Travelling Light

Did you ever have that thing where you get some big news, but don’t have time to tell anyone? And that big news involves you moving to another city for six months in a week-and-a-half from the point at which you found out about it, so you spend all of your time tying up loose ends and getting ready, and still half of your family and friends don’t know?

I’m not actually asking you. That’s a pretty specific set of circumstances, and I’m only framing it as a rhetorical in order to segue gracefully into my own news. If such a thing has happened to you and you feel compelled to tell me about it, you may, if so compelled, post a comment below.

This coming Saturday I shall get into my car and drive from Melbourne to Sydney. Or, more accurately, drive from Melbourne to the NSW border, at which point my car will probably conk out on me.

Why am I going to Sydney? Well, I’m not actually 100% sure that I’m allowed to make the news public yet or not. (It’s not Bazura.) So I will play it safe and tell you simply that I’ve been offered a very cool gig that requires me to work in Sydney’s ABC building. (No, really, it’s not Bazura.) I’ll drip-feed you more info later, but for now I’ll just tell you that I’ll be working on a very popular and successful television program. (Told you it wasn’t Bazura.)

Apologies to all the people close to me who are finding out about this now on this blog. It’s very impersonal and distancing and an indictment on our current culture of blah blah blah, but I literally found out this time last week. I’ll be popping down every month to see if family, friends, my place, my stuff, and my fiancée are all still fine, and I’ll be back permanently around the end of November.

To people I don’t know but who read this anyway, well, you’re not going to be affected much at all. I’m told they have computers in Sydney, so this blog and my Twitter feed should continue to function without too much interference. Oh, except for the new job I have. Employment does tend to get in the way, doesn’t it?

See you all very, very soon… particularly those of you in the greater Sydney area with comfortable couches.

A Ranting Pilot

About a year-and-a-half ago, my Bazura Project co-person Shannon Marinko made a pilot for Channel Ten. The show was called Rant, and it was basically Shannon yelling at the audience about things that annoyed him. Like Media Watch if it was shoutier.

Shannon invited me to come on board and do something for it, which I did. Comedian and filmmaker Dan Ilic directed, and he brought in Tegan Higginbotham for a segment. (Tegan impressed us so, we invited her back to appear in The Bazura Project’s ABC2 incarnation.)

Whilst I’m not especially happy with my own contribution (a couple of my line deliveries grate with me intensely), I do dig everyone else’s work a lot. And now it’s been put online, you can enjoy it in all its ranty glory.

ABC picking up The Bazura Project immediately after the pilot was shot meant Rant was put on ice, but my fingers are crossed that it get made at some point in the future. After all, there’s so much pop culture, and so few people yelling at it.

Ten Things You Missed This Week #5

1. Even if you’re not a fan of the brilliant US sitcom Community, you have to be concerned about the willingness of NBC to basically fire its creator and head writer Dan Harmon. This is what’s happened ahead of Community’s fourth season return (and given its 13 episode order and bump to Friday night, it’s safe to call this the final season). Dan Harmon didn’t find out before the rest of us, by the way. A press release was issued whilst he was on a plane, and he landed in LA to a barrage of text messages and tweets. This is his response. (And if you get a moment, this memo NBC sent Community cast members about how they should respond to questions about the controversy in interviews doesn’t make NBC look much better.)

RT @mrbeaks Dan Harmon got bounced from COMMUNITY? Great news for fans of AIRPLANE 2!

2. Hugh Jackman is keen to be a teacher. This is his attempt. (via Australian Screen)

RT @maskedscheduler A board game, a pregnancy manual and a thirty year old soap opera….welcome to the wonderful world of motion pictures.

3. Are you a little confused about the chronology of the Marvel Studios films? When did they find the Tesseract from Captain America in that scene in Thor? At what point in the Iron Man chronology does Tony Stark meet with The Incredible Hulk’s General Ross? Marvel’s got you covered. (via Jon Favreau)

RT @ovandenberg 6 MONTHS AGO: (to mirror) “You did it buddy, you’re the star of two big summer movies. Things are finally lookin’ up for ol’ Taylor Kitsch.”

4. Star Wars fans can’t do anything without Star Trek fans responding in kind. Only a few weeks after this column pointed you to a study showing a Death Star would cost US$852 quadrillion, we now have a more practical and affordable option: build the USS Enterprise. At US$1 trillion, it’s a steal at twice the price. Here’s how we do it. (via Marc Fennell)

RT @Jamwa Liam Neeson’s cock is so big the opening credits of Dr Who were filmed inside his urethra.

5. With Mark Zuckerberg currently enjoying All The Wealth, and Facebook being floated on the stock exchange this past week, it’s hard to talk about the social networking site without bringing it back to money. And now you can find out how much you are personally worth to Facebook. (I clocked in at $71. Before Facebook’s stock went public, this figure was $3. Which is why I’ve been going around saying ‘Three dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Seventy-one dollars.’) (via Chas Licciardello)

RT @paulbyrom Why is Facebook going public?Could they not figure out the privacy settings either?

 6. I like high concept ideas. The idea behind HBO’s Girls is ‘What if we made a version of Sex and the City that Lee actually liked?’. Girls, created, written by, mostly directed by, and starring Lena Dunham is honest, funny, dramatic and engaging in a way that I wasn’t expecting. This brilliant article in the New York Review of Books gives you a good idea why.

RT @AdrianMartin25 I found page of my notes from 1982: titled GIRLS, it reads: “faces – songs – plots – fashions – youth culture”. So see, I invented that show

7. There’s an art to everything, even opening a book. This diagram instructs you on how do it properly. I can only assume the same principle applies to Kindles and their ilk. (via Martyn Pedler)

RT @sexenheimer Weird how the Zodiac murders really tapered off after Neil Diamond got a soundproof home recording studio/kill room. Hashtag Just Saying.

8. These days it’s rare that we see the best example of a political leader: one who takes an unpopular moral stance on an issue, doing so simply because it’s the right thing to do. This is what happened when Barack Obama came out in support of gay marriage. What’s even more remarkable is that the expected backlash never really came. Republicans knew that fighting him on it would galvanise Obama’s base, but the public? Well, they seem to have had their minds changed. In six years, the number of American citizens supporting gay marriage went from 36% to 51%. Obama’s announcement may not have had any immediate legislative effect, but it’s undoubtedly a big step. (via Max Denton)

RT @beatrixcoles The FRIENDS theme would make more sense if it was “hasn’t been your year, your week, or even your day”. Days are the easiest to achieve.

9. Before Braille took off, the blind were catered for in very literal but fascinating ways. Have a look at this atlas designed for the sight-impared back in 1837. (via On The Media)

RT @scottEweinberg Why can’t we have a black Ian Fleming, anyway?

10. Remember that Apocalypse that was supposed to happen last year? May 21, 2011 was the date the world was going to end, and its proponents were adamant that it was a definite. One year on, how do they feel? (via Leigh Paatsch)

RT @dissolvedpet What I have learned from Twitter on #Cannes: folk have many diverse views & opinions, none of which tell me anything

If any of you Melburnians are in the city tomorrow (Saturday 25 May), feel free to swing by the Emerging Writers Festival (Look! I’m pulling a silly expression on the front page of the website!) to hear me speak unintelligibly about writing graphic novels. I’ll be talking with Mirranda Burton at 12:30pm at the Melbourne Town Hall, so come on by and heckle. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to an 8-bit recording of Radiohead’s OK Computer.

Black Forest

In 1989’s blaxploitation throwback Black Forest, DeForest Kelley, in pale makeup and a large purple dress, gazes into his mirror and asks: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s de forest one of all?”

The mirror defiantly shows him a picture of a young Forest Whitaker. Flying into a rage, DeForest commands a Woodsman to venture into the Black Forest to kill Black Forest. Due to the inevitable – though decidedly uncinematic – nomenclature confusion, the Woodsman fails.

Xanadu’s Robert Greenwald directs. Blacula’s Joan Torres and Raymond Koenig script. Horst Jankowski composes. Richard Roundtree cameos as a round tree, creating further confusion.

Ten Things You Missed This Week #4

1. As someone who is against film piracy, I find it baffling that movie studios – even with their perpetual misunderstanding of both technology and human nature – still do everything they can to encourage it. Their latest stroke of idiocy is unskippable piracy warnings on DVDs and Blu-rays. Unskippable. So, the only people this annoying practice will affect are the people who paid money for it. Is this correct? (My copy of Charlie Wilson’s War has, for some baffling reason, a four minute film that can’t be skipped or fast-forwarded with Gwyneth Paltrow talking about Africa. Four minutes. And that’s before you get to the piracy warnings and endless trailers. It may seem like a small deal, but nobody is working harder to drive people to piracy than the very people who claim they want to stop it.)

RT @TeganMH Researchers have found examples of 37,000yr old caveman porn, proving that just like modern day man, they too forgot to delete their history

2. George Lucas is a legend. I know that’s not the sort of phrase you expect to read in a post-Phantom Menace world, but my apathy towards the Star Wars prequels is nothing compared to my love for what he just did. When the residents of Marin County told Lucas that he couldn’t build a studio on his property because they wanted the area to remain exclusively residential, he took them at their word. (via Kess Broekman-Dattner)

RT @jevoislafemme Did you hear that Joss Whedon’s mum called to ask him how ‘The Adventures’ was going? I find this indescribably sweet.

3. Someone needs to make a film in which a laid-back Californian surfer dude (played by Owen Wilson) swaps bodies with an uptight London businessman (played by Tom Hiddleston), if only so we can get an entire film’s worth of Hiddleston’s hilariously-accurate impression of Wilson from their time together on the set of Midnight In Paris. (Also featured: equally-great impressions of his Avengers co-stars Chris Evans and Samuel L Jackson.)

RT @houx If Bill Clinton was the first black president and Obama is the first gay president, I wonder what the first actual gay president will be.

4. For those who don’t know, Siri is basically an electronic personal assistant designed to run on an iPhone. It performs numerous tasks and answers every question you have, even if that question is incredibly inconvenient for Apple. (via Rhett Bartlett)

RT @aliciasometimes Lose weight following this one weird tip: have kids make you breakfast in bed & watch on as they eat every last bite…

5. I have to admit to being unfamiliar with the late comedian Patrice O’Neal, but this piece about him in the New York Magazine is truly fascinating, and makes him sound like one of the most original, dangerous and tragic comedic voices of recent times. (via Leigh Paatsch)

RT @P_T_RYAN I don’t object to much on moral grounds, but people who name their kids Jaxon (or variants thereof) ought to be pelted with rotten eggs.

6. Gay marriage is a hot topic at the moment, and much of the anti-homosexual rhetoric is once again coming from an annoying minority of disproportionately-vocal Christians (despite the fact that gay marriage was originally a Christian thing). One woman in Nebraska recently went in front of her government to voice her opinions on why gay marriage should be banned. But I don’t link to this video because of her. I vaguely recall John Cleese once claimed that the reason Fawlty Towers worked was not because of Basil, but because of how everyone else reacted to him. With that in mind, I recommend you watch the guy sitting directly behind Jane Skrovota as he reacts to her frighteningly side-splitting and outlandish claims. (via Chas Licciardello)

RT @AlbertBrooks People laughed at me when I kept my drachmas.

7. If 51% of the US population is made up of women, then why do they only constitute 33% of movie characters? And why do female protagonists make up only a third of that figure? Those numbers (and others contained in this article) show we have further to go than we may have assumed. (via CHUD)

RT @meganamram WHY was Mario Kart not called “Mario Speedwagon”

8. Megan Amram, whose tweets are fast becoming a mainstay of this column, is concerned about America’s national debt, and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to put the country back in the black. Find out how you can help!

RT @RossFloate When the Queen takes a pace towards the person she’s awarding a knighthood, I guess technically that’s also a dubstep.

9. During a late night writing session that was going nowhere, I was searching for opportunities to procrastinate, and a sixteen-minute commencement speech given this week by writing god Aaron Sorkin at Syracuse University seemed like the perfect opportunity. (It actually got me so fired up, I finished the very script I’d been trying to procrastinate from. He’s a wizard!)

RT @davidehrlich tonight’s episode of Mad Men is called “Dark Shadows.” so… DARK SHADOWS won’t even be the best Dark Shadows of the weekend. #Rough

10. Fans of the Mad Men should be warned: the last page of the final ever episode has been leaked by Jason Woliner. And it’s truly shocking. (Fear not, spoilerphobes: there are no genuine spoilers in there. And it’s not so much “shocking” as it is “hysterical”.) (via Simon Miraudo)

RT @rilaws Really dreading next season’s Fat Daenerys plotline.

Finally, you should take the time to sign this important petition to help save Melbourne’s iconic Astor Theatre. This isn’t just obsessive film fans trying to hang on to a place they like: it is impossible to overstate the importance of The Astor’s place in Australian cinema culture. It is one of the last institutions preserving film prints, often playing classic films in both 35mm and 70mm formats. (Ironically, they also have the best digital projection I’ve ever seen, with its state-of-the-art 4K system. Their worst images are usually on par with other cinema’s best images.) In a few years when absolutely nobody else is playing genuine film prints, we’ll finally comprehend the importance of their preservation work. I just hope they’re still there when that happens.

Why Obama Is Like Santos (But Wasn’t Four Years Ago)

Four years ago, many were keen to draw parallels between the candidacy of Barack Obama and the television program The West Wing. This made perfect sense to me at the time: Obama was an articulate, charismatic, intelligent academic from a northern state, sharing many qualities with President Bartlet. An apt comparison, I thought.

The thing is, they weren’t talking about Martin Sheen’s Josiah Bartlet, the fictitious US President in Aaron Sorkin’s seminal TV series. No, they were talking about Matt Santos, the Presidential candidate introduced in The West Wing’s sixth season as a touted replacement for Bartlet as he neared the end of his second term.

Huh? Matt Santos? The former Marine? How did that— oh, I get it. He’s a fresh-faced politician with a young family and, most importantly, he’s not white. This was apparently the level of depth we were prepared to apply to the comparison.

Those who know me (or have come within a five kilometre radius of me) know of my disdain for the latter half of The West Wing’s run. The first four seasons, as written by Sorkin, make for one of the greatest television programs of all time. It is a triumph on every measurable level, and its addictive and rewatchable quality has left me able to recite those first eighty-eight episodes almost by heart.

The last three seasons, made without Sorkin, are, to be kind, bland. Gone is the complexity of story, of argument, of emotion, replaced by a pale facsimile. It is fan fiction with a budget, and like all fan fiction, it concentrates heavily on replicating one or two key aspects whilst completely missing all the others.

One of my many problems with seasons five-to-seven – and fear not, this rant is important to the central premise of this piece – is the way in which Matt Santos is introduced to our world. White House Deputy Chief of Staff and viewer favourite Josh Lyman takes it upon himself to act as kingmaker to Santos, abandoning the Bartlet Administration to help elect this inspirational young leader.

And Santos is too good to be true. Whereas Sorkin gave Bartlet some real demons – he lied about a degenerative illness to secure the Presidency, for instance – the biggest controversy surrounding Santos is a news story about him being good in bed. (I’m not even making that up. Go watch the season seven episode The Mommy Problem, then go read about the literary archetype of Mary Sue.)

Meanwhile, Josh Lyman abandons all previous character development in the abandonment his President. As established heavily in Sorkin’s run of the show, a traumatic childhood experience resulted in Lyman’s perpetual anxiety over abandoning people, letting them down, leaving them in their time of need. So why does he run off to chase a younger, fitter model of the President he already has?

The whole Santos/Lyman storyline does, in fact, make sense in the context of the real world. These episodes were made and broadcast in 2005, at the height of George W. Bush’s second term. If you were too young or apolitical to remember it, I fear it’s impossible to properly articulate the sense of hopelessness and frustration and fear caused by that administration, and particularly its President. It was that exact culture that gave rise to Barack Obama, and it’s that culture that clearly informed the creation of Matt Santos. People were crying out for a fresh, inspirational leader, and they first got him in the form of actor Jimmy Smits.

The problem is that the storyline did not make sense in the world of The West Wing. Bartlett may have been getting older and sicker, but he was hardly an establishment-steeped hawk against whom the younger generation need rebel. He was already well-accepted to be the inspirational leader that the country needed. Santos wasn’t so much the Barack Obama rebelling against a conservative plutocracy: he was Jimmy Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, with no real concept of what it is he’s rebelling against. The show’s latter seasons flail desperately as it silently but earnestly asks: ‘Whaddya got?’.

Candidate Obama running for his first term was Jed Bartlet in everything but cosmetics (and back story, though in fewer ways than you may think). He embraced the complexity of controversial issues, spoke in a logical and straightforward manner without ever having to dumb himself down, and appeared to embody a collection of ideals and values that had been missing from the interminably-cynical real-world political realm for an age. Whether or not you believe that his Presidency itself bore these promises out, the fact is it was this sort of practical idealism that, in 2008, reflected the wish-fulfilment leadership of Bartlet.

Now, as America lurches once more into the height of election season, Obama is naturally finding it more difficult to rally support around his re-election bid than his maiden run. No longer is he sweeping in to save a country and world from a disastrous Other President. No longer is his voice of intelligence and reason in sharp contrast to the highest office. No longer can he run on a platform of anti-establishmentism when he himself is the establishment.

Finally, at long last, Obama has become Matt Santos.

Ten Things You Missed This Week #3

1.The great Maurice Sendak passed away this week, and fans of Where The Wild Things Are roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth in tribute. See Sendak talk about one of his favourite pieces of fan mail. (via Martyn Pedler)

RT @peachesanscream Twitter is the only place where you get all excited when strangers repeat what you’re saying.

2. After encountering a lady with a lampshade on her head, another sitting on a chair in the desert for no discernible reason, and another rubbing money into a delicate area, Glen Coco finally admitted that he is sick of pretending he doesn’t ‘get’ art. (via Paul Anthony Nelson)

RT @Seth__Rogen Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a donut because you’re on a diet.

3. Click on this link. Copy the text that looks like it’s nonsense. Go to Google Translator. Change the ‘from’ language to German. Click the ‘listen’ button. Then wonder what the point of it all was.

RT @mark_salisbury Bonne Maman Blackberry Jelly is my new jam.

4. Should we, as a human species, consider building a Death Star? According to students from Lehigh University, it would barely cost US$852 quadrillion, or 13 000 times the current GDP of Earth. Time to look at this from a practical standpoint. (via Luke Buckmaster)

RT @danilic I’m writing a Matrix Prequel called The Dot Matrix….so far it’s very long and very loud.

5. I don’t know what’s more impressive: this Super-Earth we’ve just found lurking forty-one light-years away, or the science used to detect it. (via Andy Howell)

RT @bronwen Ever noticed that it’s only secondhand bookshops that smell *like* books? As if the scent is only released from pages once they’ve been read

6. Following the annual budget report from the Australian Federal Government, the News Corp-owned The Australian ran a front page that seemed to declare they were no longer interested in even feigning balanced, objective reporting. Click here to see this front page and – more importantly – Luke Ryan’s spot-on analysis of it for The Vine.

RT @mrpaulnelson You know how couples in romantic comedies “meet cute”? Superheroes in Marvel comics and movies “meet fight”.

7. For some reason, I tend to think that special effects haven’t really changed in the last ten years. Ever since we basically handed everything over to the computers, it seemed like any improvements were minor adjustments in computing power, or the odd texture upgrade. This visual comparison of two Hulks, one from 2003’s Hulk and the other from 2012’s The Avengers, shows that we’ve made a bigger jump than I, for one, had realised. (via Brendan Swift)

RT @DamonLindelof Me: “I may not be able to eat this large popcorn by myself, but you can be damn sure I’ll avenge it.” Concession Dude: “$7.50 please.”

8. For someone like me who didn’t actually read a comic until a few years ago, I know I’ve been posting an awful lot about The Avengers on here. Part of that is due to how much I’ve enjoyed the cinematic Marvel Universe, but quite a lot is down to my effusive and earned adoration of its writer/director Joss Whedon. This thank-you note Joss wrote to his fans pretty much sums up why. (And he also dismisses the idea of people pitting The Avengers against The Dark Knight Rises. Click here to read my article entitled The Avengers vs The Dark Knight Rises.)

RT @dangranata As an avid Joss Whedon fan, I spent most of the Avengers waiting for it to be abruptly cancelled. #fb

9. The guy running against Barack Obama is a criminal. A total criminal. And before Mitt Romney’s lawyer army gets in contact, I’m not talking about Romney: I’m talking about Keith Judd, federal criminal and Democratic candidate for President. Judd managed to get himself on the ballot for the Democratic Presidential Primary in West Virginia. And won 41% of the vote. That’s 70 000 votes. That’s eight counties. Something tells me the White House is about to be decorated with a whole lot of Rita Hayworth posters. Don’t think too hard about that analogy. (via John Safran)

RT @LOLGOP REMINDER: Jesus never once mentioned gays or abortion. But he was sure pissed at the people who didn’t help the poor.

10. I haven’t really revisited them in a while, but I do hold an abiding love of Animaniacs, the Warner Bros. cartoon from the 1990s. As much as I vaguely remember enjoying the preceding Tiny Toons, it was Animaniacs that truly captured the anarchic spirit of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. Now read Rob Lammie’s brilliantly comprehensive piece about how the Animaniacs came into being. (via Martyn Pedler)

RT @VaguelyFunnyDan Allowing gays to declare bankruptcy has ruined the sanctity of my own bankruptcy.

Now I must leave the joyous confines of the internet to go and play my new favourite sport, whatever this is.

The Avengers vs The Dark Knight Rises

Many have speculated on what it is that powers the internet. It’s such a mighty, largely-democratic (though simultaneously libertarian) beast, it does make you wonder what could possibly keep it going. It turns out that the answer is something of an abstract concept: the internet is powered by false equivalencies.

We’ve all been in or seen arguments that refute an opinion on one thing by drawing a direct comparison with something that really should not bear any relation to the first thing. For instance: ‘Oh, you enjoy Chinese food? I didn’t realise it was okay to enjoy religious suppression!’ or ‘You may think that politician did a good job in saving that baby from a fire, but he voted in favour of a law that would give tax breaks to companies that produce flammable newspapers’ or ‘Why would anyone bother to pay money to see John Carter given The Seventh Seal is readily available on DVD?’

I haven’t needed to exaggerate those. Well, not much. In the past few weeks I’ve seen people on Twitter complaining about others noting the box office success of The Avengers, comparing the exclamation at its record-breaking weekend to the celebration of mining magnates. I’ve seen some making fun of the Gertrude Stein scenes in Midnight In Paris by comparing it to Back To The Future, because despite the twenty-six year gap and differing genres/styles, the vague similarity in the use of a protagonist travelling through time means they’re the same thing.

Hell, I even saw people drawing comparisons to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, pitting them against one another to see which will be 2012’s superhero victor! Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed when others ruined their fun by pointing out that it was possible to enjoy both on their own merits without having to create false competition.

But is that really what they’re doing?

There is, of course, no reason you can’t enjoy two different things at once. Despite not being a big comic book reader until a few years ago, my top ten of 2008 contained both The Dark Knight and Iron Man, two tonally-dissimilar films despite their similar literary origins, aiming for completely different outcomes. The Avengers is one of my favourite films of 2012, and I’m greatly anticipating The Dark Knight Rises. So why is it useful to set them against one another?

Quite often, it’s difficult for people to articulate their preferences without having a good, solid example of their options in front of them. It’s what democratic elections are all about: ‘I prefer this person to that person, because they more closely reflect my own feelings about policy.’ Of course, elections are about pitting one thing against another, but you rarely hear a voter discuss a rundown of every single political issue and where they stand on it. They’re more likely to say ‘That person!’, in a general, catch-all summary.

To be more fundamental about it, have you ever tried expressing a feeling without having a word or term or analogy for it? How many ideas are opened up to us, complex ideas that reflect ideas you’ve always innately felt, by someone articulating it in a succinct and easily-referenced manner?

So when, in 2005, everyone pointed to the seriousness of Batman Begins being far better than the silliness of Fantastic Four, it was a way of articulating that maybe we were after something a bit more somber and gritty. Two different styles of superhero movie that were easy shorthands for what we preferred.

Of course, the success of Nolan’s Bat-flicks have meant that grim’n’gritty is the path of all things. Batman Begins was, in a sense, the backlash to the norm, and now The Dark Knight Rises reflects that norm. Even the first released image from 2013’s Man of Steel (above) portrayed the All-American Boy Scout Superman as shadowy and menacing! So, as the pendulum swings towards the dour and po-faced, we get banks of monochromatic posters that, I noticed upon a recent trip to the multiplex, look like this: 

When fans say they enjoy the bright colours of The Avengers, its humour, its fun – even making the often-sullen Bruce Banner into something more enjoyable, as articulated in this recent New Yorker piece by Film Critic Hulk (you’ll understand when you read it) – they’re not necessarily being down on The Dark Knight Rises, even if that forms the basis of their comparison. They’re just using two easily-juxtaposed films with different approaches to help articulate their current mood and tastes.

False equivalencies may be the frustratingly consistent bane (ha!) of the internet, but every now and then they help illuminate a deeper truth that goes beyond the mere need to put one thing up against another.

In other words, can we have a little colour back in our movie posters please?

Ten Things You Missed This Week #2

1. Australian Federal politics is currently embroiled in leadership woes, which has basically been the norm since the late 1990s. But, obviously concerned for the government’s current state, Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten has clearly decided to form a backup plan by auditioning for a revival of Yes, Minister. (via Armando Iannucci)

RT @BrianLynch I like to think when WAS (NOT WAS) broke up, it was after a long awkward silence, and then someone in the band muttered, “Guys…not was.”

2. When scientists firmly insist we should find other planets to live on as soon as possible, it has the effect of a flight attendant taking to the PA system to casually ask if anyone knows how to fly a plane. Not scary at all.

RT @murraygold Where can I meet other recluses?

3. At the risk of making light of a tragedy, this is the sort of method acting that could never (and should never) be matched. In Brazil’s Itararé, during a performance of The Passion of the Christ, twenty-seven-year-old Tiago Klimeck performed the scene in which Judas, ridden with guilt over his betrayal of Jesus, hang himself on stage. It was four minutes before the rest of the cast discovered that Klimeck had, in the course of the on-stage “suicide”, died.

RT @ThatLynchyGuy I’m starting to think Space Jam wasn’t based on a true story

4. This is simultaneously the saddest and sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. A policeman in China comforts a scared baby panda during an earthquake as it clings to his leg.

RT @WolfpackAlan Nascar would be so much more entertaining if they threw banana peels and turtle shells.

5. I’m a proud member of the cult of Game of Thrones, the big-budget fantasy show with a rich and ever-expanding mythology. Most intriguing is how they created the language of Dothraki. We’ve all heard the stories of how Elvish was created for Lord of the Rings, or Klingon in Star Trek, but it’s nice to see that linguists are being employed by showrunners who take this stuff seriously.

RT @meganganz Now I’m just hoping they renew NBC for another season.

6. I often think the level of anger aimed at public transport is a bit hyperbolic, right up until the moment a late tram makes me late for an appointment, or a train is cancelled for no discernable reason. This guy felt the anger as well, and wrote this scathing-yet-hilarious letter to Yarra Trams. What’s remarkable about this? The reply Yarra Trams sent back. (via Tara Judah)

RT @morrbeat I don’t want to be rude, but how thick to you have to be to still say “why should I listen to your views, you’ve never made a film” in 2012?

7. So worried is the UK about potential terrorist attacks during the London Olympics, that they are going to extraordinary lengths to stave off any potential threat. The latest plan? To house surface-to-air missiles in residential buildings close to Olympic Park. It looks like Ken Loach’s K-13 Come Home really had an impact.

RT @Twistedlilkitty No time to watch the Avengers movie? Stare at a picture of them before you sleep to enjoy a free Avengers movie created by your subconscious

8. You probably don’t think a review of a One Direction concert is something you should read. You are wrong. This blisteringly funny review by Nick Taras in Beat shows why.

RT @mrtonymartin ‘Elia Kazan on Directing’ is a must-read for actors and directors. Although he does name four suspected communists in the introduction.

9. A new form of glass that doesn’t fog, doesn’t get dirty, and doesn’t glare? If this takes off, it could have an enormous, impossibly wide-ranging effect on nearly every aspect of our lives. (via Chas Licciardello)

RT @PunxsutawnyPhil #RED have announced new series of monitors and kit collections as options. Sadly the Breaks When You Touch It function is still mandatory.

10. I know we really shouldn’t judge world leaders on their ability to deliver comedy, but my own skewed priorities make it hard not to. The White House Correspondents Dinner is a wonderful tradition for fans of political humour. Although no one’s matched Stephen Colbert’s incredible takedown of George W Bush, this year Barack Obama himself came close. (Keep a window open to Google the references as he goes. And don’t forget to watch Jimmy Kimmel’s speech that immediately followed Obama’s.)

RT @TeganMH A man just headbutted the tram I was on & despite being very happy with my life…I kind of wanted the tram to explode.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and continue the celebrations of my annual incremental departure from the glories of youth. To hide the ravages of age, I may have to go in disguise.

How Mel Gibson Can Resurrect His Career

I should probably establish that I have no particular interest in resurrecting Mel Gibson’s career, and in light of everything we’ve heard about him over the past few years, helping this man make millions more dollars is something I’m disinclined to do.

But I’m sure he’s interested in getting back in the game, and, when I suddenly and accidentally stumbled upon the best way for him to do just that, I felt compelled to share the information.

He should make a sequel.

Not the sequel that everyone would assume, like Lethal Weapon 5: Domestic Blitz or Mad Max IV: Alternative Fuels or Bird On Two Wires.

No. Mel needs to go back to one of his biggest hits, a film I referred to coming out of the cinema as “L5″*.

He needs to make a sequel to What Women Want.

I know what you’re thinking, or what you should be thinking: “That smug, horrible movie about the chauvinist who gains the ability to hear women’s thoughts, first using it to his advantage, and, after hilarity apparently ensues, learns some perfunctory and fantastical lessons about women? That piece of crap?”

Yes. That piece of crap.

And it will be called What Jews Want.

I know, I know, it sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch, but there’s a bigger possibility here. Let’s say his Nick Marshall character goes on an alcohol-fuelled, anti-Semitic rant at an office party, and his boss (Alan Arkin) fires him. His wife Darcy (Helen Hunt) throws him out, and, bearded and homeless, he loses all of his money. He doesn’t gain the ability to hear what Jews think, but he believes he does, and what follows is a dark and increasingly esoteric journey as he descends into a madness from which there is no return. Maybe he learns some lessons in a deeply disturbing and ironic way. Maybe he discovers his family s secretly Jewish. Maybe his rants are misinterpreted as messianic prophecies, and we follow that through to its logical conclusion. The possibilities are endless!

Charlie Kaufman writes it. Bobcat Goldthwaite directs. Done.

From me and everyone else in the Zionist conspiracy: you’re welcome, Mel.

* L5 was the seat number I was in. As my friends and I emerged from the cinema some twelve years ago, I noted that my seat number was the most interesting thing about the previous two hours, and, to this day, the most memorable.