Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that I frequently write roundtables for The Atlantic. Recently, one of my collaborators and I, Lux Alptraum, who runs Fleshbot (NSFW, obviously, but well worth checking out!) decided that we liked writing letters about pop culture to each other so much that we were going to do it on the regular basis. From here on out, we’ll be blogging together at Pop Culture Pen Pals. Please come by! We’re having a lot of fun, and I think you will, too. Up this week: bisexuality in popular culture.
There’s something weirdly deliberate about the ugliness in the trailer for Hesher, and it’s not just that Natalie Portman is wearing too-big hipster glasses and a convenience-store vest:
Of course it’s wildly inappropriate that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character would hang around with a grade-school kid in his underwear, particularly one to whose bullying he is an oddly, and again age-appropriately, passive witness. Blowing things up or burning them down seems like fairly cliche attempts to get someone to act out and achieve catharsis in the wake of a devastating event like a spouse’s death.
But I wonder if some of the ugliness of this is that it doesn’t seem like any of the characters make much emotional progress, unless you count Rainn Wilson shaving off his beard. In trailers for family-tragedy movies like this, I think I look for the emotional queue that everything is probably going to be all right, no matter how much that spoiler tends to annoy me. It doesn’t necessarily look like things were ever that terrific for the people in this movie, and maybe there isn’t a lot of better that they can get. Maybe everything just plods along. In a movie with beautifically-lit redemption and emotional progress, maybe a dirty guy with long hair who can’t put on his damn pants would come to look like a saint. Instead, he’s just a grubby, badly tattooed dude who is hanging out with a grieving grade school kid, weird in a slightly more baroque way than the ways in which life is usually weird.
I have to say, it’s really rather good news that the next season of Doctor Who is going to run concurrently in the United States and the UK. Not because I’m caught up enough to watch along (I’m not) or because I have BBC America (I don’t. I need to make some premium cable decisions soon.). But because I think concurrent airing is probably the best single way to strike back at the plague of unnecessary remakes of British television shows that American networks are so prey too. A transatlantic market that let Americans and Brits have access to the same good things at the same time would offer consumers more choices and open artists up to new markets. It would mean fewer things would be brilliant but cancelled, and a lot more things would be interesting and crosspollinated. And lordy, if that means more John Simm and David Tennant in my life, in shows that originate on both sides of the pond, that is a good thing.