004.


Because obviously. I share articles like this because it always reminds me of something my mom used to tell me: 

Watch what comes easy to people.

It shouldn't be that easy to lie than it is to tell the truth. And I tend to lean more on the side of realism that admits that everyone lies to an extent. But even then, I maintain that it still shouldn't be more natural to lie than it is to tell the truth. And I think we can train ourselves to get to a place where our first instinct is the truth. But let's center around exactly what we're talking about here:

We're talking about the President of the United States. We're not even a year in, and historians are already suggesting that this is the most dishonest White House, well, ever. And I don't know, I think that matters a lot. I think that, when you look at the track record, you look at what is said about him, and what he has said himself, it all paints a full picture. 

And I know we'll always have our biases and our lenses. This is why I started Pigmented. Because I hope that beyond your own lens, you'll at least pick up another one to help balance out your view. Last week I talked a bit about why society doesn't listen to women or Black people. The point of view of victims is an important lens to look through--I'd argue that you can't get a full picture without it. 

This week, try to hear a different side of the story. You don't have to agree with it right away; just understand what is real to someone else, what's valid enough to them to change their behavior. Look for clues and signs. Ask yourself why you have the view that you do. What did you believe that someone else did not? Why?


What I Watched

This week I finally saw Justice League with my brother and I think I have enough time to compile my thoughts.

First I want to lay out a few disclaimers before I give my review.

1. Zack Snyder did not finish the movie for a deeply personal and tragic reason. He asked Joss Whedon to step in so that it would be completed.

2. There was no way around the Super Stashe. MI:6 was shooting and Cavill needed the mustache while shooting MI:6 and JL simultaneously. 

3. Even Whedon had to fight for control. Which leads into a larger conversation about how studios are trying to manage their respective universes.

OK, so I think I got the basic ones out of the way, here are my thoughts.

The Good

There were a few visual set pieces so good, they almost redeemed the whole movie. Now, please don't misunderstand me. I don't actually like Zack Snyder. I think he has a decent visual aesthetic, albeit a bit dated. His visual style worked best during the '300' era and I think he was best served then. I've always campaigned for Zack to be a cinematographer. I feel that his visual style--with the technical training--could really push forward a directorial vision.

The introduction of Steppenwolf was even better than I expected. My absolute favorite scene of the movie had to be Steppenwolf's successful attempt to steal the first Mother Box from the Amazons. Any scene with Themiscyra featured has proven to be a treat and expectations were set and exceeded. 

What works is that Steppenwolf's motivation is pretty clear: He is a conqueror who seeks the approval of his family. Not only was he exiled, but he also failed to conquer earth, so it's personal as well. He acts straight-to-the-point and knows exactly what he needs to win. The Amazons are arguably the most aware of the situation and they are prepared for his arrival which sets up one o the best superhero scenes I have ever seen.

The Flash was must more charming than I expected, although my expectations were exceptionally low throughout. Cyborg worked as well, and I maintain that WB's casting (save for the Batman) has been on par.

Cavill looked like he actually had fun and the final scene between himself and the Flash was worth my stimulus Tuesday ticket.

But.

The Bad

Well first, the obvious: the movie suffers heavily from editing issues. I want to think a lot of this because Snyder simply didn't get to finish the film, but with all the reshoots, I have to wonder how much of the movie was even directed by him. There were parts where you could tell that they were definitely Snyder's, but of those they still seemed disjointed.

Another huge issue for me was the soundtrack. I literally served no purpose. It was generic and seemed to only fill the silence. There was too much redundancy and when the story asked for more, the soundtrack didn't deliver. There's just too much material to drop the ball here.

Batman. I think Ben looks the closest to what a Bruce Wayne should look like, but that is absolutely it. He is too old. And this was a direction that started years ago that was destined to fail. It's as if the studio had no idea what to do, but felt they had to catch up to Marvel at all costs. They were wrong.

Final Thoughts

I've always loved DC and I know they can do better. This is why I get so frustrated. I think they ruined a huge opportunity in a time where Superhero films were in their prime. For the corner WB back themselves into and will all the issues surrounding the project, JL was at least watchable. For such a low bar, this isn't exactly good news.


 

What I Heard

This week wasn't a big music week for me. But I was able to get through Syre which I think was excellent.

syre jaden.jpg

I've always been on the fence with Jaden in general, not just with his musical efforts, but this album finally allowed me to take him seriously as a musical artist. The bars hit and the production is excellent.  Icon gives you exactly what you'd want from a 2017 rap song, but Jaden is able to bring his individuality to it and I think that's what seals it for me.

George Jeff is where Jaden gets to show off a bit, maintaining a pretty sick flow toward the first third of the song. I think this is the album that will put him on the map and his improvement truly shows. I'll be looking out for what's next.

Justin Smith