Superhero movies have never been more popular. With The Avengers breaking box office records left and right, the transcendent Dark Knight trilogy coming to a close and rumors of a Justice League movie in the works, superheroes have pretty much taken over the majority of summer movies for the next decade.
Perhaps the most famous superhero however, Superman, hasn’t been able to capitalize on all this success. They tried and failed with Superman Returns in 2006, but that dark, depressing, emo Superman wasn’t popular enough to spawn sequels. But there is one thing the movie did right; feature the iconic John Williams music score so that while you’re watching Returns, you can seamlessly travel back to 1978 and imagine watching the original Superman.
With the Batman trilogy ending, Warner Bros. have predictably been shooting the reboot for Superman. Coming to a theater near you next summer, the first trailer for Man of Steel was released during The Dark Knight Rises opening weekend.
Judging by the trailer, three things are obvious: Terrence Malick apparently high-jacked the movie from Zack Snyder and shot it himself, Clark Kent is auditioning to be on the next season of Deadlest Catch instead of The Newsroom and at no point in the trailer do we hear John Williams score.
Now comes word Monday that the new Superman film will not feature the classic title theme whatsoever.
“We decided to act as if no Superman film had been made — even though we love the films that have been made,” said Snyder.
I get that you want to avoid any comparison to the last Superman movie as much as possible, but the characters in you new movie aren’t aware that there’s any music playing. That’s for us. Not having John Williams’ score in a Superman movie is like James Bond not hooking up with an exotic woman or a Lord of the Rings movie without the characters walking a great distance.
Fans are smart enough to know that this is a new Superman. Just watch the teaser trailer and you’ll quickly learn that. But if you want fans of the man of steel to enjoy your movie, you have to have something nostalgic that reminds them of the glory days. It’s not going to take them out of the movie.
So while I’m looking forward to the new Superman film, I’m disappointed that the greatest music score ever produced won’t be in it. Maybe I’ll go to the theater when it comes out and just listen to the theme music on my iPod.
Netflix Instant Pick: ESPN: 30 For 30
Netflix recently added ESPN’s 30 For 30 documentary series to it’s instant library. The engrossing series, which covered 30 sports stories from all walks of life, began last year and featured athletes as big as Wayne Gretzky and as small as Chuck Wepner. Having watched nearly all of the original documentaries, as well as a few new additions that aired earlier this year, I have selected three films from this series that are definitely worth your time.
The Two Escobars
The longest film in the series and for my money the best, The Two Escobars chronicles the lives of two men: Pablo Escobar and Andres Escobar who despite having the same last name, followed very different paths to becoming iconic figures in Colombian history.
While rival drug cartels battled in the streets and country’s murder rate climbed to highest in the world, the Colombian national soccer team set out to represent the country in a positive light. What followed was a mysteriously rapid rise to glory, as the team suddenly became one of the best teams in the world.
But central to this success were two men: Andres, the captain of the National Team, and Pablo, the infamous drug kingpin who pioneered the phenomenon known as “Narco-soccer.”
The Two Escobars is an absorbing history lesson of Columbia through one of its most turbulent times. The contrasting stories of a soccer player and a drug baron are equally compelling and despite such different paths, both of their stories end the same way.
Into The Wind
I had never heard of Terry Fox when I first saw this film. It kind of makes sense since I’m not Canadian, but to our brothers from the north, Terry Fox is as important a figure to them as Nelson Mandela is to South Africa.
Three years after having his right leg amputated above the knee, Terry Fox set out to raise funds for cancer research by running a marathon’s distance each day across Canada. In 143 days, he covered 3,339 miles, steadily capturing the heart of a nation and inspiring millions.
You would be hard pressed to watch Into The Wind and not feel emotional by the end. Here’s a young man who despite his physical disability, set out to show anyone who has ever been affected by cancer that they are not alone and that real heroes exist. The film doesn’t have a happy ending and yet when it’s over, you feel good about what people can do when they come together to achieve something. Into The Wind is one of the most moving and inspirational films you will ever see.
While the last film told the story of a true hero, Unguarded pulls the curtain back to present the unflinching and blunt true story of Chris Herren, a basketball prodigy who succumbed to drugs and alcohol.
A high school superstar in Fall River, Massachusetts, Herren was destined for greatness outside of the small town. But when he reached college, Herren was introduced to cocaine for the first time. For the next decade, Herren would bounce from school to school, then the NBA and across the globe to play basketball. But during that time, he would spend more than half his salary to fund a secret drug habit.
Unguarded isn’t about basketball, it’s about accepting who you are and seeking rehabilitation. Throughout the film, Herren is speaking in front of an audience (high school students, convicts, military) and telling his story. The film brilliantly cuts between each setting as Herren lays everything out. Just when you think he’s finally put his personal demons to rest, another setback occurs and you’re conflicted about whether you want to see this person redeem himself and go back to his family or just leave them alone.
This is a film that shows a side of athletics rarely seen. Beyond the fame and money is a seedy underground of pain and excess. Chris Herren’s story should be required viewing for young people in the early stages of drug an alcohol abuse.
This past week saw temperatures reach near triple digits in the Eugene/Springfield area. While this whole month has been a nice change-of-pace from the usual cloudy and mid-60s weather we’re used to, I’ve come to the realization that I might prefer the usual weather to upper 90s.
If this week has taught me anything it’s that I’ll never live in Arizona or anywhere in the south. I can warm up a lot quicker than I can cool down and when it’s in the upper 70s at 1:00 am, I would gladly trade that for a warm blanket and a good night’s sleep.
Thankfully the forecast calls for low to mid ’80s for the next week. That’s the perfect forecast: Sunny and nice but not so hot that you sweat through a seat cushion. Leave that problem to folks who live in Texas and Florida.