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Spout About: Will "Thor" Inspire Neopaganism? Death to Body Swap Movies! Death of a "2001" Influence

By Christopher Campbell | Spout April 26, 2011 at 2:10AM

Above is a cropped section of a "Thor" bus stop ad posted to BuzzFeed. You can see that someone has taped a religious flyer to it. Intentional? Is there a minor protest going on against the polytheistic themes of the upcoming comic book movie? Does "Thor" have a soundtrack consisting of Varg Vikernes and other infamous neopagan black metal bands? Is there any other reason for people to worry it preaches anti-Christian messages? I sincerely hope this is just a chance occurrence.
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Above is a cropped section of a "Thor" bus stop ad posted to BuzzFeed. You can see that someone has taped a religious flyer to it. Intentional? Is there a minor protest going on against the polytheistic themes of the upcoming comic book movie? Does "Thor" have a soundtrack consisting of Varg Vikernes and other infamous neopagan black metal bands? Is there any other reason for people to worry it preaches anti-Christian messages? I sincerely hope this is just a chance occurrence.

Still, apparently some people are seeing too much in a flashy, potentially campy summer blockbuster. Star Foster at the pagan blog Pantheon looks into why "Thor" matters. Remember how people were turned onto Wicca after seeing "The Craft"? Wait, did that really happen? I knew some Wiccans back in high school, but I can't recall the movie being a huge influence. Anyway, Foster sees a similar thing occurring with "Thor" and neopaganism:

I think we should look at this film as if we are a spiritually and culturally hungry person. As if we are a 16 year old young woman considering a military career and in need of a warrior ethic. As if we are a homemaker taking her kids to an action-flick who is suddenly overwhelmed by Frigga. As if we are a man with a newborn who stumbled across Asatru looking up info on the film and is looking for a spiritual tradition for his family. Because those are the people who will be coming to us with questions. [...] Thor is an opportunity. People will seek out Pagans due to this film, silly as that may sound. When they come we should greet them with answers and hospitality, especially if we weren’t received that way. Thor can mark a change not only for seekers, but for how our communities interact with them.


More notes, links and things up for discussion after the jump.

Fans of "Jurassic Park" should appreciate this GIF, via PopURLS, which is surprisingly still a good gag 18 years later.


Speaking of "Jurassic Park," Film School Rejects has a new column by one of that film's effects artists, Shannon Shea. In his first post, he talks about working on..."Scooby Doo and the Curse of the Lake Monster." No, but in a totally worthwhile read. An excerpt:

As we began to go through the storyboards, I would occasionally steal a glance across the table and look at Dean’s face which was a combination of boredom and pain. See, I had worked with Mark and Dean on Jurassic Park, and although no one said anything out loud, I’m sure we were all thinking the exact same thing: “What has led me here? What did I do? What didn’t I do?” Okay, we all have to work, and I had prostituted myself out for MANY a low budget film, but what were the chances that three people who had contributed to one of the most iconic, big special effects extravaganzas of all time would be sitting in a room discussing how much of the titular Lake Monster was going to be practical for certain shots of a made-for-dvd video? It was a hard reminder that times in Hollywood were not only tough, but that there was a definite changing of the guard, and it was unclear who would remain to contribute to “The New Hollywood.”


Guy Adams at The Independent notices a puppet movie trend this summer. I guess when I wrote about the puppet documentary trend last week in my review for "Dumbstruck," I should have also mentioned fiction films like "The Beaver" and the new Muppets movie. I guess "Being Elmo" is continuing the fest circuit kind of into the next season (Hot Docs in May, at least). Can I get a last minute distribution pickup for "Puppet"?


Last week, computer music pioneer Max Mathews died at age 84. What does he have to do with cinema? Well, 50 years ago he programmed the arrangement for the song "Daisy Bell," which was 'sung' by the IBM 704. This was witnessed by Arthur C. Clarke who a few years later paid homage by having a dying HAL sings the tune in "2001: A Space Odyssey." Here's the original:



Ultra Culture lists five comedy tropes that need to end, inspired by the trailer for "The Change-Up." First up is the whole body swap genre (the cliches of which we listed long ago). Second is:

LESLIE MANN AS ‘THE WIFE’
Obviously we all like Leslie Mann, and I get that Judd Apatow thinks it’s cute to cast his wife as ‘the wife’ in all his movies, but it’s a shame that she’s become such a go-to for occasionally funny but mostly disapproving ‘other halves’ because, you know, there’s an outside chance she’s actually good at facial expressions other than this one.


Which reminds me that she was already the wife in a (sort of) body swap movie: "17 Again."


Upon hearing that The Weinstein Co. picked up excellent Tribeca doc "The Bully Project" (one of my preliminary picks -- and still a favorite), I felt the irony in full force. I also knew, of all people, Movieline's Stu VanAirsdale would surely have something to say on this odd union:

Deadline had the initial report, and TWC soon followed up with an official release quoting Harvey:

“After my team saw The Bully Project, they immediately called and urged me to see it. I am glad they did. As a parent of four, bullying is an issue that concerns me deeply, and I jumped at the opportunity to be involved with a film that could help eradicate this plague once and for all.”

Unless your kids are directors, producers, editors, sales agents, exhibitors, TWC underlings, select journalists and/or Nancy Pelosi, I guess. But one thing at at a time!


Are there films you initially hated or loved and later revisited and changed your mind? This topic is bugging me lately because part me wants to enjoy "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" more than I did at Sundance, and I'm somewhat anxious to see it again (slightly more completed since then). I probably won't, though, since I rarely have time to re-watch a movie when there are so many others to get to. Anyway, the team at Pajiba tackled the subject, and it's led to others. Here's part of Drew Morton's experience with "Mulholland Dr." at Pajiba:

As a senior in high school, I just didn’t have the training or the context. The film pissed me off, and, furiously, I tried to embellish my critical arsenal so that when Mulholland Dr. and I met on the white void of the screen again, I would not be made a fool of. I began working my way through his filmography, I started reading Sigmund Freud (cue Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best Around” for my film critic training montage) and books about Lynch, and I even ordered a bootleg of the “Twin Peaks” pilot from China. When I finally dueled with the film again, once again at the Oriental, I finally understood it within the matrix of dream logic.


Now, here's a bit from Richard Brody's response at The New Yorker:

I also, in the first blush of cinephile youth, didn’t especially like Hitchcock’s films. Some images, yes; but I just waited for them to come, as one waits for a favorite musical phrase, whereas the stories’ contrivance—and even his very preference for suspense over surprise, for letting audiences know what characters didn’t—seemed to me an artistic cheat. In the intervening years, my cinematic morality has loosened: Hitchcock’s furtive scopophilia turns out to be la condition humaine—and turns out to be inseparable from the exhibitionism of the age, and from his own. And the ability to come back, again and again, to “Marnie” or “The Wrong Man” or “Vertigo” makes the discovery, or admission, of pleasure all the more exciting.

That reminds me: I really need to write up a discussion post on movies you pretend to like, for the sake of cinephilic conformity, but actually don't care for. I was already thinking about this yesterday. Start thinking about it and we'll get on that soon.

Have a tip or link? Email us at Spouttips (at) gmail.

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Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic)

This article is related to: Obituary, Comic Book Movies






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