When time doesn’t match up

If ever you’re looking for the time-setting eqivalent of whiplash, I doubt you could do much better than shifting from watching Of Mice and Men to reading Pattern Recognition.

It also raised an interesting (for me) rhetorical question:

What is the shortest time period over the last 100 years which saw the most personal change in the U.S.?

I’m leaning towards thinking 1935-1946, largely for the personal wealth and relative safety that was, er, fashionable at the time.

The Big Cheat in The Lord of the Rings that nobody talks about

Especially in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), but it is manifest in all three films;

Why is Frodo the main character leaving, while Sam is the one the audience is left to identify with in the last scene? It would probably been easier to stop the film earlier, so there must be some reason, aside from “Oh, but I want to film another series of shots!”.

The only even possibly valid assumption seems to be that Frodo is “too far out there”, too risky for “the audience” to identify with, so we’re left with the safe Sam at the closing scenes to establish a regular family life.

There is another, far more alienated, but probably academically acceptable answer:

The story of Frodo is too homoerotic; even at the end he still has only male friends, even while Sam goes off and gets married and has kids.

Then again, it seems to silly to blame homophobia on Hobbits, doesn’t it?

Why Tarrantino dialog is considered “good”

Specifically, I’m talking here of “Kill Bill Vol 2“:

There’s a section where Bill is talking about comics — making the point that Superman’s alter-ego is human while every other superhero is the alter ego of a human. The quote, from imdb:

An essential characteristic of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero, and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When he wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic that Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears, the glasses, the business suit, that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak, he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race. Sort of like Beatrix Kiddo and Mrs. Tommy Plympton.

Nobody else puts that kind of diaglog in “action” films. Few others could get it through the studio system, and most of those that could, wouldn’t.

Think about that; a serious critique of all humanity, embedded in conversation in what is by all standards an action film.

In many ways, it goes back to what made “Titanic” such a formula film; a guy flick is one where lots of people die quickly (think ID4), while a chick flick is one where a single person dies very, very slowly (think Terms of Endearment). Titanic — the Cameron one — tried pathetically to surf both these descriptions. It succeeded, but looking back I’m pretty sure most people will agree that it only succeeded on those terms. All in all, that film was much too clinical where it was factual, and too hammy where it was fictional. The makers of that film had no — zero — expectations of their audience. “Feel sad here. Here’s a touching moment of humanity. Don’t forget minor moments of humor! And in the name of all that is holy, don’t forget to include some simulated teenaged sex before the audience notices the plot holes or bad dialog or starts to think!”

Then, of course, there are films where nobody dies, and 80’s music plays while people try on clothes.