I was so excited for the release of X-Men (2000). I loved comics, and didn’t mind the indignity of loving them in the face of apathy and mild abuse from family and classmates. It was a movie about characters I loved and I was fifteen. I sat in the canteen after the release of X2 (2003) and gave a brief summary of the Dark Phoenix Saga – people were mildly interested.
That feels like a long time ago. I’m older, and long for the simplistic days of loving pop cultural artefacts with the purity of my youth. How walking down Orpington High St. every Thursday to buy a stack of disposable paper pamphlets brought me so much joy. Nowadays, the geeks have won. Their obscure cartoon ephemera dominates the cinematic landscape.
And it’s awful. Boring, micro-managed movies, shorn of any interesting edge. And rabid fans, who with pitiful delight hand over money to intellectual property managing corporations and attack anyone who is different to them. They fundamentally don’t understand that the balance of power has changed – they are no longer the underdog – and the responsibility of power should lead to the active demonstration of equality and fair representation. But nerd culture remains powerfully heteronormative, masculine and western. It is very boring.
Which is to say, that I can’t begin to say how refreshing it was to spend two hours in the company of the characters in Richard Linklater’s new film. They’re jocks – and no matter how uncomfortable you may find the competiveness and oppressive laddish joking within the film, the characters are truthful and honest and deeply likeable. Taking as its starting point the final chapter of Boyhood (2014), it chronicles the lives of a college baseball team over the course of their first weekend of the semester. Linklater loves the exploration of time in cinema, and his movies document how vibrant life can be if you say “yes” and actually communicate and listen to the people around you.
The fightback starts here. More movies about jocks please. Until we are victorious, I will watch this film on loop and read a stack of Jack Reacher novels just to dilute the taste of the awful nerd culture around me.
Seen at the Panton St. Odeon, in a pretty small screen to be honest. However the ticket only cost £6, so I didn’t mind too much.