Trumped.

How has Donald Trump done it? How has he cemented his place as the front runner of the Republican Party? He was dismissed as a joke. The rhetoric spewed for months was that he’s peaked and will taper off soon. As each month goes by, he gets closer to gathering the delegates he needs to be on the ballot.

News organization are going bonkers with their Trump hate in their opinions sections.

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He is endlessly parodied on television. He is mocked day in and day out. He is called a racist, a misogynist, and the next coming of Adolf Hitler. His support base is said to be made up on uneducated racists. Barack Obama has come out and chatised Trump. Yet he continues to win.

The media is fueling Trump’s campaign. Their coverage of his insults and outlandish comments are endearing him to the general public. Trump’s success is an example that no publicity is bad publicity.

The hate that is thrown on Trump reminds me of the hate Obama received during his 2008 election. Barack Obama was called a Muslim. People said he was popular not because of his policies but because of the color of his skin. He was said to be the Anti-Christ.

The key to Donald Trump’s campaign is frustration with the establishment. People are pissed off. Voting for Donald Trump is giving the political system the finger. It’s why he keeps winning and winning.

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Can Donald Trump win? Can he go all the way? Will he be our next president?

We will find out in November.

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to The Silver Screen, Deadpool.

20th Century Fox has done the unthinkable. They have opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed the Merc with A Mouth on the masses. Bad parents will  rue the day they let their children watch a masked psychopath cut off his own hand in the theater.

Fox’s Deadpool works. It will not win any Oscars. It was not made to. It was a gift to the fans of the character and an apology for a past wrong-doing.

In 2009, 20th Century Fox plopped a turd in the lap of every Deadpool fan with his portrayal in X-men Origins: Wolverine. A character known for his talking had his mouth sewn shut and turned into the unspeakable.

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The portrayal was universally panned. The movie was highly offensive to not only Deadpool fans but movie fans everywhere. The only enjoyable version of X-men Origins: Wolverine was the leaked workprint version. That may be the greatest comedy film ever created. Certainly in the same league as Some Like It Hot.

A Deadpool movie had been rumored for years after the butchering of the character. A script floated around online. I  got my hands on it while in college.  It was decent. This new movie has scenes from that script. I like this movie a lot more than that old script.

Deadpool is a relatively faithful adaptation of Joe Kelly’s run of Deadpool. Adaptations should focus on bringing the spirit of the story to another medium. Fans want a 1:1 reproduction of the source material and that is not feasible in most cases. What works in one medium does not necessarily work in another.

Deadpool has the spirit of the character down. Deadpool is a tortured psychopath masquerading his insecurities and fears with sardonic wit. The Deadpool character is known for his humor and breaking the fourth wall. It is forgotten by many  that he is a man who has cancer eating away at his insides everyday and he has killed many people. He is a mercenary, not a comedian.

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Joe Kelly’s run focused on Deadpool’s insecurities. Deadpool was not a hero. He’s your prototypical anti-hero on acid. He detested the word, “hero”. He once beat a woman to a bloody pulp for continuing to call him one.

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The humor in the comic book was strong. It was very much a part of the book and character’s success. Joe Kelly seamlessly added in references to television shows, celebrities, and more. Some of which have stood the test of time.

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Deadpool takes the best of Joe Kelly’s run.

All the elements of that Deadpool character are in this movie.His checkered past. His aversion to the word, “hero”. His mangled face. His fourth-wall breaking. His scumbag friend, Weasel. The gratuitous violence. The old blind woman that he keeps locked in his house for company.

Blind Al and Weasel made it to the movie screen. We have come a long way from 1978’s Superman.

Deadpool is at its best when the title character is running around in his red tights and mask. Ryan Reynolds is having a lot of fun with the role. He brings the insanity and tragedy of Deadpool. The way Deadpool fights and acts is straight out of one of his comic books. Reynolds’ timing is impeccable. He gets the character. I appreciate the love he’s shown Deadpool.

I have one gripe with Deadpool in this movie. He’s not ugly enough.

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He should have looked more like an eighties horror movie villain. Closer to Jason Voorhees than Ryan Reynolds with a bad rash. The audience should have had the same reaction as the characters when Deadpool removes his mask. His face should be stomach-churning. I also think we shouldn’t have seen his face until the final scene. It should have been a running joke that we see only the characters’ reaction to it. I know they had a lower budget for this film so I’ll let this slide.

The movie does struggle when Deadpool is not on the screen. The flashback scenes showing his romance with Vanessa were some of the weaker scenes of the movie. They are funny, but not gripping.  The movie starts us off with him in the suit. He’s gunning and slicing mooks. Every flashback scene pulled us away the present to deliver us the past.

The film should have started where the story started. Instead we get a little bit of present Deadpool and then some flashback. More Deadpool, more flashback. Once the flashbacks stopped and the movie could just go, it flowed. The movie had to do the origin story which hurt it. It tried to do A Day in the Life of Deadpool and Deadpool’s Origin all at same time. It should have tried to be one or the other.

If they went down that path,  it would have been thirty minutes without Deadpool in the suit. The audience might have grown restless. So maybe in medias res is the better way to start.

The movie throws a busload of jokes at you. Most of them work. The ones that don’t, you forget about quickly. Every audience will react to this movie differently. The jokes about Blade 2, Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine went over the heads of my audience. Everyone will find something funny. I could see people disliking all the dick jokes and over-the-top swearing. It is very sophomoric but the tone fits Deadpool.

The film was more sexually-charged than I was expecting for a comic book film. There were jokes about masturbation and pegging. They were funny, but I hope they don’t turn some people off to the movie.

The film is a fun time in the theater. If you’re looking for  sweet film with decent action, questionable acts around stuffed animals, and a ton of humor, you should check out Deadpool.

I do have one thing about the ending though.  Spoiler Alert.

 

Deadpool gets the girl. He’s a character who’s not supposed to get the Hollywood Ending. The scene prior to it was an attempt to define Deadpool as not a hero. Colossus, an X-man, tells Deadpool to not shoot the main villain in the head. Deadpool can define himself as a hero by sparing a life. Deadpool does not hesitate and blasts him in the head in the middle of Colossus’s speech. This is telling us Deadpool is no hero. However he is given the hero’s ending by having Vanessa accept him despite his ugly looks.

For a movie that prided itself on deviating from the traditional path, it had a traditional ending. To be Deadpool is to suffer. He can’t get the girl. What will they do with her in the sequel? Kill her off? It seems like they have to. Will Deadpool get married?

I have high expectations for the sequel.

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Pride Cometh.

The Carolina Panthers lost Superbowl 50. I had favored them to win by twenty points. On paper, it looked like the great defense and anemic offense of the Denver Broncos would fall to Carolina’s good defense and dynamic offense. But the pressure got to Cam figuratively and literally.

The Panthers were the villains of this game going in. Everyone in The United States except for people in Massachusetts and North Carolina were rooting for the humble Peyton Manning to ride off into the sunset. All season long Cam Newton had danced and dabbed. His celebrations were called excessive and rubbed people the wrong way. He was said to be arrogant and self-absorbed.

I did not dislike Cam for his excessive dancing. I was in the camp that other teams should stop him so he has no reason to dance. The Broncos did in astounding fashion. They made the league MVP look like a frightened child playing football for the first time. I do find the backlash to Cam Newton’s dancing to be worthy of discussion.

There were people who believed it was that Cam Newton was being criticized because he was black. A proud black man celebrating and having fun was too much for some of the NFL’s fanbase.

When Richard Sherman had his rant about being the best corner in the game on live television two years ago, people went nuts. On twitter, he was insulted and called a thug by many people. He did not curse. He did not throw up any gang signs. He was caught up in the heat of the moment and spoke with passion. There was not a thing thuggish about his behavior that night. People characterized him as a thug because of the color of his skin.

Cam Newton is not the same as Sherman. There are those who do criticize him because he is black, but it’s mostly people seeing his confidence as arrogance. I’m a believer that a person can only be arrogant after they have failed. Confidence before the fact is okay with me. If you say you’re going to be the best at something and you do it, that’s confidence. If you say you’re going to be the best at something and you fail, then you were arrogant.

If what you said matches up with what you’ve accomplished, then it can’t be arrogance. People want the humble person who thanks his mom and kisses babies, but not everyone has to be like that. The world would be boring if everyone was the same. Peyton isn’t right and Cam is wrong. If you want to shout to the world that you are awesome, that’s cool with me. So long as you aren’t swearing or trying to hurt someone, say you what want. If that’s what fires you up to succeed, then it shouldn’t be frowned upon. It’s just you will have to deal with the consequences of what you say if you don’t live up to it.

Here’s a video of Tom Brady and Plaxico Burress from before Super Bowl 42. 18-1.

In this interview, Plaxico Burress predicts that the Giants would win 23-17. Tom Brady  laughs at the absurdity of the 2007 Patriots only scoring 17 points. The Patriots scored only 14 points in Super Bowl 42. Tom Brady was arrogant.

When Lebron James joined the Miami Heat, he predicted they would win countless championships. He promised more than seven championships to the Miami Heat fans.

This was really arrogant in retrospect because they only won two.

Football being a team sport contributes to the hate on Newton. His dancing puts a lot of focus on him so to some people he comes off as caring more about himself and not the team. His play in the Super Bowl gave his haters more fire.

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Cam Newton debates diving for ball in Super Bowl

Being prideful is not a reason to be worthy of scorn or dislike. If you can back up what you say, you can talk and dance all you want. But if you can’t, then you have to eat crow. Cam is learning that lesson the hard way right now.

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True Horror

David Fincher’s Zodiac is at its best when it uses the power of the screen to dramatize the horror and brutality of the Zodiac Killer’s killing spree in the 1970s.

I consider the depiction of the Lake Berrysea attack to be the film’s strongest scene. The scene where Robert Graysmith flees from the cellar as he hears steps above is a close second.

The horror in the scene is in the powerlessness of the two victims. Held at gunpoint, they have no choice but to listen to the demands of a hooded man. Horror films rely on excessive gore and creative murders to engage the audience. Unconventional deaths and weapons are used to shock the audience into jumping or grimacing at the violence on the screen.

In this scene, all we have is a pistol. It gives the Zodiac Killer all the power he needs to impose his twisted fantasies on this innocent couple. He does not need to shoot it. The threat of violence is enough to subdue them.

Fincher could have chosen to show us the backs of the the victims being pierced by the giant knife of the Zodiac Killer.  We could have seen blood splattering all over the place. Instead Fincher keeps us on the faces of the couple. They do not lose their humanity as the attack occurs. And that is why this scene works so well.

In your traditional horror film, humanity is stripped from the victims. We want to see them smashed, bashed, sliced, and crushed in crazy new ways. The killer becomes the hero. We root for them. How are they going to dish out the pain? Much like how we turn our heads as we drive to see the aftermath of car crashes, we watch horror films to see blood and gore. We want those stupid people to get what is coming to them.

Take this scene from Jason X.

Does anyone care about this blonde as her face is frozen and then smashed to pieces? We aren’t supposed to. She’s attractive but the lure and appeal of this franchise is the murder of attractive young teenagers. She is killed and then thrown away unceremoniously. She becomes an object for the audience’s blood lust.

These two films are wildly different in execution and concept but that is why I am comparing and contrasting them. They do both have the same job of trying to engage the audience using horror.

To go back to scene from Zodiac, Fincher does not give the audience a chance to turn the Zodiac Killer into a hero. The sound of the knife entering and exiting their bodies is terrifying. It’s unnerving to watch the couple’s reactions to the attack. No score is played underneath the attacks. The events play out like they did on September 27th, 1969. All we hear are the sounds of nature, the knife stabs, and the screams of the victims.

If one is to succeed at horrifying the audience, they must allow the victims of violence to retain their humanity.