I don’t understand why the one sexy dream I have in five years involved me molesting Tony Montana from Scarface in an IKEA, as he surrendered to my subconscious’s pervy embrace. I don’t normally have sexy dreams, or gay dreams for that matter, yet somehow my subconscious is telling me I’m straight yet I have this primal urge to feel up Al Pacino in an IKEA.
And not in the ways you might think.
One of my Facebook friends (Jason Pettus) got into this little spiel about how AKIRA is only about as high quality as most 80s and 90s animation, and my brain just hurt from the wrongness of that statement. The reason why AKIRA is so revered is because of the hand drawn attention to detail, digital paint allows animation studios to make quality animation easier but to say everything post 2000s in animation is superior is just wrong, notably because moe anime has tainted the mainstream appeal of anime worse than the gore and tits aspect of anime of yore ever did. At least most of the time pre 2000s the tits didn’t belong to underage girls.
Yes AKIRA has pacing problems, but so does Scarface which also has a cult following centered around a once obscure film beloved by a subculture, namely hip hop. AKIRA is like to anime what Straight Outta Compton and Scarface are to hip hop, they defined the aesthetic of that artform’s era so much that today their historical importance is easy to forget. It’s also worth mentioning that AKIRA in most countries never goes out of print whereas unfairly ignored anime cinema like The Wings Of Honneamise sadly does. AKIRA deserves the audience it keeps getting, it’s a good movie. The Pioneer remastered dub makes it a good movie. The Streamline dub however devalues this artwork of anime to the point people forget it had substance beyond violence and bikers at all. There’s a scene in the Pioneer dub where Kaneda says he’s gonna send his dead friend his wheels, then crashes the bike in the wall. The Streamline dub destroys this by giving you no context as to why he does this, leaving you with the impression that he crashed the bike with no reason. HAAAATE.
AKIRA is about more than what people give it credit for, it’s about more than just bikers and gore. It’s this epic animated bromance remembered only as that slightly gory biker anime when it should be seen as the political turmoil laden, emotionally driven story about two biker guys whose friendship is torn apart by political and scientific meddling that it is. This movie made me feel emotions I rarely feel about anime or even film these days. And every time I watch it I return to those feelings I still feel now.
The political upheaval subtext in this movie speaks to me now in a post-Wikileaks, Occupy Wall Street world even more than it did when I first saw it in 2007 without a real world context to let this far future tale of biker gangs and psychic energy grow on me. It deserves more respect than it’s already given, and I fear respect for it’s fading away very fast cause it’s cool to hate on a classic.
So last night I ended up seeing The Big Lebowski and Scarface at an actual double feature screening at the Chauvel Cinema. Lately I’ve been deciding on doing fun things outdoors instead of being cooped up in my bedroom all day and night. I gotta say, paying fifteen dollars to see The Dude and Tony Montana on the big screen with a bohemian audience where the action is makes me feel less left out of the cultural arts scene than I used to be.
There’s a lot of stuff on that can be seen and done for not a lot of money, and if it helps me to be frugal in my contribution to the arts I’m all for it. I don’t think I’m the traditional hipster who does things ironically, I’ve been dying to see The Big Lebowski and Scarface in the cinema for yonks, and last night my wish was granted and I couldn’t have been more excited. Seeing films you already love over and over from home video on a big screen with other fans of films you adore is always a fun night out.
For the first time in ages I felt like I was part of something bigger, if only for a night out with my twin brother who I shouted the extra ticket for to convince him to go with me. Family bonding at its finest I guess. I felt like I was able to laugh and live easier around other people.
Today I went out to go to the ATM because the local one was broken, went for a $2.50 train ride there and back on my DSP high functioning autism travel allowance, which gets me all sorts of places for not a lot of money either. While I was in the Town Hall area I bought The Beastie Boys’ License To Ill for seven dollars, and a DVD of the Clue board game movie for four dollars. It was the most frugal shopping trip I ever had, with the rest of a twenty dollar bill I bought some ice coffee drinks from 7-11. I know 7-11 isn’t seen as a very bohemian place to do business, but I challenge you to find a place that serves the needs I have for less money considering I’ve been to fancy cafes too pretentious to put ice cream in an ice chocolate. Also whenever I drink ice coffee in a bottle from 7-11 it turns me all William Blake visionary and I end up writing down some of my best ideas.
I worry about running out of ideas for books even though I’ve written complete drafts of novels before, because I worry about a lot of things. Getting out and about in the city and doing something fun for not a lot of money tends to get me out of my head.
I have a Kindle that I read eBooks on that I take most places I go, and I buy iTunes music and CDs if they’re cheap, especially if I want an uncut rap album or something of that nature. I am a fan of popular art, that is to say art that people can afford to take home with them. I don’t think I’m a poser who likes things ironically. Most often if I buy an obscure as hell DVD or Blu Ray to take home it’s not because I’m trying to pretend I’m cooler than you because my DVD shelf is more hip. My brain just likes being fed with weird animation and art house films with insane directors who push boundaries of good taste.
I read books by authors both Australian and not, because I love supporting Aussie creatives but even when the author isn’t Aussie I’ll support interesting projects people are working on wherever it’s from.
Sometimes there are more Kickstarters than I can donate to, or they come up at times when I’m broke. A lot of them I want to donate to but worry about balancing my puny budget. I want to give money to artists as good habits so people might buy my art I make one day. I do what I can and try to give to those in the arts who need it most.
I can’t promise I do all the right things all the time. I work hard on making things rather than just passively consuming the works of others. My social life is abysmal but my inner life of imagination and creativity is rich and rare.
Some manly heroes of youth just don’t live up to adult standards.
The heroes of the Pure Pwnage webseries which I grew up with are among them. For starters, not only are Jeremy “teh pwnerer” and FPS Doug nightmarish parodies of the “power gamer” stereotype, but the machismo Jeremy in particular exhibits reminds me a bit too much of a guy I used to know who kinda went off the rails a few years back, fitting, since the actor who plays Jeremy looks enough like him to be uncanny.
This is the same guy I used to know who introduced me to Scarface.
Scarface may be a sacred text to the hip hop community, but I only started enjoying it long after my fellow men had stopped idolising Tony Montana since he was kind of a manipulative bug of a bloke who had little honour, but not before my generation somehow made Grand Theft Auto: Vice City one of the more profitable turns in a video game franchise back when GTA was still a contender for the new big cash cow.
Tony Montana’s kind of a horrible role model for children, not that he asked to be one. In fact, he’s protective of children in a way that other gangsters are not, which evokes later on in pop culture how the rapper Eminem used to be one of the illest mofos alive but ended up holding a terrible secret that would damage his street cred, he lived a double life not as a killer roaming the streets but instead a much more “lame” secret identity of being a single father in an era when many hip hop songs like the ones on Dr. Dre’s 2001 album were much more misogynistic about the issue of unplanned parenthood.
Eminem in comparison to Tony Montana was kind of brave for outing himself as the arguably responsible single father he truly was, even though many of Eminem’s fans think Halie’s Song is the most piss weak of his The Eminem Show record’s tracks, I’d safely say that Halie’s Song despite its explicit lyrics is a track I’d recommend to every new father of a daughter currently alive on this Earth.
Badassery in modern pop culture is noted by very nebulous accreditations, sometimes it’s as easy as simply being named Bruce Wayne and happening to be the superhero Batman by default, other times it’s more difficult as more internet lore-y heights of ridiculous testosterone pumping are needed to be attained to be worthy of what Angry Joe once called the “Badass Seal of Approval”.
Why is Eminem punished for taking responsibility for his life and the direction it’s headed instead of going down the self destructive route of Tony Montana, and to a more realistic extent the tragic example of Kurt Cobain?
Well, to answer that, we’d have to come to terms with the fact that hip hop culture doesn’t consider responsible parenting with greater emphasis on positive aspects of male psychology as appropriate hip hop origin stories for a gangster.
This is why Tony Montana’s probably been idolised for so long. When you’re about fifteen or so, he seems like the coolest dude in the world, but when you watch the movie he appears in as an adult, his dubious morality doesn’t really hold up and you wind up disappointed that your idol had feet of clay. It happens.
Ten years from now a generation of men will react the same way when they discover that their precious King Leonidas in 300, played by Gerard Butler, was in fact nothing more than an elaborate, macho facade put on by the same man who played The Phantom of the Opera in an Andrew Lloyd Webber movie musical.
That alone’s demoralising enough to an uncomfortably homophobic demographic of internet tough guys, but once it sinks in that the Spartan warrior culture wasn’t as awesome as Frank Miller told them it was, The Scarface Effect, as I’ll call it for convenience, will be in full effect. The macho man awesome just won’t hold up.
So what of Pure Pwnage, and the “power gamer” stereotype it both made fun of and glorified in its campness? Well, I’m sad to say that Jeremy’s humping his computer after he pwns some guy at Starcraft isn’t funny in quite the same way as it was when I was fifteen. The good news is that such bombastic displays of macho male behaviour become hilarious when viewed through the eyes of an adult, and are helpful for men to revisit to try and figure out how they got to where they are now, good or bad.
Nostalgia’s a thing of the past, but it helps ease you into the future.