I have a pretty short list of heroes:
- Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly food writer
- Alfonso Cuarón, director and Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter
- Alexander McQueen, rest in peace.
- Frank Miller, graphic novelist
- Paul Farmer, anthropologist/physician and Jane Goodall, the chimp lady
- Maya Angelou, poet
- Some others, can't remember just now...
Anyway, I want to talk about how director Matthew Vaughn is creeping up my list of heroes, and how everyone who thinks movies are dead ought to STFU, put down what they're doing, and go watch KICK-ASS right this minute.
Because KICK-ASS is easily my favorite movie of the year, and jumped pretty high up there on my all-time favorites list. I know, I know. I'm already a huge fan of comic-book movies, and you may be dubious. But that's because all you've seen/heard of it are the totally stupid trailers they've been showing online and on TV. I hear you - most of the time it's the trailer that is awesome, and the movie that is lacking. But for some unknown reason, the producers backing Matthew Vaughn films have had a way of hiring the worst trailer cutters on the PLANET. Either that, or the movies are so awesome that the trailer cutters don't know what to do with them. Either way, I know what the trailer makes the movie look like: a dumb comedy about superhero-wannabes.
But believe me when I tell you this movie is so much more. Yes, it's funny, but the movie took me through so many emotions it'd hard to keep track: shock, awe, sorrow, gratitude, empathy, excitement, relief. It dealt with so many deep-seated problems in our society, in our relationships, in our very characters, I hardly know where to start. It's a humbling reminder of how f-ed up we all are, and to what heights we aspire. Not to mention, the movie had one of the most fantastic soundtracks I've heard in a long time. And who can resist a Tarantino-esque story of the superheroine-assassin born from tragedy witnessed at an age so tender it's unreal?
I couldn't quite place where I'd seen the name Matthew Vaughn until I looked him up afterwards. But of course - Stardust, another one of those movies whose trailers made it look positively daft (like an even worse version of Hocus Pocus). But that movie, too, exceeded all my expectations and lodged itself firmly amongst my all-time favorites for its ability to deliver exactly what I'm looking for what I go to the movies: escape, adventure, romance, heroism, and good humor. Not to mention it's just superbly well done; great camerawork, great storytelling. Vaughn even used the same actor in both movies. One of my favorite scenes in the movie (well, besides the romantic ones of course):
Anyway, it's just a darn shame, a travesty really, that Vaughn's excellent work goes unnoticed by so many people because the movies suffer from the worst marketing job ever. Please, please, go see KICK-ASS so it will make lots of money and Vaughn will be able to make the sequel. IT really lives up to its name, because it's so kick-ass.
For further kicks, the Origin Story of O-Ren Ishii, which reminds me so much of KICK-ASS's heroine, Hitgirl: