03 July 2004

Brando Dead, Spiderman 2, That Thing We're Not Talking About...

Marlon Brando Dead at 80

The greatest film actor of all time, Marlon Brando, died on Thursday at the age of 80. It's hard to not find Brando to be something of an idol if you love films- his work in Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris, The Wild One, The Ugly American, Viva Zapata, Apocalypse Now, The Freshman, Mutiny on the Bounty, Julius Caesar... is remarkable. He not only was the greatest film actor of all time (something, admittedly, that could be harshly debated), but he nearly single handedly changed it, mordernized it (something that cannot). As Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar, Brando turned acting in film from technique into impulse- from craft into experience. For better or for worse, every single young actor is chasing the brilliance and silgularity of that performance- just as every young director chases the brilliance and singularity of Welles' Citizen Kane

My personal favorite performance of Brando's is in Last Tango in Paris, as Paul. His most famous role is most probably as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, in which he won his second of two Oscars (accepted by one Ms. Sacheen Littlefeather).

Anyway, moving on... Spiderman 2. Saw it.

It seriously, totally fucking ruled. I'm shocked. The first one was what it was- a decent super hero movie. The villain was kind of lame, the action scenes were a bit stulted, and the set design was a bit off for a big huge studio movie. I don't say that cos I think I know what I'm talking about- I don't. I just always had this very specific feeling about the first Spiderman that was a little off.

Not this one. Every scene looks cool, Spidey's outfit looks better somehow, not sure why (although I must say I still really dislike the fact that it rips at times- since this is a movie, can we at least pretend that it's a well made suit, and that he'll look good the whole way through?). The action/ fight scenes are amazingly great. Well put together, well shot, really exciting and engaging. The biggest improvement of all is the villain, Dr. Octopus. A mentor of Peter Parker's, the scientist Otto Octavius becomes fused irrevocably with his experiment, and shit smacks hard into fan.

Alfred Molina gives one of the great superhero villain performances as Dr. Octopus, and his entire idea- the arms, the science- play perfect for the film, where the filmmaker's interpretation of the Green Goblin in the first film (Willem Dafoe) was flat.

As silly as it sounds, too- the story was wonderful. Not since the Tim Burton Batmans have we gotten as great a look at the actual character of a superhero as in Spiderman 2. He's conflicted- he loves Mary Jane, and doesn't want to be a superhero anymore. All that work- and he's still poor and having to watch the love his life nearly marry someone else. He barely has time to pay his rent. What was really cool was to see this film become more of "Sam Raimi movie," with more of trademark style- flashy camera work, offbeat characterizations, and fits of terror. A really great movie, and the best superhero film since the first Batman.

Finally, to the Boston Red Sox- stop fucking around. We'll talk about you once you start doing something. We're not a friggin charity here at Bullshit Memorial. Pull your weight. Just for fun though, the 2004 seasons of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez...

David Ortiz, 2004:

.310AVG 22HR 76RBI .363OBP .617SLG .980OPS 312B 44R 98H

Manny Ramirez, 2004:

.338AVG 22HR 63RBI .434OBP .655SLG 1.089OPS 252B 48R 97H

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