24 April 2016

A Kid With A Gift

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I was at the gym the other day when I saw a kid with such an extraordinary gift that it left me a little startled. I always find it a bit strange when there are children there because there's also a militant group of old men that insist on wandering around the changing rooms with their tiny wrinkled knobs out and for a much longer time than is ever necessary. On an average day the place is like a gay sauna, but when you throw some children into the mix then it's suddenly like walking into a feast during ancient fucking Greece. So this kid ended up changing next to me and I swear I didn't mean to see anything, but despite only being about eleven years old, skinny, and fairly short... I promise that his cock was about seven fucking inches long. I mean, I've literally never seen anything so fucking strange in my life. The whole thing really threw me. Obviously I'm no expert but don't children usually have little maggoty-looking cat-dick type things? I wanted to find his parents and congratulate them. Most of the creepy old men in there have dicks that look like somebodies mangled a bit of belly-pork in a wooden door, whereas this kid... he's still got years of puberty to go and yet already he has some Ron Jeremy-esque fucking meat-slammer dragging along the ground.

I only tell this story because I was reminded of it when watching the film Midnight Special. The movie throws us right into the middle of the action as a young boy is kidnapped by Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton. Is this a gay couple fleeing with a son they've Raising Arizona'd from its bedroom? Why are the FBI hunting them? Is it simply because Michael Shannon has a face that screams 'dangerous to children'? And why has a sinister cult despatched a couple of goons to bring them back? Does the child have some sort of religious significance? Or is it just that their church is another hive of nonces that want their pre-pubescent hump-meat back. The story begins by presenting us with all of these mysteries and with the joy of the film being in how it trickles its answers out like piss from a pensioner. Shannon and Edgerton have been told by the boy that they must reach a certain location and at a certain time but it's unclear if even they know why. We're also told that this child has a gift and that whatever makes him special is the reason behind this entire chase. I'm sure there was meant to be some element of suspense in discovering what exactly this is.. but I can't say that I was entirely gripped. A kid that spends the majority of the film wearing swimming goggles and who we're told has a something special? It'll be just another child with a big ol' dick I suppose.

Directed by Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special follows a similar trend to his previous films in that it places its supernatural elements second to its human drama. In his Take Shelter, this meant that we were mostly treated to the breakdown of Michael Shannon's marriage to Jessica Chastain as a potential apocalypse happened in the background. Although in that case I suppose you could argue that some mysterious elements must have been in place in order for her to agree to marry a man with his face in the first place. I mean, I don't mean to go on about it, but Shannon really does look like somebody has attempted to sculpt a gargoyle resembling Steve Buscemi as he suffers an allergic reaction to a bee sting. However unlike Fred Willard and Pee Wee Herman, I don't go to the cinema to masturbate and so I suppose the fact that Shannon's face is quite obviously some sort of Lovecraft-ian beast from an alternate dimension shouldn't really matter. Especially when he's one of the most intense and watchable actors that's working today and with Nichols arguably being the director that gets the best out of him. In which case this is another success for both as it continues their spree of awe-inspiring films that show the human spirit's ability to shine out through extraordinary circumstances. In this respect, I suppose you could argue that Midnight Special essentially confirms the pair to be the Dr. Treves and Joseph Merrick of modern cinema. I'll let you work out which of them is most reminiscent of Merrick.

Whereas the pair's previous film Mud was a jaunty Mark Twain-esque tale of rednecks on the river, the two biggest inspirations for Midnight Special are John Carpenter's Starman and Spielberg's Close Encounters. All three films involve a supernatural message leading to a mysterious journey towards a place of significance and in which the military must be avoided. There's also a character played by Adam Driver that's basically just Truffaut and Bob Balaban's Close Encounters concerned boffins rolled into one. Oh, and although it takes some time for us to discover the significance of the child, we do learn that one of his gifts is to blast out a blinding light from his face. Throw a thick coat onto him and he basically has the power to recreate the poster for John Carpenter's The Thing. The funny thing is that these influences are both the pro and con of the film itself. Con in the sense that it reminded me so much of those two films that Nichols' own style would occasional get lost in the mix. Pro in the sense that, despite this, it was still a brilliant movie that I found myself enjoying as much as an old man likes to expose his withered Palpatine-like cock at the gym.

In fact, unlike pornography, I suspect this will be one of those films that actually improves with multiple viewings. Due to the way that we're thrown straight into the action, we have to learn about the characters' relationships over the course of the movie and it's not until the end that we see how they all connect to each other. In which case the second viewing of the movie will presumably have an added emotional weight to it as we now understand the reasons behind everybodies motivation. Except Kirsten Dunst's character I suppose. She kind of feels as though she was just dumped in when somebody noticed that there were quite a lot of male characters and not a single frumpy woman to balance it out. Although speaking of repeat viewings, I'm kind of looking forward to that to see if some of the film's vagueness actually had a reason or if it was simply to deus ex machina the characters out of their various situations. At one point Adam Driver's character works something out which leads him to an important discovery and I'm not entirely sure that we were told what he'd worked out or how he'd managed it. Or maybe we were. I remember leaving the cinema and discussing with my friend that the ambiguity occasionally seemed to exist for the sake of convenience but perhaps my mind was still a little shaken. Let's not forget that I was still a little concerned by the sight of a young boy and his over-sized yogurt slinger from a few days earlier.

However, if you want to see an excellent sci-fi in which Adam Driver doesn't murder one of your childhood heroes then this is the film for you. Or maybe you'd like to see an action movie to feature both Michael Shannon and a character with extraordinary abilities but don't want to have to sit through Batman V Superman because it's shite and you have common sense. Or maybe you just want to see a good old fashioned drama about a father attempting to protect his son from a world that his young mind is already wise to. I mean, the whole film is basically just a metaphor for the fact that everybody thinks that their kid is something special. Which is stupid because as The Incredibles points out, saying that everybody is special is just another way of saying that nobody is. I also never understand why people like children because children are just little adults and aren't most adults just knobheads? I'll admit that a child that can blast a beam of light out of his face or somehow psychically intercept military codes might have something mildly noteworthy about him. I guess the mystery of finding out who this child is and enjoying the journey that he goes on is why I loved Midnight Special so much. But unless he also has a two-stone mayo-cannon that's weighing him down then I don't think I'll be as impressed as I could have been. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.



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