Will follow after these commercial messages.
Please don’t read this until you’ve seen the movie. Consider that your spoiler warning.
I’ve been obsessed with the idea of seeing Gwen Stacy die on film ever since the first Sam Raimi cheated a little by very nearly Xeroxing the climactic battle that led to her death for his first Spider-Man film (with Mary Jane Watson very nearly getting offed). In fact, the ending of the movie, in which Peter refuses to enter into a relationship with Mary Jane, would have made more sense, logically and emotionally, if Gwen’s death had happened first. Frankly, it would have made the movie amazing. Peter is such a young superhero that it has always made sense that he would make mistakes, like treating his powers without respect, leading to his uncle’s death, or becoming so confident in his abilities that he forgets about physics, and so Gwen dies. Imagine, a mainstream superhero with emotional baggage. That would be awesome.
Which brings us to Amazing Spider-Man 2. I knew for sure Gwen would die within the first five minutes–it was hard to miss, actually, the foreshadowing was laid on rather thick; she might as well have read MLK’s prophetic speech, in which he all but predicted his own death. And I was okay with that. What was important was the conflict, that Peter was haunted by his promise to stay away from Gwen, but not enough to keep it in the end. It all felt very promising at first. But then they break up about 5 minutes later, and she disappears from the movie for a good chunk of the running time while the villains are created. What made the Raimi films so good was that they at least tried to make the conflict with the villains resonate in some way with Peter’s internal conflicts, rather than simply being obstacles. Osbourne saw more of himself in Peter than in his own son, and Peter was left with a choice to either join him, or choose to live as he was raised by his uncle Ben; he chose the latter. Dr. Octavias, an ostensibly good man, lost a lot of himself in his single-minded pursuit of his dream, much as Peter’s webslinging threatens to consume and destroy his happiness.
Finally, I’ve been able to drop down my overtime to two extra days a week (with a few extra hours on another), so I’ll be able to get back to some writing some reviews for this blog next week, starting with the promised reviews of Elvis Can’t Swim’s self-released album and two albums by Electrik Sunset.
I’ve decided to hold off on the autobiographical pieces for now, partly because I’m working on rewriting my masters thesis, having finally managed a trip down to Oklahoma for some much needed research, and partly because I want to incorporate some of what I ended up writing into one of my fictional characters.
Okay, I’m getting used to my new computer and its capabilities–built-in web cam, for one, so you can look forward to seeing my ugly mug in the future, or perhaps a return of Karl Barx–and while I haven’t been able to recover my hard drive files yet, I’m going to have to push on. I’ll be working extra hours to pay for this computer for the next couple of weeks, but I should be able to resume the schedule of release by the first full week of March.
In one of my previous blogs, I briefly mentioned the existence of a band called Elvis Can’t Surf. Well, although they don’t exist anymore, they were quite good for an unsigned surf band. I ordered their self-published album (Nice Trunks!) from the drummer, Joe Gusich, who had formed a new band called Electrik Sunset, with himself as frontman (kind of a Dave Grohl-ish coup, I suppose). Well, for ordering that obscure album, which I received today in the mail, Joe was kind enough to send me a copy of their as-yet-unreleased album, “Fish Dinner Party.” Fresh off the presses, so to speak. Well, rather than be an ass and leak the album, I’m going to review both albums in the coming weeks, as well as the first Eletrik Sunset album, which can be found downloaded from Amazon and probably Itunes. You can check out four tracks from Elvis Can’t Surf on http://www.myspace.com/elviscantsurfpedro (“Crawl” and “Psycho Chick” are great, and the audio sample from “Jaws” on the instrumental “Sharks Feed at Night” makes me laugh), and you can check out Joe’s current band at http://elektriksunset.com/Records.html.
New computer, new quirks.
I don’t normally buy U.S. Today or watch the Grammys, but I did this weekend because, in case you didn’t hear, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine have rejoined the Beach Boys and were to kick off their reunion tour with a performance at the Grammys. For those keeping score, this is the most complete reunion of the band possible, short of bringing Glenn Campbell—who for a couple of years filled in for Brian Wilson on tour as well as played guitar on Pet Sounds—up on stage, who was ironically in the audience awaiting his own performance—a missed opportunity, if you ask me, though it was cool to see him on his feet during “Good Vibrations.” I’m not a big fan of Campbell, but I have to admit it was a pretty classy move.
That said, to see their performance of “Good Vibrations,” I had to give up the first half of the Walking Dead mid-season premiere (totally worth it) and sit through terrible performances of “Surfer Girl “by Maroon 5 (proving once again that the only reason Adam Levine is on The Voice is to find a donor for a vocal chord transplant) and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by Foster the People (who sounded like one of those manufactured for Disney Channel bands). Honestly, though, is it really that hard to find a recent band that knows who The Beach Boys are, or, god-forbid, grew up listening to them? For that matter, there are plenty of legendary surf musicians left that the Grammys could have invited instead. Dean Torrence (of Jan and Dean) and Dick Dale (of his own bad self) are still alive and kicking. How awesome would that have been to have seen them on stage, playing Beach Boys songs? Just a thought.
My desktop died last night at 11:45 pm while writing my latest blog entry. Funeral services will be held at the watermelon catapult in three days.
Seriously, though, it’s dead, and I’m relegated to my six-year-old laptop. Until I recover all my old files (including my entire music collection), this blog will be on indefinite hiatus. The vast majority should be on my external drive, but I haven’t checked yet to see if it’s corrupted, as I have to go to work now. RIP.