By Christopher Campbell | Spout May 23, 2011 at 2:54AM
Spout About returns for a daily look at what people are discussing related to the films currently in theaters and the classics we're still talking about. Have another topic worth addressing? Let us know.
- "Tree of Life" has won this year's Cannes Palme d'Or, and a number of critics are not satisfied with the choice. I don't see it until tonight, so I can't weigh in yet, but I'm curious about readers' favorite Palme d'Or winners. Including years when the prize was called something else, my choice is "The Conversation." Not including those years, I'd pick "Dancer in the Dark." Yes, I like it more than "La Dolce Vita," "Taxi Driver" and any other classics most others would choose. For help, check out Time Out London's recent list of ten best choices for the prestigious award.
- I may have been only one of a handful of critics to enjoy "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" for what it is, but I was not expecting the moviegoing public to ignore the sequel so massively. Yes, it's funny to think that a $90 million opening is a disappointment, and I don't really care much about box office numbers, but I noticed a lot of people are calling this the end of the franchise. I'm sure I'm still only one of a handful of people who would be upset by this. Then again, my enjoyment isn't worth the hundreds of millions of dollars put into each installment, so perhaps it is for the best.
But now I may never know what the post-credits-sequence cliffhanger could have led to. Actually I had no idea such a thing existed until this morning when I saw the mini bootleg capture of it. The scene (which spoils nothing of the movie really, if you watch it independently) features Penelope Cruz finding the Captain Jack Sparrow voodoo doll. What is she going to do with it? The doll is underused in "On Stranger Tides," and I think it could provide some interesting metaphors for a "POTC5" in the way the Fountain of Youth provided this one. Just as "POTC4" has ties to a Donald Duck story, perhaps the next movie can find inspiration from the comic issue "Voodoo Hoodoo."
Okay, so the fact that the sequel broke the record for worldwide opening means part 5 will probably still happen. Yay!?
More notes, links and things up for discussion after the jump.
- Just as a lark I invite you to read a forum post to Something Awful in which "Thor" is analyzed in depth as a movie about George W. Bush and post-9/11 politics. It gets rather confusing -- Odin is both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- and seems to cull its screenshots from a bootleg of the film. Having Loki represent President Obama only fits as a way to reference that he's part Muslim, aka Frost Giant. And Idris Elba is Colin Powell just because he's black? Yeah, we can wish that this comic book adaptation is a modern equivalent to wide-spanning political allegories in "The Wizard of Oz," but it's not happening. At least not with such chronological and just plain logical inconsistencies as this reading. The analysis might as well point out that 9/11, as represented in the film, was an inside job. Here's an example of the arguments made by this guy:
Public disapproval leads to his banishment (we’ll catch up with him later) and to Obama’s crowning as king of all of Asgard, however we find out that obama is not what he seems. He is secretly a muslim and not a real citizen of Asgard (mind blown yet?)
- Of course, smarter men have also tried a similar reading. A few weeks ago IFC's Matt Singer wrote a post calling the hero "Thor-ge W. Bush." This time Loki is Cheney, S.H.I.E.L.D. illustrates a "Patriot Act nightmare" and the story is more understandably focused on Iraq rather than Afghanistan. Also, no attempt to say a minor break-in where no Asgardians at all were killed is representative of the worst terrorist attack in America. An excerpt from that post:
According to some narratives about the War in Iraq (like Oliver Stone's biopic "W.") President George W. Bush invaded Iraq primarily to correct the oversight he felt his father made back in 1992 when he left Saddam Hussein in power at the end of the first Gulf War. Stone's version is surely a simplification, but he thinks it all boils down to daddy issues: W. could never live up to George Sr.'s expectations, so he set out to do the one thing his dad never could.
That's basically what happens in "Thor:" cocky son of the King wants to finish the job started by his father with a preemptive strike on their enemies, but he goes off half-cocked without much of an exit strategy.
- Another discussion of "Thor" as political allegory came even earlier at L Magazine, where Henry Stewart and Benjamin Sutton considered Thor as Obama, Thor as Gore and Thor & Jane as Will & Kate. But Bush? "A Bush allegory, ultimately, is a little too reductive, not to mention dated," says Stewart. "The movie exploits the country's desire, in the wake of Mr. Bush, for a wise warrior king, one who never seeks out war but does not cower from it, either."
- Who would like to really see an "A Clockwork Orange" comic book spin-off titled "Alex and the Droogs"? See a spoofy sneak at Popped Culture.
- "Bridesmaids" may or may not be important for women in comedy, but it is definitely helping a trio of women in song: downloads of Wilson Phillips' song "Hold On" are up 620%!
- Sequel news: Josh Fox is currently shooting a follow-up to his Oscar-winning documentary, "Gasland," for an early 2012 release.
- Fans of movie tourism should get a kick out of the latest episode of the A.V. Club's "Pop Pilgrims" web series. This time the travel show (slash long-form Fiat commercial) is in San Francisco visiting Jimmy Stewart's (aka Scottie Ferguson's) apartment from "Vertigo." My old colleague from Cinematical, Jeffrey M. Anderson guest stars to talk about the film and location. Watch it below:
Have a tip or link? Email us at Spouttips (at) gmail.