Dennis O’Neil: A Midsummer Night’s Disaster
If, as T.S. Eliot would have us believe, April is the cruelest month, what’s the other month that beings with A? Is August the ecch-est month? Here in our little baliwick – and yeah, I’m talking pop culture – there’s not a lot happening. The Baltimore comic convention isn’t until late September, and I can’t help wondering what effect, if any, the violence earlier this year will have on the show. None, I hope. I’ve always liked Baltimore.
Note: this does not mean that I wish civic unrest on towns I don’t like. Or any towns, period. It’s a cause for some uneasy notice in our house, this violence, because Marifran grew up in Ferguson when it was just another St. Louis bedroom community. This is the town, a bit west of St. Louis, where I picked up cute little Marifran McFarland for the Friday night movie ritual and returned her to her waiting father at midnight or thereabouts. Good Catholic kids – you weren’t going to catch us staying out till the wee hours. (Well, not then, and not in each other’s company.) So Marifran lived in Ferguson and it was, generally, a peaceful haven for middle class families.
Now? There was, one year ago, the shooting of an unarmed black kid by a white officer that precipitated riots and then, after an interval of apparent quiet, more unrest. The Ferguson news in the morning papers is not good.
But we were discussing ecchy August as it pertains to pop culture, weren’t we? What else…? Movies? We’ve been dilatory theater goers of late, and I don’t exactly know why. It’s not like August – or July or June before it – has been egregiously busy. Fact is, thing’s have been kind of lazy. If its true that to get something done you should give it to a busy person, stay away from our door.
Not that we’ve been entirely remiss is our moviegoing. We did see Mr. Holmes, the story of the world’s greatest detective when he’s old and failing, and it was terrific. But the splashier entertainments, full of grandiose feats and explosions – you know: superheroes… those we’ve missed, at lest so far. We’ll probably catch Ant Man tomorrow. But chances are that The Fantastic 4 will have to find room on our television screen when it gets that far.
Bombed, didn’t it? Box office worse than The Green Hornet, which is nobody’s idea of filmic greatness. Reed and Sue and Ben and Johnny seem to be cinematically cursed. The two FF movies released in 2005 qnd 2007 did no better than okay and the FF movie before those never got to theaters. I have seen it and barely remember anything about it other than a general badness, One rumor, which I tend to believe, says that it was never intended for audiences, that it was hastily slammed together to satisfy a legal requirement. But what excuse can there be for later failures?
Let’s blame August.