Other than the NFL playoffs, the new episode of "The Office," and getting caught up on the last three episodes of "Batman: Brave and the Bold" (Batman dies in that show, too!), the most significant piece of on-screen entertainment this week has been the enthralling "Superman III."
I know everyone HATES "Superman III." I can understand why. But I love it.
I forgot how much I love it, until I watched it again this week. Part of it has to do with the fact that "Superman III" was the only superhero movie we actually owned when we were kids. Television's Ryan Callahan can attest to this, but we watched this thing about a dozen times on VHS because (a) we didn't have cable when we were that age, and (b) it was Superman AND Richard Pryor!
Richard Lester hams everything up whenever possible, but Richard Pryor has so many brilliant scenes in "Superman III." Look, the skiing off the skyscraper and landing in the street gag is not funny, but it's the little gestures that make Pryor's Gus Gorman into the fascinating on-screen character that he is. My favorite moment: when Robert Vaughn grabs Pryor by both arms and emphasizes something he just said, and Pryor awkwardly reaches to give Vaughn a little hug because he doesn't seem to know what else to do with his arms. It's a complete Michael Scott moment, and it's hilariously subtle.
And the visual asymmetry in this movie makes it more interesting than the others in the Christopher Reeve series. Superman, in costume, sitting on Lana Lang's floral-patterned couch? Brilliant visual. And it's followed up by sleazy Superman's line when he says "nah, I don't need to rescue that truck."
"Superman: The Movie" NEVER made me believe a man can fly, but "Superman III" made me believe that superheroes can be weird and wonderful (but mostly weird), and I will carry that lesson with me forever.
I also have begun my newest Geek Assignment (TM 2007 Timothy Callahan) with "Doctor Who." Challenged by reader "teatime_brutality" to learn to love the good Doctor, I finally sat down and watched the two most recent episodes of the BBC series. And now I'm becoming a little obsessed. I want to watch more. I want to immerse myself (and those two eps were really, really good), but
Speaking of Doctor Who, besides my weekly stack of comics, a large chunk of "New Teen Titans Archives" Vol. 3 (I just picked up Vol. 4, and remembered that I never read the third one), a Calvin and Hobbes collection I'm reading with my son, I've also just started a novel by Paul Cornell called "British Summertime." I don't know anything about it, but I'm on a Cornell kick, and since I couldn't get my hands on any of his Doctor Who novels in the U.S. (which would have fed into my Geek Assignment and my Cornell crush, but oh well), I picked this one up. I don't know if it's any good, and I probably won't get around to finishing it this week, but if it's worth reading I'm sure I'll blog about it eventually.
What are YOU watching and reading?