For the immediate future, all blogging will be done, guaranteed almost daily, from
Ken Tucker’s Watching TV
Also, for more Tucker writing on different subjects, go to my Best American Poetry blog :
And my Facebook page for links to my music reviews for NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross.”
The biggest laugh Watchmen got at the sold-out, 9 A.M., IMAX suburban-theater show I went to on Saturday occurred when the Lee Iacocca-businessman-figure said, “Free is just another word for socialist.” It was the happily derisive laugh of a crowd that was totally into the movie, and which also seemed well aware of the recent effort to label the Obama stimulus package as “socialist”–and the audience clearly thought the use of that supposedly-inflammatory word was a joke. Of course, director Zack Snyder couldn’t have known that line would have that context when he was filming Watchmen however many months ago, but movies have a way of capturing what’s in the air at the moment of their release-date in uncanny ways.
In general, no matter what you may think are the flaws in director Zack Snyder’s version of Alan Moore’s book, it does one thing consistently and assiduously: It seizes upon Moore’s long-standing sympathy for ’60s-style politics, strips away much of Moore’s bluster (that’s one of the advantages of having to pare down the novel), and hammers at the idea that Nixonian politics don’t work. Even the libertarian sentiments spouted by the movie’s Rorschach, positioned in the movie as its most interesting figure (thanks to a combo of his CGI mask and Jackie Earle Haley’s terrific performance) are viewed by Moore/Snyder as Walter Kovacs’s one crucial character flaw.
Watchmen is the most “political” movie in theaters now, and will be seen by many people who’d never dream of going to a Michael Moore documentary or of NetFlixing All The President’s Men (I caught at least two shout-outs to Woodward and Bernstein in Watchmen) or Three Days of the Condor. Pretty soon if not already, those who disagree with Alan Moore about the cleansing power of… what? liberalism? (Let the “masks” coexist with ordinary citizens!) anarchy? the nihilism some people (not me) believe is inherent in the movie’s violence and sex?… pretty soon those people may start inveighing against Watchmen. Me, I think it’s just more evidence that pop culture works in mysterious ways that even its creators can’t predict.
I radio-review Beyonce, David Archuleta, and Pink here.
Smoking Gun says this is the “best Scarface tribute ever.” I wouldn’t go that far, but the perp sure has a good handle…
You think with a review like this, it’d rate more of a bottom-line summation of “Skim it.” But hey, I’m not complaining…