Friday, December 26, 2008

"The Spirit" - Any Relation to Will Eisner's Work Purely Coincidental

Hours ago, I walked out of the movie theater, as is tradition on Christmas. I had just seen The Spirit with my good friend and fellow Gentleman, Jason Schalfstein. The events which followed bore recording for posterity.

While in the theater, I saw a film that was low on writing but high on charm. It was over-the-top, cliched, and at times ridiculous, but it was all these things obviously very deliberately. The ironic manner in which the subject was approached allowed me to enter the world of the movie with a very relaxed attitude. I thought Samuel L. Jackson was great. I thought Eva Mendez was stunning. I thought that guy who played the Spirit was dramatic when he needed to be, but also at times clever, charming, and likable. The guy who was the dad on The Wonder Years also is in it, and swears a lot.

All in all, I had a very enjoyable time. However, as I casually glanced over at Jason, it became clear that our experiences were very different. Very different indeed. I was watching Frank Miller wryly twist the worlds of Sin City, Batman, and The Spirit together. Jason was writhing in his seat, wringing his hands, and at times openly cringing at the screen. Jason was not watching what I was watching.

Jason was watching murder porn.

As Miller's snuff film drew to its conclusion and the Heat emerged, dazed, from witnessing the rape and murder of one of his most beloved comic heroes, a conversation was sparked. I will now provide a transcript of that conversation, as I remember it.

Jason: *broken, bitter weeping*

David: I liked the part with the cat.


David: So I take it this wasn't an accurate representation of the Spirit.

Jason: The Spirit is not Wolverine! The Spirit is not Batman! The Spirit is clever and subtle and emotional! That wasn't the Spirit! Why did you make this The Spirit, Frank Miller?! Why did you do it?

(Jason is at this point screaming and crying, and I am beginning to sense something is amiss)

David: I thought the movie had a lot of great moments . . .

Jason: Iron Man! Great film! I can accept some things changing! Octopus is part of Spirit's origin? FINE! The Spirit doesn't have super powers! That's what MAKES HIM THE SPIRIT! "What am I?" NO! FUCK YOU! The Spirit doesn't talk like that! I expected him at any moment to say "I'm the goddamn Spirit!" You have DESTROYED this character, Frank Miller! What did you turn the Spirit into, Frank Miller?! What did you do?! WHAT DID YOU DO?

David: So the take was not to your liking.


(Before I could stop him, Jason had sprinted the distance between the two of us and an unassuming old man in the theater, and began screaming in his face)


Old Man: I'm so unassuming!


(Unsatisfied, Jason began punching the old man repeatedly about the head and face as his grandchildren looked on in terror)

David: Jason! That's not Frank Miller! For the love of God, leave him alone!

Jason: *Pulling the old man's savagely beaten face up to see* It IS Frank Miller! Look at his face!

David: I can't! It's been beat off!

(Jason and I shared a brief laugh over the term "beat off." Jason then ripped the man's throat out with his teeth)



Jason: And now to get Brett Ratner!!

(Moments later, the two of us were in Jason's car, careening down the road at speeds well in excess of 88 miles per hour. After Jason realized he had no flux capacitor and would be unable to strangle Brett Ratner while still in his mother's womb, he began seeing him in pedestrians roaming the streets)

David: Why would I get in a car with you?!

Jason: *Mowing down innocent bystanders* Take that, Brett Ratner! Why did you kill Cyclops? Do you have any idea what a trilogy is!? You can introduce new characters, sure! Lando Kalrissian wasn't in the first movie! Jabba the Hutt! BLAgaragGARggarG! (I can't tell if Jason was impersonating Jabba the Hutt or choking on his own indignation) BOBA FETT! Great addition! BUT THE HEROES ARE LUKE, HAN, AND LEIA! YOU KILLED CYCLOPS OFF CAMERA! It was so murky that I sat through two hours of movie thinking he was going to come back and save the day! BUT HE'S DEAD! Did you hate Superman Returns that much, Brett Ratner? For some backstory to that comment, Brian Singer was originally supposed to direct, but was offered Superman, and said he was going to work on that if they could wait. Then they asked Matthew Vaughn, who directed Layer Cake - great movie - and after a few conversations, he walked away. So they brought in Brett Ratner - REALLY? BRETT RATNER? REALLY? And James Marsden took a part in Superman Returns, so as punishment, they killed his character in X-Men early in the film. Somehow ignoring that it MADE THE MOVIE TERRIBLE. You start with Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Jean, Professor X, and Rogue. ROGUE! SHE HAD LIKE SIX LINES! WHY IS COLOSSUS THERE? WHY IS ANGEL THERE? WHY IS KELSEY GRAMMAR WEARING A FURRY BLUE SUIT!?

David: I didn't see it.

Jason: *Turning to me, flecks of blood and spittle running down his teeth* Don't.

David: You got it.

(We then pulled into the Jewish Community Center I had left my car parked at earlier. Jason's car at this point is drenched in the blood of the innocent, reminiscent of a sharkbear attack)

Jason: Remember when everything Frank Miller did wasn't completely misogynistic?

David: . . . No.

Jason: Year One? Daredevil?

David: Oh.

Jason: Well, I had a good time tonight, buddy.

David: Me too.

(We parted ways, I to go home and write this blog post, Jason to go find Tim Story and beat him to death)

And thus ends the true story of how I saved Christmas.


AZWiner said...

Boba Fett was in the special edition of A New Hope.


i don't plan on seeing the Spirit.


that was amazing.

Daniel said...

yeah! fuck you, Brett Ratner!!!

Jason Heat said...

If you hear anything about Joel Shumacher mysteriously disappearing, I need an alibi.

Jason Heat said...

It's also pretty amazing how much of those are exact quotes. Not really towards the beginning, but the entire X3 rant is almost word for word.

Daniel said...

so yo-should i see it?

Jason Heat said...

I honestly have no idea how to really answer this since I had such a hard time separating from the spirit (no pun intended) of the source material. There are some great parts, and some terrible parts,

If you liked Sin City, don't mind some terribly overblown dialogue, and like Eva Mendez' ass then it's prob worth it.

But really, just buy Darwyn Cooke's run on the Spirit in Hardback. It's brilliant. Utterly brilliant.

Stephen said...

I saw the trailer for The Spirit. The quote that stuck out for me was...

"somebody get me a tie, and sure as hell better be red!"

or something like that.


Rule number of one of getting Steve to watch a movie, don't reference your color palate in the script.

If Leonidas said "somebody get me a cape, and sure as hell better be red!" in the 300 trailer, I wouldn't have seen 300.

It would have been cool if everyone knew the Spirit for his red tie, but few people knew about the Spirit to begin with.

Jason lent me some Spirit comics way back, and I liked them. I would have seen the movie based on what I had read in the comic version. That trailer could only have lost me as a potential viewer, and it did.

Daniel said...

as someone who went as the spirit for halloween, i'm even more offended.

Jason Heat said...

Seriously - The Will Eisner stuff is classic and utterly groundbreaking, literally writing the conventions of graphic fiction as it goes.



I don't care that it's midnight - Amazon. Go. Two volumes.

Tell 'em Schlaffy sent ya.