it’s not magnolia

Hello, readers.

It’s Wednesday. It’s occasionally rainy with patches of it will rain again in a minute just you wait. I’ve taken a deep dive into Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It is, as most of Murakami’s books, both mundane and exceedingly weird. A man loses contact with friends. He meets a man who tells a story about his dad meeting a man who knows he’s going to die and tells a story about how when you know that you’re going to die you can see the true colors of a person’s heart.


Joss Whedon is still talking about Avengers.

…it’s not Magnolia, where you’re telling all these separate stories that are just vaguely intertwined. They’re doing some of that job for me. By the way, if it was Magnolia, it would be the best movie ever made, but I can’t reach for the stars, people. I’m just a man.

Also, also, and on the same topic.

Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir

Even Joss Whedon, an undoubted pop-culture genius, cannot create that kind of significance from whole cloth, at least not after two dozen or more generally similar superhero movies have worn out the cultural resonance of the form. It would be foolish for me to sit here in a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows and proclaim that the era of the comic-book movie is coming to an end. That’s not happening anytime soon (and anyway I threw that jacket away). It might be accurate to say instead that superhero cinema has reached a decadent plateau, a long-term steady state of self-nourishing bigness and reverberant meaninglessness. Whedon moves on from the Marvel empire not as its Augustus or its Spartacus, but more like one of the later, non-terrible Christian emperors who won some battles, made some reforms and convinced everybody that the glory of Rome would endure forever. Was it worth doing? That depends on what you think of Rome.

Some of that rings true for me. Except, I don’t think the cultural resonance has worn out of the form. Because the form of superhero films is not anything in particular. Superheroes are a genre in the way that romance is a genre which is to say it’s a genre that can be built on top of any other genre. It’s just going to take a different of superhero story to resonate in the way that Dark Knight did (a superhero noir/crime thriller) or the first X-Men (a superhero coming out)

There will be amazing superhero movies to come, a few of which will take everyone by surprise. And I don’t mean in the way that Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing. But, I mean, in the way that Buffy was amazing. And the first X-men with Bryan Singer was amazing. I mean that someone, somewhere, is going to make a superhero movie that’s personal and has something to say.

I’d bet on an adaptation of a novel written in the aftermath of this superhero renaissance.

Also, also, also.

There’s a bit of blue sky out there, between the clouds.

I’m so excited to see what Whedon does next.




Hello, readers.

Last night, with a couple non-sleep obsessed friends, we attended the midnight premiere of, as it’s known in England, MARVEL AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON, lest confusion.


It was acceptably awesome and gloriously Whedony (sweet and self-aware, funny and cruel, full of creepy lullabies). There’s also some weird stuff that I won’t talk about, but was cool to see Whedon try it out.

Also. I love Ultron and his creepy puppet talk and how so very much of his personality was a subtle twist of Iron Man.

Also, also. I adore midnight films, in particular, midnight crowds. This one gasped and ooohed and laughed, and it was fantastic.

Also, also, also. Check out Brian Hiatt interviewing Joss in Rolling Stone.

On keeping french hours

There’s not a number. Draft is too strong a word…there’s so many changes, there’s so much. I went home from the set every night – because we were keeping French hours, and we got home at a decent hour started at the same time every morning – and I’d go and write, every night. It was partially me, partially notes from the actors, partially the studio, like everybody had a hand in “This could be better.” But I think in some ways its great to stay fluid, to see what’s working and lean into it. There’s stuff between Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch that’s some of my favorite stuff in the movie, and it’s there because they’re the only actors I had. When we started shooting in Italy, I had Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Jeremy Renner; everybody else was busy. So, I’m like “Okay, I guess these guys are gonna have a scene, and I can work with that.”

On going left-of-center

You know, with hindsight… No, believe me, it’s not that weird, but I was like, we’re definitely going to go left of center here. And that was an adjustment for people. So, I’m like, if this doesn’t work, they’re all going to go, “Well, you went left of center!” I just wanted to make it as interesting and complicated – not complicated, complex— as possible, and really get inside these characters’ heads.

On life, post-Avengers.

I just felt like this is the opportunity I have for the first time since I started working, to stop and go in a vacuum, not thinking about deals or friends or genres or networks or anything except what’s in here. What would I do? I don’t know how I’ll approach it, but that’s a huge deal for me.

A lot of smart people have already said that this is a character film wrapped in an extra forty minutes of HULK SMASH. Of course, smashing is part of who these people are. At least they refrain from much in the way of pummeling for information.

Happy Thursday, readers.

Go see the movie.

It’s superheroes. It’s evil robots. There’s a sex joke involving a zucchini. It’s Whedon. You won’t be disappoint.

Unless you want to see a black-and-white Russian film. In which case, well.



p.s. If you’ve never read this, you should.

well played, lions. well played.

Hello, readers.

Daredevil, on Netflix, hurts, but if you make it through, there is some catharsis. Also, Pavarotti.

Still, one wonders, and tires, with the torture. I would rather my plot move without feeling like, or depending on, torture, thank you. Is there a superhero show, besides Doctor Who, which moves without torture? Even Buffy had its fair share of pummeling for information. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Netflix renewed Daredevil for a second season. Doug Petrie will be running it, as DeKnight goes off DeKnighting. DeKnight, himself, took over for Drew Goddard. With Whedon doing Avengers, and Jed/Maurissa doing S.H.I.E.L.D., sometimes it feels as if Mutant Enemy is sitting in the secret volcano lair with Kevin Feige and Elon Musk.

Oh, yeah. Elon Musks is possibly getting himself a secret volcano lair if the Tesla battery launch goes as well as he hopes.

If, instead, as probably won’t happen, something goes horribly wrong, and it creates superheroes or, I don’t know, the end of the world, John Oliver is prepared.

Well played, lions. Well played.


p.s. I love John Oliver.