Thundering Thursday

Wednesday I rewatched ‘Thor,’ Ms. S. and I tried to watch ‘Anonymous,’ and today the ceiling thunders above us.

I. Thor

Ms. S. and I watched ‘Thor,’ along with other recent Marvel fare (except the most recent Spider-Man reboot), together in the theater. Of the Marvel movies (regardless of who produces them), it’s ‘Spider-Man 3‘ and the two Fantastic Four films that I’ve never bothered rewatching …

… sometimes you just need comfort entertainment like you need comfort food, or a comfort read. When it comes to the former I think of puddings and pie in particular, along with a variety of potato preparations. As for the second, I’ve gotten away from the bad fantasy I read in the 80s and 90s; I’m not sure there are any books I return to when I need a ‘fix’ … I just try something new. The Preston-Child novels are my literary comfort food, but I never reread them, I just wait for the next installment. In terms of television, I suspect the recent Doctor Who revival (not longer so recent, as it dates to 2005) counts, though for a while it was Alias. The other big screen pacifier would have to be ‘The Big Lebowski,’ though I’ve also turned on the 2009 ‘Star Trek‘ reboot from time to time, along with all those Marvel movies.

II. A Tempest

Ms. S. acts and directs; I’ve spent semesters teaching literature at the university level. It’s an understatement to say we love Shakespeare, though we do not necessarily lust after the same performances and adaptations. I, for example, have a soft spot for both ‘Scotland, PA’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ that Ms. S. does not necessarily share, and Sir Kenneth’s ‘Much Ado …,’ Keanu and all, is a pleasure to me and of mine.

We decided to give Roland Emmerich‘s ‘Anonymous‘ a go, and I’ll have more to say about it elsewhere and elsewhen.

It was after midnight; that’s our excuse for not getting through it in one sitting, but the truth is that Ms. S. did not even stoop to finishing it — I just provided the requisite ‘spoilers’ — and I only bothered because I’m a completist who rarely turns a movie off mid-stream.

I once knew a rabid anti-Stratfordian, a mathematical physicist from my LUG days. Anti-Stratfordianism is just another form of pseudo-scientific conspiracy theory ranting, and the type of thing that Kuhn would almost label a paradigm. The ‘logic’ is often circular. Interesting, too, is the attraction such thinking has for otherwise conventionally intelligent and educated people, but there are issues of cause-and-effect (chicken and egg) as well as causality-vs-correlation at work, I think. In the case of the anti-Stratfordian mathematician Georg Cantor there is his mental illness to consider as a contributing factor. With others it’s possible that what ‘makes them’ ‘smart’ — problem-solving and pattern recognition — becomes pathological when applied exclusively and narrowly to domains with which they have only extra-contextual contact, fields in which they do not have ‘experience’ but, rather, only book learning. Someone like Derek Jacobi should, of course, know better.

The movie was not even sound and fury signifying nothing; while the latter is true it missed the former, and while there were a few good performances in search of a script — see also: R. Spall as Shakespeare — it’s astonishing how flat it all fell and felt. The movie itself had no arc, but worst of all — since this was bad even if one was predisposed to accept the rest of the movie based on one’s openness to its philosophical bent — were the stages of scenes from Shakespeare. To call them perfunctory would be laughably generous; ‘misguided’ would still be charitable. They were not even an afterthought; they were barely in the background and not worthy of ‘named’ actors.

Ms. S. and I love bad movies, and I have a soft spot for Emmerich’s blockbusters and attempts thereat. I’ve seen ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ too many times; ‘Independence Day’ is Randy Quaid’s best performance in decades. But we like our messes to be hot messes. If you’re going to fail, at least flop and flail.

More exciting was the 2am thunder and lightning outside, the downpour, a suggested tempest that hinted at more Shakespeare than did this cinematic abortion.

III. Thunder Above

Our upstairs neighbor moved out a week or two ago, and starting last week maintenance folks began doing some work up there. Now it’s some other contractors, and today they’ve been working on the floors. Rolls of carpet were tossed from the balcony and landed before our office window. Smoke breaks were taken in forty year old Chevy truck that has been bleached to beige by the sun.

Currently a hammer and vacuum compete for sonic dominance.

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