Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bat-Mania update: WHO Face?



So see looks - someone snapped a blurry pic of a Two Face toy, showing what Aaron ("think about the future") Eckhardt will look like as Two Face. Or rather, how Nolan and co. are making contritions around the character's innate fantasy nature.

As you can see, he's more 3/4 face. He even has his whole nose intact, no bisection. On the other hand, they've kept him purple like Tommy Lee Jones where they could've made him green or blue. It's been done both ways. Still makes me wonder color Billy Dee Williams (what is it with three name actors playing Harvey Dent?) would've had if they'd kept him on after '89.

The red eye is a nice touch, as is the lost hair.

On the other hand. The outfit. The key clincher for Nolan's tyrannous lousy pseudo-realism is that the split outfit is gone. You'd think if The Joker could assemble a thrift-store version of the character's comic book costume, Harvey Dent could at least go crazy enough to stitch together two pairs of suits. There could be stitching all over it and everything, perfectly (cough) realistic.

They gave him a purple hand, too. So let's see, JOKER doesn't get to have full body discoloration, but Harvey...? IT JUST DON'T ADD UP, I TELLS YA!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

B-Grind Rewind, and The Trouble With Eli

I've been slumming at the New Beverly like the raincoat masturbators of yore. Or at least I was the first night, this past Tuesday. They've been running this series, The Greats of Roth, where Eli Roth the horror director of Cabin Fever and Hostel introduces all these old scratchy prints of obscurities that he and Quentin Tarantino make out to. Roth is kind of Tarantino's protege or something, since he supervised the scripts of both Hostel movies. More on those in a minute. There's even fucking a photoshop picture that accompanies the handbill for this month long extravaganza, with Eli's face over Henry Fonda's, that you can buy along with his blurbs on the movies for only a buck.

That pun, though. Fuck that guy for that one. I have extremely mixed feelings about Roth and they're not helped by Tarantino's obvious coaching to make himself into more of a respected celebrity movie nerd than an original talent. Tarantino made some missteps trying to get away with plagiarism before the Internet made plagiarism much easier to expose. He worked in a videostore with Daniel Waters and figured he could pretty much rip off any obscure old thing without being caught, and made the plot from a forgotten Hong Kong action movie called City On Fire into the plot for Reservoir Dogs. There are many other examples of this, and the media doesn't dare rock the S.S. Weinstein marketing boat lest they not get into their parties.

Roth must have learned from Tarantino's mistakes at least a little bit, being somewhat younger, and when he was introducing Mother's Day on the second night I was there he was cheerful to point out how he stole certain stuff, which Tarantino did a lot more openly after the goddamned Kill Bill movies. Anyways, Charles Kaufman was there. He's Lloyd Kaufman's brother, who's the president of Troma. Charles could pretty much be Lloyd's twin. He had some good stories and brought a bunch of bags of rolls for the audience because after directing the movie in 1980 he turned to baking instead of sticking with movies. Mother's Day was the first horror movie Troma released in their pre-Toxic Avenger period, when they were doing sex comedies like Squeeze Play! and Waitress! and Exclamation Point!



The first night I was there, on Tuesday night, there was hardly anyone in the crowd because the night when Roth gave his commentary on the movies had been the night before. Tuesday's movies were a double bill of Torso, which was this early 70s "Giallo" flick. I guess "Giallo" means Italian slasher/gore movie, although there wasn't much slashing or gore. It was a lot more like an Agatha Christie story with slashings than even Halloween or something because of course that hadn't come out yet. Lots of slasher movies are stupid mysteries where you're supposed to guess who the killer is before the end, only it doesn't change anything.



The second feature that night was called Pieces, and I'd actually read about it once in an old issue of Fangoria. It was much much better. It was from the early 80s golden age of cheesy slashers, only instead of being boring and incompetent it was hilariously incompetent and campy. Joe Bob Briggs would've had a field day with the drive-in totals. By my estimation, there were:

6 dead bodies
chainsaw fu
roller bunny fu
gratuitous aerobics
gratuitous asian kung fu stereotype
8 nekkid breasts
1 male ding-dong
heads roll
arms roll

Drive-in nominations for the intrepid reporter girl, who in a fit of grief screams "BASTAAARD!!!!" not once, not twice, not THRICE, but FOUR TIMES to bring her scene to a screeching halt.



It was also a goddamned murder mystery of a slasher. Can you tell I just finished The Catcher In The Rye?

There weren't that many people there Wednesday night so it was sort of an intimate setting, being slumped in my seat and "vegging out" as mom would say. The parts of Pieces that were really silly got good laffs, and I don't think I would've enjoyed that so much if the room had been packed with people ready to laugh over every single little silly thing, instead of the most silliest things. That's the trouble with audiences, they're always condescending to the movie when even a bad movie needs to be taken seriously in order to be funny. Maybe it's the result of having too many Hollywood movies condescending to them...

During Torso I had to turn around and tell this 12 year old looking guy with long blonde hair, who was with some bimbo babes, to stop cracking jokes every two seconds right behind my head. He really stopped, too. What did he care, he had bimbos to go home with. All I had were the goddamned slasher movies.

Anyways. What I want to say about Mother's Day, there was this scene where one of the two killers was going to be killed by the two girls who had heretofore been terrorized by him, and then suddenly the movie jumped ahead to just after his death scene and the audience groaned. After the movie and before the Q and A with Charles Kaufman, Eli stood up and explained that lots of movie projectionists working in grindhouses and drive-ins used to snip out their favorite scenes to keep for themselves. He put a positive spin on it by saying we'd had an authentic grindhouse experience and all.

Someone went and put two clips of the interview on Youtube which you'll find in that link and this one.

He was disappointed because that missing scene was the scene where we, the audience, were supposed to "go nuts." The second feature of the night was Creepshow and I noticed that in the last segment of the movie, when the cockroaches burst out of E.G. Daly's neck, he turned around at that very moment to see the reaction of the crowd.

The reason I bring all that up is that when I saw Cabin Fever, I really liked it and I was pretty pumped a few years later to see Hostel. I had the best possible viewing experience of it because not only hadn't I seen any ads - I don't even remember seeing a single trailer, only posters - I also didn't know what the revelation about the titular hostel was, that it was a secret club for people to torture and kill kidnapped tourists. That twist was as shocking to me as it could've been when the movie revealed it.

Let me explain something else about the kind of things in movies that actually disturbs me. I've seen a metric ton of fucked up shit in movies, so as far as I know this is the only thing that can really get under my skin: otherwise seemingly normal people doing cold-blooded murder, or at least enjoying it. Robert Altman's The Player disturbed me more than a hundred horror movies because Tim Robbins makes peace with his own killing and hooks up with the girlfriend of his victim, who doesn't even care that he's dead. The end of David Mamet's House of Games shook me up pretty bad because the main character doesn't feel guilt about her cold blooded murder, either.

Both those characters are sort of normal people, more or less, which is the whole point. The bullies in Toxic Avenger are far more cartoonishly evil, but that scene is unquestionably part of the same obsession for me: not the fact they laughingly murdered a child, but that the next day they're back to being 80s movie cliches. I even get bothered by stuff like the end of Tarantino's Death Proof, where the girls go from scared to actually enjoying the prospect of killing their attacker on the turn of the dime. It's one thing to kill in self-defense, and something entirely other when characters go out of their way to do it.

Hostel portends that your average wealthy person will be so jaded by their wealth that they'll pay for the opportunity to kill someone and get away with it, and there are enough of those people that you could make a profitable business from that. Scarier, there are hot Eastern Bloc babes who're willing to lead tourists to their deaths just for some scratch. That's more detestable than the actual vacation-murderers themselves since the babes actually get to intimately know the guys they're leading to slaughter while keeping a smile on their face.

So the reason I actually liked the movie overall wasn't just that the revelation came halfway through the runtime and took care to build suspense, putting me in the same position as the main protagonist who then has to escape, but there was obviously some rudimentary thought put into the themes of the whole concept. The main characters who fall prey to the hostel are horny dudes looking to use European women for hedonistic sex, and wind up being used by European women for hedonistic death. The clientèle of the murder-hostel were guys burnt out on hedonistic sex themselves. There had obviously been some thought put into these things.

My trouble with Eli is my trouble with Hostel 2, which I've been avoiding seeing.

In the first place, why a sequel? Because the first one made money, natch. But that just means Eli Roth was going to get to make more movies, period. So what more was there to do with the Hostel concept? Absolutely nothing, far as I can tell from the reviews and plot synopses: three new tourists, GIRLS this time, go to the hostel and, well, guess. The only new angle is that there's a parallel story following two customers on their way to the place for their recreational torture.

So not only is the clever gender reversal of the first film gone, and not only is the suspense about the hostel's terrible true nature gone, but Eli spends screen time better getting to know the vacation killers - the conceit of which seems less likely the more you think about it, unless you have zero faith in humanity whatsoever. That could be true of Eli, given how shitty the kids in Cabin Fever were to each other, but I didn't notice it then.

Slant Magazine posits in their review that when the pair of soon-to-be killers are going on about how cool it's going to be, and how exactly they're going to do it, what we're really hearing is conversations Roth and The QT have had about how awesome it's going to be when the audience sees the slow, elaborate deaths they've thought up. QT is obviously no stranger to the art of the torture scene given it's emphasis in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

This theory sounds pretty likely since when you come down to it the only reason for another Hostel is more and better torture scenes. The inclusion of actual killers as central, intimate characters only bolsters the argument that this is where Eli's real empathy lays, and that all that gore is an end in itself. There hasn't been a pretext this flimsy for watching people die slowly since Make Them Die Slowly. Even Salo: 120 Days of Sodom was ostensibly making a point about the nature of fascism. Even fucking Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS was afforded that pretension.

Hostel Part II's big idea is that ordinary people are shits who'll pay to kill someone for fun if they can afford it. I find that terribly depressing, not frightening. Gore doesn't frighten me either, nor does it most people. Gore is gore, whether the movie is good or bad.

The movie is on my computer and I've been thinking about it so much without actually seeing it that I've had several dreams about it now, and I don't like any work of ficiton having that kind of intimidation over me. Now that my thoughts are down in writing, I'll sit and endure the thing and let you know what I think then.

No point in torturing myself.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Horror Musicals?

"The Musical" musicals. You know what I'm talking about. Name any animal, vegetable or mineral, add a colon and the words "the musical" and bang-o, you've got a self-conscious safety net. A production that announces to the world, "Hey, only a CHUMP would endeavor to create a musical in the age of wireless Internet and cordless Bluetooth headsets! Rest assured, though this film/theater musical does in fact contain songs, the cheeky self-awareness of the title should clue you in on the joke!"

This works especially well if "THE MUSICAL" is suffixed to something one would NEVER suspect you'd write a *Good Lord! choke* MUSICAL about...something like EVIL DEAD.

I was as excited as any Evil Dead nerd when I first heard about this. The Evil Dead films are chock full of outrageous humor! A bawdy musical based on their slapstick bloodshed sounds delightful! Then I saw this clip on YouTube:



This is all I need to know.

Like all "THE MUSICAL" musicals, the sneering contempt for the musical form is also an excuse for the music itself to perform only the most perfunctory tasks of rhythm and melody. When an actor randomly asks if anyone wants to play ping-pong so that a simple lyrical rhyme can be completed, the musical end of the musical has FAILED.

Worse than that, it has FAILED IRONICALLY, so that the low-expectations-havin' motherfuckers can roll their eyes on cue and say WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING, A GREAT WORK OF ART?!? IT'S "EVIL DEAD" THE MUSICAL!!!

Oh, how convenient. Horror movies are an especially disrespected part of American culture, so how is poking fun at them in the least bit rebellious or iconoclastic?

The real reason I'm bitching isn't that the songs aren't good enough, it's that their lousy quality is indicative of the overall lack of respect given the source material.

Today everything is ironic, and you may have noticed, nothing is no longer any god damned fun. The truly impressive endeavor for an "Evil Dead" musical would have been to create something that pays tribute to the source material while actually adapting it into a musical theater format rather than lampooning all those components with generic music and meta-corny jokes.

Generic is the key word here. The songs are generic so that the "musical" end of "the musical" is part of the joke. The other part is Evil Dead itself. Those who genuinely love those films know that the cheesy humor is intentional, and to attempt a clever mockery of intentionally cheesy humor only reveals the thickness of the mockers.

I'm going to go so far as to venture the authors of THE MUSICAL are complete and total ignoramuses based on the line from that clip when someone asks the audience "Hey, did this medieval thing just come out of nowhere?"

No, you fucking morons. The "medieval thing" was hinted at in the first movie and the second film even shows Professor Knowby going to a medieval castle to find the Necronomicon. It doesn't show up in Evil Dead II without any foreshadowing whatsoever.

I don't think those fucking morons must have watched the Evil Dead movies more than once before they decided to be hilarious and write THE MUSICAL based on how silly these dumb movies are, and take advantage of the 25+ years of cult fandom that have built up around them.

Ultra-speculative word from the good ol' radio boys at DEADPIT.COM (link just added to the sidebar) is that these fucks are trying to get their mitts on George Romero next, for a LIVING DEAD TRILOGY: THE MUSICAL. We can imagine, can't we? Asides from the cast to the audience about the shortcomings, about the most obvious quirks of each film? More generic tunes? The few truly comic moments of Dawn and Day of the Dead camped up beyond all recognition? A complete lack of effort towards staging truly scary scenes? The idea of a zombie play is full of claustrophobic possibilities, but not from these guys.

Based off the ED: TM tracklisting...

1. Book of the Dead
2. Cabin in the Woods
3. Stupid B****
4. Housewares Employee
5. Evil Trees
6. It Won't Let Us Leave
7. Look Who's Evil Now
8. What the F**k Was That?
9. Join Us
10. Good Old Reliable Jake (Intro)
11. Good Old Reliable Jake
12. Housewares Employee (Reprise)
13. Death is a B****
14. I'm Not A Killer
15. Evil Puns
16. Bit Part Demon
17. Good..Bad..I'm the Guy with the Gun
18. All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons
19. Ode to an Accidental Stabbing
20. Boomstick

I think I can predict the track list for LIVING DEAD TRILOGY THE MUSICAL:

1) Going to See Our Dead Mother
2) Stop it, Johnny
3) They're Coming to Get You, Barbera!
4) Bad-Ass Black-Ass Mo-Fo (Ben's song)
5) Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
6) I'm Getting Gas!
7) Don't Shoot The Black Guy
8) There's No More Room In Hell (Dawn of the Dead overture)
9) Bad-Ass Black-Ass Mo-Fo Part II (Peter's song)
10) Consumerism Is Fab
11) Uh Oh, I'm Preggo! (Fran's Theme)
12) Keep On Truckin'
13) We're Bad to the Bone (Biker's Theme)
14) A Man's Mall Is His Castle
15) Heeelllooooooo, Is Anyone There? Heeeeellloooooooo!!! (Day of the Dead overture)
16) Growin' Pot at the Bunker
17) Can't We All Just Get Along?
18) I'm a Talking Zombie (Bub's song)
19) Rhodes Scholar
20) We're All Zombies Now (finale)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, we have this.

Not only is Cronenberg adapting his own material, and not only is the film's original composer Howard Shore returning to expand upon his brilliant score, but they went and called the thing an OPERA.

No one seeking post-modern irony brownie points would call their work an opera for fear that the protective parody bubble would burst. I think these guys mean it. I think they're going to take the film's tragic story and do their best to adapt it a tragic, heartbreaking stage musical...an opera. And I think I'm going to see it. Howard Shore's score is a big reason why the ending of the film still makes me cry.

And I don't think I'll have to cringe through a tarantella called "Help Me," which is exACTly what those ED:TM fucks would do.

[i]UPDATE 3-23-08[/i]

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre THE MUSICAL. HA. HA.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Last Goddam All-American Alpha Male Omega Man On Earth



The Omega Man was one of those hypnotic television movie experiences I had as a kid. The kind where you wait through every commercial break to see what happens next. Where you turn your appliance off, changed forever, given a transmitted glimpse of a world where fake monsters are perfect avatars of the ones from real life. And you don't even know you're watching in chopped-off cropped-off pan & scan full frame.

Last night I saw the film for about the first time since I was 16, at the fabulous New Beverly Cinema of LA. The double-bill was with Silent Running, which I haven't seen since an Environmentalist middle school teacher took it upon himself to preach through the movies in my 6th grade science class.

The film has been recalled lately in a number of reviews for I Am Legend, along with 1964's The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price. Omega differs the most from Richard Matheson's source novel I Am Legend. Why? The other two are mostly accurate adaptations of a story whose themes are timeless: the last man on Earth is forced to survive in the remnants of civilization while besieged by armies of mindless marauding killers - vampires, in fact. Published in 1954, it's a fair bet we would've have had George Romero's zombie movies without the groundwork laid by this novel.

Omega Man is an EXPLICITLY political take on the material, circa 1971. Unsurprisingly the struggle between a loner individual and the armies of The Other is an American one. European and Canadian philosophers praise the unknown Other as a god, a deity to be worshipped at our own genuflection and submission. They bristle at mentions of American exceptionalism and individuality. It's everything they hate about America, the reticence to conform and sign away your life to the faceless and all-knowing government bureaucracy. "Individuality? Is that why you all have GUNS?" they snort.

Guns and self-reliance in the face of failed state and government aid are inexorable from zombie movie mythos.



Charlton Heston has guns up the yin-yang. And his enemies aren't merely zombies or mutants or vampires. They're a Marxist and Post-Modernist cult.

Rather than drinking blood or eating flesh, the diseased cultists come out at night (sunlight hurts) and move from one house to the next, torching the remnants of Western Civilization. Books and paintings are emblems of the old society that failed. Heston lives up in a fortified penthouse, surrounded by books and paintings and a game of chess he plays with a bronze bust of Julius Caesar. It's time for a (ghoul) people's cultural revolution reseting the clock to Year Zero, and he's the last holdout.

You hear a diluted form of this fascist desire to erase history from Liberal academics, themselves citizens of Western Civilization when they speak of the brave new post-Western West that we can live in if we only destroy enough of the past.

And what's the past, anyway? History is propaganda, knowledge is propaganda, nothing means anything.

WE SHALL CLEANSE THE EARTH WITH FIRE.

You're with the revolution or you're not. The cultists call themselves The Family, an obvious shout-out to the Manson murders only two years earlier. They wear revolutionary style sunglasses. They speak in vague platitudes about the "peace" that will come when guys like Charlton Heston are finally exterminated.

They HATE machines. Machines and technology and "knowledge" are what turned them into freaks, so it all has to be done away with. The anti-modernist streak runs through all religious forms of fascism, though like Islamic Jihadists, they're not above being hypocrites and using the tools of the heretics for their own means: one cultist pulls a gun, while none of the others can see. The hypocritical hatred of machines is also allegorical to the environmentalist movement: the idea that humanity's inventions are corrupting our supposed purity, not to mention the supposed purity of the Earth itself, and we must de-modernize to save the world. Rhetoric that all fits well into an e-mail list, read on your iPhone and surrounded by affordable electric light.

Thinking about this film for the first time in many years, I was able to recall that the cultists truly frightened me as a child because they were so unreasonable. Heston has a way to bring them back to normality, but since he's outnumbered, he's abnormal (true to the book.) Superficially, what the cult says about erasing and rejecting the past to prevent war is well-intended fascism, like all fascism. Long before reading Kafka, this was my earliest conception of a Stalinist court - to plead your case before an elite chamber of psychotic bureaucrats with ethereal, quasi-religious prose about how the world needs to be remade in their image, starting with your elimination.



In the following whatever he says, the cult leader has a condescending deconstruction not of his arguments, but of the illegitimacy in the definitions of his very words...wow! Sounds like every debate I've ever had with a smug, nihilistic university student or professor!

When Heston eventually runs into some fellow survivors, amongst them a cute lil' dying kid who suggests to Chuck that he go talk to the cultists and hash things out, since they're people too. Chuck says they're homicidal maniacs. The kid says they probably feel that way about him, too. Everyone's a victim, no one's at fault. Later the cultists kill his naive ass. SPOILER ALERT.

Heston's real feelings on that subject are actually displayed in the opening scenes of the film, when he stops into an abandoned movie theater to hook up the projector and catch a show.



Chuck soon after grumbles, "They sure don't make pictures like these anymore."

Compounding all the political self-awareness of this adaptation is the casting of a cute black chick as Heston's love interest, which in typical 1960s-70s is remarked upon with gentle ribbing for the sake of easing into equality. The girl makes a lame reference to not saying "spooked," and when Heston has to give some of his blood to inoculate the other survivors from the virus, he remarks that it's 100% Anglo-Saxon proof. That's actually pretty minor compared to some other movies where white guys get in on with black chicks. Self-conscious but not overbearingly so. Then again, she does have a huge Afro and sports a Zulu Nation evening gown during a tender love scene.



Funny thing was, I was with a Canadian friend who said Heston would never get it on with a black chick because of his "politics." That never crossed my mind once. Such is the folly of equating identity with politics - the personal is the political, all that shit. Identity politics are crammed hard into people's minds in left-leaning liberal societies and institutions, so I don't blame him for thinking that because Heston's a gun nut, he must hate niggers.

Tangentially to the subject of blood and race, while most reactionary PC interpretations of this aspect would argue Heston's pure White Blood, it's really the racist mentality which posits that human beings have different types of blood at all. Chuck's character's dumb joke aside (this movie has plenty of dumb jokes) the scenes of him giving blood to save the black kid's life is a sweetly subtle gesture of human solidarity.

Identity politics. Us and them. The mutants and the last man on Earth, Charlton Heston. The apes and the last man on Earth, Charlton Heston. The socialist kleptocracy and the last self-employed man on Earth, Charlton Heston. The Omega Man in unquestionably the most confrontational of his late 60s/early 70s sci-fi apocalypse trilogy that began with Planet of the Apes and concluded with Soylent Green, where in each film he's the lone individualist up against totalitarian rule and conformity.

He's not a great actor, but starring in a cycle of libertarian dystopic sci-fi action films is such a weirdly personal statement that I can't help but admire. More than Moses, these are the roles that defined him. It's a thin line between "Don't tread on me" and "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape."

Monday, February 4, 2008

John Landis commentary: Vic Morrow Died Edition


Portrait of an artist nonplussed by memories of mutilated Asians

I recently finished Outrageous Conduct, the story of director John Landis on trial for the accidental deaths of actor Vic Morrow and two Vietnamese children on the set of The Twilight Zone: The Movie. Here is a thorough, free and lengthy online piece detailing the incident.

Essentially, the prosecution got too cocky and made Landis & Co. look like sympathetic figures. The really damning evidence is the fact that Landis allowed the filming to happen without telling the parents that their kids would be around helicopters, AND that they shot in Florida to get around tougher safety restrictions in Cali. Coupled with testimony that Landis and the other producers were actually joking about the illegality of their actions, this should've been an open-and-shut manslaughter case.

You can't spell manslaughter without LAUGHTER, and John Landis has given us so many laughs over the years...how's that for a segue? It's perfectly legitimate to venture that the celebrity factor saved him from the noose. The jury didn't know who he was, but if he's a director on the production of The Twilight Zone The Movie, the prestige is self-evident. I loved hearing the guy talk about horror movies in the great IFC documentary and all, but his jovial personality makes his negligence a lot easier to understand: high on the Brat Pack ethos that everything must be sacrificed for your film, damn the rules, you take more chances. He's probably lucky he didn't kill anyone during the many car crashes of The Blues Brothers, if he considered throwing heavy machinery around akin to throwing food around the set of Animal House.

There's nothing wrong with that ethos until you're literally endangering people's lives. Landis was giddy about being a bad boy of filmmaking, like so many directors, and he felt an immunity to the very idea that anything would go wrong during a life-threatening stunt. Afterwards, when the body parts were strewn about, he felt an immunity from responsibility - it was some technician who didn't push the right button at the right time. Well, who hired that guy? And was it this one lowly technician's decision to be illegally filming the scene in the first place?

The buck doesn't stop below the line, you piece of slime. One of the worst aspects of American culture is our unspoken assumption that anyone in entertainment is above the law, and though Landis' manslaughter isn't as despicable as when a celebrity drunkenly kills someone with their car instead of being driven home - if you're a fucking MOVIE STAR who can afford CHAUFFEURS, why drive yourself ANYWHERE? - the thought of a director being even the least bit reckless with the lives of people who've entrusted their safety to him is abhorrent.

John Landis deserves no one's sympathies for whatever problems his manslaughter brought his career. There is nothing more glib than the affectation that an entertainer's work justifies their exoneration from justice, an instant free pass for redemption. Michael Jackson lives off that shit. He breathes it like oxygen.

The logical conclusion of such reasoning is that entertainment is as important than life itself, or more. Let that callousness only be spouted by art students who think frivolousness ennobles them.