THE AVENGERS IS A JOSS WHEDON MOVIE

SO HULK REALLY LIKES JOSS WHEDON. HE MADE A LITTLE MOVIE RECENTLY. IT’S CALLED THE AVENGERS.

HERE’S WHY IT’S GREAT AND ALSO WHY IT TOTALLY FITS IN WITH EVERYTHING HE’S EVER DONE:

http://badassdigest.com/2012/05/18/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-avengers-is-a-joss-whedon-movie/

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DOWNTON ABBEY AND THE PECULIAR GLORY OF BRITISH DRAMA

SO… YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD SOME HUB-BUB IN RECENT WEEKS, BUT HULK TELLING YOU IT’S ABSOLUTELY TRUE:

DOWNTON ABBEY IS FANTASTIC.

SO MUCH SO THAT IT PREVENTED HULK FROM DOING A NUMBER OF PRODUCTIVE THINGS THIS PAST SUNDAY. HULK MERELY SAT DOWN TO CHECK OUT THE FIRST EPISODE… 7 HOURS LATER… WELL, YOU GET IDEA.

OH, BUT HULK CAN SEE YOU SITTING THERE ROLLING YOUR EYES. ANOTHER POSH, PERIOD-PIECE, BRITISH MINISERIES? HOW REVOLUTIONARY! OR IF YOU’RE NOT INTO THE WHOLE SARCASM THING THEN IT’S HOW DULL. THERE’S SUCH A FUSS MADE OVER THE DRAMATIC OUTPUT OF BRITISH MOVIES AND TELEVISION SHOWS AND THEIR STUFFINESS AND THEIR COSTUMES AND THEIR, UM, YORKSHIRE CUMMERBUNDS… HULK HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE CORRECT NOUNS ARE BUT YOU GET THE IDEA. THE POINT IS THAT HULK GUESSING A HUGE PORTION OF HULK’S READERS ARE ABOUT AS INTERESTED IN MASTERPIECE THEATER AS THEY ARE A SEQUEL TO 27 DRESSES. WHICH IS A SHAME ACTUALLY… NOT THE 27 DRESSES PART, BUT THE MASTERPIECE THEATER THING.

SO ALLOW HULK TO GET THE POINT, WHICH IS TWO-FOLD. 1) THE FIRST IS CONVINCE THE EYE-ROLLING CYNICS THAT DOWNTON ABBEY IS THE KIND OF GREAT WORK THAT ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO LIKE MOVIES OR TV SHOULD BOTH WATCH AND FULLY ENJOY WITH NO RESERVATIONS. HULK RELATIVELY AGREES WITH YOUR DISPOSITION ON THE GENRE, BUT THAT SHOULD NEVER, EVER BE PREVENTATIVE. THE SHOW IS SIMPLY REMARKABLE. AND 2) JUST BECAUSE IT IS GOOD DOESN’T MEAN THERE ARE NO DEEPER QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED ABOUT WHY WE LIKE BRITISH PERIOD DRAMAS SO MUCH.

SO HULK’LL JUST FREAKIN ASK THAT QUESTION: WHY THE HELL DO WE AMERICANS GO SO NUTS FOR BRITISH PERIOD DRAMA?(1)

IT CAN'T ALL BE THIS GUY

IT ACTUALLY BRINGS WITH IT A WHOLE OTHER SLEW OF QUESTIONS THAT PERHAPS SOME READERS COULD ANSWER BELOW: DOES THE U.K. PRODUCE SOMETHING INHERENTLY “BETTER” OR IS IT MERELY OUR PROJECTION? IS THE U.K. AWARE OF OUR LOVING PROPENSITY FOR THEIR STUFF? DO THEY WONDER WHY WE HAVE THIS ADORATION? DOES THE U.K. IN TURN REVERE THEIR OWN CAPACITY FOR DRAMA IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE DO? OR IS IT LIKE THE OLD SIMPSONS JOKE GOES WITH BRAZIL NUTS (“WE JUST CALL THEM NUTS HERE”)? TO THEM, IS IT “OUR BRITISH DRAMA” OR JUST PLAIN DRAMA?

SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS ARE A LITTLE SILLY, BUT THERE IS NO DENYING THAT WE AMERICANS VIEW THE BRITISH PERFORMANCE AND CREATIVE WORK AS SOMETHING SPECIAL AND QUITE UNIQUE. SURE, THE TRAINING AND CRAFT IN ENGLAND IS SERIOUS, SERIOUS BUSINESS, BUT TRUST HULK WHEN HULK SAYS THAT THERE ARE JUST AS MANY REPUTABLE TRAINING ESTABLISHMENTS ALL OVER THE WORLD. BUT IT IS AS IF WE BELIEVE THAT BRITISH ACTORS HAVE THIS INHERENT CAPACITY FOR UNRIVALED DIGNITY AND GRACE, A MAGICAL SOMETHING WHICH IS NOT GIVEN TO US MERE AMERICAN MORTALS. THE MAGIC SEEMS TO BE  ELUSIVE, BUT WE DESCRIBE THESE SUPERLATIVE ACTING TRAITS IN FOLLOWING WAYS: AUSTERE, REPRESSED, QUIET, ORNATE, DIGNIFIED, REGAL, BROODING… WHICH ALL SOMEHOW EQUALS “BETTER.”

IT’S ALMOST RIDICULOUS. THERE IS THIS UNCANNY WAY WE JUST INHERENTLY ACCEPT BRITISH PERIOD DRAMA AS THE PINNACLE OF EXCELLENCE REGARDLESS OF ACTUAL QUALITY. WE INSTANTLY EQUATE ANY PRODUCTION WITH “HIGH BROW” JUST BECAUSE IT’S ALL FANCY OR SUMPTHIN. THESE WORKS ALWAYS SEEM TO BE NOMINATED FOR/WIN THE BIG YEAR END AWARDS EVEN WITH VERY LITTLE LARGE-SCALE CULTURAL PENETRATION. AND WE’RE SO QUICK TO CALL EVERY BRITISH ACTOR “BRILLIANT” AND “INTELLECTUAL” WHEN REALLY THEY’RE JUST, LIKE, TALKING WITH A BRITISH ACCENT. FUCK, AMERICANS WILL ACTUALLY GO SO FAR AS TO ACCEPT THE VALIDITY OF ANYTHING TAKING PLACE IN ANY COUNTRY OR TIME PERIOD SO LONG AS THEY’RE SPEAKING WITH BRITISH ACCENTS. YUP, WE’LL SUSPEND OUR DISBELIEF JUST FINE AS LONG AS IT’S NOT OUR UGLY AMERICAN VERNACULAR!(2)

JOAQUIN: SHOULDN'T WE BE SPEAKING LATIN? CROWE: FUNNY STORY, WE SHOULD ALL ACTUALLY BE SPEAKING GREEK. YOU SEE...(2A)

NOT EVERYONE IS ON BOARD WITH THIS THINKING OF COURSE. THE OBLIGATORY LAUDING OF BRITISH DRAMA IS ACTUALLY WHY MANY PROGRESSIVE AMERICAN CRITICS RAIL AGAINST IT. A LOT OF THIS IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT MOST PROGRESSIVE CRITICS HAVE A BITCH OF A TIME PROVING TO OTHER “SERIOUS” CRITICS THAT GENRE FARE CAN WAY MORE TRANSGRESSIVE, INTERESTING, COMPLEX, AND HIGH BROW THAN ANYTHING THAT THE PERIOD PIECES, PBS, THE BBC, AND BRITISH CINEMAS HAS TO OFFER. AND HULK COUNTS HULK-SELF AMONG THESE SORTS OF CRITICS.(3) BUT THERE IS ALSO A POINT WHERE HULK AND THE REST OF THE PROGRESSIVE CRITICS MUST NOT GO TOO FAR AND DISMISS SOMETHING FLAWLESS AS “BORING.”

BUT BRITISH PERIOD PIECES ARE A ACTUALLY A GENRE LIKE ANY OTHER AND THEY RESONATE FOR GOOD REASON. THE TRUTH IS THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE MECHANISM THAT MAKES BRITISH DRAMA WORK SO WONDERFULLY. SO WHAT IS IT? IS IT THE STODGINESS? DO WE LOVE TO WATCH THE REPRESSION? COULD IT BE MERELY THAT IT IS SO DIFFERENT FROM OUR OWN SENSIBILITIES? WHY DO WE LOVE IT SO?

TO HULK THE ANSWER IS ALMOST OBVIOUS.  THE APPROACH TO DRAMA IN THE BRITISH PERIOD PIECE IS, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, ONE OF THE EASIEST WAYS TO DO EFFECTIVE DRAMA:

IT IS THE ART OF BEING WITHHOLDING.

FOR THE SAKE OF CLARITY, BEING WITHHOLDING WORKS LIKE THIS: TELL PEOPLE THEY CAN’T HAVE THIS TOTALLY AWESOME THING IN YOUR HANDS AND  ALL THEY WILL EVER WANT IS THAT TOTALLY AWESOME THING IN YOUR HANDS…. THAT’S IT. BRITISH DRAMA JUST DRESSES UP THE DYNAMIC ALL FANCY-LIKE!

THINK ABOUT IT. UNDERNEATH THE POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE AND WIT AND, UM, PETTICOATS, THERE IS AN STRUCTURE TO BRITISH DRAMA THAT USUALLY CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING: TWO PEOPLE ARE IN LOVE (OR HATE EACH OTHER. HATE WORKS TOO). THEY KEEP THE WORDS AND FEELINGS BOTTLED UP, USUALLY DUE TO CLASS CONCERNS OR PROPRIETY. PUBLICLY, THEY SHOW EACH OTHER COURTESY AND GRACE. THEY TELL THEIR STORIES WITH LONGING LOOKS AND UNSAID GLANCES. THE SLIGHTEST BITS OF CONFUSION AND MISGIVINGS LEAD TO DOUBTS. THE LOVE ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. SO WHAT DOES THE VIEWER THEREFORE WANT? WE WANT TO SEE THEM RUN UP TO EACH OTHER AND KISS AND MAKE BABIES RIGHT THERE ON THE DRAWING ROOM FLOOR… MAKE FUN OF IT ALL YOU WANT, BUT THE EFFECT IS BOTH UNDENIABLE AND, IF YOU CAN APPRECIATE THE JOY OF SIMPLE EXECUTION, BEAUTIFUL.

IT MEANS WE ACTUALLY WATCH BRITISH DRAMA FOR THE TIMES THEY ARE NOT REPRESSED.

WE WATCH THE KINGS SPEECH FOR THE TIMES HE SWEARS.  WE WATCH PRIDE AND PREJUDICE TO SEE THE ERUDITE AND BASHFUL MR. DARCY DECLARE HIS LOVE. WE WATCH REMAINS OF THE DAY FOR ANTHONY HOPKINS’ QUIET DECLARATIONS OF FEELINGS. WE WATCH BRIDESHEAD REVISTED FOR CHARLES RYDER’S QUIET DECLARATION OF FEELINGS FOR SEBASTIAN…. OKAY, SO WE MOSTLY WATCH BRITISH DRAMAS FOR QUIET DECLARATIONS OF FEELINGS, BUT AGAIN, THAT’S BECAUSE THIS DEVICE IS STARTLINGLY EFFECTIVE. YOU CAN DISMISS IT, BUT HULK AND EVERYONE ELSE ARE NOT “CHUMPS” BECAUSE WE LIKE IT. TO DENY ITS EFFECT IS TO DENY YOUR OWN HUMANITY. THE REPRESSION TRIGGERS SOMETHING IN US. A SUBLIME LONGING AND EMPATHY. AND THEN IT OFTEN COMES TOGETHER WONDERFULLY.

WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO DOWNTON ABBEY.

OH, DO GO ON....

THE SHOW UNDERSTANDS THIS DYNAMIC AND USES IT TO SUCH EFFECT AS TO STIR YOU DOWN INTO YOUR DEEPEST HEART… AND POSSIBLY LOINS. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! THE SHOW ACTUALLY HITS THE MARK WITH EVERY SINGLE THING THAT IT DOES. EVERY CHARACTER IS IMPECCABLE AND FULLY-REALIZED. RELATIONSHIPS ARE TEXTURED, EARNED, AND FOCUSED. THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS REMARKABLE. NOT JUST THE INHERENT PERIOD DETAIL, BUT DETAIL OF CHARACTERIZATION.

THERE IS A WAY THIS PERFECTION MAY SEEM BORING TO SOME, AFTER ALL, THE TRAITS THAT MAKE DOWNTON ABBEY GOOD ARE MANY OF THE SAME TRAITS THAT HAVE MADE MANY OTHER BRITISH PERIOD DRAMAS GOOD (THE SHOW IS EVEN WRITTEN AND CREATED BY JULIAN FELLOWES, WRITER OF THE SUPER-GREAT ALTMAN FILM GOSFORD PARK), BUT THERE ARE A WHOLE SLEW OF OTHER THEMATIC ASPECTS THAT TRANSCEND THIS PERFECTION TO ALSO MAKE IT UNIQUE.

FOR ONE, DOWNTON IS ACTUALLY CONCERNED WITH THE DISSOLUTION OF THIS PRIM AND PROPER ERA. SET AGAINST THE BUILDUP TO THE GREAT WAR, THE FIRST SEASON DELICATELY SEWS THE SEEDS FOR HOW MUCH OF THIS REPRESSION IS ABOUT TO BE TORN APART BY THE STAKES OF MODERNITY. IT ACTUALLY TAKES ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF MANY OF THE GREAT WESTERNS BEING ABOUT “THE END OF THINGS” (FOR EXAMPLE, DEADWOOD). AND THE SHOW’S SCOPE AND INSIGHT INTO THE NUANCE OF CLASS DIFFERENCES IS WHOLLY REMINISCENT OF THE GREATEST TV SHOS EVER, THE WIRE. TO BOOT, THE SHOW MAKES BRILLIANT USE ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE WRITING TOOLS, AND THAT IS HOW TO WRITE HOW TO WRITE CHARACTERS WHO ARE “SECRETLY GOOD,” MEANING IT UNDERSTANDS THAT THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH EVERYONE HAS AN INNATE GOODNESS TO THEM, IT JUST LARGELY DEPENDS ON THE SITUATION AND CONTEXT. HOW ARE ALL THESE COMPARISONS NOT ENTICING TO YOU?

PLUS, THE SHOW HAS MAGGIE SMITH STILL CHUCKING IT LIKE 99 MPH.

THIS IS ACTUALLY A GREAT MICROCOSM FOR THE WHOLE WAY WE REGARD BRITISH DRAMA AS BOTH BRILLIANT AND BORING. WE ALL KNOW MAGGIE SMITH IS GREAT, RIGHT? OF COURSE WE DO. AT THIS POINT SHE IS BORING IN HER GREATNESS. WE UNDERSTAND THIS GREATNESS SO COMPLETELY THAT WE TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. DOWNTON ABBEY EVEN HAS HER IN ALL-TOO-FAMILIAR ROLE OF THE BEHIND-THE-TIMES, SNOOTY, UPTIGHT, DRYLY-HILARIOUS MATRIARCH. HECK IT’S HER SAME EXACT ROLE FROM GOSFORD PARK AND THE ONE THAT MADE HER LATE-CAREER RESURGENCE.

BUT YOU CANNOT DENY THAT SHE ABSOLUTELY DESTROYS THIS ROLE, REMINDING YOU EXACTLY WHY WE WENT SO NUTS FOR HER WORK IN THE FIRST PLACE. TO WIT, WATCH HER IN A MEETING WITH HER LAWYER / DISTANT FAMILY MEMBER:

HULK DOES NOT MEAN TO TRY “EXPLAIN THE JOKE” AND BEAT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH WHY THIS IS EXACTLY SO GOOD, BUT IT IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF SCENE THAT UNDERSTANDS THERE IS SO MUCH TO SUBTLY DO WITH A CHARACTER’S RANGE. IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO WRITE HER HAS ONE-NOTE-GRUMPY, BUT HER DISPOSITION SEEMS TO FLIP AND ALLEVIATE AT A MOMENTS NOTICE. THIS ISN’T JUST “KEEPING IT LIGHT” BUT UNDERSTANDING THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO HER CHARACTER IS DIGNITY, THUS SHE WILL PRESERVE IT IN WHATEVER WAY SHE CAN. THE SHOW KNOWS HOW TO GIVE CHARACTERS RANGE AND YET STAY COMPLETE WITHIN THEMSELVES. THIS IS WRITING AT PERFECTION.

BUT GREAT CHARACTERIZATION AND THEMATIC INTERESTS ASIDE, THE SHOW ULTIMATELY COMES BACK TO KNOWING EXACTLY HOW TO EXECUTE THE QUIET ART OF BEING WITHHOLDING. IT IS THE EMOTIONAL CORE OF THE SHOW, WHICH IN TURN BRINGS US BACK TO THE MATTER OF “WHY BRITISH DRAMA WORKS.” HULK ARGUES THE DYNAMIC AT PLAY HERE IS NOT JUST A HUMAN ONE, BUT ONE UNIQUELY BOUND TO OUR TWO CULTURES.

THINK ABOUT IT.

WE AMERICANS WATCH THESE PERIOD PIECES AND WE EMPATHIZE WITH THESE REPRESSED CHARACTERS BY PROJECTING OUR AMERICAN SENSIBILITIES ONTO THEM. WE IMBUE THE STODGY BRITISH WORLD OF YESTERYEAR WITH OUR MODERN COLOR AND VITALITY. WE LOVE TO WATCH THEIR EMOTIONALLY-CONFINED ENGLAND BECAUSE WE SO DESPERATELY WANT TO TURN IT INTO OUR AMERICA. OF COURSE, JUST BECAUSE WE WANT THAT TO HAPPEN DOESN’T NECESSARILY MAKE IT SO. THE PLOTTING DOES NOT REACT TO OUR BLISTERING EXPECTANCY AND INSTEAD DERIVES ITS DRAMA WITH DEMURE REFUSALS. THIS IS THE ART OF QUIET DRAMA, ONE WHOLLY CREATED WITHIN OURSELVES AS AUDIENCE PARTICIPANTS.

"MAKE OUT, MAKE OUT, MAKE OUT, MAKE OUT..."

AGAIN, THE TIME HONORED ART OF BEING WITHHOLDING. WHAT’S FUNNY ABOUT THIS IS THERE ARE MANY WAYS THAT AMERICAN DRAMA IS FAR MORE COMPLEX, MESSY, AND NUANCED, BUT THIS IS RARELY RECOGNIZED. BRITISH “HIGHBROW” DOMINATES OUR IDEA OF WHAT CONSTITUTES THE PINNACLE OF DRAMA. WHICH MAKES IT EVEN WEIRDER THAT AMERICAN WRITERS FORGET HOW WELL THIS BRITISH MODEL WORKS AND CAN’T HAVE TWO LOVEBIRDS JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR A SECOND. THEY COMPLETELY EXPUNGE EVERY OUNCE OF EFFORT TRYING TO GET YOU TO LIKE THEIR CHARACTERS, THAT THEY COMPLETELY FAIL TO REALIZE WE SHOULD BE CRAVING THE BEHAVIOR THEY CONSTANTLY GIVE US. WE WANT THEM TO CRAVE THE MOMENTS WHERE THE CHARACTERS AREN’T REPRESSED.(4) BUT RATHER THAN STIR OUR DESIRES, WE AMERICANS CREATE MOVIES WHERE DECLARATIONS OF LOVE AND FLIRTATION ARE SUNG TO THE RAFTERS, ECHOED NEAR AND HIGH AND ALL OVER THE WORLD. WE GIVE THEM MEAL AFTER MEAL OF ICE CREAM.

WHICH IS PROBABLY YET ANOTHER REASON WE TURN TO BRITAIN. WE CRAVE A CINEMATIC REALITY FAR DIFFERENT FROM OUR OWN. AND WHO KNOWS? MAYBE IT’S THE OPPOSITE IN THE U.K. PERHAPS THIS REPRESSIVE QUALITY IN THE BRITISH DRAMA IS “TOO FAMILIAR” AND THEY THEY LOOK TO THE BOMBASTIC AMERICAN FILM TO PROVIDE THE EXUBERANCE THEY WANT (THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS BRITISH COMEDY IS SO DAMN IRREVERENT. THERE IS AN OVERWHELMING DESIRE TO BREAK RULES). SO IS THIS A TWO-WAY STREET?… HULK ASKED TO HULK’S U.K. READERS… COUGH, ANSWER DOWN BELOW, COUGH.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR TWO CULTURES IS NOT JUST SOCIOLOGICAL, BUT HISTORICAL. NOT JUST IN THE WAY AMERICA LOOKS TO ENGLAND AS REPRESENTATION OF ANCESTRY AND ENGLAND LOOKS TO US AS A REPRESENTATION OF THE UNCHARTED FUTURE, BUT IN THE WAY OUR HISTORY INFORMS OUR PERSONALITIES: AMERICA BEING AN ENDLESS STRETCH OF LAND, WITH THE PROMISED RIGHT TO MANIFEST DESTINY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. AND THEN THERE IS ENGLAND, THE TINY ISLE OF YESTERYEAR’S EMPIRE, ONE WITH LONG LONG-STANDING WALLS AND CLEARLY ESTABLISHED STAKES IN LIFE. THERE IS AN OBVIOUS DEGREE TO WHICH WE’RE NEITHER AS MUCH OF ONE AS WE THINK WE ARE, BUT THIS IS EXACTLY HOW WE CREATE THE “MODERN” CONFLICT. FOR AMERICA, THE PROMISE OF UNBOUND HAPPINESS GIVES RISE TO UNSATISFIED MALAISE. FOR ENGLAND, THAT PESKY THING CALLED LIFE SEEPS IN TO THIS CENTURIES-OLD ORDER, GIVING RISE TO HUMANE CHAOS.

THESE DIFFERENCES ARE VITAL BECAUSE THEY DEEPLY INFORM WHAT ATTRACTS US TO THE OTHER. WE WATCH BRITISH PERIOD PIECES FOR AN IMPLICIT, EMOTIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF HOW WE ONCE BROKE OUT OF THE RULES AND “MADE OURSELVES AMERICAN.” CONVERSELY, AMERICAN FILMS OFFER THEM… UM… WELL, WE BLOW UP ALIEN ROBOTS AND SHIT.

WHATEVER. EVERYONE NEEDS A THING.

OF COURSE HULK IS JUST LOOKING AT A VERY SMALL PORTION OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN FILMS AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO. CINEMA IS TOO WILD, DIVERGENT, AND PERSONAL TO BE SO DAMN SPECIFIC. HULK SORT OF FEELS DUMB TALKING ABOUT THE WORKS OF BRITISH PERIOD PIECES WITHOUT MENTIONING THE INFLUENCE OF THE BRITISH STAGE, OR THE WORKS OF JOE ORTON… OKAY, JOE ORTON HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BRITISH PERIOD DRAMA, BUT HE ONE OF HULK’S HEROES SO DEAL. THE POINT IS THIS WHOLE DISCUSSION IS THAT THERE ARE INTERESTING INSIGHTS, BUT STILL A LIMITED ANALYSIS OF A VERY PECULIAR PHENOMENON.

A PHENOMENON THAT HULK HOPES TO HAVE A LEAST SHED A LITTLE LIGHT ON. AND HOPEFULLY, DEPENDING ON YOUR DISPOSITION YOU HAVE COME AWAY WITH TWO VERY DIFFERENT REACTIONS…

IF YOU UNABASHEDLY LOVE BRITISH DRAMA? HULK ASK YOU UNDERSTAND THE MECHANISMS AT PLAY AND NOT JUST OBLIGATORILY REVERE IT. TO RECOGNIZE BOTH IT’S HUMANE QUALITIES AND THEN GO ON TO EMBRACE THE ALTERNATIVE AND TRANSGRESSIVE WORKS OF GENRE WHICH RUNS CONTRARY TO IT.

AND IF YOU UNABASHEDLY ROLL YOUR EYES AT BRITISH DRAMA? COME ON DUDE, THIS STUFF IS GREAT.

ENDNOTES!

(1) HULK IS VERY AWARE THIS IS AN AMERICAN P.B.S.-FINANCED MASTERPIECE THEATER SHOW, BUT THE ENTIRE PRODUCTION IS BRITISH.

(2) FOR THE RECORD, THERE’S BEEN A WONDERFUL RESURGENCE OF AMERICAN’S TAKING UP THE LANGUAGE AND IDIOMS OF THE AMERICAN WEST LONG PAST (DEADWOOD, TRUE GRIT). HULK LOVES THIS AND THINKS IT CAN BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN OUR COLLECTIVE WRITING. BARRY PEPPER LOVINGLY REFERRED TO IT AS “AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE” AND HE IS RIGHT TO DO SO.

(2A) OKAY, SO QUICK LINGUISTICS TANGENT. ANY TIME YOU SEE THINGS THAT TAKE PLACE IN ANCIENT ROME OR MOST BIBLICAL TIMES, THE CHARACTERS SHOULD BE SPEAKING GREEK. WHY NO ONE KNOWS THIS IS BEYOND HULK, BUT IT’S BY FAR THE DOMINANT LANGUAGE AT THE TIME. LATIN WAS SIMPLY THE ADMINISTRATIVE LANGUAGE. BUT SINCE THAT’S WHAT GETS WRITTEN DOWN AS THE POPULAR RECORDED HISTORY HULK GUESS THAT A BIG REASON WE THINK THAT. ANYWHO, HULK BRINGS THIS UP FOR TWO REASONS. THE FIRST IS THAT IF SOMEONE CARED ABOUT MAKING A BIG ROMAN EPIC AND REALLY WANTED TO BE MORE “ACCURATE,” IT WOULD MAKE MORE SENSE TO HAVE THE CHARACTERS USE GREEK ACCENTS (IF THEY COULD DO ONE… AND COME ON WHO IS GOING TO ACTUALLY PUT A BLOCKBUSTER IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE?). THE SECOND REASON HULK MENTIONS THIS IS THAT EVERY FREAKED OUT OVER HOW COMMITTED THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST WAS TO HISTORICAL ACCURACY AND HOW THEY PUT THE ENTIRE THING IN LATIN AND ARAMAIC. WHICH IS HILARIOUS CAUSE THE “STREET LATIN” THEY USED WAS BASICALLY MADE-UP AND PRETTY MUCH EVERY SINGLE PERSON WOULD’VE BEEN SPEAKING GREEK ANYWAY, NOT ARAMAIC. THIS CAUGHT NO ONE’S ATTENTION OUTSIDE OF LINGUISTIC PROFESSORS, BUT EVERYONE LAUDED MEL’S “BRAVE” CREATIVE DECISION. TOO BAD IT WAS COMPLETELY INACCURATE AND THEY WENT THROUGH ALL THAT TROUBLE TO TRANSLATE THE WRONG THING. BUT HEY WHAT DOES THE TRUTH MATTER?

(3) AFTER ALL, HULK WAS ONE TO AGREE THAT THE KINGS SPEECH MAY HAVE BEEN NOTHING MORE THAN VERY WELL-MADE FILM DIRECTED BY A BORDERLINE KUBRICKIAN RIP-OFF ARTIST

(4) WHAT’S ALSO FUNNY IS THAT THIS “NOT BEING ABLE TO DECLARE FEELINGS THING” IS EXACTLY WHAT A LOT OF MODERN ROMANTIC COMEDIES TRY TO DO, 27 DRESSES INCLUDED. THE PROBLEM IS THEY SEEMINGLY GIVE THE CHARACTERS NO CULTURAL OR CHARACTER-CENTRIC REASON TO DENY THEIR LOVE. THEY JUST NEED THE OBSTACLE TO MANUFACTURE DRAMA AND THUS “MAKE IT A MOVIE.”