The Weekend in Review; July 10th, 2017

I've maintained, for many years now, that Summer is the Season of Idiots. 

Heat does something to a person's brain. Cooks it right in your skull. Decision making goes from an expansive process of managing multitudes of factors and possible outcomes to an algebra with only the basest of human considerations to work with. For 75% of the year, humankind dreams and thinks and learns. But in the Summer we literally bury ourselves in the sand, hoping and waiting for a cool breeze or wave to wash over us. We drive too fast, drink too much, and wear too little sunblock. 

Fall cannot come soon enough.

This was a good weekend for consumption, as we used to say on the now defunct Popular Topical Discussions Podcast. 

I was fortunate enough to see Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) twice this weekend. A wonderful film, that one. It's been a long time since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 (2004), and we've not reached the spider-heights of that movie since it left theaters. Spider-Men have come and gone, but nothing will stick in hindsight the way Tom Holland will with this new iteration. After all, sticking to things is kind of Spider-Man's whole thing. 

Homecoming has so much of what makes Spider-Man the best Marvel hero of all: the conflict between being a normal kid and a friendly-neighborhood avenger, the perils of great power without responsibility, and of course, hot Aunt May jokes (kidding for sure, but there are quite a few in this film). And impressively, Marvel Studios is able to deliver these essentials without ever mentioning Uncle Ben and his signature catchphrase. That would be like making a Batman movie without referencing the Wayne Murders, which is something filmmakers have proven incapable of doing.

And as what we might call a "thematic spinoff" of the Iron Man trilogy, Spider-Man: Homecoming really works. Tony Stark's journey from Iron Man as medical necessity to a "clothes don't make the man" attitude is punctuated by Peter Parker's story in Homecoming. "If you're nothing without this suit," says Tony Stark. "Then you shouldn't have it." It took Tony years to figure that one out, and this pearl of wisdom provides great tension for Peter as he tries to digest it in the second half of the movie.

In an effort to better understand human culture I have finally watched the first two seasons of The Leftovers. This has been an incredibly frustrating experience to say the least. I'll wait until I've seen the third and final season before I speak about it in detail, but I will repeat what I wrote on twitter yesterday: Damon Lindelof's writing style is "sad guy masturbating in a crowded subway car." I can't explain it any better than that. This man's shameful pathologies frequently plaster over his actual talents. This is the hallmark of his entire career and it's a shame. There are very interesting ideas in The Leftovers, but they are completely crowded out by Lindelof's incessant need to muddy the water for his own edification. 

Ah well, the clock has run out. The men in white lab coats have returned. I must return to my hiding place.

Here's hoping to a Summer cut too short.