stevens and other critics saw it as a stealthy critique on torture.

    Interestingly the movie is a good example of sexism in casting. The guy Tom Hanks played was in his 30s when the events occurred. Tom Hanks must be in his late 50s or even early 60s by now. There is no way an older woman would be cast as a decades younger role. Yet somehow Hollywood doesn’t think we can believe a guy in his 30s can accomplish those acts.

    • Jean-Michel

      Donovan was 46 in 1962 (and arguably looked older). Hanks was 59 when the movie came out, so that’s still a considerable gap, but it’s not as extreme as you’re making out here and I don’t have a hard time buying Hanks as a middle-aged man.

      • JonH

        Donovan was 46 in 1962 (and arguably looked older).

        Indeed. In the photo you link to he looks a lot like former white house terrorism guy Richard Clarke, who was in his early 50s when he came into the public eye post-9/11.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Hanks was 59 when the movie was filmed. Donovan, the man he portrayed, born in 1916, would have been age 41 when the movie began in 1957 with the capture of Abel and age 46 when most of the events occurred around the prisoner exchange. 13 years isn’t that big of a difference especially with Hollywood makeup and cosmetic surgery practices.

    • Chuchundra

      Meryl Streep played Julia Child in the 2009 movie Julie & Julia. Streep was nearly 60 when the movie was filmed and the bulk of the story concerns Child in the 40’s and 50’s when she was in her late 30’s/early 40’s.

    • ajay

      Yet somehow Hollywood doesn’t think we can believe a guy in his 30s can accomplish those acts.

      This bit is even more bizarre. Because Hollywood is infamous for never having any lead characters who are, or are played by, men in their 30s???

  • Turangalila

    With respect to the two principles principals


    Sorry but there’s so much homophone muddling on the web it drives me nuts.

    • junker

      Hear hear, I no just what your saying.

      • Dave Empey

        Don’t you mean, “here, here”?

        • econoclast

          I think it’s “hair, hair”. You know, like “Hair, hair! The gang aft aglay?” It’s a reference to Robert Burns.

    • (((Hogan)))


      The princiPAL is your PAL.

      Weakness of the mnemonic:

      No one has ever believed that.

      • Dave Empey

        Solution: The princiPAL is not your PAL.

  • Brett

    I liked that Eisenberg’s Luthor didn’t have a clear-cut, easy-to-define reason as to why he hated Superman. Instead, it’s a mix of things that all amount to a generalized resentment of anyone who has power over him, as shown in his reaction to the Senator and Superman.

    • Denverite

      To be Scrupulously Fair, a lot of people (rich people, tenured academics, etc.) are like that. I know of at least one tenured prof who will file a formal grievance against anyone who tells him/her to do something. (He/she will claim that the person telling them to make a deadline or whatnot is “bullying” or “using a position of power in an abusive manner” or somesuch.)

      • The Temporary Name

        How often does he win?

        • Denverite

          The first couple of times they tried to accommodate him/her by moving people off committees, making sure that he/she didn’t have to work with the purported bully, etc. Then they just started ignoring the grievances. Heaven forbid if he/she ever really does have a legitimate grievance.

      • Moondog von Superman

        I have this same generalized resentment despite not having any wealth or tenure. Or credentials, talent, general usefulness…. Luckily I don’t have a formal grievance process available to me either.

    • Eisenberg’s reason for hating Superman is the same reason why anyone in the movie does anything: daddy issues. At a pinch, we will also accept mommy issues, but be sure to note that your feelings about your father make you punch people, while your feelings about your mother make you stop.

  • Alex.S

    Batman v Superman was a terrible movie. Spoilers (I guess?) for this comment and whatever thread it creates.

    There are many reasons to list why it was bad. The pointlessness of the conflict. The random trailers for future DC movies that didn’t matter. The montage of Superman saving people, and then not saving people in order to pose. My personal favorite is that they killed Jimmy Olsen in the opening scene, but the only time the character is named is in the credits at the end of the movie. It just reflects the pointlessness and nihilism in the movie.

    And oh yeah, the entire first half of the movie is built around shipping a box. Which is resolved off screen.

    • AMK

      And to think the biggest fan concern out of the gate was Affleck as batman. Turns out Affleck is fine as batman, and I don’t have a problem with Cavill as broody Superman either. The problem is literally everything else.

      • Brett

        I’m a bit tired with the Grimdark Batman, but Affleck did good with the role and was one of the highlights of the film (not coincidentally, he’s now going to direct a standalone Batman movie and starring in it).

    • Brett

      It felt like they’d spliced two movies together, representing the “Is Superman a threat to world peace by being an unaccountable power and does he want to be Superman?” and “Batman vs Superman building up for the later Justice League movie”. It’s not as blatant as the feeling of splicing that was Amazing Spider-Man 2, but it’s there.

      I enjoyed a big chunk of it, but first 60-90 minutes of it were torturous to sit through.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    I know that it doesn’t make sense, as it is not a law suit, but the title of that film is Batman v. Superman.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Now that would be an interesting twist. Superman sues Batman for $10 million for violating his NDA. The first act of the film? Discovery! Document review! What will they find next?

      • wjts

        “The Bates labeling montage had me on the edge of my seat!”

        • Denverite

          My favorite part was when they found the typo in the privilege log.

          • wjts

            I could have done without all the blatant product placement for Concordance.

            • nixnutz

              You know Batman will want to do all his own review and the Batcomputer will require some crazy custom load file, but good luck finding a forensics vendor who can read those crystalline rods that Superman stores all his data on.

      • Dennis Orphen

        I think I have figured out who is under the cowl the Bat-Man wears. He’s this kind of sleazy dude I always see in various dives around Gotham. He sort of has a used car salesman vibe and is always playing with a book of matches. I don’t know his first name but his last name is O’Brian or Mahoney or something Irish. Malone! Matches Malone is the Bat-Man.

    • Duvall

      The title is actually Batman v Superman, which makes even less sense.

      • wjts

        I haven’t seen it, but based on a very cursory typographical review it might make sense if the movie is about the adventures of someone named “Batman von Superman”.

        • dmsilev

          Fledermaus von Übermensch?

          (the classical music radio station in Chicago always plays the overture to Die Fledermaus at the beginning of each baseball season; it being the only opera that features both a bat and a ball…)

        • Moondog

          Stealing that name.

          • wjts

            Damn it. I knew I should have kept it for myself.

        • Pseudonym

          Any relation to Batman bin Suparman?

  • Sly

    I would concede that Snyder’s Batman is a close approximation of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns, but you have to squint a bit. Considering the fact that I think TDKR is the most overrated run in DC history, I knew early on that I wasn’t going to like it too much. When I found out that Snyder was, in his typical fashion of visual spectacle and narrative incoherence, smashing together TDKR with The Death of Superman (my second-most overrated run in DC history) into a single goddamn movie, my hopes were pretty much dashed completely.

    Still, I managed to hate it less than Man of Steel, so maybe there’s actually something to “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

  • Captain Oblivious

    The airplane versions are often hacked to death to make them kiddie-/religous nutjob-safe and not too long. This can make them even worse than they are.

    • Matt

      That used to be the case when they were shown on general screens, or to every person, but now that you have to pay for them and can pick your own, it’s much less the case. (I’ve seen several ‘R’ rated ones that were clearly un-cut.)

      • CrunchyFrog

        On United the method on most planes now is to download them via United WiFi to your device and play it for yourself. I’ve never used this myself as I have other stuff to keep me busy on the plane, but I’ve been surprised to see naked bodies and the like when people next to me were watching movies via that method.

        • Pseudonym

          I think anyone would be surprised to see the people next to them get naked just to watch a movie on the in-flight WiFi.

      • Brett

        That’s definitely true on the Delta planes as well.

      • EliHawk

        I kind of miss the general screens. A few overseas flights I ended up seeing things I never would have found on my own. That’s where I first saw Breach, which was an excellent film I’d missed in theaters.

        • TribalistMeathead

          This is true. I never would’ve seen Veronica Mars: The Movie were it not on the overhead monitor on a flight I took from LA to Chicago a few years ago.

          I also would’ve never learned that “spittooned” means “drunk,” and can substitute for “shitcanned” in the edited-for-airplanes version of a movie.

    • In recent years I just load up a thumb drive with titles from my DVD library—I’ve accumulated a considerable Criterion Collection backlog—and watch on my computer. I find I can fit eighteen to twenty titles on a 128GB drive, and since the computer now has no moving parts I can fly coast-to-coast without running the battery out.

    • Harry Hardrada

      “Pulp Fiction? Yeah, I saw it on an airplane. It’s cute. It’s a thirty minute film about a group of friends who like cheeseburgers, dancing, and the Bible.”

  • Docrailgun

    Because the Man of Steel Superman is an alien demigod whose adpoted human father told him that people would never accept him – they would always want to worship, hate, use him, or try and destroy him when they saw what he could do. Guess what? Pa was right.
    Worse, after spending his whole life being sad that he was the Last Son of Krypton a bunch of them show up (including a famous general that KNEW HIS DAD) tries to destroy humanity out of spite for Kal’s rejection of them.
    Humans? Manipulative bastards. Kryptonians? Insane power-babies, like Trump with better hair.

    It doesn’t make sense for Superman to dislike humans as much as Cavil seems to dislike people. A grudging sense of responsibility isn’t enough; even Brandon Routh’s Superman was clearly sad and unhappy, but he didn’t seem to resent human beings. Unless they manage to fix this core problem at the heart of the DC movie universe, there’s gonna be trouble ahead.

    • Sly

      Because the Man of Steel Superman is an alien demigod whose adpoted human father told him that people would never accept him – they would always want to worship, hate, use him, or try and destroy him when they saw what he could do. Guess what? Pa was right.

      I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Man of Steel is a hypothesized scenario of Kal-El crash landing on Earth and being found and raised by Lex Luthor.

  • scott_theotherone

    Grew up loving the Rocky films. The first was for some reason the only movie my entire family (both parents and all five of us children) ever went to see together in the theatre. Loved the second. Loved the third and fourth, even as I recognized how cheesy they were. (Never saw the fifth in its entirety, and I see no reason to change that now.)

    So about a year back I showed my three daughters the first, as part of my ongoing efforts to educate them in some of the classics. And…yeah, boy, Rocky and Adrian’s first date is really rapey. Like Pepé Le Pew without the laughs. I found it really, really hard to watch.

  • Hey, don’t knock the Rocky movies, they set the standard for all succeeding montages.

  • Bootsie

    Like many things, Snyder doesn’t get that you don’t start Lex off as wacky and unhinged (only Gene Hackman can get away with that.)

    You start him as a “concerned citizen” sending dudes to fight Superman, then you move on to partnering with Brainiac/Joker/et al to take Supes out, and then finally you reach the stage where he’s running for president as a means to annoy Superman while also summoning Darkseid to Earth.

  • The Temporary Name

    OT: Fondly recalling at least one more LGM thread that mentioned reference letters, I just saw “I strongly recommend him for any assignments equal to his talents.”

    • Warren Terra

      Why even write the letter, if you’re going to be like that?

      • The Temporary Name

        No idea. Made no sense to present it either as it was superfluous.

      • JonH

        Well, if the person in question is both incompetent and an asshole…

      • TribalistMeathead

        If you’re too passive to say “no, I won’t write a letter of rec for you”

  • sharculese

    I went into Bridge of Spies with high hopes and left feeling like I’d gotten the spy movie I wanted, but filtered through the Spielberg Sensibility, which is a thing I don’t care for.

    Then they actually got to the bridge and I thought, “oh yeah, this is the kind of thing that Spielberg does right.” If it had ended there I might have had fond memories of it, but instead there was that interminable coda that just reminded of everything I found frustrating about it.

    • Moondog

      interminable coda

      Perfect description of Spielberg’s addition to AI.

      • scott_theotherone

        The coda to AI is the darkest part of the film: all that poor little boy wanted was for someone to give a shit about him. And no one did. No human, that is. Only the artificial intelligences throughout the film cared about him at all. The coda isn’t sappy or interminable. It’s an indictment of humanity, or humankind’s lack thereof.

        • sharculese

          Yeah, I’ve always found the end of AI to be really affecting and stark. Public opinion seems to be coming around on it, which is great, because I think it and Jurassic Park are the best things Spielberg’s ever done.

          (With the qualification that I haven’t seen Schindler’s List since I was a child and should probably rewatch it.)

          • wjts

            I haven’t seen A.I., but Jurassic Park is not better than Raiders of the Lost Ark or Jaws.

            • scott_theotherone

              Jurassic Park is an oddly underrated movie, given that it’s nearly perfect. (That damn deus ex machina at the very end.) Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws, on the other hand, are absolutely flawless.

              • wjts

                Yeah, Jurassic Park is pretty good. Certainly not one of Spielberg’s absolute best, but pretty good.

              • Dave Empey

                Raiders has a pretty big deus ex machina at the end – almost literally.

                • Murc

                  I don’t think that counts. It’s the Ark of the Covenant. “When a bunch of Nazi’s open the Ark of the Covenant, divine wrath descends on them” isn’t really a deus ex machina; it’s entirely predictable.

              • Moondog von Superman

                Who here has seen ROTLA: The Adaptation ???

                SO AMAZING.

            • sharculese

              I didn’t of think Raiders, which is an oversight, but I’ve never seen Jaws and have no plans to.

              • wjts

                It really is a very good movie. Unless you have A Thing about sharks, in which case, yeah, steer clear.

                • sharculese

                  It’s less that I have a thing about sharks and more that I don’t have a thing about sharks, and my visceral reaction to Jaws is “I don’t want to watch a movie about fucking sharks.”

                • wjts

                  Before I actually saw it, my thoughts were, “Yes, yes – big shark eats people. Who cares?” But it really is a terrific movie.

              • scott_theotherone

                I swear, I’ve always divided life into two stark and very separate parts: Before Jaws and After Jaws. Because After Jaws you can never, ever be fully comfortable in the ocean again. (Hell, for me it took years to be comfortable in a river, lake, stream or pond. Hell, for me it took years until I was comfortable in a swimming pool at night. Jaws fucked me up but good.)

        • Moondog von Superman

          Lazy/wrong application of “coda” by me. I did like the end. I disliked the parts of the movie that were cliche Spielberg and I blame the interminableness on Mr. Spielberg, perhaps unfairly.

        • The Temporary Name

          The coda isn’t sappy or interminable.

          Or, to put it another way, it is, given that the point you say it’s making is made before machine heaven starts.

        • econoclast

          I don’t think this interpretation works because they established that the little boy was a bottomless pit of dumb need. He almost killed the son. He spends the end of his life endlessly asking a statue to turn him into a real boy. When he’s finally rescued by the future AIs, rather help them understand humans the only thing they can get out of him is his desire for the clone mother. If anything it’s a parable about the dangers of love unconstrained by any other emotion.

          • Lodger

            YES. A thousand times this. I hated the movie until I realized that David is, in his own way, a monster. And the ending is an Oedipal nightmare, where the entire rest of his family is gone, so its just him and mom.

      • Jean-Michel

        The coda is in the Aldiss/Kubrick treatment. Now obviously Kubrick wouldn’t have made it the same way as Spielberg—which of course goes for anything in the film—and he could well have tossed out the entire ending and done something different. But it wasn’t an ex nihilo addition by Spielberg.

    • Sophia

      I went into it mildly intoxicated, knowing nothing other than it was Spielberg/Hanks and was delighted to discover it was written by the Coen brothers and an insurance defense attorney was the hero. My only complaint is that Landry was too fat to fly a plane.

  • Bitter Scribe

    the fight scenes easily clear the rather low bar of “most realistic boxing scenes in a Rocky movie.”

    You mean, now and again someone actually blocks or slips a punch?

    • scott_theotherone

      Wait, wait, WAIT. Are you suggesting heavyweight boxers don’t take dozens upon dozens of crosses to the face per round?!

  • Murc

    With respect to the two principles, I thought Affleck was just fine as Batman, and that Snyder mostly got Batman right.

    Robert, you’re a smart man, and I wish you posted more. I bought your book and evangelize it.

    So please, believe me when I say this comes from a place of utmost respect: this is maybe the dumbest thing you’ve ever written. I’m surprised SEK didn’t sit up straight when you posted it and go “I am needed” and then rush back to his computer.

    The very, very short response: any portrayal of Batman that involves him mutilating and killing people in anything other than the last extreme exigency, is a portrayal that’s done fucked up and has missed the entire fuckin’ point of Batman.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Batman knowingly killing people is indeed wrong by the standard of the comics (mutilating is more on the line — comics Batman has certainly used more than the minimum amount of force than was probably really required on plenty of occasions), but I’d say BvS otherwise did the best job of representing the character. Every other modern film portrayal shows the character constantly struggling between his “Batman” persona and “Bruce Wayne” persona. That’s not really consistent with how the character has been portrayed in the comics though for the last 30 years, AFAICT — “Batman” has become his true identity and “Bruce Wayne” is a persona he adopts. (This point is nicely touched on in the film when Alfred comments that Bruce Wayne could get into Luthor’s party easier than Batman could.)

  • Rat2

    I liked Batman v Superman more than most. For me, Wonder Woman stole the show, and I think her introduction as “Wonder Woman” during the final fight when she saves Batman is the best scene in the movie. She has a strong sense of right, she’s a total badass, and she has compelling theme music. I can’t ask much more of a superhero.

    • Murc

      Wonder Woman was the best part of an otherwise weak movie.

      Of course. Her movie is being written by Geoff Johns and Zack Snyder, which means it will probably be dosgshit.

      I mean, honestly. You want a Wonder Woman movie written, the first two people you call should be Greg Rucka and Gail Simone.

      • econoclast

        Snyder only has a story credit on the Wonder Woman movie.

  • TribalistMeathead

    Mrs. Meathead and I saw BvS in Colombia earlier this year. The best I can say about it is that it only cost us around USD10 for 2 tickets.

    Movies viewed on planes during that trip and subsequent work trips the following month:

    Legend – holy hell did I drop the ball by not seeing this sooner

    Joy – not my favorite movie directed by David O. Russell and starring J-Law and Bradley Cooper. Also a good example of how NOT to do a biopic; specifically, by making it a pastiche of several individuals’ lives and then adding to that by making some shit up.

    Rushmore – still awesome

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