March 2017

Logan I suspect Hemingway might've appreciated this take on comic book heroes going long in the tooth. Speaking of old men hoping to head out on the sea, this film hoists up an amazing young talent not unlike Chloë Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl in Kick Ass. Dafne Keen is a stunning athlete, and within the confines of the role, stoically (until rage mode kicks in), perfect. There's a cool post about how she landed the role, so I won't ramble. If someone makes a sequel to Logan about his daughter bringing toe claws into 2029 vogue, I'm - SNIKT - in.

Couple complaints, though. Not convinced the farmer family needed to die, and think the film is weaker for that beat. I needed to see that the elderly protagonists given supposed safe haven by the family, who I suspect were meaningfully cast as black by the filmmakers to suggest some underground railroad vibe, that the protagonists might repay the favor and afford some worth, a theme suggested by Logan helping stand down rednecks at the water works, yet reversed as though to say that, "This world is grim and ain't no heroes, y'all." I say simply that such a message is BS, and undermines the core tenant of the film, that of a dying cause trying to hide itself away can stand up to help ensure the survival of a new generation of oppressed and exploited folks, children no less.

Perhaps the farmer family isn't relevant to the cause, since none of the children were mutants. That's a gross message, too. I appreciate that the murder and mayhem might've seemed appropriately shocking to get across how awful and not-Wolverine the Weapon X clone was, albeit a clone very easily dispatched with a single adamantium bullet that I'm still perplexed by as Wolverine's lack of significant ranges of historical memories is generally in the comics tied to bouts of significant aka massive head trauma, and further, isn't his headbone lined with adamantium making such a shot null, anyway? I digress. Bad clone Wolverine need not have laid waste to an entire family to convey intention. We've all seen the past few years worth of escalating tensions between cops and peoples of color, Ferguson foremost, and I'd arguing seeing a washed up Logan getting his ass kicked trying to save a non-mutant, non-white family would've been far more dramatically charged than seeing his clone slay ride through the farmer's family like Jason through hopping horny camp counselors.

We Are the Best! This is the first time I've gotten to choose the FOOK CLUB assignment, an intimidating honor. We Are The Best! Is a pretty beautifully rendered period piece shot in ever-fetching Stockholm, providing a intimate origin of a punk rock believers becoming a band, dressed up as coming of age story about three girls electing not to join the mainstream, instead standing loudly against it as best as their junior high skills will accommodate.

The film simultaneously manages to deliver an underdog story while allowing youthful, human, appreciably fallible characters to seize upon their collective strength and group identity as a victory in the face of a hostile mob, while presenting a narrative that seems otherwise a far cry from the typical against all odds underdog victory story Hollywood likes to churn out. They held the stage while testosterone addled youth lay siege, and afterwards remained unrepentant as their adult handlers attempted to guilt them for their willful unconformity, channeling visions of Gary Oldman playing Sid Vicious welding a bass as a weapon as antagonists stormed the stage, or the Ramones soldiering on as UK audiences literally spit a shower of their salutations towards the stage, or alternately The Crass altering their pre-show behaviors after the Roxy ejected them for showing up inebriated.

The film gave us young protagonists leveraging their sense of indignance with their surroundings and the seemingly willful failings of their caregivers to tumbleweed into the formative spasms of musical craftsmanship. Without question, my favorite character is Liv LeMoyne who sadly appears to have not performed in any subsequent films, or as a guitarist elsewhere otherwise on the interwebs of things. For the most part, appears same is true for all of the starring cast, and that's strange for a film so acclaimed around the world's film festival circuit, though I'd like to think that the actors took their roles so fiercely to heart that they all went off on some enlightenment journey only Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Yoko Ono, or Shia Saide LaBeouf would understand, with chemically enhanced meditation, tiny silver hammers, going commando in brown corduroy gym pants, or without.

Shout out to my favorite visual beat in the film, when Bobo is left alone on the roof after trying to get attention and break up her compatriot's seduction of her love target with feigned suicidal impulses, as we see her track along the virgin snow alone, only to pause and look back briefly, perhaps choices in mind, before turning to walk onward. Except she doesn't walk onward, instead she returns to the group and insists on going home. Yet even here she has likely has some ambitions forming as towards storming the ramparts of what shoals obstruct her admonitions.

My sole complaints come down to the relationship with the two piece boy band versus the film's overall run time. Focusing on that silly squabble lost us the opportunity to spend more the developing the characters outside of their libidos. Hedvig deserved far more investigation, especially as the anchor talent supporting of the passion of others. And we get to enjoy an under bridge throw down that threatens to break up the band wherein Bobo claims to have cheated with Klara's bo, yet for what we know he gave her an arm drape that lead to her lacing her boots. Perhaps this is a cultural thing, but American me started waiting for the "Look Ma, I'm preggers!" trajectory, a thing considering Sweden's declining birthrate and mandatory two year mat leave, most would likely not look down on, but it's (hollar U! S! A!) trope I'm far too indoctrinated with, so imagine my relief / delight when the film left that beat unexplained, and further, un-puratanically punished.

Yes, I admit I felt distracted over how the film spent so much time focusing on spontaneous hair crafting decisions yet, spanning months, never alters the hairstyles once they've been established. I clearly awaited some coif evolution that never came while the wearers strove through life experience to life up to the hairstyles they'd arrived upon by chance, purpose, or through collaborative folly. Full disclosure, I've been to Stockholm. I've dined with the people, drank with them, arm wrestled even. I mean, seriously, Mead, Vikings, and Goth Girls FTW. But I digress.

I admit I'm a hillbilly that took up on the opportunity to work for banks to pay off previously seemingly insurmountable student loans. I admit, with equal stride, that my days working with college radio and discovering what the inherent intentions of real punk were beyond glaring and tight pants, and that authentic punk could jump musical genres as fast as the creators gained life and musical authorship experience. Admitting that my draw to punk came a few evolutions later with groups like Alice Donut and Cop Shoot Cop, both of which evolved, deepen, split up and reformed or transformed into other things over time.

Punk is buying all of “prunk” (preppie-punk) Pat Thielges' Judas Priest cassettes around the time his parents decided to march him off to some Christian or Military school in ninth grade. He and I re-acquainted in college, he an expert in all things punk, me soundly shaped along a trajectory craving new things thanks to the fine clutch of cassettes he'd given me for a scrounged ten bucks on the hot asphalt curbside outside Tates Creek Senior High.

Watching this film tonight hits me with an urge to introspect. Not about getting old, or spending three hours today in the clutches of an optometrist spread for a new migraine mitigating prescription, or even concern for how my hands look more and more like my mother's such that I tend to avoid regarding them unless there is medical reason the way a first person shooter does unless it needs to show you that you have something new in hand, are doing something of note, or have just primed a grenade. Rather, about the reality that, unlike poor George Michael dead at fifty three from an inflamed heart and a fatty liver, I'm forty six and have done very little punk.

I work for the government. Can't get much more of the proverbial Man than that.

I've written lots, been published here and there. My sporadic output is symptomatic of self-depreciating shorelines constantly battered by the unpredictably relentless swells of insecurity and fogs of perceived insignificance. 

Punk is saying, "F*** that." Punk is making noise, standing up for what you believe in, from without and / or within, and weathering the onslaught of ridicule or indulgence likely to meet any sign of noncompliance. Punk is, while embracing and acknowledging them, telling your well harvested / wrought self doubts, or self loathing, to piss off, to the point of dragging all that bile out in some form for everyone to see, and crafting enough gateway around it others might identify, come aboard, and help steer the staggered ships into calmer, more sensible, far more prolific and productive waters, to land and set up camp on unexpected shores and shoals, cast sparks towards the heavens and drop awed jaw over the potential of it all. Punk is a call to acknowledge what is wrong or broken, such as to take action, to make amends, and to ultimately soldier forward to better ends. Punk is about giving voice to your righteous indignance

Though the three stars of this film seem to have ended their cinematic careers after this offering, I hope they went on to do great things. Not just disrupt burger lines or try to better scheme begging off commuters. Real things. Art. Science. Culture. Politics. For the betterment of self, and / or society at large. Punk is also to simply concede that you've had enough and can't take no more. And so I'm going to shut the f*** up now and go write some sh*t.

FOOK Score - 3.5 FOOKs given.