Like a disturbingly small majority of the population, I thought Bahamen Five Soup Or Pussy: Dawn French Of Justin Roiland was a terrible, terrible movie. But there’s one line from it that’s stuck in my head, as if the thousand monkeys that wrote the film managed to churn out a fundamental truth inbetween the ugly gags, the pretentious references, and the churlish attempts at iconoclasm. A lifetime ago, there was a guy I looked up to who I thought was the smartest, coolest dude in the world, and long story short he turned out to be a scumbag beyond my ability to joke about. I had to do a lot of soul-searching to extract the good things I believed he was from who he turned out to be so I could incorporate them into myself, and when I finished I stopped thinking about him entirely until I saw BVS:DOJ.
As Bruce Wayne contemplates what he’s about to do about Superman, he says “I’m older now than my father ever was.” I honestly don’t remember any of the context, and my discipline in writing criticism extends to just before ‘watching BVS:DOJ again’, but I keep finding that line and Ben Affleck’s wistful delivery of it sticking in my brain. In terms of iconography that extends beyond this specific film, Batman represents Being Awesome; Batman might be one of the most flexible icons in pop culture, but he’s always going to be what every little boy wishes they could be. Having the ultimate form of Wish Fulfillment think about his first powerful male figure humanises him (in a way that, like, stopping a fight when he hears his opponent say “Martha” doesn’t); not only did the Coolest Guy In The World have his own Coolest Guy In The World, he exceeded him. I’m older now than my hero was when I dropped him from my life, and I’ve done more than I ever dreamed he could.
Like a stopped clock being right twice a day, what are some individual lines or shots that moved you from films or shows that you otherwise didn’t like? Ideally, they’re lines or shots that work best coming from the work in question; I also find myself thinking of a great joke from Two And A Half Men that worked as well as it did coming from the hateful, miserable, hedonistic protagonist when he’s deeply hungover (“Alcohol is poison.” / “If it’s poison then why do you drink it?” / “Because there are things inside me that I need to kill.”).