Wherein unreasonably free time is dedicated to proving Jonah Hill is funnier than you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Triptychal Patch (i.e. "Three Updates")

1) The latest album from Britney Spears has pushed Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak" out of The Top 10 Debut Weeks of the year (which should have included Taylor Swift).

2) Although it's not completely out of theaters — and is slated for re-release next year — with approximately 75 million tickets sold, The Dark Knight is now the third most-seen superhero movie (population adjusted), and most seen in absolute numbers.

3) Harvard (296 Ghits) & Princeton (295 Ghits) have leapfrogged Columbia to become the Ivy League domain-name most-associated with hipsters. Dartmouth slips to the bottom. Order otherwise unchanged.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Counting O{n, ut} Kanye

Last July, MTV.com had a story comparing demand for the latest Miley Cyrus album to Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter 3." Despite the fact that Cyrus bettered the first-week of sales of her previous album by 14%, the article noted this was nowhere close to Wayne's sales. Never mind that the oft-delayed "Carter III" was the first album in 3-and-a-half years to sell a million in one week — somehow Cyrus fans were supposed to be insatiable despite placing TWO Hanna Montana CDs in the Top 20 the year prior. I chalked this up to MTV sensationalism and tried to forget it.

Today, however, Billboard.com had a story projecting Kanye's latest album to sell a "disappointing" 450k units in its debut. Things to keep in mind:
  1. Kanye's first 3 releases had been spaced apart over 2 years, but the space between "Graduation" & "808s & Heartbreak" was a little over a year. Indeed he was still touring based on his old albums while the "808s" singles were dropping.
  2. He's SINGING IN AUTO-TUNE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE ALBUM. That's obviously going to polarize his fan base more than attract new people.
  3. Searching Billboard.com is a pain. It'd be like if Variety kept different box office charts for different genres, mentioned ticket sales for the first few movies, then only ranked the rest.
  4. This means he outsold "Chinese Democracy," an archetype of vaporwagner
  5. 450k units is not bad. That would put Kanye in the Top 10 this year:

Kanye's actually about in line with other pop solo stars like Usher, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé, whose 482k-unit week Billboard considered "whopping." Never mind Kanye outright outsold a lot of other singers, including Madonna, Janet Jackson, Jack Johnson, and, yup Miley Cyrus.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Evan Almighty

1) I will watch anything featuring Jonah Hill. _

2) At times Evan Almighty could pass for an interesting -- albeit disingenuous -- take on how prophets would be received in modern times (i.e. as lunatics).

3) The religious, anti-politician, and spectacle elements of the film seemed so anachronistic. Some grad student has written a thesis on the cultural significance of Morgan Freeman's G-d, though, so I won't bother.

4) Last week, one of my friends told me she finds happiness montages bittersweet, because they are inevitably followed by sadness. Evan Almighty has THREE montages, but only the latter two could be characterized as "happy." The first might be better described as slapstick-schadenfreude, where a character repeatedly harms himself but we laugh at him. Certainly there are also "sad" montages, where characters descend into cross-cut downward spirals. What is the rule there, I wonder?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joe Kelly Likes Pablo Neruda Puns

In the last episode of 'How I Met Your Mother', Ted -- while nude -- cites the following poem as being his favourite:

Get it? 'Cause it's about being nude!

Somewhere there must be someone else blogging about this. Not because HIMYM has a sizable Spanish-speaking audience[1], but because its Nielsen sample ratings among 18-49 year-olds consistently put it on par with 'The Office.' Those are the bloggers, right?

Or maybe the bloggers are the people with DVRs that can over-analyze every frame. Does that mean somewhere there is a dedicated '90210' online fandom like for Chisme Chica and SPN?

[1] Tangentially, it has a very white cast for a show set in Manhattan.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Stephen Colbert once implied that the length of a Wikpedia entry shows how important the issue is. Given I'm about to go through The Time Tunnel, I'm using my extra hour to evaluate the two "Disturbia"s[1] — Rihanna's song and Hitchcock's Shia LeBeouf's film — with this heuristic.

As you can see from the scroll bars in the above screencap, LeBeouf takes the L. I am genuinely surprised by this, since I figured pretty-boy Shia inspired more fannish behavior than Riri. Plus the song is ≈4% as long as the film. What the poets say is true: don't underestimate the internet.

[1] Disturbia's disambiguation page also lists a 1997 novel by that title, but since it has no entry of its own it must not exist [cf. Scott's Razor].

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dr Carter on Cornell (NOT the University)

I'm here to talk about such an amazing person not only to the industry not only to hip-hop but to music generally -- just music period. He doesn't categ...he's not categorized. Meaning this guy who I'm talking about doesn't fall under a category — he doesn't fall under a genre — because if so then he's under all of them.

That's Lil Wayne talking about:
A) Pharrell Williams
B) Andre Benjamin
C) Mike Shinoda
D) Cee-Lo

Mouse-over to find out:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Step Up 2 the Streets

Why I Wanted to See It: The description was so hilarious it made me watch the original.

Why I Hadn't Seen It: Definitely, Maybe seemed more appropriate for Valentine's Day Weekend.

Why I Just Did: It was playing at FYE when I went to pick up Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Yes, I actually buy some movies.

Why I'm Glad I Did: Cassie, Danielle Polanco and Adam Sevani are each adorable in their own way, but otherwise my heart is currently full of hate.

Why I Wish I Hadn't: Many elements to Step Up 2 are begging for astute analysis, from the continuation of the racial authenticity debate sidestepped by its predeccessor to considering whether dance-movie criticism must be distinct from movie-musical criticism. In the end, however, one trait trumps them all[1]:

Every principal is a prick.

Our protagonist is a pathological liar. Both of her fleshed-out friends are traitors. Her choice of love interests is between an overbearing bigot and an arrogant aristocrat. The Villain is egotistical enough to make the arrogant aristocrat appear open minded. Rather than discuss anything, they attempt to humiliate one another. You know things have gone wrong a movie uses the outcast v in-crowd template to root against the rag-tag band of inner-city teens.

[1] Special consideration should be given to how disingenous the film is, but I don't know how to explain anything without giving spoilers. Note that the bold claim Cassie can sing, dance AND act is not the most egregious example of illogic.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Super Tix for Hero Pix

Superman (1978), Batman (1989), and Spider-Man (2002) each broke box-office weekend records. Adjusting for inflation, theater counts or population growth may mitigate the impressive intakes of other comic book blockbusters, but not those three. Today The Dark Knight has set a new mark for weekend ticket sales, putting it in deceptively good position to join the pantheon.

Top 25 Comic Book Movies by Tickets Sold[1]

Batman's 10.2-million-tickets opening bested previous record-holder 1984's Temple of Doom by nearly 50%.[2] Yet, while one in every 24 Americans[3] saw Batman on its opening weekend, one in every 13.5 saw The Dark Knight.

≈96% as many people saw The Dark Knight this weekend as saw 1997's Batman & Robin in its entire run (23.4 mil). Previous record-holder Spider-Man 3's opening run represented a whopping 45% of its total; similar attrition for The Dark Knight would bring in 51 million tickets, surpassing ...Begins (32 mil), ...Returns (39 mil), and ...Forever (42 mil) to become the 2nd most-seen Batman movie.

Catching the original Batman would require the sale of 38 million more tickets. 47 million more would match Spider-Man's 69-million-mark, which is the 2nd-highest this decade, but — as Shrek 2 proved — doable even for a sequel. To match Superman's being seen by one-in-every-3.88 Americans, however, The Dark Knight would have to sell 56 million more. At today's prices, that would be a haul of $540 million, smack dab between Star Wars: A New Hope and Titanic.

[1] Sources:
Box office data -- http://boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=comicbookadaptation.htm
Monthly Population 1978-1999 -- http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/nat-total.txt
Monthly Population 2000-2007 -- http://www.census.gov/popest/national/NA-EST2007-01.html
July 2008 Population -- http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
[2] Coincidentally Ghostbuster II set the box office revenue record in the prior week and Returns would end up breaking it yet again.
[3] Box office numbers we see include Canada, so this ratio is ntrinsically flawed. Of course, the ticket sales themselves are just estimates and can't account for such variables as discounted prices (eg children) per picture. This is all just an excuse to post a pretty chart, though. p_^

Monday, July 7, 2008

Famous Last Nerds = Rapping-Reduced Shakespeare Company?

Initially run on MTV's short-lived sketch comedy "Scratch & Burn," the throwaway setup to "One Minute Hamlet" involves MTV purchasing PBS and demanding a short - attention - span - safe performance of Hamlet. Don't expect much more societal commentary than that, though. For better or worse, "One Minute Hamlet" is all about acting a fool for the sake of a laugh.

Co-writer Jordan Allen-Dutton starts off as fake-English-accented Hamlet mixing up Acts I and III: "Seems? Nay it is; I know not seems / To wake or to sleep — perchance to dream?" He's followed by co-writer Erik Weiner as a fake-New York-accented Marcellus introducing Claudius (composer J.A.Q) and Gertrude (J.A.Q's brother GQ in drag) getting busy on the grave of King Hamlet (Weiner in a suspiciously quick change). This all takes 20 seconds. Between puppets of the “Mouse-trap” players, a Polonius dummy, and unnamed nuns, over the next 100 seconds — “One Minute Hamlet” actually runs 2 minutes — those 4 actors play 16 characters, most of whom end up dead.

For those of us more familiar with “The Lion King” than Hamlet, the story is ridiculous enough that we won’t notice the liberties Allen-Dutton and Weiner take with it. We won’t know who Fortinbras is, let alone appreciate that they replaced “rest” with “ditch” so “May flights of angels sing thee to thy ditch” rhymes with “I’m Fortinbras of Norway, taking over this b*tch.” At the same time, Shakespeare sticklers will be bothered that Hamlet is portrayed killing Rosencrantz & Guildenstern personally, or that Laertes leaps in to remove Hamlet from Opehlia’s grave rather than the other way around. Only the biggest Ophelia-philes will like the line “Hey nonny-nonny and a nonny-nonny-hey / Gather round everybody for a play within a play” as more than lyrical filler.

Still, these faults appear only upon inspection. Like Allen-Dutton and Weiner’s subsequent work on “Robot Chicken,” “One Minute Hamlet” is too short to grate, but does great things.[1]

[1] Look, I'll never said I was Zachary Pincus-Roth, okay? p_^;

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Disaster Movie hits theaters on August 29. Sends chills up your spine, doesn’t it?
Written and directed by the guys who made Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie is a spoof of big budget disaster films such as Juno and The Incredible Hulk. If you can spot the problem with the previous sentence, you’re not alone. Every one of their movies has been met with similar confusion, and we, the audience have finally had enough. Nacho Libre is not epic, and Transformers have nothing to do with sword-and-sandals adventure movies. Making references to other, better movies is not satire[...]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Eat Those

Jonah Weiner, in a Slate essay exuding erudition I never exhibit[1], writes:
And whereas many rappers talk about destroying their competition, Wayne is certainly the first to fantasize about munching on his.
  • 'Cause I eat rappers like a cannibal - LL Cool J's "I'm Bad" (1987)
  • I'm tryin' to chop you to pieces and eat you - Eminem on "Hellbound" (2000)
  • You get ate/I'm like Dahmer - Cassidy's "Problem v The Hustla" (2005)[2]
  • You like a 3 course meal, mother[lover] I eat you: Timbaland on "Come & Get Me" (2007)

Oh, wait, never mind, I've been beaten to the punch. Another Friday night wasted on the well-trod.

[1] Seriously, I am not a hating; I like the word "Afronaut."
[2] Does it count if you're talking about yourself? Also, why does "The Hustla" redirect to Posh Spice on Wikipedia?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Last Pith

One of my pathologies is quote-listing; I maintain quote pages dedicated to such disparately esoteric topics as physics threats, kidult roman à clef, and An Affair to Remember. When I tried to lull myself to sleep earlier by watching The Last Kiss, I actually found myself drawn in, not because it was good,[1] but because the characters spoke in memorable speech rather than "natural" dialog.[2]

I'm hardly the first person to notice this. Every other exchange erupted with overly-earnest emotion the likes of which you find only on adolescents' MySpace profiles. Still, one sentence can speak to even the most guarded of us.

Now, bleary-eyed and facing a dawn nearly two years after this movie came out, it is clear which sentence serves that function for me:
Ducks don't count.

[1] People who were either expecting another Garden State from Zach Braff or Crash from Paul Haggis might be disappointed, but I wanted neither.
[2] A distinction I shamelessly stole from The Absorbascon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Step Up 4m The Onion Movie

It has been noted elsewhere that The Onion Movie features a few surprising appearances, as it was filmed back before some people were famous (or the famous people heard it was going to be horrible). However, I'm the first to note it features Robert Hoffman.

For fans of 21st-century dance-movies, Hoffman (left) is instantly recognizable as the male protagonist of Step Up 2 the Streets and as one of the antagonistic dancers in You Got Served. I wonder if I'm the first person to even REALIZE this, Hoffman included; the overlap between 'Wild-N-Out' watchers and Onion-fans must be miniscule.

This ties into a question I have pondered for a while but lacked the resources to answer: Do established individuals care/know when they're in The Onion?
Presumably the people to ask would be actual individuals who work for The Onion, but I like to imagine they're not allowed to talk about it, that their stories lack bylines not only to keep up the charade but to keep them in place. At the very least, it prevents them from becoming famous enough to write more movies.

[1] Whom I count as my bredren and sistren!
[2] Citibank was owned by Citicorp, now known as Citi, which is short for Citigroup. Yay corporate mergers!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Why I Wanted to See It: Adam Sandler/Kevin James is as likely a couple as Leah Remini/Kevin James.

Buy A-REEBOKWhy I Hadn't Seen It: I probably decided to watch Knocked Up for the bajillionth time instead.

Why I Just Did: Sandler's Don't Mess with the Zohan had a thought-provoking ridiculous take on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and I thought Chuck & Larry might have done the same for homophobia and heteronormativity.

Why I'm Glad I Did: James and Sandler were adorable together. Rachel Dratch is one of my five favourite Rachels.[1] Much like Superbad did a month later, the movie does a good job reminding us of the thin line between strong homosocial friendships and homosexual relationships.

Why I Wish I Hadn't: It has the meanest mainstream depiction of an Asian in the 2.5 decades since Temple of Doom & Sixteen Candles.[2] Widowers, the homeless, and the obese are treated only slightly better. Like many feel-good comedies, its happy ending is unpleasantly illogical.

Chuck & Larry's most egregious failing is in its abject reluctance to distinguish gender and sexuality. James and Sandler continually use feyness as a proxy for gayness, and all the actual homosexuals in the film are completely flaming. While the movie openly -- even didactically -- advocates accepting the LGBT community, it also perpetuates the stereotypes against it. I understand the fear of alienating moviegoers by being "too gay," but Talladega Nights was far more daring a year earlier and still a considerable success. Someone as successful as Sandler has no excuse but cowardice.

[1] The other four being Bilson, Harris (who is technically a Rachael), Maddow & True.
[2] I don't mean Tia Tequila, but she's there too.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Strange Wilderness

Why I Wanted to See It: I adore Jonah Hill.

Why I Hadn't Seen It: Nobody did.

Why I Just Did: Cinco De Mayo.

Why I'm Glad I Did: Real wildlife footage + fake voiceovers=funny. Jonah Hill and Justin Long take the back seat after Accepted, pulling off the subtle-yet-dumb-type of gags I feared had died with ZAZ. The rest of the cast wasn't bad (Ernest Borgnine! Robert Patrick! Um...the big dude from Beerfest!) either.

Why I Wish I Hadn't: Having a ridiculous plot — a struggling wildlife show tries to capture Bigfoot to save its time slot — is one thing, but keeping the plot chugging along with cheap contrivances is another. Characters randomly get masticated, mauled, manhandled,[1] and murdered in obvious attempts at padding the running time. The framing device used to start the story is extraneous to the point it actually confuses things.

But yet and still I loved it. Strange Wilderness is not a character study; it's an excuse to amuse. When a movie keeps you laughing, why complain that there's no real story? A good comedy need only divert, while classically critical components such as "structure" rarely do anything but distract.

Like the narratology/ludology debate for game scholars, maybe film critics need to switch their standards for this type of film. Otherwise it's too easy to decide, "This is a 'slacker comedy,'" and denounce the genre. I humbly suggest the following metric: because Jonah Hill has more lines in Strange Wilderness than Walk Hard and Horton Hears a Who combined, it is inherently better.

[1] Turkey-handled too.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Heartbreak Kid

Why I Wanted to See It: Michelle Monaghan plays Miranda and I adore alliteration.

Why I Hadn't Seen It: Heartbreak Kid's hook is it's a modern-day Middlemarch [1], taking the conventional happy-ending as only the starting point to relationship troubles. The thing is, I never finished Middlemarch.

Why I Just Did: Starting this week, Michelle Monaghan is in Made of Honor as Hannah, which was just alliterative enough to jog my memory.

Why I'm Glad I Did: Ben & Jerry Stiller[2] are adorable together, and Rob Corddry is funny in that "Ha, and he wanted to leave 'The Daily Show'!" sort of way. The seemingly inexorable happy ending to the story is exorabled [sic], if only slightly.

Why I Wish I Hadn't: Even accepting that Eddie's new bride Lila is somehow unfit for marriage, still-even accepting Eddie and random co-vacationer Miranda are completely compatible, even-even accepting that Eddie's premeditated equivocation is excusable to extricate himself from this mess, this movie still has one inexcusable flaw:

It cheats.

For the film's last half-hour, the script keeps skipping over important events by having a character walk up and say, "Boy, these last X weeks have sure moved the plot along." There are successive 2, 24, and 72-week jumps achieved this way. It's like watching Lost in 8:15, but 300% longer and one-third as coherent.

[1] The real reason I'm writing this entry is to proudly note that nobody's made this connection before, if only because George Eliot doesn't really resonate with readers like she used to. Maybe if I looked at reviews from 1973, when the original came out?
[2] Now that joke is darn near 10 years old.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kevin Hart is an April Fool

As if Apple would be proud of Soul Plane! This will change tomorrow...right?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Transitive Property of Superhero Movie

Drake Bell is so dreamy it's not fair to compare his movies to those of mere mortals. How do the lesser beings compare to each other, though? Below, a best-of-5 contest proving Epic Movie is less reprehensible than Meet the Spartans.

STOLEN JOKES-Meet the Spartans
Epic parodied the MTV shows 'Punk'd' and 'Cribs,' despite 'Chappelle's Show' definitive efforts in that regard. MtS not only swiped a 'Chappelle's Show' staple (Grand Theft Auto) but also unironically resurrected the "f00 says what" snowclone from the '90s, and rode the homoeroticism of 300 for all it was worth. Both films would have you know that Paris Hilton is a whore.[1]

When MtS unabashedly uses Bud Light's "Real Men of Genuis" template, it's more than a stolen joke because the beer ads were already parodies. Epic outdid its successor by featuring "Borat" in multiple scenes and mimicking the mummified "Lazy Sundays" meme. It also took a shot at Snakes on a Plane, a film which was possibly a self-parody.

FLOW—Epic Movie
Outside of editorial cartooning, there isn't a work more bent on labeling its jokes than MtS, a pathology that peaked when the narrator informed us that Carmen Electra was filled with "a venomous rage, much like Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3" as she dons the black spidey-suit. Yet by more or less following 300, MtS remains more coherent than Epic, which shifts abruptly from one film aesthetic to another.

AMATEUR ACTORS—Meet the Spartans
Kal Penn — perhaps the greatest actor of our time — headlines an all-star cast in Epic Movie, including SNL's Alterspräsident, American Pie's Eponymous MILF, Katt "I'm a Better Rapper than Nick Cannon" Williams, and Fred Willard. Carmen Electra, who played a bit part in Epic as she did in Date, is the female lead in MtS. I repeat: the female lead in Meet the Spartans is Carmen Electra.

Two sequences in Epic uncover the subtext of their urtexts in interesting ways: the hyperbolic absurdity of Nacho Libre and the Soylent Green creepiness of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. MtS's only hint of originality is in its deceptive title: there are no Meet the Parents/Fockers references in the movie.

[1] Both also have a running gag that may or may not be derivative. For Epic, it's the repeated reference to the evil scheme being lifted from 1978's Superman, since that's a criticism often levied at 2006's Superman Returns. MtS has the Spartans skipping everywhere, which is similar to the invisible-horse-riding knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crowdsourcing Kanye & The Semiotics of So Me

When the music video for Kanye West's "Good Life" premiered in September something immediately bothered me.[1] I knew the lyrics sounded like:
'Cause I'm seasoned/Haters give me them salty looks/Law-rees
Although I didn't know what in the world a "law-ree" was, I took the aside in stride, since I'd inferred the main seasoned/salty pun.

Then the video directors Jonas & François decided to have Mr West speak the word "law-ree" in a word balloon, and I learned it was actually "Lawry's." I imagined Googling it was a worth a shot, but I couldn't figure out the connection. Considering it may be some regional Chicago-slang from Ye's youth, I asked my coworkers who went to school in Chicago, and they were at a complete loss. Even my last-resort UrbanDictionary[2] gave me nothing.

Fast forward to last night. Lost Remote had a post linking to the MTV Labs Blog, which I had no idea existed. I poked around a bit, found out MTV had developed a lyrics site, and tested it out by looking up the "official" lyrics to 'Good Life' That site listed "lowry's" as the correct word, so I chalked the in-video spelling up to Jonas & François's Frenchness and set a-Googling.

Google suggested I might mean "Lawry's" as in, the birthplace of Lawry's seasoned salt.


I don't know how I didn't notice that, but I will note that no decent UrbanDictionary explanation came out until October, a few days after Lawry's Wikipedia entry was edited to mention "Good Life." Hopefully we can all learn from this process that:
α) Crowds can be wise, but doesn't mean they're not slow
β) MTV's lyrics site is less helpful than a Google search
Kanye can be pretty corny[3]

[1] Surprisingly, it's not the fact that the video vixen/item girl's name is "Fershgenet Melaku." Personally, I find that no less appealing a name than "Esther Baxter."
[2] If you
need UrbanDictionary to figure out songs, you are a cultural tourist. Frankly, I'm not ready to count myself out of being up on the Louis Vuitton Don yet.
[3] After the 'Graduation' leak dropped, I went around lording over my less-piracy-inclined colleagues by quizzing them on lyrics. My favorite question was, "Tom Breihan thinks the line '
I'm like a fly Malcolm X/Buy any jeans necessary' is corny. What do you think?" What surprised me is the number of people who didn't get the reference, and when I explained it to them, they were inevitably unimpressed. Long story short: even good jokes aren't funny after you explain them.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The City's Spoony Bard

14 years ago[1], there was a Saturday morning cartoon about a blue superhero who used "spoon" as a battlecry. Even now — for a certain class of people — "spoon" conjures up images of a valiant warrior going into battle against villains with chairs for faces, Mad Bombers What Bomb at Midnight, and Soviet-made computers that speak like vaqueros.

Suffice to say, it was one of the best shows ever made in the history of showmaking, and you can tell by the fact that someone, somewhere, typed spoon out to 97 o's[2]. Here's a graph of Google hits yesterday for "sp[o^x]," where 3≤x≤100[3].

[1] Judging by the fact that I was watching Saturday Morning Cartoons only 14 years ago, would you guess that am I young , immature, or both?
[2] I accidentally skipped 63 Os when I was making the graphic, so if you count backwards from 100 Os you'll get the wrong number. /")_("\
[3] Google hits where x=2 were ≈31.6 million, at x=1 it's ≈7.4 million and for x=0 it's ≈10.8 million (S.P.N. is a surprisingly popular name.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Why I Wanted to See It: There have been many excellent revisionist superhero comics, playing upon the genre's pre-established tropes yet telling vastly different stories. Considering that Superman Returns was basically a series of tropes tied together, one would figure the super-man archetype itself would be ripe for such reworking.[1]

Why I Hadn't Seen It: Brandon Routh is prettier than Luke Wilson and Uma Thurman combined, so I just kept watching Superman Returns over and over that that summer. Feel free to disregard my taste in movies from hereon, but at least it kept me away from The Devil Wears Prada.

Why I Just Did: Only recently have I heard of Hancock, Will Smith's take on the super-man archetype. This reminded that there's deconstructive space that's not solely parodic, and I had the urge to wash Beerfest out of my analytical mouth.

Why I'm Glad I Did: Eddie Izzard and Rainn Wilson were hilarious as always, even if neither had to exactly bust their acting chops. Luke Wilson's oxymoronically handsome everyman persona was perfect, at least as far the film was willing to go. From an ardent 'Smallville'-watcher's perspective, the meta-Clex vibe to the film's action angle made me giggle.

Why I Wish I Hadn't: After I was done basking in the saccharine sensibilities of Stephen Schwartz's songs in Enchanted, I realized that the movie was almost as retrogressively sexist as the cartoon musicals it purports to poke fun at. This is exactly the problem with My Super Ex-Girlfriend, except exacerbated by the fact Uma Thurman ain't no Amy Adams.

Sure there are no damsels in distress, but there are catty, possessive, emotionally unstable superheroines to attend to. Even when crossing into a Bizzaro-universe version of 'Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,' the movie still manages to be maddeningly masculine; rather than explore the dangers of shtupping the super-powered, it's played off as some perverse male fantasy.

Irony of ironies is that Superman Returns featured less action than My Super Ex-Girlfriend, but was a far more honest and endearing exploration of emotions.

[1] What about Mystery Men, you say? That wasn't really a reworking of any one film; ensemble superheroes didn't make it to the big screen for another year with