There’s a shot midway through Mandy that’s about two minutes long and acutely sums up the last 10 years of Nicolas Cage performances. Red Miller (Cage) has just awoken from a nightmare, one inspired by the violent death of his lover, Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough), at the hands of Children of the New Dawn, a band of religious fanatics.
After a decade or so of what might be referred to as “mom roles”—the adoptive-mother-to-be in Juno; the pregnant girlfriend in Draft Day; the mother of a dying child in Miracles from Heaven—it is easy to forget that at the start of the millennium, Jennifer Garner was, arguably, the greatest female action star in Hollywood. Alias, Daredevil, Elektra, The Kingdom: Garner was as handy with a gun as she was at hand-to-hand combat.
So today’s Dumb Fight Online will likely be about stand up comedians who got caught up in the #MeToo moment getting back on stage. Aziz Ansari, who got dragged through the mud for having a bad date, is doing some shows again. More #problematic is Louis C.K., public masturbator, who showed up at the Comedy Cellar …
There’s a moment, I don’t know, maybe three or four or only one or two minutes into The Happytime Murders, when a puppet says “fuck you” to a human. The audience I was seeing it with dutifully laughed because, obviously, it’s deeply, deeply funny when puppets use bad words. Because puppets are for children, you see, and the frisson of hearing something designed to entertain children drop the f-bomb is inherently funny.
I’m not terribly fond of “the culture war,” at least as it is generally discussed in relation to United States domestic politics. Abortion, gay marriage: these are not things I am particularly interested in, and the arguments surrounding them tend to be so remarkably tedious that I try to avoid them altogether.