Forget the whole "Let's kill all the lawyers!" thing. The group that really needs an occupational genocide is the jargon-spouting, smirking, smarmy Marketing parasites. As Tyler Durden might say, these morally bankrupt corporate whores' sole reason for existing is to lie to you to convince you to spend money you don't have on shit you don't need to impress people you don't even like.
Fuck that noise.
And now they've gotten their greedy claws into pre-movie programming. Believe it or don't, there was a time not long ago when you sat down, watched a few previews and then the movie started. Nowadays, we're forced to sit through so many commercials, behind-the-scenes mini-docs (I.E. longer commercials), cross-branded tie-ins (I.E. "synergized" commercials) and previews (I.E. industry specific commercials) that by the time the feature presentation starts - you know, the one we paid top dollar to see - half the audience can't remember what movie they showed up to watch in the first place.
So after being bombarded with ads for M&Ms, Coke, Mama's Little Helpers, Papa's Brand New Bags, Omnicorp payday loans, some crappy sitcom that's probably already been cancelled, Blackhat, Foxcatcher and six other movies, I finally got my first look at . . . what was it again? Oh yeah. Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).
Birdman is a movie in name only. It's really a play they decided to film because live theater may not be dead, but it's definitely on suicide watch. So if you love grease paint, footlights and that boring old fuck Shakespeare (whose famous "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow," soliloquy is shoehorned in, because of course) - if you're a theatre person - then this is the flick for you. For anyone who wants to see an actual movie, the makers of Birdman sneer, "Keep walking, you couthless philistines!"
Sure, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu tries to make Birdman seem like it was filmed in one epically long shot, but it's all smoke and mirrors and hidden cuts. Like its marketing, the one thing about Birdman that's even remotely cinematic is a big, fat, cold sore-covered lie.
True to its secret identity as a play, Birdman gives every cast member a chance to Act (note the capital "A"). Star Michael Keaton, Tim Burton's Batman trying to revive his career by playing an actor who used to play a superhero called Birdman and is now trying to revive his career - how meta, is all widow's peak and crow's feet as he gnaws the scenery like a starving puppy.
Edward Norton's Method-obsessed hotshot chugs gin onstage instead of water and parades around with a giant hard-on. Naomi Watts cries real tears before revisiting Mulholland Drive with one of the most gratuitous lesbian lip locks ever. And Emma Stone hits the Acting! trifecta by getting to go all bug-eyed and screamy in one scene, angst-ridden-on-a-ledge-overlooking-NYC in another and finally sexpot sultry in a third.
Which leads us to the most gobsmackingly ass-handed moment in Birdman. In a movie about a washed-up actor who used to play a bespandexed superhero and who is either crazy or may, in fact, have telekinetic superpowers and who somehow got the green light to direct and star in his own adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story on Broadway, the thing that shreds your suspension of disbelief is the moment when Emma Stone's character asks Edward Norton's character what he would like to do to her (obviously in a "come hither . . . all over my face" kind of way), and he responds by staring off into the distance and spouting some bullshit about wanting to pull her eyes out and use them to see the world as she does.
You know, rather than ripping off her clothes and fucking her sixteen ways from Sunday right then and there like any real life hetero dude would without a nanosecond's hesitation.
True to its name, Birdman flips the audience the bird, man.
November 2, 2014