- Update: I’m kicking this post up because, WOW, what a cool movie this is! Saw it yesterday night and having almost no expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. Matter of fact, from twenty minutes in onwards I was either smiling or sitting with my mouth agape.
I wouldn’t call Troll Hunter‘original’ in the sense that it helps the “handheld cam horror movie” genre along, although in some sense it is. Basically, it employs the same techniques as The Blair Witch Project and especially Cloverfield, although in Troll Hunter, the creatures involved are not mere glimpses at the edge of the screen but in view full-frontal (which in itself is an innovation in this genre).
What makes it so cool is, well, first of all that it is Norwegian, which gives an art house vibe to the movie, and secondly the dry humor. This is a really funny movie from the beginning to the end; although there are some seriously tense scenes in it as well. The main character, troll hunter Hans, is in reality a Norwegian comedian (I didn’t know this before), but playing his role very well: a very cynic, grumpy, matter-of-factly hunter. The film students act very nicely as well, keeping the film with its feet on the ground.
I also really liked the road trip aspect of the movie, taking you through a variety of beautiful Norwegian landscapes. But what’s probably best about this film, in addition to the constant subdued humor, is the documentary aspect of it. Unlike in other movies in this genre, a lot is revealed about the creatures it is about, who have been subject of a government conspiracy. There’s a mysterious ‘Troll Security Service’ designed to keep their existence secret. Along the road, the film students interview a variety of people with more or less information about this.
All in all, this remains a very pleasant movie, with a lightweight sense of fun and humor throughout. I was just “amused” throughout.
The end of Troll Hunter, though, is awe-inducing. At that point, the movie reaches it zenith. So yeah, definitely go see this movie! I highly, highly recommend it!
- Original post: This trailer looks pretty cool. The movie was not directed by Charlie Sheen, but by Norwegian director Andre Ovredal and will be released on June 10th.
The dust is settling a bit around Charlie Sheen. The big media are not as interested in the whole affair as a few weeks ago and “Winning” and “Tiger blood” are no longer trending topics on Twitter. And that’s a good thing, because why the hell were they so occupied with this comedian’s fall from grace anyway? That’s what David Masciotra of Pop Matters is asking in his article “De-Normalize Your Brain: Charlie Sheen as prophet”. In it he makes a case for seeing Sheen as a prophet who warns of of the omnipotence and hypocracy of the mainstream media. According to Masciotra:
One of the truest sentences spoken on national television in the past ten years was Charlie Sheen’s warning, “You can’t process Charlie Sheen with a normal brain.” The “normal” brain in contemporary American culture is shaped by social convention that demonizes any form of vice but celebrates greed, is distorted by media sensationalism that defines people’s entire lives with eight word headlines while granting real criminals immunity from the court of public opinion, and is limited by a narrow, childish, and petty middle-class morality that demands outrage over harmless people’s personal foibles, but never pauses to consider the mechanisms of society that create poverty, sickness, and death.
The most important and profound lesson of Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which the devil emerges as a hero, is that what, by all accounts, seems evil may actually be good and that what, by all accounts, seems good may actually be evil.
There isn’t one person willing to jump to Charlie Sheen’s defense. Commentators either condemn him with phony words of sympathy or amuse themselves with the silliness of the scandal. No one has the courage to recognize, at least publicly, the postmodern heroism of the troubled actor. In a culture built on and sustained by lies, Sheen is one of the only truth tellers. He doesn’t offer insincere apologies or teary confessions for his Hollywood hell raising. He embraces those elements of his life, and demands that the media and audience judge him on his merits. He is honest, and for that reason alone, he is heroic. Part of his appeal to the gawking public is his candor. Everyone is so desensitized to lying—from politicians, business leaders, other celebrities caught in controversy—that someone telling the truth feels like a bolt of lighting.
I don’t completely agree with Masciotra. He reads a lot more in Sheen’s rants than is actually in there and I think Charlie Sheen is more of a troubled soul than a true hero. Still it’s interesting to look at the whole phenomenon in this way. He continues his defense of Sheen:
Sheen is, however, as Milton would remind everyone, actually on the side of good. He is fighting a worthy battle that has stakes far higher than the career of one rich actor who made his bones as a fortunate son.
First, he is fighting against the ethic of media sensationalism that, with God-like powers, is able to define lives simply by the slant of coverage. Sheen refuses to allow mediocre members of the media to determine his value as an actor and his worth as a human being. That is what his emphasis on “winning” and “declaring victory” is all about. He isn’t going to lose his identity and lose his humanity to NBC, ABC, MTV, CNN, and the rest of the closely concentrated cabals of persuasive power. There is an absurdist element to his battle technique—theorizing that his brain may come from “another terrestrial realm” for example—but that is simply fighting fire with fire, because there is nothing more absurd than what passes for news and opinion on cable television.
The third element of Sheen’s effort of “winning” is striking a blow against the self-serving moralizing of the elite. If he can declare victory over the media and win an appellate case in the court of public opinion on behalf of his “bitchin’, rock star lifestyle from Mars”, he will make viewers vomit the flavorless, soul killing food that the media has force fed them since birth. Without that toxicity running through their system they may gain the intellectual energy to see that if the media can be wrong about what it judges insane, it may be wrong about what it celebrates as sane.
When I read this article it reminded me of the movie Network, made in 1976 by director Sidney Lumet. According to Masciotra, Charlie Sheen is showing us how insane the mainstream media have become, how hypocritical they are and how they are manipulating our brains. In Network, the main character, Howard Beale, is a news anchor who at one point flips out and starts ranting about the evils of the mainstream media and politics in the United States. The parallels are amazing: both Beale and Sheen attack the media moguls who gave them their jobs, both come up with lines (in Beale’s case it’s “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” and in Sheen’s case it’s “winning”, “tiger blood” etc.), both are portrayed as mad men in the media and both get their own show when media companies discover how popular they are (Beale gets his own variety show on t.v., Sheen a radio show and a theater tour).
So, if you really want to understand the whole Charlie Sheen thing you should watch the movie Network. It is remarkable how accurate this movie predicted the current media landscape. When I first saw it, the obvious parallel seemed to be to Fox News’ Glenn Beck, but now it seems Charlie Sheen is resembling Howard Beale even closer.
- Edit: Turns out I’m not the first to see this parallel, also check out these articles: