american gods, archetypes, and remakes


a few things:

A–Have your heard? According to The Guardian, Neil Gaiman is going to adapt American Gods to screen for HBO. Are we excited?! Yes. But who should be cast? Sean suggested Brian Cox would be a good fit for Wednesday. I’m curious to see how it all shakes out.

B–Have you read this? I meant to mention this NY York Times film article by Manohla Darghis and A.O. Scott earlier. “Babies to Heroes: A Field Guide to Big-Screen Men” is about male archetypes in today’s movies. What do you think? What do you think about The Husband? I despise the idea that the empowered female necessitates/equates to the emasculation of her partner; when will we get past this?  “A man rearing children in partnership with a woman is barely a man at all, but a man raising kids by himself is perfect,” the section ends. Darghis and Scott’s readings of current archetypes are dead-on however depressing the implication.

C–Have you seen Carl V.’s review of Conan the Barbarian (2011)? His lament? It is wonderful.

Aside:  The subject of remakes and sequels returns me to a question rant I’ve been mulling over:  Are we just leaving it up to the Independent branches of Studios, as well as the true Indies, to create original content, while the Major Studios re-boot and sequel the crap out of old (recycled/upcycled) content? The exceptions being, of course, Directors’ and Producers’ own original works making it to screen, making use of their industry footholds. Outside of Pixar, most (if not all) Family Films are adapted from books–not that I am unhappy to see these author’s getting picked up. But, seriously? Next thing you’ll know, most of the juvenile graphic novels section will be novelizations and adaptations from film and literature.

What do you think about the barrage of re-makes and re-boots? Comforting? Tiresome? How does Nostalgia come into play? And how can we make it stop. I mean, another Spiderman re-boot, so soon?!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Ugh. Stereotypes. Archetypes. Yeesh. Just as you despise the idea that a modern wife emasculates the Husband (and I do too, quite vehemently), even more I despise the fact that our modern society still lives with minds based on flawed stereotypes and impossible archetypes. Truly, life would be so much better without a biased Collective Consciousness that sees through absurd perceptions.

    As a male *ahem* I find the article ridiculous, but honest. I blame Hollywood (and, indirectly, the Arts in general) for crafting these horrible portrayals of men. Give me Realism with my characters! Not some cliched, recycled crap that treats people like gods/imbeciles.

    I’m sure there’ll be an equally terrible article on the Archetypical Female coming soon, and with a Hollywood eye, we’ll likely have the Slut/Bimbo, the Heroine, the Crybaby, the Mom, the Survivor, and the Maelstrom.

    And that leads up to your final musing. It reminds me of the quote about there being no new stories, but everything is just a rehashing of the old. It’s sad to say that often this is true, but fortunately there seems to be a small group of rogues that enjoy subverting cliches and making their own music, so to speak. 😉

    I think I remember reading something about there being eight remakes/reimaginings/re… of The Wizard of Oz currently. That alone tells us what state Hollywood is in, as well as the state of the consumer.

    Great stuff, L!

    1. L says:

      I will be sure to post the one about the female stereotype, though they’ve already published an interesting article about the violent female popping up everywhere.
      I like yours labels–I will have to recommend them.:)

      true, I’ve heard that, too, that there are no new stories, but transparent formulae, etc. can be less offensively done : by offensive, I mean shoddy and obvious!
      since discovering the money in sequels, I doubt that will ever abate unless there is an all out boycott (which will like as never happen). and the competitiveness will ever mean similar stories will be duplicated and racing to come out before the other…like all these fairytale films? Snow White everyone??

  2. Oh, American Gods… Squee!

    I can’t see anyone nailing down the parts of the characters because Gaiman is so fluid in his descriptions that the people are always changing. Even so, it’ll be cool to see this book come to life, so long as it’s done right.

    1. L says:

      like my friend Jared noted, that Gaiman is on the project is vastly reassuring.

  3. Carl V. says:

    I had heard about the American Gods series. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m worried that HBO will strip the fantasy and mythological elements down to a more base form to give them more time to show gratuitous sex and violence. Both are in American Gods, but not to the degree that HBO seems to showcase in their offerings.

    I’ve often lamented the portrayal of husbands and dads in television and film over the last decade or so. Scenes of dominating males have given way to the male who is berated by his wife and belittled by his wife and is a bumbling idiot when it comes to child raising, etc. It really is a sad trade off. I wouldn’t begrudge any woman who thinks that men are just getting their own back, but I find it terrible, most especially when father’s are portrayed as weak or spineless or inept.

    I think that is why shows that actually portray a good father son or father daughter relationship just blow me away. I’m thinking of shows like Castle in which he has such a strong bond with his daughter and his mother, or why I loved Deep Space Nine so much when I finally watched the entire series a few years back. Benjamin Sisco was a real father. A “man” who was not afraid to hug and kiss on his son, not afraid to play and to encourage. He cooked and he was a single parent and he was also a strong leader. I’d like to see more shows with a father like that an a mother who was equally well rounded. That would really be something.

    And thank you so much for the kind words about the Conan interview. I can see from some of the comments made that I did not do a good job of getting across the fact that I did have a lot of fun seeing it in the theater despite my frustration at the inability of Hollywood to do things right.

    I have a hypocritical viewpoint in regard to remakes. There are some that I’ve loved and felt needed to be remade. LOTR couldn’t have survived only as that horrible animated mess, for example. And other movies should be remade when the technology and passion exists to finally do them right. I almost see Conan in this light, but really I like the first Conan film. Conan shouldn’t have been a remake of Arnold’s film. It should have been and could have been the first “true” adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s works.

    On the other hand I detest most American remakes of foreign films, or at the very least Americanized adaptations that seem to come out before the corpse is cold on the foreign versions of the film.

    I also detest the remake of films that should be considered for their nostalgia factor, and here I am pointing the finger at the travesty that will be the updated version of Footloose. There is a film that is iconic and needs to remain in its iconic version. If you want to make a contemporary movie about kids dancing, make one! Why remake Footloose?

    There are so many talented writers and film makers out there that are not getting a chance because Hollywood keeps greenlighting garbage. Millions of dollars are spent on then next really dumb raunchy film that hopes to cash in on the success of the last dumb raunchy film. Paper thin screenplays are made into films while creative people pound on the doors wanting to get just one shot. It frustrates me immensely.

    And as you can see you’ve hit on several topics that get my goat!!!

  4. L says:

    true, there is HBO sexual reputation to consider.

    You make a good point w/ LOTR, Tech advances and even cultural revisioning (like True Grit) is something to consider. I wish the Chronicles of Narnia had done better w/ story alongside its tech advances and/or they’d had relied on their source material a bit more. As for the remake of Footloose–AWFUL. I nearly had to vomit after I watched the trailer. They already make dance films, but well, if they are going to update ‘Fame’; which I saw w/ the daughter–gosh, was it that cheesy the first time?

    Your immense frustration is one I share. Perhaps if we rewarded more of the “risks”, the originals, or if they would decrease the cost of ticket–like, bring your stub from the first to get a discount on the sequel, kind of thing?

    Those portrayals of husbands are disheartening. And the examples you brought up: Castle, etc. They are single fathers. And even when Castle gets to be a bit childish, his mother and Beckett are there to be the wiser maternal figures who balance him (and enable it)–however sweet, because I find Castle to be so damn wonderful. Lie to Me also had a great dad/daughter, but we only really knew them well as a single parent/child unit.
    Is a man who is not an Inept/not castrated as a husband and/or father boring? I know it is addressing fears. If emasculation is the fear and what defines a man is his sexual prowess. –still?

    I did enjoy the ‘Conan’ review. You did a good job. And I totally get being a fan of a story/character and wanting to see it, especially with a friend who is fun to do these things with. I told Sean you asked him to see the film, and he said he would and let you know. but he came home (having read your review) and mentioned that you got him interested in reading the books.:) so, thanks for that.

  5. Carl V. says:

    Cool! Tell him this is the one to start with:

    and that he should then follow with the other two in this series. These are the best volumes of Howard’s work to pick up.

    I don’t mind a man’s weaknesses being shown as part of a story arc in looking at a character, but for the guy to be an inept father and/or husband all the time just drives me crazy. I don’t mind it in the occasional comedy, but I do get tired of it when all the popular shows follow suit and so we have show after show of bumbling fathers or stupid husbands or vapid wives, etc. Where is the creativity? Where is the risk?

    I think Castle is a good example because he does get off base and he does sometimes need someone else to pull him back, but that to me is much closer to reality. We all need people.

    I’m sure I sound like a prude with my HBO comments, but I have Game of Thrones in mind. One of the few criticisms I read about the series was that it at times shied away from the actual sexual situations in the book and then heaped on a lot of background sexual stuff that wasn’t in the book at all and was very obviously there just to titillate, pardon the pun.

    Back to movies, Chronicles of Narnia is another good example. I’ve liked the films but they haven’t captured my attention to the point that I love them. And that is a shame because there is enough good source material there and technological advances that they could have been much closer to LOTR in their creativity and realization of the books.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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