Saturday Night Comic-Book Movie Double Feature

Since it was a somewhat snowy night and I seem to lack in plans, money, and well, friends, I decided to make good use of Comcast OnDemand since I pay for it (well, it comes with the digital cable, which I do pay for. You know what I mean). Lacking in the aforementioned money, I stuck to what was free.

I picked two movies, both based on comic books. First up was Elektra from 2005 (Buy on Amazon).

I somewhat apologetically like this movie. Yes, I know it’s not very good, but since it basically has TV-level production values, it does play better on the smaller screen (but yes, I did see it in theaters). I think Jennifer Garner gives the role much more gravity than it deserves and really, I don’t think it would be better with someone else in the role. I liked the girl-power message, as cheesy as it was. The effects aren’t great, but there are a few good action sequences. I was, admittedly, working on a couple of projects while I had this on, but it made for good background entertainment.

It always felt like a TV pilot to me so I always kind of wished the story of Elektra and Abby got to continue and I still do. I know that not much of it had anything to do with the actual comic-book character of Elektra, but so what? This is, by no means, a great movie, but I don’t think it’s nearly as terrible as people made it out to be.

(And I’d personally love to see an Elektra animated movie from Marvel. I know there’s little chance of that happening, but still. It would make me happy.)

Here’s a clip via YouTube:

Next up was Art School Confidential (Buy on Amazon), based on the comic by Daniel Clowes.

I basically hated this movie.

Let’s start from the beginning. I went to a small school that was in a town called Farmville. Yes, Farmville. It’s about what the name implied (although with a somewhat troubled history). I’m not claiming my college experience was typical — while I hung out with a lot of art and theater majors, a big night out for us was drinking a couple of Miller Lite tallboys and listening to a Bill Hicks CD — I do feel like I was surrounded by people who were interested in learning about the world.

I am a fan of Ghost World — the movie, and to a lesser extent, the comic (I think the movie is better). I am not a particular fan of Daniel Clowes but I respect his work. I have not read the comic that Art School Confidential is based on, so I cannot compare the two. But I severely disliked the movie. If I hadn’t already felt committed to this blog entry, I would’ve stopped watching it.

It begins as a parody of academia — certainly, we all know that colleges are filled with obnoxious pseudo-intellectual people, don’t we? But did any of us actually run into these people at school? I personally knew a lot of great artists. Maybe they were pretentious, but I felt like they were trying to say something and had the space to do so.

Perhaps what I disliked the most about this movie was that it was all about the boys. And that’s not always a bad thing — there are plenty of good movies about men out there. But this felt like it didn’t take any of the women’s view into account. It was all about the male gaze. When the angry Shilo was on the screen, I was yelling “I want to see a movie about her!” at my TV. Even Professor Sandiford, played by John Malkovich, was entirely more interesting that our main character.

I’m fine with black comedy but this movie’s fetishizing of violence — particularly, although not limited to, against women — turned me off (and the final assertion that it’s somehow “attractive” I didn’t buy at all).

This movie just did not work for me. And if you want to read a much more intelligent version of my thoughts, read Cynthia Fuchs’ review at PopMatters.

All in all, I think I would’ve rather watched Elektra again. For all its flaws, at least it was an entertaining movie.

I couldn’t find anything interesting from this movie on YouTube, so here’s the trailer. But it’s bad, so don’t watch it:

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