DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer
syvo: At long last, the antidote to my chronic, oppressive superhero fatigue. The last decade of big-budget superhero movies, primarily from Marvel, has left me emotionally spent, alienated from a geek subculture that I’d spent my teenage years and early twenties fully ensconsed in. It has been a depressing, cold world ever since Thor 2: The Dark World came out and exposed the shallow, repetitive enjoyment that Big Spandex has to offer us: just like sports, religion, pop music and two-party politics, Big Spandex is a kind of mass opiate that we’re not allowed to opt out of.
Where have the heroes gone? I’d ask. I even stopped buying comics on Wednesdays. It wasn’t the same.
But no more! This trailer has inspired me once again. I’m beyond “all-in” on this movie. To a devout DC fan’s eyes, everything in this movie looks great: Lex Luthor’s officiousness, Diana’s stoic silence, Clark’s sense of purpose, Bruce’s anger. And it’s not so much that the film appears to mirror the “comics,” but rather that these are all thoughtful and appropriate on-screen representations of mini-archtypes that have always been dynamic and open to wide and varying interpretation.
Admittedly, the inclusion of Doomsday here seems a little hasty. After all, what’s the point of featuring Doomsday if Superman doesn’t die? Maybe he will? Twist. But alas, these movies are robots-and-monsters, robots-and-monsters, and I’m happy to fault the idiots in the audience (myself included) rather than the movie as such.
Beyond sentimental vagaries, I don’t have an ounce of intellectual justification for this movie, not even when it comes to the tired ideological struggle between two visions of justice (sure to be beaten to death, as it were, by the time Captain America: Civil War is out). But right now, today, I was thrilled to see the Big Three standing side by side. It warmed my stupid lame heart.
Of course, this will all be ruined in a few years, just like the Avengers. But for now, I will enjoy.
BK: Aw man, after that kind of reception it makes it hard for me to hate on this one.
BUT! I’ll do it anyway, because like George Washington, 2Chainz and Drake, I can’t lie.
I was giddily awaiting this trailer just like the rest of the nerds out there – I even almost watched some of Jimmy Kimmel Live! just to see it premiere (cooler heads prevailed – I watched You’re the Worst reruns instead). The teaser that came out a couple days earlier had me hyped for some allegiance-testing, Batman-on-Superman action, and then we got… this: the Marvelication of the DC Universe, in all its glory.
Because watching the two greatest superheroes of the last 80 years face off is not enough, even though they are already pitted against one of the greatest villains in the DC Universe. No, what we need is an overpacked, spoiler-full trailer that introduces Ultron (er, Doomsday) as the ‘we must join together to defeat the greater evil’ macguffin. It’s cheap. And sad and lame. And I am already pining for the days when I got excited for Batman movies or Superman movies the way I did when Batman Begins (or Superman Returns) came out.
I will say, Wonder Woman looks dope. Maybe she can save the cinematic day.
(and yes, I will still see it opening weekend. That’s beside the point.)
Girls (HBO) Season 5 Trailer
syvo: I mean, yeah, awesome! Looks like another great season of Girls. This is still one of the few fiction shows I’m willing to dedicate my time to. The great writing, camerawork, and character acting are all reasons for my allegiance, but you can’t beat the show’s brilliantly succinct 30 minute format. This is a show I never feel burdened by.
BK: Couldn’t agree more my man. Looks very Girls-y, in the best possible way. Lena Dunham has become somewhat divisive both personally and professionally, but for my money she’s still a great writer, actor, director, and even Instagram poster. Girls brings a level of discomfort and general narcissism that can be tough to watch at times, but those moments make the triumphant parts even better. I’m definitely in for season 5.
Björk – “Mouth Mantra” Video
syvo: Okay, hold the phone! This music video was shot from inside Björk’s mouth. Equal parts hypnotic and disgusting, it’s impossible to look away from this nightmare. The visuals remind me a lot of the cover art to Skinny Puppy’s 1990 industrial masterpiece Too Dark Park, with the blobs of pink flesh with warped teeth set in them. The video is directed by Japanese-Canadian artist Jesse Kanda, who worked with Björk scion fka Twigs on her awesome “How’s That” video. Some truly unique work here.
BK: You crazy for this one, Bjork!
It’s giving me serious Bush vibes. And nightmares, definitely nightmares.
BK: Don’t look so surprised. We LOVE Shakespeare at Syvology!
But what we might love even more than Shakespeare is wild speculation about the Oscars, and this movie has the Academy’s name all over it (literally – judging by the trailer everyone in this movie is an Oscar nominee or winner). If the cast and the early reviews are any indication, we will be seeing much more of this movie in March next year.
Its not so much the content of the film that I am excited about, although the aesthetic is definitely unique. Macbeth is one of the most common Shakespeare plays you are likely to see, and its a bit of a shame because that guy has roughly a buttload of other material that is worth reading or seeing on screen. Where’s Merchant of Venice at, amiright?
No, what really gets me about this trailer is FASSBENDER. He’s quickly become (along with Tom Hardy) the actor most likely to get me to a theater regardless of the movie. He’s always fantastic and this looks like it might get him from ‘Academy Award Nominee’ to ‘Academy Award Winner’. Oh and Marion Cotillard is pretty dope too.
Bring on the ‘speare!
syvo: This is going to sound crass, but I usually like my Shakespeare kinda zany. My favorite adaptations are the ones that emphasize the creative, experimental potential of film. It’s adaptations like Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Julie Taymor’s Titus (1999) that remind us that there are things that film can do that theater cannot (and vice versa).
That said, yeah, this looks awesome.
BK: You would bring up Titus. Typical.
Workout New York (Bravo) Trailer
syvo: In the space between B-list Bravo (underrated gems like Ladies of London and Southern Charm) and C-list shows like Below Deck and Apres Ski, there lies a precipous drop-off in quality. It’s like stepping of the continental shelf and tumbling headfirst into the abyssal plain of boredom and vacuousness. One would think that I had learned my lesson and sworn off C-list Bravo forever. But then comes this show, which looks remarkably stupid and equally irresistible.
Logic, experience and good taste might counsel against watching Work Out New York, but I’m giving it a try. The delusion, self-involvement, and flimsy optimism of contemporary fitness culture is perfect for reality television. Instagram is practically a form of reality television at this point. And I’ve always had the feeling that below the taut, gleaming exterior of any fitness model/trainer is a neurotic monster just waiting to get out. With the right cast and the right producers, this could be incredible.
BK: “Even if you fail, I want you to be glorious in your attempt.”
I feel that, trailer!
This show looks ridiculous even by Bravo reality TV standards. It’s like if you injected the Real Housewives with steroids and then moved them to the coolest city on earth. And if they did like, a lot of squats.
Sign me up.
Bibio – Petals
BK: I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Bibio a few years ago by some particularly cool dudes , specifically the pleasant-and-ethereal song À tout à l’heure, and I’ve returned to it constantly when I see it in my iTunes (which will of course never happen again because Apple ruined my music collection, but I digress).
I was excited to see Petals pop up this week and it definitely does not disappoint. If anything, this track doubles-down on a sound that invariably reminds me of willow seeds blowing through the air in late summer (I’m sure you totally know what I mean). It is a beautiful song and I wish it was longer, which bodes well for the album coming in spring 2016.
syvo: This is pretty chill, bro.
Kendrick Lamar – Black Friday
BK: Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole put out a pair of Black Friday crossover tracks late last week, each recording new vocals over the beats of the other. As usual, Kendrick rules the day with an incredible effort that shows the distance between him and everyone else (except maybe Drake and definitely Pusha T – A shark amongst men.)
Even if his assertion that ‘nothing more influential than rap music’ is misguided, he is an absolutely devastating lyricist and there is no one who deserves more attention. This track rules.
syvo: Woah!! Fire! Fire!!! No seriously though, this is amazing. I love when Kendrick does this. Raps, I mean.
DOPE Throwback: Savage Garden – To the Moon and Back
BK: Savage Garden is quite possibly the Phil Collins of mid-late 1990’s pop music – the band everyone likes but publicly insults. Well no more! It’s time to show love to cheesy ballads and pop.
To the Moon and Back is my personal favorite, but you can’t go wrong with I Want You or even the sappy-but-singable Truly Madly Deepy. If you’re unsure how to musically kick off the weekend, you could do much worse than the back catalog of these Aussies.