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this aired before the finals began & in burr’s first little three-minute rant about the nba playoffs, he’s 100% correct. in any given game it’s pretty easy to see what the league wants, making it nearly impossible to watch & enjoy professional basketball, something i very much enjoy watching.

the league’s primary goal is to draw out the series for ratings. get a series to a game seven & it’s a goldmine for ad buys. whoever wins the game today will be up 3-2, and the other team will likely get some favorable calls in game six. it’s glaringly obvious when the calls are made (or not made) to give an advantage to one side. refs may be human, but some ‘errors’ are self-evident.

it’s just one of those things where everything at a high-level seems rigged for no other reason than money. it’s certainly expected in business & mostly expected in politics. but it’s like, it’d be really nice for sports to not feel like the players are all marionettes. after all, they’re fucking games. games that children play. shouldn’t they be fun & exciting?

living through the collapse of an empire is hard enough on enjoying life, but when everything above a certain level feels orchestrated, the day-to-day experience just gets more bleak. yes, there are absolutely enjoyable sports & artists to enjoy at a local level, but these things are often what can bond communities past borders: trades of goods, teams competing. if it’s all just corruption and myopia, then this is literally all for naught.

i saw men this weekend, which was absolutely stunning. possibly the most exquisite cinematography i’ve ever seen that eases the audience into a slow burn of absolute horror. it’s the first film in recent memory i’ve seen where the audience applauded at the end. it was exactly what a horror film should be.

while i still haven’t fully processed what i saw—and will certainly see again—the drive home from the theater did get me thinking about the state of movies in america. last week i listened to a story on the closure of the landmark theater here in los angeles, and how it’s bringing about a greater question regarding the survival of indie movies in the age of superheroes on screen.

Taranino explaining his legitimate resentment toward Disney’s bullshit business practices

martin scorsese was beyond right when he said this:

“I tried, you know?” the director said when asked if he had seen Marvel’s movies. “But that’s not cinema.”

“Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

yet there was such ok, boomer outrage that anyone would insult the marvel universe—led by exactly who one would expect to champion such dogshit—that he even had to pen a clarification, which was basically an incredible fuck you, and here’s why.

the marvel universe began as a curse on cinema & has become a straight-up villain to the movie-going experience—both for independent releases & wide-release films. i was fortunate enough to see the northman on imax the first week it was released, as the next week dr. strange came out & northman was scraped from every premier screen. (not only that, but strange was playing in so many theaters that there were upwards of 70 showings per day, pushing indies like the duke out after two weeks of availability.) listening to tarantino talk about how disney handled business regarding star wars against the hateful eight on one screen in the whole world, i wouldn’t be surprised if they had deals with theaters regarding how many movies are allowed to be played against marvel or star wars franchise releases.

this isn’t to say good movies don’t exist, but looking at what is produced in america they’re fewer & farther between. half of the movies i’ve enjoyed this year haven’t been american productions—flee, petite maman, happening, you won’t be alone, the worst person in the world, benedetta—and absolutely none of them feature superheroes (or, for that matter, a green-screen as a filming location).

have i been entertained by a marvel movie before? sure, that’s what they’re literally designed for. but they aren’t worth the collateral damage of weighing down an art form that americans helped pioneer. i’ve been watching a lot of foreign films lately because, comparatively, modern american releases don’t hold up. and i’m not talking about art-house new-wave 60’s french classics, but just movies. enjoyable, thought-provoking, inspired cinema with great writing, fleshed-out characters, solid performances under competent direction & unique cinematography.

—a few examples that i’ve enjoyed over the past couple months—

there is no evil (iran, 2020)
sibyl (france, 2019)
arab blues (france, 2019)
transit (germany, 2018)
m (france/israel, 2018)
riders of justice (denmark, 2020)
force majeure (sweden, 2014)

raw (france, 2016)
fucking with nobody (finland, 2020)
ballad of a white cow (iran, 2020)
titane (france, 2021)
nimic (germany, 2019)
all hands on deck (france, 2020)
pity (greece, 2018)

sadly this is all one more example of how a capitalist, business-first mentality has ruined yet another part of simply living in america. there is no heart in superhero movies, i can’t imagine their makers are proud of the product (and that is all they are—products). like inkers in comics, they simply re-draw lines & stick to a ready-made format. the rest is just pr campaigns & late-night appearances. i wouldn’t give a shit if they weren’t a brain-dead megaphone—talking above the room & ruining the party for everyone else.

Colin Smith (b. 1982) works in a form of assembly within and across disciplines, both in digital and analogue formats. Following in the ideas of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the medium of his work is often dictated by its message—the diversity of projects that result are each an attempt to represent a particular thesis, a certain context.

Educated in graphic design and photojournalism, and self-taught in the visual arts, Smith has additionally worked as an art director, freelance designer or creative consultant for a variety of small businesses and independent clients around the world.

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