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Saturday, March 20, 2021

JUSTICE LEAGUE - The Snyder Cut (2021) or "Four Hours...For THIS???"

Because YOU demanded it: Extended dourness and turgidity.

I mulled over my thoughts on the Snyder cut of JUSTICE LEAGUE for the past two days, and after sitting through its four-hour run time, I honestly have to ask myself why I even bothered. The immediate answers to that would be 1. So I could speak on it from a fully-informed POV, and 2. To see any new or extended footage involving Diana — yeah, I'm a total Wonder Woman mark — but it really was not worth the time expended. Yes, it's a more coherent piece than the theatrical version and it is very much the work of one director's vision, but an extended mess is still a mess, no matter how much you tart it up. Also, there was no way in hell that any American studio would release four hours of this to theaters and expect to turn a profit. Hell, they even balk at a feature that's just a bit longer than two hours, so four hours? Forget about it.

Yeah, it does flesh out the characters to a much greater degree, but when you have what's basically a pack of either boring non-entities or characters that the director fundamentally does not understand at all, such fleshing-out is about as effective as pissing into a hurricane. And though this version excises the jokey material that was clearly the work of Joss Whedon, what results is a dour, dark, and depressing effort that feel like a four-hour iteration of the Bataan Death March. DC and its stable of superhero characters have always been light fare, some would not unfairly describe them as "whitebread," and what Snyder gives us is an angsty emo kid's take on them. There is neither fun nor joy to be had here, and even the resurrection of Superman is accompanied by the black version of his uniform. As if the film's overall color palette were not already drab enough, we get comics culture's most iconic exemplar of raw power wielded with hope and kindness showing up like he's ready front for My Chemical Romance. At least Darkseid is actually in it (not that he does anything) and the visuals on Steppenwolf are considerably improved.

And speaking of Superman, following the events of BATMAN V SUPERMAN, the entire world knows that Superman was dead and, to a lesser/more localized degree, the same goes for noted Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. In JUSTICE LEAGUE, when the heroes use a Mother Box to revive Supes, he returns in a confused and aggressive state — as seen in the theatrical version — and both Batman and Lois Lane call out to him as "Clark," and they do so in front of an assortment of police officers and military personnel, thus outing Clark to numerous witnesses. And once the story wraps up, Clark Kent is suddenly back from the dead at the same time as Superman and no one finds that odd?

There really are no spoilers for this version, as it's merely the theatrical excised of the Whedon material and taffy-pulled to a nigh-interminable duration. The post-apocalyptic vision of a world in which Superman has gone bad is also lengthened and it serves zero narrative purpose since a sequel to this will hopefully never happen. In that sequence Batman leads a team of Deathstroke, Mera — who's toting around a couple opf gallons of water in an otherwise arid landscape — and Jared Leto's horrendous take on the Joker, now seen with long hair, smudged lipstick, and spouting a whole lot of nonsense that will never be paid off. Oh, and we also get two brief scenes where the Martian Manhunter shows up, but he serves little or no purpose in the story other than to announce his presence and, while in the form of Martha Kent, get Lois off of her grieving ass and motivate her to return to work.

If none of this sounds compelling, it's because it isn't, and you are advised to spend four precious hours doing something, damned near anything else, other than sitting through this glacially-paced monument to the power of fandom and its ability to bully a studio into making you see the same garbage twice, only now with more garbage to pad it out. For completists only, and maybe not even then.

Sunday, March 07, 2021


I hate it that people aren't taking the pandemic seriously.

I get that people want to return to things as they were in the previous norm, but get fucking real. That norm is DONE, and it will not, hell, CANNOT return. But people continue to say "Fuck it" and congregate en masse, thus creating more infection vectors, but, again, "Fuck it! I want's me comforts! I wants me social interaction! I wants ta gits me drink on! I wants to party!!!"

Do you think others don't want that? We're all going bugfuck insane from the responsibilities of maintaining social distancing and whatever other protocols go with functioning in and staving off a goddamned pandemic, and it's up to each of us to butch up and bear it until it's over, but the "over" part of all of this will be a long time in coming as the brain dead insist on congregating en masse and therefore possibly spreading the virus whenever they disperse. And it's not helping that our appointed government officials are showing their lack of a spine, or displaying their onw self-interests, by caving and rescinding mask mandates and restrictions on public gathering, dining, entertainment, what have you.

I'm a 55-year-ol single male living in New York City. I have a huge group of close friends, some of whom I've been tight with for forty years or longer, and though we all love the times we have when we all get together, we are all acting responsibly and either maintain isolation (which is presumably easier for those who are married or have domestic partners) or we limit our social interactions to infrequent get-togethers of 8-10 people, all of whom have been tested or vaccinated and who are certified as COVID-free. And some remain masked during such small gatherings, despite the certainty of the virus's absence. And in all other excursions and interactions outside of out homes, we diligently stayed masked-up.

But while it's nice to have these occasional limited interactions, it's certainly not enough for a gregarious type like me. The isolation within my small studio apartment (that is a master study in clutter) is sanity-taxing, plus to say nothing of having no choice but to be stuck in the painful and depressing perpetual cycle of dialysis until a donor kidney comes along. Am I depressed? Yes. Do I have days when I very much feel like I'm losing my grip on time and sanity? Absolutely. Am I lonely as hell and am I in need of some female lovin'? Unequivocally, YES. But there is nothing to be done about it for now, as the dread spectre of as COVID-19 still continues to blight the landscape. Hopefully vaccination will help somewhat, but who knows how long the pandemic will last while selfish and science-ignorant fucksticks continue to raise a middle finger to common sense and carry on with their cavorting? If not for my sporadic visits with Tracey, her daughter, her boyfriend, and her ginormous moosh of a dog, I sincerely think I would go utterly mad. And at all other times, I feel like the last man on Earth.

Loneliness is a bitch under the best of circumstances, but in the new normal — which, let's face it, the majority of us have unfortunately become accustomed to — it's a mental, spiritual, and emotional death sentence. The question is: When will the loneliness finally do me in? I do my best to fight it, and I will continue to wage the battle, but eventually even heavily-fortified fortresses fall, and I am just a human being of flesh and bone.

(written while sitting on the edge of my futon bed in my boxer briefs and a Blowfly t-shirt)


Please allow me to vent for a moment.

I hate dialysis. I know it's saving my life but I really, REALLY fucking hate it.

Kidney failure is no picnic and neither is the ongoing treatment for it, but I must endure until whenever a kidney becomes available that is a perfect match.

Dialysis is physically painful, thanks to the needles and the occasional bloody mishaps that go with them, and aside from my own agonies I am constantly reminded of the pain involved by the moans and screams of my fellow patients. I may experience pain, but I will not give it the satisfaction of making me scream. A yelp or two here and there, but never screams.

I hate the dialysis center. It's a depressing facility straight out of a medical horror movie. Its white floors and walls that reflect the glare of the overly bright lighting, the rows of dialysis machines and the assorted noises that they make. The chairs that one sits in during the dialysis process may as well be a prison for the mind and body while one is there, as one is trapped in them and forbidden to move for close to four solid hours, during which time one learns firsthand to understand relativity, as one feels those hours stretch on for what seems to be a century.

While I fully understand that they have no control over their actions, being among elderly dementia patients for several hours three days per week is a soul-destroying affair. They are lost within their own heads as they cry out to be released every two minutes, some screaming and crying in pain as well as in confusion. Mr. Adler in particular is an especially tragic case. He's a bearded old Hasid who was once reportedly a knowledgeable scholar and teacher of his faith, but now his mind functions on a disconnect from time and space as he wonders where he is and constantly asks to be set from his seat and from the machine. I do not know him outside of treatment, but it pains me to see a once great mind reduced to being stuck in a time loop.

While I love the experienced nurse/techs, I dread times of cutbacks that lead to under-staffing. Those times find the veteran nurse/techs occupied more on specific sides of the facility, thus leaving those of us in the middle in the care of inexperienced intern nurse/techs who will hopefully gain experience on the fly. We patients fear being in the care of these well-intentioned newbs because they have no skills in practical application, so they often fumble in ways that result in pain and blood. There's no sensation quite like standing on linoleum in a puddle of blood that has spurted from an artery in your arm where a newb nurse/tech mis-applied the needles or failed to properly bandage the entry points after treatment, resulting in blood dripping all over the place like syrup at a pancake house breakfast.

Yes, I have an assortment of items to keep me distracted during the process, but I would rather be nearly anywhere else, doing anything else, but until the kidney comes through I will be stuck in the endless loop of treatment one day, rest/recovery the next day, then back to treatment and rinse and repeat.

And I must admit I am beginning to psychologically break from being stuck in all of it. One can only be so strong for so long, and I am definitely reaching my limit. When one's life is on hold thanks to forces beyond one's control, one's life becomes a purgatory.

I am not religious and I never will be, but if I were the praying type, I would implore the gods for swift arrival of a replacement organ, but it's a case of "wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills up first...”