Skip

I think he liked the new Spider Man movie.
May 7, 2002 8:01 AM   Subscribe

I think he liked the new Spider Man movie. Not only includes many arguments for why the movie is great, but goes so far as to say that Art is "culturally irrelevant," has been replaced by movies as the most successful reflection of our times, and that this movie will stand not merely as the best film of 2002, but might well be studied in the future as the creative work most symbolic of America in these troubled modern times. Wow. Now THAT's a good flick!
posted by conquistador (43 comments total)

 
[The link will be up until late tonight, and can then be found in his "previous" archives.]

Has Lileks gone off the deep end? I haven't seen the movie, but I guess I have to now.
And I completely disagree with his contention that no one looks to art (sculpture, paintings, books) to get a sense of times gone by...
posted by conquistador at 8:06 AM on May 7, 2002


Somehow I had imagined that the destruction of the World Trade Towers might have stood as symbolic of our century...silly me.
posted by Postroad at 8:15 AM on May 7, 2002


It's the only movie I've bothered to go see in the theaters this year so far and I'm not dissapointed that I did. The beginning seems a little rushed, but by the end I was so sucked in that it didn't seem to matter anymore. It was exactly what I wanted from it: genuinely entertaining. I'd highly recommend it.
posted by Hackworth at 8:17 AM on May 7, 2002


On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 147.
posted by uftheory at 8:21 AM on May 7, 2002


I wouldn't say Lileks has gone off the deep end. If this were written by Ebert, well then maybe.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:22 AM on May 7, 2002


[I'm still thinking of Matt's suggestion of a Tim Burton-directed Spiderman, post-11 September. It's probably one of the best films I'll never see.]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:23 AM on May 7, 2002


He's a bit prone to hyperbole. I usually like him, but when he starts taking potshots at contemporary art, I close my ears. He's right about the maddening insularity and general irrelevance of the field, but also doesn't seem to make any effort to find out if anyone's work runs counter to the mediocre majority, which seems a bit reactionary sometimes. For him, this spidermovie speaks. I accept that, and agree that film is definately the hegemon. But few things could match the juggernaut of press, publicity, volume and size of a gazillion-dollar Hollywood production. It's easy for it to steamroll over smaller things with big intentions. I respect that Spiderman has that kind of power for Lileks and lots of other people. I'll have to see the movie before I agree with him, but as I hated comic books as a kid, I doubt I will have quite the same reaction.
posted by evanizer at 8:26 AM on May 7, 2002


"Somehow I had imagined that the destruction of the World Trade Towers might have stood as symbolic of our century...silly me."

We're just gettin' started though. Remember we've got global warming, water issues, energy issues, corporate corruption, biological technology being unleashed by those same corporations and Warren Buffett telling us that a large scale nuclear attack on the US is a virtual certainty. I don't think this stuff is really getting through to people. In the end, I think the trade towers are not going to be remembered as the most significant event this century - not because the event was insignificant - but because it will probably pale in comparison to whatever happens next. People are totally out of control in this world. Eventually the law of cause and effect dictates that we're going to be on the receiving end of our insanity.

Oh... didn't think the movie was that great, but glad I went anyway. Was a *huge* spiderman fan as a kid.
posted by muppetboy at 8:27 AM on May 7, 2002


Postroad, I think the phrase "creative work" is key here. The only person who thought the WTC attacks were art was avant garde legend Stockhausen although that is up for debate

As far as the actual movie, Miguel I gotta disagree with you here. I thought the original Batman was plodding and emotionless. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man is actually capable of stirring some feeling amongst the whiz bang action stuff (which is much better than Batman as well)
posted by jeremias at 8:28 AM on May 7, 2002


Interesting piece if you don't mind the schmaltz, but when Lileks writes this ...
Now, let me dig a deeper hole: this movie is more important, in the long run, than any other movie, novel, artwork or musical composition that will be produced in 2002.
... I can't help but think he's sharing a bong with Peggy Noonan.
posted by rcade at 8:35 AM on May 7, 2002


Tim Burton: Even more overrated than David Lynch™

*ducks*
posted by evanizer at 8:36 AM on May 7, 2002


People are totally out of control in this world. Eventually the law of cause and effect dictates that we're going to be on the receiving end of our insanity.

It feels pretty out of control now, but are American really staring at a future that's more frightening than Americans in 1917 or 1941? Imagine how much more fun the present circumstance would be if the Soviet Union was still around and a crisis could escalate into a nuclear exchange at any time. (Actually, it doesn't have to be imagined -- visit India or Pakistan.)
posted by rcade at 8:40 AM on May 7, 2002


Or use this link for posterity.
posted by mcwetboy at 8:43 AM on May 7, 2002


The upside down wet kiss makes the movie worth seeing.
posted by Voyageman at 8:48 AM on May 7, 2002


"But novels have little cultural impact these days."

Um...on a purely base level, Harry Potter? The Oprah Book Club? The McSweeney's house style that has permeated every other weblog and smarmy Gen X magazine from here to Graceland?

The movie was fun, but methinks Mr. Lileks obfuscates the biggest Hollywood opening weekend with some sort of artistic-cultural qualifer. At least he can write coherent sentences and maintain a passionate vein, unlike some people.
posted by ed at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2002


I'm still thinking of Matt's suggestion of a Tim Burton-directed Spiderman, post-11 September.

Dear God, no. Don't let Burton ruin any more superheroes. Or any more film stock, for that matter.
posted by kindall at 8:58 AM on May 7, 2002


I'll agree that Tim Burton is vastly overrated. He's an accomplished visual stylist but he can't hold a plot together to save his life.

Spiderman was excellent imho.
posted by Tempus67 at 9:02 AM on May 7, 2002


Burton-schmurton. Raimi's geeky love of Spiderman showed through (the Goblin dragging Spidey off the bridge being an almost perfect recreation of ASM #39's cover for example). The movie needed to be translated for the screen, not turned into a metaphor for something else.

As for the Lileks piece, can I say that I enjoyed the movie but found the writing stilted? Does that make me impossibly cool or a pain in the ass? Or both?
posted by yerfatma at 9:12 AM on May 7, 2002


I'd like to see something like http://www.moviemask.com , with the artificial intelligence of wintermute. So you could take any movie, and have it instantly remade by your favorite director, or just push a button that says, "make this movie suck less".

I guess that'd screw up a lot of things.
posted by mecran01 at 9:15 AM on May 7, 2002


I agree about his piece being a bit stilted, it was also long-winded. I actually liked his opinions better *before* he saw the movie -(scroll down to middle) as in:

But: the idea that Spidey shoots webs out of his veins, rather than mechanical devices he built himself, is stupid and wrong.

I would agree with that.
posted by jeremias at 9:21 AM on May 7, 2002


Just to pick up the gauntlet that you threw down, here we go. I think Tim Burton is one of the more interesting and imaginative directors in Hollywood. The imagery and movement in his films are wonderful in a dream/trippy/reflective manner. I appreciate his views on the disintegration of the city [and interpersonal relationships i.e. Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks and even Planet of the Apes]. The reason I believe that some don’t appreciate/like him, is Burton’s extreme style. If I place 10 clips of movies in front of most people and ask which one is a Tim Burton film…most could figure it out. Just like many don’t care for Darren Aronofsky because of his unique style, I think the focus on visuals rub people the wrong way. His writing/adaptation lately [Planet of the Apes for example] has fallen off, but his body of work is very intriguing.

Ok, back on topic. I take issue with many who wave current art trends [I’ll use modern for short hand] off with the flick of their wrist. Not to sound snarky, but to my ears, many who disagree with modern art are either ill informed, do not want to be informed, or just don’t get it. It’s all right if you don’t get modern art. Sometimes I don’t get it and I am in art/design school. “Modern” Art has much to give to the world, from Mood River at the Wexner [Columbus, OH – it is traveling to you soon] trying to reorient your view of “normal”, to the SFMOMA’s Design Afoot exhibition, to the controversial Brooklyn Museum Art exhibition Sensation. I have to agree though, that movies and pop music have more affect on the general population that art does. Many just think art is about pretty paintings and art shouldn’t rock the boat. It is funny looking back at Duchamp’s toilet and the effect it had on the art world. Maybe art is for arts sake and artists now, not the general public who are more interested in condensed mediocrity.
posted by plemeljr at 9:22 AM on May 7, 2002


Man do I feel polemic today.
posted by plemeljr at 9:26 AM on May 7, 2002


Um...on a purely base level, Harry Potter? The Oprah Book Club? The McSweeney's house style that has permeated every other weblog and smarmy Gen X magazine from here to Graceland?

Are you sure that there wasn't something in the air there already? McSweeney's isn't a novel anyway.
posted by raysmj at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2002


Does anyone remember a project that was initially planned for Tim Burton to do a modern version of Superman starring Nicholas Cage? It got killed pretty early on, but sounded pretty intriguing.
posted by rks404 at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2002


rks404:

Yeah, I remember that. "Superman Lives". The movie's apparently not dead yet (Google cache) but Burton and Cage aren't working on it.

According to this page, Brendan Fraser is now the star.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2002


This Just In: Lileks Really Likes PB&J; Webloggers Debate Ramifications, Possible Middle East Tie-In.
posted by solistrato at 9:48 AM on May 7, 2002


Now that was funny.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2002


Plemeljr: thanks. Your comment, with the problems it raises and the great links would make a great front page post, up to y2karl standards, IMO.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:01 AM on May 7, 2002


But: the idea that Spidey shoots webs out of his veins, rather than mechanical devices he built himself, is stupid and wrong.

I would agree with that.


I thought so too at first, but the more I think about it, the more it seems to make sense that he can physically shoot the webs rather than build something to do it.

Which is more believable, that an 18-year-old would create a device capable of creating sticky spiderwebs very quickly, or that he developed that ability when bitten by a spider.

Any day now someone's going to write an cultural critique explaining how important it was that he was bit by a genetically modified spider instead of a radioactive one.
posted by drezdn at 10:21 AM on May 7, 2002


mr_crash_davis:

Thank you very much for the link! No one has ever believed me before when I mentioned this, so it is very gratifying to see more information.

But Brendan Frasier, Encino Man to Superman? That's too much for even my credibility to bear.
posted by rks404 at 10:22 AM on May 7, 2002


Screw spiderman, I'm waiting for the Hellboy movie. Counting the days, counting the days...
posted by atom128 at 10:37 AM on May 7, 2002


plemeljr: "Maybe art is for arts sake and artists now, not the general public who are more interested in condensed mediocrity."

Considering that very few people (relatively) even see modern art, and even less appreciate it. I think that modern art is getting the praise it deserves.
posted by patrickje at 11:35 AM on May 7, 2002


Meanwhile, back at his day job, Our Hero opines about the best episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".

Dear James certainly can't be accused of being a Middle Mind.
posted by briank at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2002


Given that time has caught up with the Spidey origin, and the movie uses a "genetically modified spider" rather than one that is merely irradiated (ha!), I'm perfectly willing to accept that the web-shooters are part of the gene-splicing.
posted by dhartung at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2002


Maybe Spider-man will be the biggest film of the year and maybe people will remember this fact in the future but I doubt it will act as the massive cultural beacon that Lileks seems to have constructed in the article. For a start, it is merely a continuation of a long-running franchise and the fact that I will always think of Spiderman as a great comicbook character rather than a great film character diminishes from the standalone impact of the film itself.

It may well even be absorbed into the turn-of-the-century comicbook superhero trend. When you've got the X-Men, Spiderman, the Hulk, Daredevil and Blade all appearing on the big screen in temporal spitting distance of each other and even Superman returning to the small screen in the guise of a teen drama, you've start looking at the whole rather than one specific film.
posted by MUD at 1:13 PM on May 7, 2002


Let me dig an even deeper hole; I would say that "Everybody Loves Raymond" is a most important testament to the modern family dynamic thus far in the new millenium. I'm not saying that it has a higher degree of psychological accuracy - just that because its on television, it is more widely seen and delivers its message effectively.

When the aliens sift through our ruined culture, to see what the goons they blasted to photons were like, they will pay attention to the recurring phrase:

Everybody Loves Raymond

Everybody. Not just a chosen few; Raymond crossed cultural, religious, and ethnic lines, a true man of the people. And they just didn't like him - they loved him, body mind heart and soul.

What silly tributes would you write to your favorite media creation? Can you shoehorn timeless meaning into mass-produced pap, and make it stick using sealing wax and paper paste? Give it a shot - its fun.

(PS - I have just about every Spider-man comic since 1974. Saw the movie. It was pretty nifty... but Damn!! Get a grip: Star Wars is coming, and you may dampen yourself...)
posted by Perigee at 1:33 PM on May 7, 2002


About Spider-man shooting web out of his wrists and not having webshooters: I think that this was a great idea. I never really understood what was so "spidery" about spiderman in the comics. His webshooters were the most spidery things. His only real power was being strong and sticking to things. He could have been Gum-Man and his powers would have seemed to make just as much sense.
posted by untuckedshirts at 2:38 PM on May 7, 2002


Tim Burton: Even more overrated than David Lynch™

Damnant quod non intellegunt.
posted by brittney at 2:47 PM on May 7, 2002


Heh, proportionate strength and agility of gum. Gum-Man practically writes his nemeses scripts just by being:

Molar Man: "I'm going to chew you up and spit you out! By gum!"

As for the organic web idea - so they borrowed an idea from Spidey 2099 and eliminated one of those niggling plot-holes at the same time (Peter Parker is the only person in the world able to invent synthetic webbing? Pshaw)? Seems sensible to me.
posted by MUD at 3:06 PM on May 7, 2002


"McG", the guy who directed Charlie's Angels is doing the new Superman. Yes, (as the world's biggest Superman fan) I am dreading that - though if they see how Spidey got it right they may be able to right the ship - but I'm not optimistic, looking at Warner's pathetic track record.

I like Burton's first Batman, but disliked Returns - the problem is his visual style is "ooooh, loook, twisted and dark" but it gets tired quick. Beetlejuice still rocks though.
posted by owillis at 3:28 PM on May 7, 2002


I looooove all of the various the batman cartoons of the past ten years or so,
but hated the movies. Tim Burton is an overrated hack. It's all been shite after Beetlejuice.

I'm really Looking forward to Darren Aronofsky's stab at the bat.
He, I believe, will nail it.
posted by dong_resin at 3:53 PM on May 7, 2002


Batman-Superman toons were awesome, they should really have Paul Dini et all script the upcoming Superman and Batman flicks. As for Spidey, I read that Stan Lee changed his opinion about organic web-shooters after seeing the finished movie. He wasn't too happy about them before, but now approves them.
posted by riffola at 7:25 PM on May 7, 2002


The thing with Stan Lee is that he's sort of like the Wright Brothers with regards to flight. Very important to its roots, but irrelevant to current operations. His recent stab at writing in that "DC imagined" series is some of the most terrible comic writing I've ever read - and I've read Rob Liefeld! Keep that legend away from the comics...
posted by owillis at 8:21 PM on May 7, 2002


« Older Congress Woman requests Flash game removal   |   Enron cheated California Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post