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This week:
Batman Begins

Filthy says:
"Juvenilia got a new dress."

Katie Holmes is so fucking pretty. I don't mean in a sexualized way, which is how I use that word when referring to most women, some small animals and the more desirable ketchup bottles. I mean she is wholesome pretty; your first thought is not to screw with her like monkeys off their lithium. Your first thought is to simply spend time with her, take her home and talk for hours about Vladimir Guerrero. A truly rare beauty.

You wouldn't know she is that beautiful from Batman Begins. They tart her up like the Joker in discount makeup that turns her face into a series of sharply-defined geometric shapes. The cadre of children at the midnight show I went to shouted "Circle! Triangle! Square" when they saw her cheeks, chin and forehead. It's the filmmakers fucking fault, though, for glopping rouge onto her in a desperate attempt to turn a girl into a woman. Katie Holmes a District Attorney? Sure, and I'm qualified to pull the Harelip's rotten molar. Of course, I'm not, but five bucks is five bucks.

Batman Begins is all about overreaching, trying to turn kid's stuff into grown up's stuff. Those dumbasses want to pretend to tell a poignant and powerful tale when what they have is a guy who dresses like a bat and fights bad guys in bad Mexican wrestling masks all fancied up with simplistic psychobabble. Batman is a God damn comic book for kids, something with mail order seven-foot ghosts, X-ray goggles, Sea Monkeys and 132 Army Men for $1.95. But it has been clung to by legions of fucking freaks who would rather drag their childhood obsessions into old age than grow up and move on. Try some books with more words and fewer pictures.

I know I will get plenty of e-mail from people who love Batman and think they are grown up. They aren't, especially not if they have the time to e-mail me and whine. These are the same assholes who stole him from the kids, and now children can't even see the movie. It's PG-13. They probably can't buy the action figures either, since slobbery fatsos will horde them all the first day to populate the tops of their monitors in computer-science-job cubicles. The fanboys have beat the shit out of poor Batman for years, dressing him up in ever darker and more lugubrious histories in order to justify their own refusal to mature. Rather than move on, they just keep redressing Batman. And now the story meets their idea of what becoming a grown up means. To them, this Batman is like finding hair on your balls or switching from Cap'n Crunch to Grape Nuts. The problem is that for all the dress up and revision, it's still a really superficial story with simplistic right and wrong, a mess of connect-the-dots psychobabble, and not at all relatable to the vagaries of real adulthood. Its supporters call it an allegory or legend, but it isn't even close, unless you're being tormented by a man who wears makeup, waddles like a penguin or tells horrible riddles.

Director-writer Christopher Nolan takes more than half of the movie not only to give shape to why Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, but also why he can fly, he's impervious to bullets, has really rad toys and a crazy car. Who gives a shit about how he got this shit? And if the story is compelled to legitimize the absurdity of a Batman, why not also give some backstory on all the over-the-top cornball villains? There are too many to care about in Batman Begins, and they are all one-dimensional horseshit. Apparently only the good guy needs motivation.

Seems to me moviegoers are in two camps. Either you are willing to suspend disbelief for a movie about a guy in tights and a black cape who can swoop through a city and fight crime. Or, you don't buy into it. There is no camp of people who are only waiting for lots of explanation in order to believe in Batman. "Hmmm, a bat man? I'll see it only if they can make me believe."

Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist, who as a boy falls in a well and gets scared by bats. Then he sees his parents murdered by a bun after leaving the opera. He blames himself and wander off to learn how to ease his guilt by avenging his parent's death. Yes, the world of Batman is this explained by such simple causes and effects. Smells like someone took some psychology in junior college. Somehow, Bale ends up in Mongolia where he is trained in the martial arts by a justice league and tutored by Liam Neeson. But, when they demand he return to his home in Gotham and destroy the city and all its inhabitants. He refuses, and this is supposed to make him a hero. Wow! What moral strength it must take to do exactly what any normal person would do.

Back in Gotham, he and his trusty butler (Michael Caine) start plotting for Batman. Luckily, Bale's mansion is directly above some caves. Equally lucky, he has access to all sorts of fancy gadgets from the multi-national corporation his father left to him. A quick coat of black paint and all the military hardware becomes batgear. Maybe three minutes should have been spent on this sideshit, but about a half hour is. It tries hard to explain how the devices work and are secretly acquired, but fails to mention how Bale secretly built an elaborate trap door to the batcave in his library. More detail means more flaws, so why fucking bother give irrelevant detail? I guess because Fanboys feast on it nearly as much as HoHos and Mountain Dew. Their arteries are clogged with minutiae.

Despite the laborious backstory and mood lighting, the movie is chock full of standard comic book hokum. Batman is good, his girlfriend (Holmes) is good and innocent and he must protect her. Cartoonish bad guys include: a supercilious psychiatrist (Cillian Murphy) who wears a scarecrow mask and makes people crazy for no clear reason; a mobster who controls everything (Tom Wilkinson, who looks like an older Colin Quinn but probably isn't as smug an asshole) with scenery-chewing glee; a fat-cat industrialist with greed issues and, behind it all, Neeson, the man who trained him. The plot is some comic-book nonsense about people filling the water supply with hallucinogens that'll drive the city crazy, and Bale has the antidote.

There are multiple fights, car chases and shit blowing up in unoriginal ways. I wouldn't be able to discern them from any other comic book movie. The fights are all close-up, out-of-focus karate chops; just blurs on the screen that leave the hard work to the sound effects specialists. And, as in every comic book movie, bad and good guys aren't killed when they should be. They are left to die, only so the enemy can act surprised when they return to action.

All the backstory and heavy import don't mean shit when Batman is trying to stop one-dimensional bad guys. Add in a deserted docks scene with a bunch of cowering, villainous longshoremen, a runaway train and the inexplicable appearance of bats. Plus, of course, the movie ends with Bale not quite getting the girl, and the villain for the sequel announcing his presence in Gotham. Holy fuck, for all the setup, this sure is a hell of a lot like every other comic book movie, working within the same limited idiom that the fanboys won't let any superhero movie escape.

Bale looks fucking ridiculous as Batman. He's moody enough in his regular clothes, but once he puts on his mask, his cheeks bulge out and he reminds me of people I've seen eating at Hardee's in Lincoln, Nebraska. Throughout the movie, he appears to be trying to outpout Hayden Christensen. Holmes is so damn lost she looks like she'd say yes if a gay scientologist asked her to marry him. Caine is having a fairly decent time as the butler. He even smiles, which is remarkable and probably required written approval from Nolan.

Two Fingers for Batman Begins. Fuck Hollywood for so readily bending over for the fanboys. They are the minority. Loud, sure. Annoying, yes. But they're the assholes who would rather steal from kids than grow up, and as long as the grassfuckers listen, we're doomed to more of the same juvenile shit.

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Shawn Edwards of Fox Television

Batman Begins is "Four stars! Phenomenal. Not only the must-see movie of the summer, it's the film of the year!"

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is "Mind-blowing! The coolest combination of romance, action and humor!"

The Adventures of Shark-Boy and Lava-Girl is "A treat for kids of all ages."

Filthy's Reading
Bernard Malamud - The Complete Stories

Listening to
Black Keys - Rubber Factory


SCTV Volume 3