Film 365

Death Note

It’s not that I’m a major anime fan. I can honestly say that I prefer dubs over subs. Guess what I mean is, there is no pretension when it comes to my watching cartoons—doesn’t matter what country the animation originated. That doesn’t mean that the Netflix adaptation of the classic anime/manga Death Note didn’t send a shiver down my back the moment it was uttered into existence. I had hoped that the production team would try to keep it faithful to the source material. And if not that, maybe set in the same universe but deviating away from the original characters. Like how I once imagined a FLCL adaptation would work out (college was a strange time, kids).

death-note-netflix

It’s not just the whitewashing that got to me, though that’s a fatal epidemic running rampant in Hollywood these days. It’s the entire massacre of the source material. Nothing about this movie even echoed the genius behind the manga and anime. And that’s damning for Death Note fans everywhere.

Light Turner isn’t Light Yagami. While Turner is painted as some sort of high school genius—he’s caught helping other cheat for a fee—it’s never touched upon. Where Yagami was clean cut and pristine, Turner comes off more as the kid you’d buy your nickel bag from. And maybe not even that. Yagami’s sense of justice is what drove him to do terrible things; meanwhile, Turner is the epitome of pussy-whipped. Turner treats the Death Note like an twelve-inch cock, whipping it out to impress the girl at the first opportunity he has.  Yagami knew better. He kept it secret, hidden. Even when Misa turns up, he’s restrained.

On the subject of Misa—what’s with the Mia character? Her emotional acting range is the love child of Kirsten Stewart and Megan Fox. She’s a beauty—nice to look at, but less than a one-dimensional character. Misa’s motivation behind following Kira is adoration and admiration. Mia has no real motivation. There isn’t a backstory that makes her character meaningful. She serves no purpose other than someone the boys can fawn over.

L. Where do I even begin with L? Lakeith Stanfield isn’t the issue. He’s proven his acting ability in movies like Straight Outta Compton and Get Out. The problem isn’t his ability. L isn’t L. Not even a little bit. His emotions run wild, unlike his anime counterpart who’s collected and in control. Watching Light Yagami and L plan each step is watching a chess match between genius. Watching Light Turner and L doesn’t even get a checkers metaphor. There is no build up. There is no relationship. There is just blame and nothing more. The scene toward the climax, L goes as far as stealing a police cruiser to chase Turner through the streets with every intention of killing him. And it ends with L struggling against knowing what’s right and writing down Turner’s name on the single sheet torn from the Death Note.

Ryuk is—well—the white man’s version of the character. Most of his badassry is washed away. Dafoe’s voice acting doesn’t fail to send shivers of glee down the viewer’s back. But what we’re given isn’t the same apple-loving death god we all came to know and love. He even notices that Turner isn’t suited for the Death Note moments into his introduction.

There are a few inconsistencies throughout the film, but what movie isn’t full of them? It’s the over all destruction of the source material is what hammered the final nail in the coffin. We can’t just be mad at the whitewashing, though we should. We should always be mad at the whitewashing in any film. (I’m looking at you Ghost in the Shell.)

I do make a plea that Adam Wingard, Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, and Jeremy Slater never make another movie, music video, or even a YouTube video again. And that Netflix removes and destroys all copies of this film. So that it never has to waste the time of another viewer again.

Film 365

200 Cigarettes (1999)

  • Title: 200 Cigarettes
  • Rated: R for strong language and sexual content.
  • Year: 1999
  • Starring: Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz, Angela Featherstone, Janeane Garofalo, Gaby Hoffmann, Kate Hudson, Courtney Love, Jay Mohr, Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci, and Paul Rudd.
  • Studio/Production: Paramount, MTV, Lakeshore.
  • Synopsis: A collection of twentysomethings try to cope with relationships, loneliness, desire and their individual neuroses. (source)
  • Ratings: 5.9/10 (IMDb)

I fell in love with this movie when Comedy Central played it ad nauseam one New Year’s Eve. And every year since then, I depended on the channel to catch a showing. That is before I decided to buy myself a copy. Like A Christmas Story marathon, I await all year to pop this movie into my player and watch the shit out of it. (No, I don’t marathon the film, though I have watched it twice today.)

200 Cigarettes has everything you’d expected from a holiday romantic comedy. The pent up feelings between two friends, falling in love with the wrong guy, finding love between strangers, an ensemble cast of famous faces, and the unexpected advice guru. Yet it plays in away that avoids becoming such trite, which was the problem for films like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.

Released in 1999, an age before the term millennial was on the tips of tongues everywhere, the film transcends the test of time. Every character would fit in today’s cinematic storytelling world with a few tweaks to the costume design (the movie does take place in the early 80s). While the problems faced in the film are less than important (the old question of who are you kissing at midnight?), but aren’t all mild problems elaborated during our teens and 20s? But it reminds me to relax. Even when things seem dire, seem overbearing, and the neurosis of being alone sinks in—relax and learn to have a good time. And sometimes you need a yearly reminder of that lesson.

Doldrums

Deposit Information Here

Army of Love

This morning, my phone was bombarded with e-mails. None of which, by the way, had anything to do with the plethora of jobs I applied to recently. Housed in one of the e-mails was a message from WordPress, telling me I’ve been “pinged” by one of my followers. Dreading what reference lay in wait, I opened my WordPress app – which is handy only for comments, not for actual posts – to see what her post read. Apparently, I was “tagged” in a post that insists that I tell my readers (all 11 of you!) a bit about myself – ten things, actually. Because I’m not one to disappoint gypsies – haven’t you ever seen a horror movie before? – I feel obliged to follow through. However, I will not tag any one after this because I wouldn’t know who to start with.

10 Things About Ennui Prayer You Probably Didn’t Want to Know but Are Going to Know, Unless You Close the Tab

Because I loathe countdowns, I’m going to do this starting with #1. I know, I know. Boo! You’re not fun.

  1. I’m a bibliophile on the verge of becoming a book hoarder. In the house alone – the last time I counted anyway – I had close to 500 books. Some of these are duplicates of books I already own, such as Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Dhammapada. I have several shelves in my room crammed with books of fiction, philosophy, religion, writing, memoirs, erotica, history and popular culture. I long for library book sales and love thrift shops. I normally buy books to feel better – after every fight, depression spell, etc. I go out and buy books to make myself feel at ease. Addition? Yup, you can call it that.
  2. I’m also an audiophile. My computer is jam-packed with music. Most of it is serious business music, but there are a few albums/songs that are just for fun. I prefer records over CDs, but let’s face it, MP3 is where it’s at these days – portable wise.
  3. Oh, did I mention cinephile? Film criticism and theory piqued my interest in college. I’m so glad there was a course made available before graduation called Literature in Film. Old time movies are the best. I’m a fan of old Romero-esque zombie movies – zombies that run just piss me off. Sure, I love films that are funny. I’m not that much of a prude, but a movie by the Wayans brothers will probably never come across my path. Ever.
  4. I’m a minister for the Universal Life Church, meaning that I can legally wed people.
  5. I don’t subscribe to sexuality. That is not to say I’m asexual. I’m a sexual being, I just don’t think we can throw labels on it or should limit our chances at happiness.
  6. I started watching teen dramas from other countries – Skins, Slide, etc. – because a part of me wants to write young adult fiction. And because their storylines are more compelling than what’s on TV in the States.
  7. While I’m disgusted by the world, sometimes I think it’s better for it to burn than for us to fix ourselves. Mostly because we’re creatures of habit and we’ll never better ourselves, really. Maybe it’s time for the human race to just vanish.
  8. My first job was a door-to-door salesman. I was horrible at it. I only lasted a day. I don’t really consider it my first job, but I think it makes sense.
  9. In high school, I used to sell pornography to my friends. And by pornography, I mean, pages ripped from porn mags. It was safer than selling drugs because the punishments were laxer.
  10. While I’m completely nervous and fearful that I’ll be a horrible role model for a child, I do look forward to becoming a father.
Bonus Material
Videos like this make me anticipate parenthood.
Okay, I Lied. Again.
Because I don’t think I follow four people who I consider “friends” online – mostly because our interactions is minimal, not that I think you all suck, or anything – I’ll tag a couple of people. Especially since I think it’ll help you write about yourselves.