No more heroes

3:34:00 AM

Master of None Denise Aziz
modern day heroes 


Last week I listened to this old American life episode where a man, after the death of his wife decided to wear a Superman costume. In his daily life. Without doing good deeds. In his Superman tights he pumps gas, takes a flight or hangs out at the local bar. Peoples reacting to him makes him happy. And gives him a reason to live. Even if the armor he put on after the devastating event, is more see-through that he imagines. People laugh at him.
We don't do real life heroes anymore.

So what to do when you want to tell a tale of an heroic feat. Keep it cas', make it random, or show how plain deluded your protagonist was.

Here we go, some recent iTunes releases:

While watching Show me a hero, my guy kept saying how depressing it was. ' That dude is no hero!' He protested. ' I think that' s the point, dude.' Yes, that's some lively debate going on there.
Show me a hero is created by David Simon and Paul Haggins, and is about the city of Yonkers New York, protesting the federal decision pushing them to build public housing in their middle class white neighborhoods.
We are so flaky these days. And so is the tragic young mayor Nick Wasicsko played by Oscar Isaac. He didn't choose this fight, didn't vote for public housing right from the bat. He gets stuck with it. He sees no other option than fight for it. A conviction that eventually will cost him everything. Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy, Is the Fitzgerald quote that foreshadows how the poor guys ends up. The real tragedy is Nick doesn't realise what he accomplished. He seeks approval, and that is ultimately his downfall. Show me a hero, misses the comical aspects and mythic part of The Wire, I blame Haggis for that, but is again a damn good tv show, infuriating and enlightening.


Spotlight is quite similar to Show me a hero. It is about the Boston Globe's 'Spotlight' team,  that investigated pedophile priests in the Catholic Church in Boston and blew the worldwide scandal wide open. Again this is a story of a city fighting to keep an grave injustice from being addressed and revealed. It's interesting to see how leading city personnel, the DA, and lawyers other than senior Church members all knew what was going on.
The hero here is this team of journalists being lead by a stoic and superb, Liv Schreiber. as editor Marty Baron But they are also conflicted Catholics, and implicit and still carry on, not because they always want to, but because they clearly love their job and are steered in the right direction. This being a movie, some parts feel a bit thin, especially on the victims side. But this awful subject  makes for a thrilling and subtle movie, if your idea of thrill is, finding the needle in the haystack of a pile of documents ( mine so is!)


Sicario is a nihilistic, brutal look on the War on Drugs and the VS intrusive and illegal handling of the Mexican Cartels. There is a neat little twist in the hero narrative here. Emily Blunt plays a young FBI agent that gets entangled with, what she believes is Homeland security and the DOD, but later reveals itself to be the CIA. In another movie Blunt would be the rookie agent who saves the day. Or the moral compass, that saves the day. But her role in Sicario is of the stooge that gets conned, and manipulated in every way. It's a big FU to this moral compass, expertly executed by a CIA agent played by Josh Brolin and a mystery man, a dangerous lone wolf played by Benicio del Toro. Pay good attention to the definition of the title, given in the first few seconds, and you will see the light in this maze of drug funneling tunnels. Great adrenaline ride.


It is funny, how ingrained it can be, to watch a movie and expect heroic feats. I didn't read Into thin air, so watching Everest I fully expected Rob Hall played by Jason Clarke, who is made the protagonist of this story, to haul his ass out of that that mountaintop. So much that I googled him right there in the cinema.
Sigh. I am sure that for the reader of Outside Magazine dying as a meatstick, frozen for eternity is a true hero's death, but  I always want to yell: Fool!
Anyway, I loved how real the trajectory to the top of Everest feels, loved the yaks, and Jason Clarke, John Brolin and especially Jake Gillenhall are excellent. The real hero of this story is Robin Wright, who playing the sad sack role of the wife patiently waiting at home, while her man goes to play to die. She is determined enough to try and save her dopey. " Why climb Everest. Because we can!"  Sigh. But seriously, it's a good movie. Even if Krakauer hates it. 

Have you been listing to Serial season two? Yesterday's ep was the one. The one, that finally made it clear why Sarah Koenig choose Bowe Bergdahl as her next subject. Skip if you haven't heard it yet. What are you waiting for! Anyway, Bergdahl finally got to describe his specific reasons to walk out of camp and trigger the DustWun.
His story made me think of so many war movies, and documentaries, where there is always one higher-up that is just mean, or a fuckup, or mean and righteous. Who shouts the most absurd things at you. Shouldn't they show anybody who is enlisting every war movie ever made, so they understand what they are in for.? Bergdahl surely should have watched Jarhead and Restrepo. His vision of what military life should be sounded so archaic, and idealistic. Utopia and Afganistan, or whatever war zone you are facing are not and never will be synonymous. It was heartbreaking to hear. These guys are so young, too young to have the experience to see things in perspective. His fellow grunts possessed that instinct to assimilate, keep your head down. even when faced with horrible circumstances. Bergdahl did not. He was too cerebral, and self-contained to see how disastrous the move he wanted to make would turn out. He was too ahead of the curve. Remember when Shane was shouting all kind of nonsense in The Walking Dead and Rick had to just put him down? Rick is shouting the same nonsense now ( all hail to the Ricktator) You don't want to be Shane in war. You wait till your home, after a few years somebody makes a movie about how ill-conceived a mission was, and then you say something. You don't want to be the movie, But Bergdahl still believed in heroes. He thought he would be it.  At least, that is the story till now, and I can wait to hear next week, where his background will shed light on his perspective.


Speaking of the Walking Dead, returning next week, can you believe this? Whoa!

And speaking of Sarah Koenig she is now reporting daily, now that Adnan's case is in court!






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