There’s very little to be said about THE HANGOVER PART II that won’t be repeated time and again not only by everyone who reviews it, but by everyone who sees it. Whether you love it, hate it or come down somewhere in the middle, it is hard to ignore the fact that it is the exact same movie as the original. I don’t mean to say that it is very much like the original, but rather that it is beat for beat the very same movie. One critic recently joked that the script was written entirely with the find/replace function of Final Draft, and I’m not in any way certain that it wasn’t. For some, this will prove to be a masterstroke, a genius tactic to create a true sequel in every sense of the word; for others, like myself, it will kill what you loved about the first film.
Leave it to the PIRATES franchise to plunder the last of its own remaining goodwill. In what will be overblown by many as “a disaster” or “a franchise killing event”, many of the folks behind the successful series have returned to make what amounts to your average, every day, run of the mill sequel. While there are no doubt a number of missteps here, ON STRANGER TIDES never commits the sin of being terrible; it merely, contrary to its own title, sails through all too familiar waters and squeezes out every last bit of personality it can from its characters before running aground on the shores of mediocrity. It is the first of the series that fans can easily skip without feeling like they’ve missed much, if anything, at all.
Several of you over the last few months have been asking why I’ve been so sporadic about updating - while the more eagle-eyed among you have noticed that I just don’t seem to be writing so much anymore. Why not? This is why not.
I’ve stopped writing for everyone but Ain’t it Cool News and pulled back on the amount of content there as well because I’ve sold a screenplay. In the course of doing that, I picked up a writing partner by the name of Scott Derrickson (Director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Day the Earth Stood Still) with whom I am now partnered full time. We’re working on a number of things together and plan on taking on writing jobs together from here on out. Meanwhile, the secret project I’ve been working on is entering its final stages before I talk about it.
Needless to say, I’ve been busy. I’m making movies and hope to be for the foreseeable future. The days of me being a professional film critic appear to be drawing to a close. It’s been a fun ten years, but it is time for me to leave the nest and put myself out there. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for months and let you guys in on what was up, but I had to keep my mouth shut until the contracts were signed. Those were signed Friday. The cat’s out of the bag now.
I couldn’t be more excited to work with Scott. We’re two peas in a pod, he and I. One way or another, this is gonna be fun. Thanks for sticking out the radio silence with me.
The new decade did not begin in the year 2000. Neither did the 21st Century. They both began on September 11th, 2001. We don’t measure our lives from the changing of the calendar, nor talk about a new Millennium and what it means to us. We talk about a post-9/11 world; we talk about what this country used to be like…before 9/11. It marked the beginning of a turbulent decade overflowing with racism, homophobia, religious fundamentalism, fear, loathing, war, extremists, protests, division and an erosion of everything we believe in – regardless of political affiliation.
And the greatest trick played on us was by the man who coined the phrase “The world changed on 9/11.” Because it didn’t. The only thing that changed on 9/11 was the people. Politicians like George W. Bush used the event to fundamentally rearrange their beliefs and begin structuring a nation closer to what we’d been fighting against than what we’d been fighting for. People got scared. They got angry. They showed their true colors. It turns out we didn’t live in a Christian nation; we lived in one that liked to be Christian when it was convenient for us. Turn the other cheek became “Let’s get the mother fucker.” And we did.
After 10 years, hundreds of thousands of lives and Trillions of dollars of debt, we got the guy. And people are celebrating in the streets. Meanwhile, the armchair philosophers are wagging their fingers, admonishing the celebration as a barbaric act of bloodlust, entirely ignorant of what everyone is really celebrating. There are few people in the streets cheering the death of a man. No, they’re cheering the end of an era. This terrible, turbulent decade of divide is over. It’s behind us now. We won’t measure the decade’s end by a January 1st; we’ll talk about May 1st.
Already we’ve been watching as the statues of that era have crumbled. Keith Olbermann is gone. Glenn Beck has been handed his hat and is on his way out the door. Dick Cheney doesn’t even show his face anymore. The villains of the last decade are all dead, in hiding or considered irrelevant. Even the Tea Party is withering away, the mortal wound delivered earlier this year when 800 bussed in agitators stood amid a throng of protestors 100,000 strong - of all political stripe and kind - and the world saw how marginal they really were. A right wing Republican governor smacked down a bill about Birth Certificates declaring it a bridge too far. And in one calculated week, our president silenced the birther movement and humiliated his loudest, most obnoxious, headline grabbing critics.
But all of that is just small potatoes. We got the guy. We put two bullets in his head and showed our enemies that no one was too powerful or protected to hide from us. Then we respectfully cared for and buried his body without allowing the circus of previous assassinations to divide the world. We made a point, and that point was the punctuation mark at the end of a time we will all tell our grandchildren about.
It’s over. It’s all over. Now is the time to rebuild. Now is the time to dismantle the monolithic entities that have sprung up and altered the world as we know it. Now is the time to pull our troops out of two senseless wars, having finally met the objective we initially set out to achieve. We aren’t entering a world without problems or doing away with evil, or racism, or homophobia - but we are now able to leave that decade behind, to relegate it to history and try once more to have a go at a better world. One death can do that.
We do not celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden. Instead we celebrate what his death signals. That’s why we dance in the streets; that’s why we hug and cry and high five one another. Today is the beginning of a new decade, one in which we’ll try to do better than those who came before us. I didn’t vote for Obama and frankly I haven’t been surprised by his policies; but man, am I proud today that he is my god damn president.
Here’s to the next ten years. May we strive to be better.