Tag Archives: movies

Return of Lolita

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Recently, I have been writing an ongoing series called Stock Photo Girl Fantasy and today, I considered whether or not to include the fact that I am 58 years old and Stock Photo Girl looks to be in her mid to late twenties. It would give the story a strange twist, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. It definitely reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time, Lolita. Not the recent one, but the original Kubrick film. I even considered having her co-workers tease her and call her Little Lolita. In the Stock Photo Girl saga, I am definitely Humbert Humbert.

I agree with David Lynch that Kubrick’s Lolita is a perfect film. Everybody in it does a superb job! James Mason conveys perfectly just how hopelessly in love he is. It is a love that Lolita cannot understand, but she is nevertheless touched by it. But, of course, getting seriously involved with a man old enough to be her father is out of the question. It is natural and understandable that she would settle down with a man close to her age. Peter Sellers is also brilliant, and I can’t help thinking that he deserved his fate. But my heart goes out to poor Humbert Humbert.

Why are older men so attracted to young women? Well because, first of all, they don’t feel old inside. Their bodies played a dirty trick on them, growing old like that, and it is a difficult thing to accept sometimes. I can recall vividly my younger years and the experiences I had with younger women when I was young as well. It was this that I put to use in my Stock Photo Girl series. In my fantasies, I am young again! Also, when I gazed at the photos of Stock Photo Girl I felt young again. It was like a tonic. Older men lust after younger women because they lust after their own lost youth. It was a time when they felt vibrantly alive and didn’t worry about the future as much. A younger woman can bring back some of that. But it only lasts for a while, as was the case in Lolita. The younger woman gets bored with all of the obsessive attention, and after all, an older man may be intriguing, but they aren’t sexy. However, I wasn’t clear about the age of Russell in my Fantasy, and of course you never see a photo of him, so he could be older. It might be interesting to explore how a relationship between two people of such different ages would play out, after all it’s a fantasy. It would make the whole thing much more poignant, as it is in the film Lolita. The temptation to give my fantasy a happy ending is pretty strong, but I keep finding as I write that Stock Photo Girl keeps forcing me to keep it real. She may not allow me to be older, or if she does, I will have to pay the price, just as Humbert Humbert did. I will say this however, no one will die in my Fantasy, that is much too dramatic for a tongue-in-cheek series. Ah! Lolita, if only she understood how I felt! Life is so cruel!!

Viggo Rasp or is it Fritz Mortensen?

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Viggo Mortensen seduces Louise Brooks, Wait! That can't be right!

Does anyone remember Fritz Rasp? He is that sinister other-worldly figure that haunts Metropolis, the sci-fi classic from the 1920’s. He also seduced Louise Brooks in Diary of a Lost Girl. At least, that is what we think we know. Actually, it is perfectly obvious to us that Fritz is Viggo Mortensen. How can this be? I think we need to ask Viggo a few questions to clarify the matter. Time travel? It’s hard to say. Maybe Fritz Rasp is Viggo’s grandpa? I am a fan of both actors, but this particular post focuses more on Fritz Rasp. Fritz captured a certain casual sadism pervasive in Weimar Germany. He seems to be this grotesque exaggeration of Aryan manhood, personifying the menacing  storm troopers which filled the streets at that time. He is deliciously creepy. Viggo Mortensen? He could certainly project a vicious manliness, but creepy? Not really. unless you count his performance in History of Violence. I am referring to the part of the film after he loses the nice family guy facade. That was creepy, but in a different way from Fritz Rasp. Even when Viggo is being a total bastard, you tend to root for him, but nobody roots for Fritz Rasp, except possibly Josef Goebbels.

I have seen the future and it is Fritz Rasp!!!

 

What to make of this bizarre resemblance, ja? Ist is a topic of much interest here in the Metropolis. Viggo ist ubermensch for your time, your reich. Very strong, ja! You must be proud of him! Such a fine Aryan, and a good actor as well!

Yeah, well, thanks Fritz.

I think.

Let’s see what other doppelgangers I can find! But take a look! They aren’t identical, but there is a distinct resemblance between the two actors.

 

 

The Dark Knight

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I was listening to Danny Elfman’s opening credits music for the first Tim Burton Batman film, when I came across a story in the San Francisco Chronicle. A man in Oakland had been walking his tiny little eight pound terrier, when he was approached by a couple of thugs. These guys thought the Red Sox cap and red sweater meant this man belonged to a gang, and proceeded to beat the crap out of him. When the little dog, named Shadow, began barking and trying to protect his owner, the thugs stomped the little dog to death. The music swelled in my headphones as a perfect accompaniment to my rage over this gross injustice. A little dog! What threat did he pose? I wanted to kill those thugs with my bare hands. Such is the birth of Batman.

Batman has remained popular since his inception in  1939, on the eve of the Second World War, because he is us. A human being outraged by the outrageous evil in our everyday lives. His parents were gunned down senselessly, and so the young Bruce Wayne devised a way to strike fear into the hearts of such thugs. Batman appeals to the vigilante within us, but he has a code of conduct. He does not carry a gun, and avoids killing if at all possible. The genius of Batman lies in the fact that although he’s quite gothic, at least in the beginning, and today, he is a beacon of hope within the darkness in which he dwells. He has been represented in various ways throughout his career, but the dark knight is probably the most resonant, especially in today’s dark times. Batman was born in the Depression, as was Superman, and he fought for the underdog. Of course, Bruce Wayne is a rich playboy, but unlike Donald Trump, Bruce Wayne could be imagined visiting an Occupy Wall Street demonstration to offer his qualified support. The wealth was a device to enable Bruce Wayne to support himself while being Batman, and to have a very expensive Batcave lair, with an undoubtedly expensive Batmobile, Batplane, and even a Batsubmarine.

The early Batman comics, which are among my favorites, are spooky. Shadows loom large, and his cape gave Batman a spectral majesty. He was quite operatic, with the cowl and cape, and connects us with antiheroes in literature and film, such as the Phantom of the Opera. He is not an evil figure, and yet he evokes Dracula. His appearance owes a debt to the German expressionists, and stimulates a complex array of emotions, much of it subconscious. But to me, as a snot-nosed kid, he just looked cool.

Unlike Superman, Batman was vulnerable. You could easily imagine him getting killed or hurt. It wasn’t until recently with his ongoing battle with Bain, that Batman actually gets badly hurt. I had to suspend my disbelief, as a child, when Batman managed to escape from harm with bullets flying all around him. His utility belt also stretched my imagination to the breaking point. Just how much stuff is in there? Why does he always have the most improbable thing in his belt just when he needs it? Of course, I realized that comics are not logical.

  Then there is the matter of the eyes. There aren’t any!! I can recall a fairly recent Batman comic which made fun of this fact, with another character commenting on the creepiness of the white space in place of eyes. Actually it just adds to the uncanny quality of Batman. When Bruce dons the costume and cowl, he becomes a magical icon from out of our collective unconscious, and such icons don’t have eyes. All psychologists know this. It was one of the few things that Freud and Jung agreed on.

Because Batman had no special powers, he always represented us. We could put ourselves into the story much  more effectively with Batman than Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, or Wonder Woman. With them there was always a gimmick, which was fun, but with Batman you could really imagine how you would fair in that comic book world. I could learn martial arts just like Bruce did. I could manage to keep my massive cape out of the way as I engaged in fisticuffs with a bunch of loons with very poor aim.

With the Silver Age of Batman (the fifties and early sixties) he lost his original mysterious quality and become a much friendlier, but also goofier hero. The stories became much more outlandish, but as a kid I didn’t really care. The Silver Age was packed with all kinds of great characters. Never mind that you see Batman in outer space with no helmet, somehow avoiding death by suffocation. Never mind that he joined the Justice League and spent a lot of the time standing about, listening to the other superheroes discuss strategy.

  Undoubtedly one of the best things about Batman was his car. I mean, none of the other heroes had cars, didn’t need them, but Batman had the very cool Batmobile. My favorite has to be the Silver Age Batmobile, I mean the bat fin and the cowl on the front is kitsch paradise as far as I am concerned. It has that Buck Rogers 1930’s chic going for it. Seeing that awesome car barreling through the streets of Gotham is great to recreate in your imagination and I did for many years.

Batman created the car himself in 1950, and the panel above shows Robin’s reaction. Ten years ahead? You bet! Fuel-injected overdrive, bullet resistant glass, state of the art intercom, and whitewalls. It was a heavy vehicle and only someone with Batman’s strength could handle a standard transmission. Power steering? That’s for sissies!

There have been other Batmobiles since (see above) but they don’t compare to the original. In fact, what the heck is that last thing? That isn’t the Batmobile, it’s some kind of Humvee from Hell.

  There was a campy mid-sixties Batman tv show, which I didn’t particularly like as a kid. It wasn’t Batman. It was Adam West. I got involved in other things and lost track of Batman until the awesome Batman cartoons of the nineties on Cartoon Network. There had been Batman cartoons before, but Super Friends was not the kind of cartoon I craved. I never watched them. The great film treatment by Tim Burton resparked my interest in the Dark Knight. I did think Michael Keaton was miscast, but Jack Nicholson played a memorable Joker, unmatched until Heath Ledger created an equally memorable Joker. The cartoons of the nineties however managed to capture the hip quality of Batman, and the artwork was superb, matching the look of much of both the Golden and Silver Age. He became a character somewhat removed from the others, unlike the family friendly Batman of the Silver Age. He retained his dark allure, and the voice was perfect.

Batman is still going strong today, although he has become a bit too dark for my taste. I liked the grey outfit with the blue cape and the bat on the chest, both with or without the yellow oval. In the latest movie versions, and even in the comics he is becoming too macho. I don’t like the super buff transformer outfit he wears. I would like to see him become more of a human being once again.

This is not Batman. This is Adam West. This is not Robin. This is Bert Ward.

Welcome to RussellPop

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I hope to cover Mickey Mouse to Deadmau5 in this blog

Welcome to my new blog, RussellPop. I felt I should have a family friendly, non-expletive, blog that concerns the fun filled world of popular culture. I have a light, humorous side that doesn’t get enough play on my other blog. Here I have no plans to pull my heart out of my chest and display it on screen squirming and screaming and ….ok, that is for the other blog. Here I comment on music, television, movies, books, other blogs, personalities, cultural history, and very little if anything about me, myself, and I. Again, that is the other blog, russell5087. wordpress.com This is for those people who to use the overused phrase, “don’t want to go there”.

For me this is a welcome diversion from myself. While I plan to avoid the deeper waters, I will make observations that I hope are unique and interesting, unlike what you would find on most pop culture blogs. That is pretty ambitious, I know.