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Swamp Thing 3.41: A Disaster on Every Count

“Unable to consummate his love for the beauty,” writes Vincent Canby in the New York Times, “the beast must satisfy himself by camping it up in the swamp.”

“How refreshing,” agrees John Engstrom in the Boston Globe, “to find a bad movie that knows it’s bad, and wears its badness proudly.”

Newsday says “It has an astonishing verisimilitude to the low-budget ’50s horror movie,” and Variety says that Wes Craven “tries in vain, through old-fashioned music, characters and dialog, to re-create the ’50s B-monster movie.”

This brings up a question that I’d never even considered: Is Swamp Thing supposed to be camp?

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Superman 1.45: Hair Today

Rick didn’t say “Play it again, Sam,” and Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scotty.” Darth Vader said “No, I am your father,” and Brody said “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”

Do you feel lucky, punk? Houston, we have a problem. I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille. Top of the world, Ma! Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?

A lot of the phrases that we pick up from pop culture as famous movie quotes are actually slight misquotes, often making them a little shorter and simpler, because on the whole people are not that good at remembering dialogue. Exact wording fades quickly, and so do plot points and character relationships.

But we’re great at remembering a striking visual, and most of the things that we consider “iconic” are compelling images, like Claudette Colbert showing her legs in It Happened One Night, or Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs in Basic Instinct, or a steam vent blowing up Marilyn Monroe’s skirt to reveal her legs in The Seven Year Itch. A lot of them involve women’s legs, for some reason.

So when Superman: The Movie introduces the new version of Lex Luthor that we talked about yesterday, there are a lot of alterations to the comic book character that for the most part audiences don’t notice. The movie version of Luthor has sidekicks and a sense of humor, which has never really happened before, and he presents himself as an eccentric businessman, rather than a mad scientist — but for movie audiences, those are details that they don’t know about.

The one thing that people do notice is that Lex Luthor is supposed to be bald, because we remember interesting visuals. The details of his characterization don’t really stick in the mind, but even people who’ve never read a Superman comic in their life know that Luthor doesn’t have any hair.

Continue reading Superman 1.45: Hair Today