If you are a fan of either the original Kick-Assmovie or the Kick-Ass comic books from Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., then you know that both contain copious amounts of gun violence, much of which is doled out by Hit-Girl, a once child and now teenage assassin.
That violence is shocking, graphic, and according to the cover of issue #2: “Sickening violence: Just the way you like it!”. So, in short, it’s kinda their gimmick and sorta their thing. That’s not to say that the book is dripping in blood and that it contains little to no virtue — that’s not at all the case. But if you are one of those people, the people who have put pop culture in the cross-hairs following the shocking shooting sprees in Aurora, Colorado and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then you’ve surely taken notice of the Kick-Ass comics, the original film, its upcoming sequel, and now, Kick-Ass 2 star Jim Carrey‘s stated objections to the violence in the film.
I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence […] my apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.
The above was tweeted out by Carrey yesterday, causing a stir, some praise, and a deluge of negative press for the star, with one headline calling Carrey’s statements “Career suicide”. Mark Millar also reacted to Carrey’s statements via his Millarworld site, though the modesty averse comic superstar approached the matter with a civil and complementary tone while artfully defending the art-form of fictional violence.
Here is some of that:
As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I’m baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much. My books are very hardcore, but the movies are adapted for a more mainstream audience and if you loved the tone of the first picture you’re going to eat this up with a big, giant spoon. Like Jim, I’m horrified by real-life violence (even though I’m Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn’t a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it’s the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim’s character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place.
Ultimately, this is his decision, but I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie. Imagine a John Wayne picture where he wasn’t packing or a Rocky movie where Stallone wasn’t punching someone repeatedly in the face. Our audience is smart enough to know they’re all pretending and we should instead just sit back and enjoy the serotonin release of seeing bad guys meeting bad ends as much as we enjoyed seeing the Death Star exploding.
Now, Millar is right: this is Carrey’s decision, and I’m sure it’s not one that he came to lightly. Putting his advocacy ahead of his career is not likely “suicide”, but it could be detrimental and lasting. Not just because there will be some who disagree with Carrey’s politics, but because some may perceive this as Carrey being either unstable, disloyal, or both while putting his advocacy ahead of his castmates and the studio’s interest as well.
Speaking of Universal’s interests, I can only imagine how they feel about this mere days after taking a risk and rescuing Carey’s Dumb and Dumber sequel from the burn pile.
As for why Carrey felt the need to be so public and not just have his morality cake while silently abstaining from doing press for the film, well, one assumes that he has an obligation to do press for Kick-Ass 2, and one wonders if the studio will now silently abstain from pushing him to do that, lest they crave the carnage of another derisive statement from the star.
Would he go this far again, though? Frankly, it already feels like a bit of damage has already been done, and we’re talking real damage to Carrey’s career, because he badly needed Kick-Ass 2 to be a smooth success. Unless you count kiddie fare like Horton Hears a Who, Carrey hasn’t had a hit since 2008’s Yes Man and a blockbuster since 2003’s Bruce Almighty, and his last film, Burt Wonderstone, was a certified bomb.
The actor is teetering on the edge of box office irrelevancy, no longer a certified draw and certainly not able to command the same fees that he once was.
I don’t think Kick-Ass2 would have been a way back to the glory days of Carrey talking out of his asshole for $20 million dollars (though, some would say he’s now doing it for free on twitter… har… har), but it could have stopped the slide and re-introduced Carrey to a younger audience and a slew of different roles. Maybe it still can, but right now, it doesn’t seem like Carrey or Kick-Ass 2 is goona come out of this un-bruised… that is unless Carrey takes this a bit further and puts his money where his mouth is.
All throughout twitter and in articles, people are responding to Carrey with a shrug and something to the effect of: “Well, then donate your salary to the victims”. Carrey actually has a history of impressive charitable acts, so that may yet happen, but embracing that challenge and making a real statement with actions and not mere words… now that would be praise worthy.
Kick-Ass 2 opens up on August 18th, no word on when Jim Carrey’s wallet will do the same and catch up to his mouth.
With fingers pointed at the National Rifle Association following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, Wayne LaPierre — the NRA’s CEO — responded today by trying to pivot the argument about violence in our society away from guns and toward movies and video games.
The following is from the prepared text that the NRA distributed prior to an 11am Washington DC press conference today:
“And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?
Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like American Psycho and Natural Born Killers that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.”
But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?
In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes — every minute of every day of every month of every year.”
LaPierre later added: “A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.” citing a well worn statistic from the American Psychiatric Association that also includes acts of violence that occurs in cartoons. So Tom and Jerry are fucking up our children.
Okay, first of all, why these games and these movies? On this one can only speculate, but Splatterhouse is a fantastical game where you kill non-human looking monsters and demons. Why does it get singled out as a blight against the children of Pleasantville? Oh that’s right: the name. See, Splatterhouse sounds like a game that should make parents nervous, especially those who know nothing about video games. That’s why Mortal Kombat,GTA, American Psycho (which may just be too old to be relevant) and the like are mentioned as well — they sound rotten and they also have the virtue of being tried and true whipping boys whenever this debate circles around on back to us. Hell, a Senator even called for a possible ban on GTA V yesterday, sight-unseen. (more…)
In the latest incident of nerd-related violence, one Jared M. Gurman of Williston Park, Long Island, shot his girlfriend Jessica Gelderman with a .22 caliber, semiautomatic rifle after an argument stemming from a premise related to the zombie-drama The Walking Dead.
“I just know that he felt very adamant that there could be some type of military mishap that would result in some sort of virus or something being released that could cause terrible things to happen,” said Detective Lieutenant Raymond Cote in a statement.
After the initial fight, Gelderman decided to walk it off, but the argument continued via text message. When the victim returned home, she found boyfriend Gurman ready for her – with a gun – to continue the argument. Gelderman tried to calm Gurman down, but since he was clearly disturbed and heavily armed, she ended up getting shot once through her lung and diaphragm and shattering her ribs.
“Jess walked into the room and I fired the gun once and hit her,” explained Gurman later. “She said, ‘Oh my God. What did you do?'”
Achieving sanity long enough, Gurman got Gelderman to a hospital and was then arrested on one charge of second degree attempted murder. Despite his lawyer’s argument that the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that the gun went off “accidentally,” Gurman is now being held without bail, and Gelderman is recuperating in hospital.
So the lesson of the day kids is to keep nerd rage where it belongs: on the internet. Where it can’t hurt anyone. In a way other than emotional that is.
He is more than a comedian. Eddie Izzard is a thinker who ties his observations on history and society together with a razor sharp wit. Presently touring Europe and delivering his act in French, Izzard took a break from his busy schedule to talk with a small group of reporters and I was lucky enough to be a part of that group. Below is my portion of that conversation with Izzard where we discussed the very violent and very funny IFC show Bullet in the Face, the state of our society, reality TV, and how he wound up playing Grandpa in the Munsters remake Mockingbird Lane.
Bullet in the Face struck me as being a tad less obvious than other spoofs — you got to sneak some things in without an illuminated arrow pointing at the punch lines. It felt like stupid humor for smart people; is that what drew you to the role?
Eddie Izzard: I do like the smart-stupid angle, which is what I play — I actually play it smart-stupid-stupid-smart. This was just a chance for me to go off on a strange and unusual angle as someone who is a complete megalomaniac. I normally don’t do comedies, and this was a drama, but this is all very heightened, so I sort of went for it and didn’t take many prisoners and tried out some different things. I haven’t seen it all, so I don’t know quite how it all lands.
Obviously it’s a farcical but super-violent show at a time when nobody really thinks violence is very funny — is there a concern about a backlash or regret with regard to the timing?
Well, that is always something one has to bear in mind. In America or maybe around the world, it does happen that very violent incidences happen, and one wonders about timing — you couldn’t pre-think that. Um, so yes, I don’t know. I don’t kill that many people in the show; I am in the show, so there you go. It’s just something one has to bear in mind, and these things happen in reality — I haven’t got the answer.
I think that the debate about gun fascination needs to happen in a much larger way. You know, in America a lot of people fight for gun control, the NRA fights for gun expansion. In Europe — maybe because we had the Second World War, and so many people died that we got rid of them — but still, you do those American films… obviously you’re talking in reference to the Batman situation — those films will just draw in a humongous amount of people, and its always war films that are made into films.
No one does democracy. There is no film about Athenian democracy; it’s just not happening. It is a weird thing. I don’t know what the answer to it is, but we don’t talk about it enough — the gun fascination. Myself as a social democrat, I still have a gun fascination, but I like to shoot milk bottles and things like that. We just don’t talk about it enough. Maybe it’s just a primeval thing, which I think it probably is. It’s a very basic primal thing, this hunting thing that we got rid of, and so its still in our brain.
So how you deal with it, how you deal with this in drama… I’m also doing Mockingbird Lane — that’s a very potentially violent thing, but its comedic; it has a comedic edge to it. And there’s tons of vampire films going out. But still, if something like that happened in reality everyone would just flip, and when it does happen people flip. I don’t know the answer to that question, it is just something that… God, will we ever get to the bottom of it? Will we ever get to a happy medium on it?
You still pack your act with loads of historical references, but we seem to be getting dumber as a society. Would it be easier to just talk about reality TV and then have a cry over the downfall of society?
I don’t think society is down-falling…
Well not necessarily “down-falling”, but i think our capacity for information — our storage capacity is lessening. We’re just inundated with so much stuff…
Well, we do like gossip, and we do know that reality TV also costs the TV companies zero cents to make, so obviously they’ve fallen in love with that in a financial way. The bean counters have gone crazy, but it’s also America’s greatest time of drama television and great roles for older actors, more mature actors in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and in the UK as well and probably around the world as well.
I think any time you can take a snapshot and think things are rough, but, you know, I’m surprised that I keep getting audiences. I just played the Hollywood-bloody-Bowl, which is about 15,000, and I’m talking about Greeks, Romans, “Is there a God?”, all that kind of stuff. So while we might think we’re getting dumber, I don’t think anything’s moving. I think there’s always enough smart people and there’s enough dumb people.
Maybe television is shoving out more and more — The Wives of Orange County and The Wives of This Place and The Wives of New Jersey, there’s a lot of wives stuff out there. It’s Car-Crash-TV, and people like to watch it; people like to do it because they get famous and people like to watch it because they think, “Well, my life is not that life.” So gossiping goes back to the early cave people… maybe it’s one’s attitude; I’m a glass is half full [person]. Actually, I’m a glass is three-quarters full person. I am a transvestite who’s got this far, so I should be quite happy.
You mentioned before that there are great roles out there on TV for actors in their 40s, 50s, and 60s — did any vanity creep in before you took the role of Grandpa on Mockingbird Lane? Because I don’t see you as a grandfather. I’m watching the show [Bullet in the Face] last night, and then I watched Dressed to Kill, and I just don’t… you don’t… I can’t believe… you’re not really old enough to be a grandfather is what I’m saying…
(Laughs) Well, I could be, couldn’t I?
Well, biologically… yes, I suppose mathematically, but you just don’t seem like…
I could have worked it out… but yes, indeed. What happened was, I was told of the idea, and, “Hey do you want to be inThe Munsters, in the pilot?”, and I went, “No, this is just not gonna happen.” And then they said, “Well, you know you should have a look at it, because it’s Bryan Fuller who did Pushing Daisies,and he’s looking at you to play this role.” I said, “Grandpa. I really haven’t seen the show, but I’m not Grandpa. That’s not my next move.” I’m very into military moves in terms of how I get up the ladder, and I said the next thing is not “Munsters“, and it’s not “Grandpa”. But then he put it to me, and he told me what he was trying to do with it, and I thought, “Well, this could be intriguing; this could be an interesting role to play.” So I was persuaded by Bryan Fuller to do it, and that’s why I’m there, and we’ll see where we go with it. You know, they may not give it to us, but if they give it to us I think we’ll take it to a place where it will be not quite what people are expecting. If you remember the distance that the original Batman went to Tim Burton’s Batman, that is the distance that we should be taking it. It won’t be the same as that; it won’t be that action. But it will have moved probably something like that distance.
Bullet in the Face will air Thursday and Friday night on IFC at 10/9 C
In those moments after the panic but within the pain we search for answers. Suddenly we think more guns would have been the solution, or we imagine that security guards within every theater would have thwarted a true life villain that was hell-bent on human destruction.
There is no solace or remedy because that which has been done cannot be undone but these thoughts sometimes help. Someone has pierced our world with their actions and momentarily robbed us of our innocence. It has happened before, it will happen again, and as we sit red eyed and stunned, watching over and over again, as the same horrific headlines flash across the screen, we need to not forget about dreams, fantasies, and escapism.
Yes we need time to grieve but we should also, perhaps, have hope for a calmer day and a rescue from the horror show — that hope is something of value and that rescue is something worth seeking.
I’ve seen a few people say today that they’re going to stay clear of theaters for a little while, that they’re going to avoid them when they are at their busiest. I don’t blame them and if that gives them comfort, if that gives them a sense of security, then I urge them to follow through on that, but I went to see The Dark Knight Rises this morning and I’ll go see another movie tonight or tomorrow. I do this because it is what I need to get through this heartbreaking moment and no one is going to take that from me.
Life is terrifying at times and it is also rapid and painful — sometimes we need a time out, and that’s what movies are. They’re magical not just because of what they can take us away from but for where they can take us away too. Right now I think we need to mix in a little fantasy with the hard truth of this moment.
What helps make the difference between shows produced for HBO and those on normal American network TV? Well, high-budget cinematic production comes to mind. Tremendous latitude given to show creators to tell the stories they want to tell is another. But I think what we’re all really thinking is uncensored sex and violence.
But apparently not Humaid al Suwaidi, chief executive of eVision, a television service provider owned by Etisalat, the United Arab Emirate’s largest telecommunications company.
While airing the latest episode of Game of Thrones this past Monday, eVision cut the show off and smashed cut to black because the show’s abundant nudity, now, seems to violate UAE laws of decency.
“Those shows are not really suitable for the family because of the nudity scenes,” al Suwaidi said. Typically, his channel responds to these things with black bars and selective editing. “This is a decision as per the prevailing law in the country. Whenever there is nudity, we don’t show it to our viewers because we respect our viewers.”
So were there any angry Thrones viewers? No doubt, and interestingly this is apparently the first time eVision has taken the step of censoring the nudity and violence, they claim breaks national law.
“There’s been nudity, sex and violence all the way through the series,” said a “western expatriate” who declined to be named. “You either show it or you don’t. They’ve got to decide the threshold of tolerance for all this stuff.”
Of further interest, the Orbit Showtime Network, which broadcasts Game of Thrones throughout the Middle East and North Africa, has apparently shown much more scandalous TV than Thrones.
“I’ve seen stuff on OSN that wouldn’t get through on American cable networks,” said Matt Duffy, a journalism professor at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed University. “OSN seems to almost have a European-style approach as to what is permissible.”
Well, I guess it’s nice to know that hypocrisy and double standards for media aren’t a uniquely American phenomenon.
I’ve watched the teaser trailer for David Cronenberg’sCosmopolis about six times now, and all I’ve gathered is: near vajayjay, bullet-in-hand, Robert Pattinson, eyeball-stab, guy who looks like Robert Loggia (who is NOT Robert Loggia), giant rat, car fucking, and Robert Pattinson.
The film, from the director of A History of Violenceand Crash (the superior one with car fucking and crashing and fucking), looks insane, violent, magnificent, and in the evocative words of White Goodman, “Reaaaaal, freakah naughty”. Based on the Don DeLelillo novel of the same name, Cosmopolis largely takes place in a limo (so it’s like The Lincoln Lawyer, only there is that massive rat and not a massive douche) as Pattinson’s uber rich character monitors the financial markets and his worsening state whilst seeking out a haircut from his father’s barber. Naturally his excursion is waylaid by a Presidential motorcade, protesting anarchists (what else do anarchists do save for have a shop at Hot Topic?), and a rapper’s funeral (which is the opposite of a Rapper’s Delight). There is also a stalker and car urination.
Take a look at the trailer and put a basket behind your head so as to catch your escaping mind, son (drops the keyboard and walks away).
LEGO™’s, childhood toy that builds imagination and creativity or twisted tool of ultra-violence and creator of sociopaths… I just don’t know anymore. Forrest Fire Films has unleashed this upon YouTube. Warning, the following video contains the most gruesome and gory acts of LEGO™ violence I have ever seen in my life, if you have any small children in the room (or adults with inner children) please ask them to leave the room for about 2 and a half minutes.
The rest of you, hit the jump and bask in the awesomeness of LEGO™ kicking major Nazi ass!
Starz hasn’t had the same kind of success with their original series as say, HBO or Showtime. Camelot was canceled before its first season ended and even popular properties like Torchwood haven’t fared too well on the premium channel. But don’t count them out of the original programming market yet, their biggest hit is one hell of a contender. Returning for its third season, a first for a Starz show, is Spartacus: Vengeance. Vengeance is the sequel to Spartacus‘ first season, Blood and Sand, which aired in 2010. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which aired in between Blood and Sand and Vengeance, was a prequel season.
If you’re unfamiliar with the extremely graphic, sword-and-sandal drama I’ll summarize: Spartacus follows an enslaved Thracian turned gladiator who leads an uprising against the Roman ruling class. The first season dealt primarily with Spartacus’ rise as a gladiator and his revolt against his master. Vengeance will see us following the escaped gladiators and slaves as they begin their rebellion.
Did I mention this show is graphic? Good, because it is excessively so, but that’s part of the fun. The show’s creators wanted a truthful interpretation of Ancient Roman society, and they nailed it. Spartacus is gory, like, really gory. But it’s also gory in a fun, comic book way with blood spraying across the screen. It’s also very graphic in its sexual content, another accuracy from Roman culture. For realz, sometimes this show could be considered soft-core porn. It’s dirty, it’s gritty, and it’s an all around fantastic show because for all its sex and violence, they’re telling a great story, too.
The first episode of Vengeance airs this Friday at 10pm on Starz (the first season is available on Netflix Instant) and in a promotional build up Nerd Bastards was invited to sit in on a press conference call with some of the show’s stars. On the call were Manu Bennett (Crixus), Craig Parker (Gaius Claudius Glaber), Nick Tarabay (Ashur) and Dan Feuerriegel (Agron). They answered a multitude of questions about filming, what we can expect from their characters this season, as well what the transition has been like with Liam McIntyre taking over the role of Spartacus. (Andy Whitfield who played the role in Blood and Sand sadly passed away from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in September of last year.)
The guys gave some really thoughtful and thorough responses. Check ’em out below the cut.