Fluxing miscellany. If you're looking for top 10 film lists, click here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl: Eminem & Others

• Game itself: my only sports loyalty is to the perpetually beleaguered Houston Rockets. Arbitrary bias was for the Green Bay Packers, who a) are not fronted by (as a friend termed him) Ben Rapelisberger b) were endorsed by Lil Wayne. So yay, although the actual sporting event — while technically a "good game" — was endless, with all suspense about whether or not it would turn into a "real game" deferred close til the end of the 3rd quarter. In the end, the typically hyper-inflated affair — introduced by cancer survivor Michael Douglas (!) — was, in fact, a good game, but it took forever to get there. The affair got the quip it deserved from Packers receiver Greg Jennings: "It's a great day to be great." Indeed. Jennings also gave a shout-out to God, which at least served as a counterpoint to Roethlisberger's increasingly insincere-seeming hands to the sky. Plus c'mon: at a time when Republicans are redefining rape with the adjective "forcible," the jokes just kinda write themselves.

• So those commercials: while I watch them, I honestly don't understand why they're such a big deal, since they're mostly terrible. Briefly dismissed: why are Lord of the Rings dragons pimping Coke? That Star Wars commercial was uber-cutesy. I hope David Bowie got a shit-ton of money for whoring "Changes." GoDaddy.com becoming self-aware in its sleazy pitches — reproving a barely interested in the first place audience of leering males with the spectacle of Joan Rivers as a sex object — wasn't really a great idea. Ozzy should get back on those reaction-slowing drugs. Adrien Brody is not Charles Aznavour. Most surprising/satisfying celebrity cameo: Roseanne getting knocked over by a log.

• Seems like a whole lot of the broadcast was based on the mistaken assumption that Tron: Legacy would be a huge hit. Aside from that absurd ad for Android's new iPad thingy, there was the sad spectacle of the Black Eyed Peas' choreographed sperm extras. (Who, lights aside, also kind of looked like Urgh's Invisible Sex.) All I thought was "Gosh, China should've choreographed that." Plus: while the Black Eyed Peas aren't the first hip-hop artist on the Super Bowl (because, hey, Nelly! Twice!), c'mon. How in the world have they sold like 47 million records worldwide?

• But hip-hop was definitely there in not one but two Eminem ads, which frankly blew my mind. I'm not sure I'm an Eminem "fan," but I was for a long while: The Marshall Mathers LP was ubiquitous for a year, and I wasn't even allowed to go anywhere that entire time. In fact, every Eminem album up to Relapse had something to offer, at which point I checked out. Still, I wish him well — "Drug Ballad" is still an awfully good song — but I'm shocked he came up that often. Not really, I guess: though I've checked out, he still sells like crazy (5.7 million copies for Recovery and counting, plus that stupid song with Rihanna that sounds like an emo confessional). That would've accounted for the Brisk commercial. However: that Eminem was brought in as Chrysler's new version of Lee Iacocca — touting Detroit autos to the point of patriotic absurdity, complete with a movie theater marquee reading "Keep Detroit Beautiful" — is just crazy. They really couldn't find anyone more responsible? Poor Detroit. And poor Eminem, for that matter.

• Still, not gonna lie: the commercial itself — condescendingly ill-advised black choir and all — got my attention. Not just for conflating buying Chrysler and American economic rebirth (Iacocca would've been proud), but for the introduction 45 seconds into a 2-minute commercial of Eminem's "Lose Yourself." The song is 8 years old, which scared all of us — but it was, in fact, ubiquitous, and presumably kidss 17-years-old this year had a Proustian evocation of childhood. This prompted a brief but terrifying conversation about what, precisely, me and my friends have accomplished in the quarter century we can all our age, let alone in the last decade. Consensus: not much.

• But even more unearned yet effective nostalgia belonged to that NFL commercial sewn out of sitcoms. A reasonable equivalency for sure, but hey: despite having seen, like, 15 minutes of "Happy Days" in my entire life (plus hating "Seinfeld"), I recognized every junk-food component. I had a TV for about a decade, ages 9 to 18 or thereabouts, and that apparently prepared me to recognized every single pop culture reference for the rest of my life.

• Most Tea Party-ish pregame ever, from the stilted Declaration of Independence reading up through the weird Bill O'Reilly/Obama interview (both play tough, O'Reilly alludes to "haters" without mentioning his part in the affair and Obama "graciously" declines to mention it, everyone wins, they talk about sports, both curse their lives), plus greetings from Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. But all that patriotic lip-service just faded away once the game started, huh?

• We were all kind of in a coma after eating tacos and the endless game, which I guess is why no one changed the channel away from "Glee." Which I had never seen. Which: what the fuck? Work-wise, I've seen both of creator Ryan Murphy's awful movies (Running With Scissors, Eat Pray Love), plus some of "Nip/Tuck." All dreadful. But so much wrong here. Why is the color palette restricted to dark reds and grays? Why are the musical numbers filmed in a way that made me pine for Step Up 3D? Why does the music suck so much? Why did they desecrate The Zombies? HOW IS THIS POPULAR?

• The broadcast technically ended with Phoenix's "1901." Another meaningless victory for indie rock nation etc.