Kick names, take ass.
8-30-2019 7:29 pm
Nathan Tyree: It's worse when you smile
There is a moment in Yojimbo where Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) has been defeated. He is hiding out, badly beaten, his face a wreck of blood a bruises. We get the now iconic shot of him slumped against a wall, his hair a rat’s nest falling about his head. A ray of light cuts across his face to illuminate his one remaining good eye. Then we learn that it’s worse when he smiles.

AS action films evolved, the heroes mostly stopped being like Sanjuro. That is, human. Action heroes slowly morphed into super-human constructs. The peak of this process came with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold played unstoppable forces of nature taking on entire armies and alien monsters. The stakes got lower and lower as the audience became more and more convinced that the hero could never fail, never die.

But then, John McClane came along. Die Hard took us back to the fallible, destructible, human protagonist. McClane gets hurt. Really hurt. He does dumb shit (like taking off his shoes in the middle of an action movie). John McClane felt like he could lose. Like he could die.

Of course, the dreadful sequels would slowly morph McClane into yet another superman who can somehow outrun fireballs. That makes sense. It’s a cycle that repeats. McClane would give way to The Rock playing unbeatable forces of nature in films that effectively have no stakes at all.

Maybe that means we are just around the corner from a new, mortal, dumb hero who can reinvent action movies again and get us back to something as perfect and moving as broken Sanjuro being told that it’s worse when he smiles.

Comments (1)

8-28-2019 3:17 pm
Nathan Tyree: IT Chapter 2
I am strangely excited for IT Chapter 2. When IT was released I was in junior high. I carried that giant brick of a book around everywhere I went for weeks. It rapidly became my favorite novel (since surpassed many times) and has had a place in my heart ever since.

When the TV mini-series came out I watched it with excitement. It was flawed, defanged by TV standards, but as good as we could have expected.

When Chapter 1 hit theaters I went opening weekend, with reserved emotions and a nagging belief that I would be disappointed. I was wrong. I loved every minute of it.

I am hoping against hope that they don't fuck up the second half.

Comments (2)

7-05-2019 3:43 pm
Nathan Tyree: Peter parker and the Summer Festival
I have seen two new films this week:

Spider-Man: far from home



I recommend both films heartily, but for very different reasons.

Spider-man is kind-hearted, high-spirited, sweet summer fun. It will leave you smiling as you leave the theater.

Midsommar, on the other hand, is as tough as gristle, as hard as bone, and will leave you disquieted. It is claustrophobic in wide open spaces. It unsettles slowly, and builds dread that you hope will lift once the credits roll. This is a perfect follow up to Aster's previous film, Hereditary.

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6-12-2019 4:37 pm
Nathan Tyree: are we alive?
It seems that there is a bit more activity here of late. That's good. maybe this place can spring back to life.

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3-06-2017 4:28 pm
Nathan Tyree: Logan
Logan is, simply, an amazing film. I would rate it right beside The Dark Knight. After all the bland super hero movies of the last few years, we finally have a truly great super hero movie.

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