New this week on Popshifter: our latest installment of the excellent series from Paul Casey on The Band’s discography: Stage Fright; a balanced review of the Cure For Pain doc on Morphine’s Mark Sandman by Chelsea; high praise from Cait on Joe Jackson’s tribute to Duke Ellington called (what else?) The Duke; Lisa provides her thoughts on the ways we watch TV shows now; I weigh in on the fanboy shenanigans erupting around early reviews of The Dark Knight Rises and Kevin Smith’s blowhard tendencies; plus I review The Dark Knight Rises (NO SPOILERS).
So you might not have heard about this little movie about some caped crusader but . . . Who am I kidding? We all know that the movie- and comic-going public have lost their damn minds about today’s premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, myself included.
If you are feeling unmoved by this Dark Knight Rises hype, check out this decidedly enthusiastic about not being enthusiastic article from LabSplice at Paracinema: Three Reasons Why I Don’t Care About The Dark Knight Rises. I find the depth of thought that went into this fascinating mostly because I so thoroughly disagree with the first two points that it’s almost like reading a foreign language. Or trying to do math problems. Now I can sort of understand the third point, but concerns about Anne Hathaway are about as high on my priority list as whether or not Rush Limbaugh is going to keep saying stupid stuff about how the movie is an attack on Mitt Romney. Even if she’s awful I’m not worried. Do you know how many times I’ve watched Coppola’s Dracula movie and not cared about how awful Keanu Reeves’s accent was as soon as Gary Oldman came onto the screen? (Sidenote: How much better is Batman Begins now that Katie Holmes is out of Scientology’s clutches?)
When hugely anticipated movies come out there’s always the worry about spoilers. How much is too much? And when is too soon? With the rise of insta-everything via the Internet, it’s hard to avoid them, even if you try. Genevieve Burgess admits on Pajiba that she’s “never understood the mindset that one’s entire enjoyment of a book, movie, or television show rests entirely on just satisfying a deeply uncurious itch regarding what happens next.” That makes sense to me, but on the other hand even hearing the slightest details can set my OCD mind into high gear and then I feel like I will have expectations (good and bad) and that makes me sad. And it goes without saying that revealing major plot points is bad form.
Burgess comes to the following conclusions and let me state for the record, that these are actually the guidelines I follow for Popshifter:
In my own mind, books get a one-year grace period, and even then I do my best to make sure people have read the book in question before talking to them about it. Movies get until the DVD’s been released, and for television I’m pretty brutal and say that everything’s fair game two days after air date to allow for DVR viewers. I’m probably going to get yelled at for that last one, but honestly I find it a bit silly to expect everyone to avoid mentioning anything to do with a show because one day you might start watching it. Unless it’s premium cable; then, discretion is best because not everyone can afford premium cable.
In fact, I will go one step further and say that when I review new movies (and even reissues) I will not give a spoilery plot synopsis; I will try to convey a feeling about the movie and enough details to entice you into watching it.
Another concern with blockbusters (or any cinematic experience) is the presence of idiots. You know, the talkers and the texters. Yes, I understand that Rachel’s death in The Dark Knight (spoiler!) was hard on you and you had to noisily open that giant bag of chips during the 15 seconds of Harvey Dent’s silent anguish to ease your own pain. (This actually happened to me.) But have some damn respect.
I can’t believe that I’m typing this, but the debate about allowing texting in theaters is not only a real debate, it’s an ongoing one. Tim League from the acclaimed Alamo Drafthouse has long been vocal about not allowing the use of cell phones in his theater and he’s not going to go down quietly. A recent article on The Wrap from Chris Davison begins in such a way that you think he might be on your side, and then he totally pulls a fast one and says things like, “So, who cares? Why not just stay home and wait for the DVD or Blu-Ray to come out?” and “on the business side” and something about how creating texting and non-texting theaters won’t cost much so blah blah blah. Ugh.
Cleanse your palate with Tim League’s strongly worded, righteously indignant reply here.
If it wasn’t already clear, I agree with Angie Han’s point in this /Film article about the situation:
On the other other hand, introducing text-friendly showtimes normalizes this abominable behavior, which means it may not be long before texting becomes acceptable at all screenings. So while separating screening into”texting” and “non-texting” may help movie lovers like us in the short run, it could make the overall experience less pleasant in the long run.
I might as well finish off with some lulz. Thanks to /Film for pointing out this hilarious infographic on The Oatmeal about how best to handle douchebags (real talk, you guys) in the theater. INTO THE DOME, MOTHERFUCKER.
—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor