Thursday, August 14, 2003

"They Called Me Mr. Glass!"

It's always fun to watch two comics geeks go at it. (And it should be "geeks," John, not "nerds" as you originally put it; nerds are genuine, pitiable social misfits, whereas geeks are simply people who, for whatever reason, come to obsess over something in such a way as to be otherwise unattentive or out of it, socially speaking: i.e., computer geek, film geek, band geek, math geek, debate geek, role-playing game geek, whatever. Many geeks are also nerds, but not all nerds are geeks.) You see so much deep passion pored into contentious political and moral debates on such a regular basis that you tend to lose an appreciation, after a while, of the fact that whether you agree or disagree with any given position, the person articulating it is a human being who has genuinely thrown themselves into something and struggled with it, like an artist or soldier, and that such an act is (often, if not always) and an admirable thing. So passionate debates over geeky ephemera (in this case, the movie "Daredevil") are a good release; an opportunity to be reminded at how surprisingly deep human convictions run.

But be that as it may, I mainly wanted to compliment John Holbo on his taste. He writes that "the superhero movie that really lives up to Burke's maxim (and I think he would agree) is M. Knight Shyamalan's Unbreakable. Lots of folks didn't like it, apparently. Well, they're wrong. It takes the impossible conventions and stiff artificialities of the genre and makes them supple and organic and serene." I couldn't agree more. Unbreakable was an almost flawless film, maybe the best released in the United States all that year. After the final fifteen seconds, with Elijah Price's triumphant shout and the blurb about Mr. Price being imprisoned in an "institution for the criminally insane," I lept to my feet, astounded at what Shyamalan had done: put me into a comic book without telling me, and without letting me find out until just that moment. Brilliant. Too bad there will probably never be a sequel.