Culture

In Case You Missed It: Four Day Patriot-Gasm!

Mitt-and-Ann-Romney-RNC

Welcome to HEAVEmedia’s swap week! Our columnists have taken over each other’s articles for these next five days. Today – Dear Heave’s Ryan Peters takes over Mike Haverty’s In Case You Missed It.

1. Charles Dickens once wrote that it is “a wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other”; for three days this week, Republican party members and delegates gathered in the humid, primordial swamp of Tampa, Florida, to ponder the profound mysteries of the modern world. A party of southern religious conservatives, northeastern fiscal moderates, and, for some reason, Jon Voight, came together to affirm their core beliefs: That science became invalid after the year 1750, gay marriage causes hurricanes, and Barack Obama is a socialist assassin sent from the future to destroy the theory of trickle-down economics.

It was an exciting convention in which Marco Rubio and Chris Christie made delegates wish it was the 2016 election, Paul Ryan somehow elicited criticism from FoxNews, Mitt Romney was surprisingly effective in conveying some warmth to the nation, and Clint Eastwood scolded the furniture. I actually don’t want to make (much) fun of Eastwood. For one, he’s one of the most accomplished American directors of the last 20 years, and his work on “Unforgiven” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” alone could make me look past him lighting a box of puppies on fire. And more importantly, he’s an 82 year-old non-politician, and someone at the convention should have had the good sense to make sure that his speech didn’t include a portion involving an invisible representation of President Obama. Still, there’s no denying that Mitt Romney picked the worst night of his political career to allow an off-script Hollywood icon to distract from his nomination speech.

2. In a blow to bald enthusiasts coast to coast, Sunday was Breaking Bad‘s mini-finale before next Spring’s series finale. This season was an extension of the show’s core commitment to ruthless, painstaking detail. And while some people have complained that Walter’s character was reduced to a single-note megalomaniac, I think the entire arc of the show has been constructed to lay bare Walt’s bedrock motivations: competency and control. For a man who spent decades privately mourning the lost opportunities of a his youth and intelligence — a brilliant man who felt he should have been a billionaire, not a barely-respected high school chemistry teacher — the celebration of his meth cooks is the recognition of his fanatical attention to detail that his ego has longed for.

A man as obsessed with detail, power and ego-stroking as Walt was always going to transgress the boundaries that would make him even partially sympathetic. I think the show should be commended for its willingness to allow its central character to be so completely despised. It’s the kind of commitment to dramatic integrity that the show constantly displays. Plus, MAGNETS, BITCHES.

3. The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s influenced-but-not-really-about-Scientology film, had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. And guys, YOU GUYZ, let’s just remember how incredibly good this trailer looks:

I’m hosting weekly screenings of Magnolia in anticipation of The Master‘s release. This was mostly a disappointing summer for movies, but with The Master, Argo, Skyfall and The Hobbit upcoming, the fall and winter look promising.