Before I start my review of the new summer blockbuster, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, I have a disclosure to make. I have what they call a "conflict of interest" when it comes to blowing or bombing this movie. What's this conflict of interest, your axing? Welp, I'll tell ya. The movie is produced by Good Machine. Yup, that's right: the same production company that bought the film option for the eXile book.
Some of you folks out there, what I'd call "historical revisionists," might want to believe that the eXile movie deal is dead and I've just been blowing smoke up your zhyopas. Welp -- no wait, Double-Welp, welpitty-frickin'-welp, I gots bad news for ya. The film project is as alive as ever. In fact I just got another sweet check and our contract was extended yet again less than two months ago. It's not that much money. Not yet, anyway. But in terms of annoying the eXile's Enemies of the Hate it's priceless.
When we signed with Good Machine a few years ago, they were at about the same level we were, relatively speaking. That is, they were producing low-budget mind-fuck flicks like Happiness. But they moved way beyond our crowd. They've since had a couple of Oscar-type movies, In The Bedroom and Crouching Camel-Toe, Hidden Snapper. And this year, they're behind the biggest summer blockbuster, the $150 million-budget Hulk.
You heard me: the company that is developing the eXile movie threw together $150 million for the Hulk! You could get a 49-year-lease on the entire Voronezhsky Oblast for that kind of money, including the inhabitants! Just think of the possibilities, putting that kind of wealth and power into the hands of the eXile!
And this brings me to my first point about The Incredible Hulk. Go see the movie. I mean see it in one of your local theaters. Pay the entrance fee. The full fee. Don't bother with the matinee, see the evening show. Take your girlfriend, your family. Just pay, drop your coin. Whatever you do, don't -- I repeat, DON'T buy the pirate version of this movie. I know I've always sung the praises of pirate tapes and DVDs. But this time, stay away from them. I mean it. It's illegal and it's immoral. It hurts the artists and the industry. Or something like that. Good Machine needs your money so that they can pay for the eXile movie so that we can pay David Johnson the bribe necessary to get him to stop censoring us on his Johnson's Russia List. In other words, your movie ticket will go towards promoting Free Speech.
So don't pay the pirates. Goddamnit, I mean it. I've been casing Moscow's English-language pirate kiosks lately, chasing away eXpats who so much as point at the Hulk DVD. I'll report every one of you bastards to U.S. Customs if you dare! You'll all be handcuffed the second you land at JFK!
Now, onto The Hulk. When I was about three or four every suburban kid had to choose his favorite comic book super hero. This wasn't an easy choice. Your pick reflected on your status with siblings, classmates and your gang. It's like choosing a sports team, only you don't have the luxury of having the choice geographically made for you in-advance.
My brother chose Spiderman. That struck me as a neat choice, the blue and red uniform, the S&M mask, easily the best superhero mask of all. And Spiderman had the best theme song, second only to Batman's. He was "the friendly neighborhood Spiderman."
I chose The Incredible Hulk. Looking back I'm not sure why. You're supposed to identify with your superhero. Hulk's bag was pure unadulterated rage. He wasn't the "friendly neighborhood" anything. When he transformed, he was huge, snarling, scary. I wanted to be that scary when I got angry. I was no match for my older brother. But then again I did pretty well against my classmates, at least at that age. I don't think my rage started to really bottle up until a few years later.
I suspect there was something else. Hulk wasn't necessarily likeable or a "good" superhero. He didn't fight for justice or the American way or clean streets. He was bad to bad people. He was the enemy of our enemies, that was the best that could be said of him. I liked that about Hulk: he wasn't the one everyone loved.