It’s the end of the first week of lockdown in Canberra, and I have developed an unhealthy relationship with my phone. It keeps wanting to tell me things, and I now have a lot of time to be told things. It tells me all kinds of news happening in the world; news that has absolutely no utility to me except for influencing whether or not I’ll go to the other side of the apartment for a bit of a cry.
I had already started to put into place some supports to make me feel better about the world. The first was unfollowing a bunch of accounts on social media who spent every waking hour of the day spewing out partisan nonsense about the pandemic. At some point, I realised that public debate about public health had become a frictionless, zero-gravity environment: media companies publishing opinion pieces that cite other opinion pieces as evidence that the Government made a terrible error when it failed to appoint us as the Public Health Czar. My feed was overwhelmingly a few (usually Baby Boomer) voices constantly telling everybody that they should feel constantly outraged and miserable that Australia was not living up to its recently imagined expectations.
But the other thing I did was train a bunch of my websites to give me the most trivial possible news: pop culture news! Escapism is exactly what the doctor ordered to treat the symptoms of the public health directions.
This has worked too well, and I’m now deep frying my brain in a new genre of literature, steeping my mind in a new form of art, and roasting my imagination until it’s fork-tender. Rip in piece, thesis-writing day. Questions about national security law are going to need to answer themselves. Today, I have only one question on my mind:
FIVE MASSIVE THINGS YOU MISSED IN POPULAR MOVIES
1: The Voice of King Shark in Suicide Squad sounds very familiar!
If you’ve seen James Gunn’s new film, Suicide Squad, you might have has a sneaky suspicion that King Shark’s voice sounded familiar. Was he in Jaws? The Meg? Sharknado? No! Despite his appearance, King Shark is played by Sylvester Stallone, whom you might remember from Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, the voice of Joe the Lion in Zookeeper, and Ray Breslin in Escape Plan 2. Talk about versatility! Stallone used CGI to enhance his performance as King Shark.
2: Hook‘s ‘Rufio’ would later do the voice for Zuko in Avatar: the Last Airbender
If you grew up in the 1990s, there’s two movies you have definitely seen during wet weather days in primary school: Beethoven’s 2nd (about a dog and something to do with divorce litigation) and Hook (a film about Robin Williams not realising that he’s Peter Pan). One thing that you probably didn’t realise while you were watching it was that the young actor who played Rufio would later go on to play Zuko in Avatar: the Last Airbender (2005-2008)
3: The Sir Ian McKellen Cinematic Universe?
Not many people know this, but all of Sir Ian McKellen’s movies are in the same cinematic universe (SIMKCU). Fans disagree about the correct viewing order, but it is usually agreed that Richard III comes early in the chronology followed by Jack and Sarah (in which Sir Ian’s character sobers up after his devastating, near fatal defeat in Dicky 3). The question really driving 97-page Whirlpool debates is whether or not the Tolkien pentalogy comes before or after X-Men.
4: There are no triceratopses in A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
Steven Spielberg’s 2001, 146-minute long video essay, A.I. Artificial Intelligence explained why we didn’t feel like we needed to see Haley Joel Osment again for a while or two. Even though it was only 146 minutes long, it felt much, much longer. It wouldn’t be until Steven Spielberg’s 2009, 162-minute long film, Avatar, that audiences would again think: ‘Gosh, was it only that long? It felt much, much longer.’
At 146 minutes, there are a lot of cameos, Easter eggs, and trivia in A.I. Where most viewers correctly responded to seeing Jude Law and Ashely Scott as sex robots by immediately switching off the movie and setting fire to their television sets, only those people who watched through until the very end even realised that there were aliens in this movie.
But not many people realised that there were actually no triceratopses in the movie. Extensive research has shown that, while it is often debated if the movie is really a reimagining of Pinocchio, there is far less debate about whether or not the film contained one or more triceratops.
5: Avatar wasn’t by Steven Spielberg
Here’s a mind-blower for you: although you might have thought that Avatar was a Steven Spielberg film, true movie-heads know that it wasn’t. Completely defying expectations: many science fiction movies are not Steven Spielberg movies. Despite having science fiction elements, neither Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets nor Fifth Element were by Spielberg (they were instead by serial creep Luc Besson). It just goes to show that, no matter how many times we see a movie, we don’t always know who directed it.