TMNT & Masculinity

It is normal or at least it was normal years ago to expect the worst of Hollywood treatments of popular comic books, children’s cartoons and video games. And with the exception of the latter, this is not as true as it used to be. Although I’m quite over them myself, many of the movies based on comic books and children’s cartoons have been well-made at the very least. And some have actually been excellent films with the Christopher Nolan Batman films prominent in mind as I write this.

A movie I was extremely excited to see when I was a child was the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film released when that franchise was dominating in pretty much every medium aimed at children. Like many young boys I watched the cartoon, owned the action figures, played the video games and even wore the shirt. So when the film came out I wanted to see it and living in the country made this an even more special event. I can’t remember how it was decided (I was 6 or 7 at the time), but I ended up heading to the closest town, watching the film in a cinema with my father and one or two of my four younger brothers along with me.

Now it is probably obvious from the title that this won’t be just a nostalgia trip. It most certainly is not. Watching the film again many years later, I noticed immediately that it has held up a lot better than any film like this deserves to. A film based on a comic book and made in order to bank off the franchises wild popularity is usually one you’d expect to be bad or at least one that will only be remembered as a product of that time. The idea that a film about four mutated turtles led by a mutated rat, who fight an ancient Japanese crime syndicate in modern New York would be worth writing about seems absurd. It really isn’t though.

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Some commentary on ‘The Brothers Karamazov’

I just finished reading this book last Thursday morning and I feel I should write something about it but I’m not sure quite what. As such I am just going to write a potpourri of my thoughts.

Both this and War & Peace were in my list of New Years Resolutions but neither were a chore to read. I began reading The Brothers Karamazov on October 9th and I finished it in less than two months even though most of my reading was during my short commute to and from work but there were a couple of days where I read 80-100 pages. That should give you a good indication of how much I enjoyed it.

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Burning People to Death for Profit

I remember watching a very short documentary on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire a few years back. According to the impeccable source Wikipedia, 146 people were killed as a result of the fire, falling from the building or asphyxiation. The workers could not escape due to the doors being locked, apparently in order to stop them taking breaks. Certainly a very horrible event that one would never want to see repeated.

Now further details and speculation on this is not really necessary. The aftermath saw legislation introduced to stop such incidents in the future. This is all well and good and one could hardly have a problem with this.

The problem I have is the take commentators in the documentary had on this.

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Walter Sobchek – Modern America the Man

Last night I re-watched one of my favourite films, The Big Lebowski. This was my old DVD copy that I had put (along with many others) on to a spindle in order to save space. On a small tangent, I have been re-watching a number of my old favourite films recently and finding that I don’t like many of them as much as I used to, if at all anymore. This was not the case with The Big Lebowski and in watching it again, I picked up even more that I had missed in previous viewings.

I first saw the film shortly after it came out and a few years before it became the beloved cult classic it is now. I was not previously (and am not really now), a big fan of films by the Coen brothers so it says a lot that I’m so fond of this one.

What I’m going to attempt to write here has been in my head for quite a while and after making notes a little while back, I saved this until I had re-watched the film to see if I could pick up anything else to support it. I want to argue that Walter Sobchek is the modern United States embodied in one man.

Let’s see how I go arguing this.

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The Abyss of Ignorance

I’m sure that I’m far from alone in having dwelt on my own ignorance. These occasional musings into the limits of my knowledge are similar to those moments when you contemplate your own mortality. It is an old cliche that the more you know, the less you realise you know but it is still something I do think about from time to time.

This will be a bit of a ramble if you can’t tell already.

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Of Pot Plants and Prurience

As I’ve said numerous times, I don’t keep up with the news on a day to day basis. I don’t read newspapers, watch TV or even check dedicated news websites with any frequency. I get my news in drips and drabs from the few podcasts, blogs and websites I do frequent. With that said it has been hard to avoid hearing about Harvey Weinstein who has now joined Bill Cosby,  and Australia’s own Rolf Harris in the dirty old man archives. What these three and the late Jimmy Saville (who I understand escaped earthly punishment), have in common is that they were doing this for years before it suddenly became public for reasons I still don’t know. Where the people that must known about it suddenly spoke up in condemnation.

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Manners Lost

I was recently watching the 2005 adaption of Pride and Prejudice on a night when foul weather raged outside. It had been a long time since I last watched it and I found myself focusing on the way the society was portrayed over the story itself which I already well know.

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