I live in Oakland, California. I think I can safely say, without really confirming any stereotypes, that this shit is real. The other night I was up in bed, and the people next door were blasting the Debarge family greatest hits. "Share My World," "All This Love," "I Like It," "Love Me In A Special Way" (my favorite). This lasted about half an hour. Then somebody started shooting. Three gunshots, shattered glass, yelling. I have no idea if the shooting had anything to do with the DeBarge or not. Living in Oakland is neither good nor bad, and its certainly no less safe than if I lived in some gated community where racist cops would arrest me for trying to get in my own house. Its just real.
The other day I saw "Scott pilgrim Vs. The World." For months, its been pimped on the internet as THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. It's not. It is, however, hugely entertaining. Edgar Wright's editing skills are top-notch, and he buys whole-heartedly into the world he created. Still, something bothered me.
I'm an old-time anime fan. Thus, I am familiar with fanservice. Fanservice is something put in a show purely to please the dorky demographic. In anime, this is giant robot transformations, pretty anime boys doing homoerotic things (for the fangirls), gratuitous breast jiggling and panty shots. It was halfway through Scott Pilgrim when I realized I was watching "Fanservice--The Movie!" Everything about it, from the videogame story structure and sound effects to the oversimplified love story, is geek porn. As a romantic comedy, it doesn't work. Neither of the leads are well-developed. It exists in the Michael Cera Universe where awkward, creepy guys mysteriously attract beautiful women (Hugh Grant also lives in this universe). The secondary characters get even more short shrift (Snarky Girl #1, Snarky Girl #2, Snarky Gay Guy, Snarky Girl #3). After awhile I had to just turn my brain off and enjoy the bright colors. Indie rock/old-school gamers: you have your movie. I was just expecting more, given the hype and Edgar Wright's pedigree. Worth watching, though.
On another note: At my screening they showed the trailer for "Takers." I laughed as much during that as during the whole "Scott Pilgrim" movie. I love B-movies, and this neo-blaxploitation stuff ranks up there. It's the kind of movie where a group of mostly ethnic bank robbers walk away from explosions in slo-mo. Let's see: You got Idris Elba, trying desperately to class up the joint with his English accent. You got Paul Walker, a guy who started out making late-90s teen films and now does movies made for black guys who play too much Grand Theft Auto. You have that non-actor who played Anakin Skywalker hitting people with baseball bats. You have RnB star/womanbeater Chris Brown jumping off a building onto a BMW. Inbetween, they drink champagne and make love to models in high rise buildings. Looks gloriously awful. Consider my $1 ticket at the third-run theatre sold.
On the small press front: my publisher got a proof of the second edition. The cover was too small. Gah! Sent it back to the printer.