You are mending me together!

This April Fool’s the Cartoon Network’s Late Night programming block Adult Swim played The Room. Read that again, I’ll be waiting. I don’t even have cable and yet I was terrified that the “prank” was listing the movie in their schedule and then not showing it. Instead the “prank” was airing this movie on basic cable. And what a prank it was.

This is not without precedent though. The airing was bookended by a very special episode of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, with guest star and segment director Tommy Wiseau. To set up who Wiseau is, they showed a clip from his opus.

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Seem familiar?

This all culminates in the sketch starring and directed and inspired by Wiseau.

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Motherhood does not agree with Jessica Alba.

I think it’s clear that the world is starved for more Tommy. You know what to do.1

  1. What? Oh, you don’t? Um, I don’t know, maybe we could send him a bunch of pigs? Would that help? He’d be fed for a while at least. Not from their meat, obviously. From their blood. Because he’s a vampire. That’s right kids, Dracula’s real. And he has AIDS, so it’s not polite to stare. Well, what did you think was going to happen? []

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Ego custodiam!

It might not seem like it, what with all our hard hitting political and civil rights coverage, but here at The Mediocrity Complex, or The ‘Plex as I like to call it, we have the entertainment tip covered too. Also, I don’t want to toot my own horn too much1, but this blog is big time stuff. If I owned or could legally operate a car, it would probably be like a Dodge Stratus. That’s the kind of big time stuff I’m talking about here.2

Which is why it should come as no surprise to learn that I am proud to present a new Mediocrity Complex exclusive footage of Dr. Manhattan in Warner Brothers’ Watchmen.

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No, but seriously, here it is:

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Crackling with pre-millennial tension and Shakespearean complexity, Watchmen is an exquisitely dense, multi-layered masterpiece that fully acknowledges the innate ridiculousness of superhero mythology—grown men dressing like animals to fight crime, the goofy costumes, the oddball supervillains and their outsized schemes, the undercurrent of kinky fetishism lying just under the surface of so many comics—while maintaining a sense of awe and wonder about its multi-layered creations.

At the risk of being slightly hyperbolic, Watchmen is such a monumental achievement that it makes Moby Dick look like a flaming pile of horseshit by comparison.

- Nathan Rabin

I am a fan of comics as an art form, as equally deserving of praise and scorn as novels, films, or centuries old epic poetry, and Watchmen is one of the most praised stories I have ever read. A recent trailer calls it “the most celebrated graphic novel of all time.” While that might be exaggerating things a bit, the hyperbole is again, slight.

Which is not to say it is perfect. No art is. But it, along with Maus and The Dark Knight Returns, all published in the same year no less, served to legitimize a previously ridiculed medium. Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer, Christopher Nolan and more recently Jon Favreau have all furthered the cause in this millennium.

The battle is not yet won however, for while comics may be fully legitimate, they are not yet fully respected. Hollywood will continue to gladly plumb the gutters of the comics industry, making millions in the process, but stories shouldn’t have to be adapted in order to be regarded as proper popular culture.

Which brings us full circle, as a film adaptation of Watchmen is set for release in a few months.

The best art comments on and fully makes use of its form. The best art makes you reconsider what art can do. As much as Watchmen was about, in addition to countless other things: the cold war, sexuality, science run amok, the perniciousness of advertising, what it means to be human, what it must feel like to be a god, the peril laden in trying to “fix the world” with either the best or the worst of intentions, the ballet between crime and those who seek to contain it, the hatred that binds us more firmly than love ever could, and the sheer, simple lunacy of being alive, it was also about every superhero comic and comic in general that had come before. It provided a synthesis of half a century’s worth of material and proof that the trappings of a story have little bearing on its merits, all the while employing virtually every trick and technique developed since the medium had been formalized, nearly a century prior.

Which is all to say that I remain skeptical of the possibility of this film living up to its pedigree. For it to truly be considered even in the same league as the source material, the film will have to broaden the horizons of filmmaking itself or at the very least completely rejigger your conception of what superhero films can be.

My hopes remain guarded. Let’s pray Zack Snyder can invalidate my fears.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more exclusive, breaking stories from Big Time Blog™ brought to you by the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant.

Still all business.

  1. Anymore than 3 times a day and I start to get dehydrated. []
  2. People are afraid of me. []