Archive for March 2011

Sucker Punch

March 27, 2011

Pity the poor workaday film critics who have to make sense of something like Sucker Punch. They have to stand and deliver a logical assessment of this crazed, three-headed Ghidorah of a film; they have to persuade their editors that they aren’t immature enough, attention-deficit-disordered enough, to fall for such heavy-breathing juvenilia. Perhaps the majority of critics are simply being honest when they say that they feel battered and annoyed by Sucker Punch, that it portends the death of movies, that its hotshot director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) should be sent to his room without supper. I, too, must be honest, and I can opine with very little reservation that Snyder has constructed a right-brain classic, a coruscating work of pure cinema that, at times, plays as though some brave loon at Warner Brothers handed Snyder the keys to an $82 million art-house oddity.

The story is a wheel within a wheel within a wheel, and I can imagine fans and non-fans alike working earnestly to parse the levels of reality and fantasy — what “really” happened, what “real-life” event has a “fantasy” analogue. The easy answer is that nothing in Sucker Punch “really happened.” It’s a movie. Duh. From there we can simply read the film as Snyder’s riff on themes of freedom, escapism, and institutional (the pun is and isn’t intended) sexism. In the run-up to the film’s release, Snyder went around saying things like (regarding the heroines’ peekaboo techno-fetish garb) “I didn’t dress them that way. You did.” The girls are dressed that way because ass-kicking girls in action movies have to be hot, as per the demand of the audience. Thus Snyder has made, in part, a movie that critiques other movies, just like Godard advised us to do. You don’t like Sucker Punch? Direct your own answer to it.

Godard’s confrere Truffaut said, “The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure,” and Sucker Punch is that, if nothing else. The quintet of girls flip in and out of massive set pieces resembling nothing so much as a boy’s epic combat play with a wide assortment of action figures from a dozen different toy lines. The girls are plunked into that universe like Barbie dolls, except they’re lethal Barbie dolls. The lead character (Emily Browning) is even named Baby Doll, and the others have names like Sweet Pea and Blondie. Nobody except Snyder named the girls; nobody except Snyder put them in the situations they’re in, so the movie is also a gigantic critique of Snyder’s own ain’t-it-cool aesthetic.

The girls, on a videogame-like mission to find various objects that will earn their freedom, don’t seem to feel much terror or joy in battle. They are emotional only in the setting of the burlesque house and brothel they’re “really” in, which may be a fantasy extension of the asylum they’re “really” in. What they’re “really” in is a movie called Sucker Punch that conceptually robs them of their dignity and humanity much as the male-fronted brothel/asylum does. But Snyder has cast the girls shrewdly, and the near-wordless Emily Browning, eyebrows perpetually knitted in anguish, compels us to lean forward and know what she’s feeling. Her cohorts — tough-minded Abbie Cornish, sympathetic Jena Malone, conflicted Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung — breathe life into their archetypes.

There’s a final betrayal of complacent audience expectations — the twist that gives the movie its name and probably served as the straw that broke the critics’ backs. Zack Snyder is wading deeply into meta-fiction here, toying roughly with storytelling itself. But always, always he seeks to entertain, to mount dazzling sequences set to the heavy insistent march of Björk’s “Army of Me” or various rock-classic covers. I’ve run hot and cold on Snyder; Watchmen impressed me, his other stuff didn’t. But this wild beast, whether he even fully understands it himself, is indeed the death of a certain kind of movie — the death and ne plus ultra at the same time, the apocalyptic orgasm that kills everything.

How can we take action cinema, or babes-with-guns flicks, remotely seriously (if we ever could) after Sucker Punch? Snyder has created a monument to entertainment that he loves but, presumably, hates himself for loving. It is both a guilty pleasure and the original wellspring of guilt, plumbing the melodramatic Prozac-porn of Sylvia Plath and Girl, Interrupted and 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up” to remind us of what Swoosie Kurtz had to tell us in The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom: “Crazy women are made by crazy men.” Crazy movies are, too. And sometimes cult movies.


March 20, 2011

Why should American geeks have all the fun? At first glance, England doesn’t seem like fertile soil for nerdy enthusiasms — too jaded and stoic. Enter Simon Pegg and Nick Frost from Old Blighty, wild-eyed and jabbering effusively about jedis and zombies and cop movies. Their collaborations with director Edgar Wright — the TV series Spaced, the cult flicks Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz — are elaborate mash notes to the lowbrow, middlebrow and no-brow entertainments they devoured as younglings. Paul, their first joint effort without Wright (they cowrote it, Greg Mottola directed), is a paean to everything extraterrestrial in American culture, up to but not including, thank the gods, Battle Los Angeles.

Graeme (Pegg in an impressive variety of arrested-development t-shirts¹) and Clive (Frost, his long hair making him look oddly like David Foster Wallace, minus the bandanna) are in San Diego for the yearly Comic-Con. (Meta time: Pegg and Frost themselves were at Comic-Con last summer to show some Paul footage. Someone in the audience got stabbed with a pen. Nobody got stabbed at my screening, but my car did stall afterward. Perhaps Paul is bad luck.) The geeks plan to take an RV tour through the “UFO hot spots” of the southwest. So of course they run into an actual alien — Paul, given life by CGI and voice by Seth Rogen in full surly profane rumble. Paul can turn invisible, revive small dead animals, and smoke serious extraterrestrial chronic.

Pegg and Frost have designed Paul as a tribute to their fellow Comic-Con padawans, the ones who will get the multitude of hat-tips to Alien, The X-Files, Close Encounters, E.T. (I think most of Spielberg’s first decade of filmmaking is covered here), and so on. The cast list reads like a who’s who of modern comedy: Jason Bateman as a determined Man in Black, Kristen Wiig as a Bible-thumper whose exposure to Paul turns her into a libidinous atheist, Jeffrey Tambor at his smarmily unctuous best as a comic-book godhead, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, and a matron of sci-fi flicks whose identity I won’t spoil, though others have — I picture Pegg and Frost getting up extra early on the days they got to work with her, wide-eyed and effusive, and possibly bringing posters for her to sign.

Paul is not quite up to Shaun of the Dead (few comedies are), but I liked it a lot more than Hot Fuzz, whose parodic focus simply didn’t interest me as much. It’s not the crude farce some of us feared it would be; Paul in particular develops comic and dramatic shadings. And here, as in Shaun, Pegg and Frost begin with scruffy humanity, then introduce the extraordinary and let the scruffballs respond to it. Pegg and Frost, though, may be generous to a fault here: they give plenty of screen time to their co-stars but don’t give themselves much to do, and Graeme and Clive are pretty much the same geeks at the end (except more famous) as at the start. I wouldn’t expect Pegg and Frost to deliver a geek movie whose message is that men should put away childish things — if anything, it’s a very un-Biblical message we take home. (Like their countrymates Ricky Gervais and Christopher Hitchens, Pegg and Frost are, shall we say, Darwin fans.) Pegg in particular is living the geek dream — he’s not about to bite the Trekkies that feed him. But I have to wonder if the lads’ shtick has legs; Pegg just recently turned 41, and Frost is closing in on 39. What plays as amusingly blinkered in one’s thirties starts to look sad into the forties and beyond.

¹Note the Dan Clowes Eightball shirt he sports in the above still. At least he’s got some taste. (Clowes also drew the cover of the comic book Paul flips through at one point.)

Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards.

March 14, 2011

Charlie Sheen? Over. Rebecca Black is the new shit.

Sometime over the weekend, someone discovered Rebecca Black’s apocalyptically awesome new video “Friday” on YouTube. Well, it went viral with astonishing velocity, even by 2011 internet standards. There are already god knows how many remixes and covers (the best cover I’ve heard: Bob Dylan). By now, Rebecca Black has an army of ironic fans who cherish such lyrics as “Kickin’ in the front seat/Sittin’ in the back seat/Gotta make my mind up/Which seat can I take?” and this post’s subject line. The video has, as I write this, clocked over two million views.

I feel bad for the people who can’t appreciate the majesty that is Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on some level: ironic, genuine, whatever. To me, what this song means is this: This is it. In case you were wondering, this is about as far as pop music can fall. This is the logical extension of pop’s worship of surface over substance, catchiness over melody. And honestly? It’s so adorably inept I kind of love it. Yeah, I’m in the Rebecca Black fan club. You got a problem with that? It makes me laugh. In case you forgot, laughs were in short supply this past weekend. Cackling at an insanely bubbly kid auto-tuning her way through a perfectly content-free paean to a day of the week was perhaps just the release valve two million people (or maybe one million people watching it twice) needed.

I said “perfectly” content-free, and “Friday” is perfection in a lot of ways. Not great; not even good; but perfect, the way that an Ed Wood film is a perfect expression of ol’ Ed’s feelings (“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”) despite his technical inability to portray those feelings in any way that isn’t hilarious. “Friday” is The Thing Itself, the sleek essence. The Ark Music Factory, which apparently takes rich parents’ money to turn their little darlings into internet pop stars, has done what major labels have tried to do for decades: package radio-friendly unit shifters despite their non-existence of talent. According to their website, Ark has eleven other “artists” besides Rebecca Black, though Rebecca Black was the one to break through, because millions of laughing/aghast YouTube clickers knew what I know: This is it.

And the video! Oh my shit, the video: Rebecca Black grinning nonstop at the defenseless camera, while kids around her dance dorkily, some even gaining their own ironic fan clubs, like the girl in braces to the right of Rebecca Black in the back seat — she may yet rise to Amber Lamps status. The whole thing is slickly produced but conceptualized on about the level of a thirteen-year-old, which is what Rebecca Black is.

Struggling musicians have done some resentful grumbling: “I’ve worked on my craft for thirty years and I’m still doing gigs in pubs and at farmer’s markets, and this dweeb gets two million hits.” You know what? Fuck you, musicians, and fuck your craft, if you’re that pissed about who gets sprinkled with popularity dust and who doesn’t. Then don’t quit your fucking day job, you infant. Life isn’t fair — learn it, know it. Most people in any creative field will never make anywhere close to a living on the art they practice, and the undeserving consistently get handed the keys to the kingdom. Accept that, embrace that, and either do it because you love to do it or get the fuck out of it and stop scorning the giddiness the rest of us derive from something like Drive Angry 3D or Rebecca Black’s “Friday.”

Besides, the kid is only thirteen and she looks so damn happy up there, singing about having her bowl (??) and her cereal (oh, that kind of bowl), living the dream with all her friends or all those day players pretending to be her friends. I, for one (or two million), eagerly await Rebecca Black’s follow-up, but really, how can you follow up “Friday”? It’s been done; this is it. It’s been said. Pop has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss has gazed into it, and the result is “Friday.” Partyin’ partyin’ yeah.

Battle Los Angeles

March 12, 2011

It’s only terrible timing, I suppose, that gave us an apocalyptic destruction movie on the same weekend we were seeing the real, horrific thing on the news. We don’t need an attack by aliens hunting for water; an 8.9 earthquake is sufficient, thanks. The images and sounds coming out of Japan put anything in Battle Los Angeles to shame. We saw, via helicopter cameras, a gargantuan blob of mud and sea water smothering everything in its path — cars, houses, people. In a way, if you saw that in a movie your eyes would probably reject it as fake. It’s implausibly monstrous, like something out of Lovecraft (or Miyazaki in a foul mood). In Battle Los Angeles, what we see is the usual tidy art-directed rubble of movie disaster. It lacks the incomprehensible chill and randomness of the thing itself.

Not that Battle Los Angeles wants to be a starkly realistic meditation on mass death. I mean, it’s about aliens. It has been directed by Jonathan Liebesman as if it were a standard-issue war flick, the difference being that the enemy is extraterrestrial. We follow one Marine unit, composed of mostly interchangeable stereotypes, as they make their way through E.T.-torn Los Angeles to find survivors at a police station. The style is ripped off from — sorry, I mean inspired by — the you-are-there whip-pan over-edited sweatbox style of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. I can say this much for Battle Los Angeles over Black Hawk Down: At least here, when the enemy is presented as inhuman, unstoppable death machines, there’s no guilt involved. We’re not cheering the slaughter of Somalis; they’re just terminators.

There are some half-assed stabs at drama. Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), who’s about to retire before the aliens strike, is assigned to a unit containing the resentful brother of a soldier who died on one of Nantz’ previous missions. So Nantz defers to the orders of a green 2nd Lieutenant (Ramon Rodriguez), who mostly doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. Then again, neither does anyone else — it’s not as if this has happened before. The strategy seems to be: shoot at the aliens a lot. Eventually, Nantz grabs a wounded alien and, in a particularly queasy sequence, keeps stabbing it and roughly dissecting it until he figures out what will kill it.

I kind of felt sorry for the alien, who might’ve been some grunt beloved on his home planet by his alien wife and alien kids, trying to survive this mission and get some darn water. You might remember that David Bowie’s alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth also came here in search of our life-giving liquid; he ended up a drunken recluse, and maybe if the aliens in Battle Los Angeles had chosen a more peaceful approach they, too, might’ve succumbed to a draining ennui. Perhaps being blown up by a few motivated Marines is a nobler way to go — a Viking funeral rather than measuring out their lives with coffee spoons.

Anyway, the dwindling unit, joined at one point by the rapidly typecast Michelle Rodriguez (who’s funny enough in interviews that I’d like to see her in a comedy every so often instead of hefting ordnance forever), finds a few survivors and has to get them to a certain checkpoint before the Air Force bombs the area. This creates an almost-literal ticking-bomb tension that turns out to go absolutely nowhere. Between the disorienting jiggly-cam and the dreary rubbled disasterscape, Battle Los Angeles is visually obnoxious and swiftly falls into a redundant march — how many times can we watch Marines taking cover and returning fire at barely glimpsed aliens before our eyes glaze over?

There are some feints at levity, but nothing in the movie is funnier than the first reel’s hapless attempt to set up the soldiers as real people — we see one Marine kissing his wife’s pregnant belly goodbye, and I never could remember which one he was. Say what you will about James Cameron, but he’s good at this stuff, and his Aliens remains the pinnacle of the extraterrestrial combat subgenre. I remember ol’ Hicks and Hudson and Vasquez (the proto-Michelle Rodriguez) and of course Ripley more vividly after 25 years than I remember, two hours after seeing Battle Los Angeles, Staff Sergeant Nantz and … the rookie guy and … jeez, what were their names?

Take Me Home Tonight

March 6, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight is set in 1988, the year I graduated from high school. So I would’ve been a few years behind this movie’s characters, most of whom are Class of ’84 and are now looking back on four years of life post-high school. Some, like Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) and his twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris), have now also graduated from college but don’t know what to do with their degrees. Should Matt, who went to MIT, go into engineering and leave his safe, fallback Suncoast Video gig? (“I didn’t spend a quarter of my life savings,” says Matt’s cop-with-a-heart-of-gold dad, played by Michael Biehn, “so that you could work in a mall.”) Will Wendy ditch her stupid boyfriend and prospective fiancé (Chris Pratt, in real life Mr. Faris) and pursue her creative muse in Cambridge (that’s England, not Massachusetts)?

The movie, which like The Wedding Singer seems to want to fold the entire ’80s into two hours, is about something interesting: the post-college blues, wherein you’re still regularly seeing people you know from high school, who don’t seem all that different than they were — it has only been four years — so you don’t feel all that different. But life beckons, waiting for you to make some choices. What ties the movie to its actual ’80s ancestors is a variety of familiar tropes: the unrequited love who got away (Teresa Palmer), the cringing-geek buddy (Dan Fogler) who gets high (cocaine is a hell of a drug) and falls into squalor and embarrassment, the family bonds stronger than passing fancies. Take Me Home Tonight is particularly good at the last: Matt and Wendy talk and act like real siblings. I can see why Matt is annoyed that Wendy might drop her literary dream to marry a frat douche.

The film isn’t much, but for those of us who appreciate anything ’80s, it’s a perfectly painless nostalgia trip. It even has the cheapjack, slightly grainy look and muddy sound of an actual mid-’80s flick. All I needed to make the illusion complete was the odor of stale spilled beer of the crappy theaters of my youth. Faris gratifyingly plays smarter than she’s usually asked to play; Grace makes a suitable Andrew McCarthy/Anthony Michael Hall stand-in. The weirdest and perhaps funniest scene involves a passive three-way between Dan Fogler, a voracious Angie Everhart, and a strange man who wants only to watch, played by Clement von Franckenstein, the coolest name I’ve heard this year so far. (His full name is Clement George Freiherr von und zu Franckenstein, which is even cooler. Anyway, he lends the movie a jocular Euro-decadent flavor that reminded me of good old Dieter Meier, of the Zurich electro-pop band Yello, whose leering “Oh Yeah” was inescapable during the late ’80s.)

Take Me Home Tonight was completed so long ago (2007) that some of its bit players, like Whitney Cummings and Ginnifer Goodwin, have gone on to successes of their own. It was on the shelf that long not because it’s bad — it isn’t — but because the studio fretted over the cocaine use by two characters. Since the Bolivian marching powder, in this movie, leads only to a god-awful bathroom tryst while Clement George Freiherr von und zu Franckenstein watches, I don’t think Universal (which once upon a time unleashed Animal House upon the youth of America) should’ve worried much about it. This is your libido. This is your libido on cocaine. Any questions?

Anyway, a lot of the plot hinges tiresomely on a ruse worthy of Three’s Company (or That ’70s Show, of which Topher Grace and scripters Jackie and Jeff Filgo are graduates): Matt pretends to be working at Goldman Sachs to impress his high-school crush. Goldman Sachs, of course, was not in 1988 the spit-flecked profanity on our lips it is today. The ’80s were definitively the Money Decade, full of conspicuous consumption and questionable fashion and — to me, anyway — awesome music. The soundtrack of Take Me Home Tonight is predictable, even making use of standards from ’80s tribute movies like Grosse Pointe Blank (hello, Pete Townshend’s slow-dance remix of “Let My Love Open the Door”). But it ends with a tune I hadn’t heard since the ’80s, and I bow to no one in my hunger for ’80s obscurities: “Live Is Life,” a 1985 charter by the Austrian band Opus. Now, of course, I can’t get it out of my head, but any movie that can exhume a long-forgotten ’80s ditty for me gets a passing grade.

The End of Objects

March 4, 2011

I own more books than I will ever read, more DVDs than I will ever watch. At the moment I also have more music on my iTunes — only a portion of which resides on my iPod — than I ever listen to. But at least that music only takes up digital space. If it all had analog counterparts — say, a physical CD for each album I’ve got tucked away on iTunes; a physical 45 single for each albumless, stand-alone song — it would fill half a room.

We are rapidly, of course, approaching a time when books and movies needn’t be represented by things of metal and plastic and paper on our shelves, either. I can fit Infinite Jest and/or the complete works of Dostoyevsky into my pocket via the Kindle app for the iPod and have room to spare for my keys, a cell phone, and some quarters. As more and more movies become available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, and goddess knows how many other outlets, we lose the need to go trawling through the $5 DVD bins in search of impulse-buy items that look just intriguing enough to be worth watching … someday.

Recently I was pointed to this video, an extended ad for Corning Glass that promises a world of smooth surfaces, a total touchpad environment. I found the ad unsettling and vaguely offensive for various reasons, but it started me thinking. I visualized a glass wall in one’s living room which, when touched, would show off one’s collection of e-books or music or films much the way we want our physical shelves to represent our tastes and pretensions. Press the wall once, there’s your book collection (or “page” one of it, if you own more e-books than will display on the wall). Press twice, there’s your music collection. Press thrice, there’s your movie collection. (Your porn collection would, of course, be fingerprint-passworded.)

What you see on this wall is an assortment of uniform spines of media. If you want to reach something near the top of the wall, or don’t feel like bending over to reach something near the floor, you finger-swipe up or down as you do on your iPod or iPad. All your media is stored on a 500 petabyte (or whatever you can afford) central hard drive, kept in a climate-controlled room. (You’ll also have backups, right? You’ll pay a monthly fee to store them on a massive server, or something with cloud-computing capabilities.) So you touch a spine on the wall: you feel like listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on your home sound system. Or you feel like reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions — the book is piped wirelessly to your iPad or similar handheld tablet, or you have the option of paging through it on your widescreen TV. Or you feel like watching Wallace & Gromit — again, piped wirelessly to your TV.

What happens to all your physical media? Simple: you trade it in. If it’s got a UPC, and most stuff does, you scan it in, and a digital copy of it downloads onto your hard drive. The physical copy you can then drop off for recycling, or donate it to an organization (school, etc.) that still relies on physical collections of things. Very soon, you need no physical books, movies or music in your home at all. (Bear in mind, this is optional — you can still hold onto objects that have sentimental value — until, of course, it isn’t optional because there simply isn’t enough space left on the planet.)

The point is to roll with technology to do what every spiritual school of thought worth its followers tells you to do: let go of the physical.

This future I’m spinning has obvious appeal to me as someone who’d love to have easy access to all the media I own without the clutter, the hassle of organization, the pangs of guilt upon bringing home one more book or one more DVD. But this same future also spells what certainly sounds like the definitive death of the public library. And as a library worker for the past going-on-21 years, that rankles me. I want it for myself personally; I don’t wish to see it become the standard for everyone.

Which it probably won’t, any time soon. What you probably don’t realize, unless you come into steady contact with the sort of people who aren’t reading this blog entry or any blog entries, is that there are still many, many, many people who not only don’t have internet access at home but who have never been on the internet. And yes, this is changing as we witness a growing generation that doesn’t remember a time before the internet. But it won’t happen tomorrow.

What will happen sooner than we want it to, if people continue to insist on procreating quite literally as if there were no tomorrow, is a simple problem of acreage. Our grandchildren may live to see the day when everyone on the planet lives like those poor cramped bastards in Tokyo, making do with an absolute minimum of square feet of living area. When that day comes, pretty much everything will, or will have to be, digitized in response to the needs of space. If you want culture in your home, it won’t be tactile, except for that smooth surface you touch to bring up a display that shows off your complete collection of Virginia Woolf or Django Reinhardt or Federico Fellini. And then, at a stroke, you’re reading A Room of One’s Own or grooving to Djangology or watching La Strada.

Or you’re not; or you’re living in a shoebox with no culture whatsoever because all this technology, all this access, is available only to the top 1% of income earners, and the rest of us can go suck a corn dog. Which is why that video annoyed me: it looks like a rich person’s future, not yours or mine.

Whether this future chills or compels you, you can either take comfort in or be frustrated by the likelihood that by the time the tech comes down to your spending level, you and your children will be long dead of old age. For the moment, we are stuck with physical media — or we still have it to give us tactile joy, whichever you prefer — and we still have to find a place for it all. Anyone want a paperback of The Lovely Bones? I’ve got two.

The Apotheosis of Carlos Irwin Estevez

March 1, 2011

He hasn’t been on my radar much of late — I mean, I don’t watch Two and a Half Men, and he pretty much stopped being a box-office force sometime around the early ’90s. But Charlie Sheen is sure on my radar now. I don’t even know that much about what he’s so pissed off about — something to do with the show’s producer. What I do know is that he’s been dropping one awesomely epic pronouncement after another. And I’m loving it.

Charlie Sheen said: I am on a drug, it’s called ‘Charlie Sheen.’ It’s not available ’cause if you try it once you will die. Your face will melt off, and your children will weep over your exploded body.

Charlie Sheen said: I mean, what’s not to love? Especially when you see how I party. Man, it was epic. The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards, all of ’em just look like droopy-eyed armless children.

Charlie Sheen said: Resentments are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my saber.

Charlie Sheen said: I will not believe that if I do something then I have to follow a certain path because it was written for normal people. People who aren’t special. People who don’t have tiger blood and Adonis DNA.

Charlie Sheen said: We are high priest Vatican assassin warlocks. Boom! Print that, people.

Charlie Sheen said: Read behind the frickin’ hieroglyphics… this is cryptology.

Most truthfully, Charlie Sheen said: I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry at my fingertips. That’s a bingo. Boom! Print that, people.

This is manic apotheotic poetry, what Charlie Sheen is spinning here. I don’t know and I don’t care what his mental state is or should be. All I know is that anyone who can come up with this caliber of psycho-Biblical magniloquence is to be treasured, and interviewed frequently.

I mean, can you even imagine what would’ve happened if Lindsay Lohan had made the rounds with this kind of chit-chat? Lindsay Lohan, the F-18 who will deploy her ordnance to the ground! Out of the ash she rises with her red hair / And she eats men like air. I would’ve gone out and bought every goddamn Lindsay Lohan DVD and both her albums if she’d done that. The thing is, and Sheen knows it, if you’re a celebrity you’re supposed to shitkick and act humble. Gosh, I just got lucky is all. Stars: they’re just like us! I’m not a witch; I’m you! Not Charlie Sheen. He’s a warlock, he’s a fighter plane, he’s on a drug called Charlie Sheen and it will melt your face.

I love this shit. I could read it all day and all of the night. I love when a star drops the pretense and says he’s fucking special, he has magic and poetry in his fingertips and coming out of his massive heavily-veined dick (the tip of his saber!), and if you don’t believe him, just ask his goddesses. They’ll tell you he’s a secret feminist:

Women are not to be hit. They’re to be hugged and caressed … She was attacking me, though, with a small fork — like a cocktail fork. And she had it with her; that was the weird part. What was she doing with, like, a shrimp fork in her purse? She stole it, clearly. From a buffet.

Frickin’ women with their shrimp forks. But leave the forks at the buffet, man; come party with Charlie Sheen, if you can even handle it without your bones melting like wax.

Charlie Sheen has strafed the received wisdom that the rich, powerful and famous are like anyone else, except with more, like, money, power and fame. Did you see the Oscars? Every goddamn one of those people onstage knows what Charlie Sheen knows. They just don’t talk about it. But Charlie Sheen, man, beautiful epic Charlie Sheen, he’s made the pilgrimage to the burning bush of his own awesomeness, and it almost torched his fucking eyebrows off, but who needs eyebrows, you can buy eyebrows, you can buy anything if you’re Charlie Sheen, which you’re not because only Charlie Sheen is Charlie Sheen.

Can you be like Charlie Sheen? I dunno, dude/dudette — I mean, you can try to excavate and nourish your inner Sheenliness, the chthonic essence we’re told to smother or else the other kids won’t like us; roll with the science of it, the knowledge that you win all day long, you win in your underwear before your first cup of coffee, and anyone who can’t see that is a troll, a loser, a droopy-eyed armless child who can’t process the reality of you. “Pretty pretty please,” P!nk recently implored, “don’t you ever ever feel like you’re less than fuckin’ perfect,” and Charlie Sheen certainly internalized the shit out of that message. Charlie Sheen is not sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought. Read behind the frickin’ hieroglyphics!

Thing is, Charlie Sheen is wasted on a sitcom with Duckie and a kid, and he knows it. He needs to be writing operas, epic novels that make Atlas Shrugged look like a crouton (Who is Charlie Sheen?) — Ayn Rand totally would’ve spread ’em for Charlie Sheen, bro. He needs to be the hero of his own Tolkien saga, and he wouldn’t be some hobbit, he definitely wouldn’t be some simpy elf, he’d be Gandalf and the Balrog at the same time, motherfucker, telling himself “You shall not pass” because nobody else has the balls to, and fuck throwing the Ring into the volcano, Charlie Sheen would keep it and be righteously awesome with it, and it wouldn’t control him because he can cure himself with his mind, and maybe he can cure you too — who knows? — nobody’s ever asked him.

Anyway, a sitcom is beneath a man with such rhetorical gifts as Charlie Sheen has shown. So shine on, you high priest Vatican assassin warlock. Shine the fuck on.