Real Geniuses

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Tony Stark and his “asset” Peter Parker

I had originally planned to write a post today about the character Winter Soldier as a MKUltra symbol, but got distracted by a random viewing of the 1985 comedy Real Genius. This movie reminded me of the flip-side of the MKUltra’ed soldier/assassin theme, the “softer side,” if you will: that of the young “real genius” who gets recruited by the government as to exploit their prodigious skills.

And the reason Real Genius “flipped switches” for me is because I also watched Captain America: Civil War for the first time a couple of days ago, and found out (admittedly, quite to my nerd-tinged shock) that Peter Parker—Spider-Man—is essentially an intelligence asset in that movie. Parker is a “Real Genius,” literally pulled out of school by his rich handler (Tony Stark, “Iron Man”) to risk his life out in the field.

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Journey Against The Centre For The Earth: Justice League The New Frontier

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Like all things on this hurtling sphere, I emerged from the molten center of creation. But mine has been a unique path. Isolated, I developed attributes beyond those of lesser beings. Then the sphere was struck by a vast celestial stone. Black chunks of death filled the skies and the world became a chaotic world of doom. Soon the sphere began to nurture new kinds of life. And there was one that stood above the rest. Its fragile shell belied its vicious nature. And in what seemed like a heartbeat, these things proliferated in both number and destructive needs. Now they have harnessed the most destructive force. And I, The Centre, have concluded that the sphere must be cleansed of them.
—The Centre, “Justice League: The New Frontier”

For a couple of years, I knew a comic creator named Darwyn Cooke. I worked as an assistant at DC Comics, and my office handled most of his books. I had many discussions on the phone with Cooke. He was a brilliant artist and writer, with an intense love for the icons and heroes of his youth. But one of the recurring themes of our talks was his continuing disillusionment at the comic book (and, by extension, the entertainment) industry—his frustration with the caretakers of his icons and heroes.

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Probably My Favorite Jim Carrey Scene

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I write about Jim Carrey quite a bit on this site, and I just stumbled upon recently what was, at the time, considered to be one of his biggest bombs: 1996’s The Cable Guy. Which, especially seen in the context of today’s culture, isn’t such a bad movie and is actually somewhat relevant.

I suppose at the time The Cable Guy was very jarring to critics and Carrey fans, mixing humor with very sudden and tonally-different dark moments; including an ending that is somewhat unexpected, stark, and ideologically-charged (spoilers).

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The Dark Tower And The Dark World

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The Gunslinger and Heimdall

I had the synchronistic experience of seeing the 2013 film Thor: The Dark World quite by accident right before seeing the The Dark Tower trailer. Both very visually similar movies, with similar titles, similar plots, similar symbolism, and the same actor (Idris Elba) in both of them.

I’m going to speak briefly to these similarities, and how both resonate with other topics I’ve been reading/thinking about recently.

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Star-Lords, Sacred Orbs, And Tree-Christ: Esoteric Themes in Guardians Of The Galaxy

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Star-Lord and the Orb

In this post I’m going to examine some of the more esoteric themes surrounding the 2014 movie Guardians Of The Galaxy. Along the way we’re gonna talk about aliens, grails, and Tree-Christ. Spoilers ahead!

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