Bulk Smash

The superhero we used to call The Inedible Bulk occupied half the front page of today's New York Post. News is advertising and vice versa. Marvel would like to pretend that it hasn't already made this movie. I am only interested if it means people lose interest in hotlinking my 1ron m4n G1F.

More on Hide and Seek

Years ago, wrote this for Joe McKay's preReview site, where we reviewed movies without seeing them:

Man on Fire
Denzel Washington, who doesn't have a mean bone in his body, once again tries to play an angry tough guy in this movie about a bodyguard who f-s up and lets a megacute kid get kidnapped on his watch. After he recovers from the bullet the baddies put in him, nothing will stop him as he tracks down every one of the sick scum who took that beautiful little girl. Or boy. (It's hard to tell.) Of course, it's going to turn out that the kid is in cahoots with the kidnappers, and is actually a small adult masquerading as an ambiguously gendered child. And it's going to turn out that Denzel is actually the mastermind behind the scheme, only he doesn't know it because he has multiple personalities and it was one of the bad "alters" who ordered the child-snatching. At the climax, the small adult, who is also a therapist, will cure Denzel and the two will run away together.
prereviewer - Tom Moody, 11/19/03

Never saw Man on Fire but the later Dakota Fanning vehicle Hide and Seek (2005) is almost as nutty as the above prereview. Nevertheless, it kind of works.

[Spoiler:] Throughout most of the film psychologist Robert de Niro is caring for his daughter after the suicide of his wife (her mom). The girl acts spooky and hostile and talks about her imaginary friend Charlie. De Niro courts pretty neighbor Elizabeth Shue but the daughter misbehaves to drive her away. We don't know if the girl has the Sixth Sense or a weird relationship with another neighbor, a creepy older man who might be Charlie.

The twist is de Niro suffers from a split personality. He killed his wife and unknown to himself, talks to his daughter in the guise of his "alter," Charlie, who uses her to drive his sane self crazy. At one point a therapist friend of de Niro's asks the girl: "what game did Charlie ask you to play?" (Girl gets evil look.) "Upsetting Daddy."

So, as we piece it together post-twist, at a given moment the daughter has had to determine which Dad she is talking to and play the appropriate role to survive--grief shattered child or willing accomplice. Sane herself (of course), she fakes madness in a (failed) attempt to make Dad less attractive as a mate for Shue before "Charlie" kills Shue. Picture Hitchcock's Psycho with a daughter of Anthony Perkins having to navigate between nice older brother and...Mom.

Before the twist, in subtext you think it's a movie about a father coping with a his daughter's autism (she often acts as if others are not in the room); after it you realize it's about a daughter coping with a father's alcoholism ("Charlie" is Dad on a bender). Thus are two intractable social problems mapped onto each other in some impossible, inverse Kleinian pairing. Whether they're actually related is irrelevant: they're linked in the screenwriters' exploitative topology, in order to wring two hot button movies out of one.

Different Kinds of Permanent Bases

Jim Henley:

[W]hen McCain and Lieberman et al try to liken an indefinite, massive presence in Iraq to the country’s lengthy deployments in Germany, Japan and South Korea, the politically potent rejoinder is probably, “Oh. And when can the troops’ families join them?” While I think the US could easily bring its soldiers home from Germany and South Korea, and should bring them home, that’s a minority opinion. But the fact is, American military personnel have been able to raise entire generations of families on bases in Europe and the Western Pacific. Everybody knows that the Defense Department is never going to authorize family housing in Iraq, for practical values of never. When McCain and Bush plan to keep The Troops in Iraq indefinitely, they’re planning a completely different experience for military families than basing troops in Europe or the Pacific entails.

The reason Cheney wants 58 permanent bases in Iraq is to "keep the peace" so the US can control the oil. Cheney thinks history will vindicate him, as gas prices continue to climb, that he laid an early claim on the remaining big spigot. He is a madman but his "reasoning" should be more out in the open, instead of these dodges such as comparing Iraq to Korea.