the triumph of imperfect humanity and film art
over the perfect but inhuman blockbuster beast
in the allegorical film art
of Jason Reitman
by Gary W. Wright
As in the allegorical film art of his Canadian contemporary Sarah Polley, the brash, edgy, innovative, intelligent, satirical and shrewd allegorical film art of Jason Reitman implicitly strove to bust film art, film artists and audiences free from the twilit shadow of John Landis and the helicopter crash that killed Renee Chen, Myca Le and Vic Morrow around 2:20 am in the early morning of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey produced Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced, Kathleen Kennedy associate produced, Landis and Steven Spielberg co-produced and allegorical Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). No doubt to affirm that commitment to breaking the world free from the twilit and disastrous July of ’82 and the computer generated imagery (CGI) that was perfected to prevent further film set disasters, young Reitman often alluded to the eerily prescient and twilit allegorical Sir Ridley Scott film, BLADE RUNNER (1982), in his own mostly CGI free films. The link was fitting, as the film art of Reitman featured the same battle between imperfect humanity and perfect replicant seen in BLADE RUNNER.
Curiously, however, before he had released any of his own film art, Reitman already implicitly appeared on film. For Reitman and his father, Ivan, were implicitly linked to Harry and Norman Osborn-played by James Franco and Willem Dafoe, respectively-friends of the geeky and implicitly David Cronenberg linked Peter ‘Spider-Man’ Parker-played by Tobey Maguire-in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Cronenberg addressing Sam Raimi super satirical films, SPIDER-MAN (2002), and SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004), based on a character originally implicitly linked to wallcrawling narrative artist Wallace “Wally” Wood created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Marvel Comics. An implicit link of his father and himself to Norman and Harry Osborn that was not lost on Reitman and that he implicitly addressed along with BLADE RUNNER and the TZ disaster in his first twilit, allegorical and mostly CGI free Zonebusting film, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (2005), inspired by the allegorical Christopher Buckley novel, Thank You For Smoking (1994).
‘They like to use cartoons and symbols to
hook our kids.’
For the film initially saw a Washington, DC tobacco lobbyist with the Norm Osborn and Pete Parker evoking name of Nick Naylor-played by Aaron Eckhart-shamelessly advocate on the behalf of the tobacco industry as Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies (ATS). This tobacco lobbying group was created by the legendary and Stan Lee evoking Captain, supposed head of Winston-Salem-played by Robert Duvall-his resemblance to the equally legendary and alliterative name lovin’ Lee implicitly linking addictive cigarettes to comics in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. To affirm the implicit link of cigarettes and comics in the film, Naylor even wound up in Los Angeles at one point, trying to convince Hollywood to have their stars smoke in films again as in the old days so as to promote and increase sales of cigarettes. The sight reminded us that Lee and Marvel were trying to break into Hollywood at the time with films like SPIDER-MAN. However, with the support of his son, Joey-played by Cameron Bright-Naylor eventually broke free from the control of the Captain and the rest of the tobacco industry and founded his own spin doctoring firm, Naylor Strategic Relations (NRS), in the end. Thus, Reitman implied that he was confident that his father and himself would free themselves from being allegorically used by Lee, Marvel Studios and Raimi and that they would succeed on their own two feet with the elder Reitman’s film art production company, Montecito Picture Company.
The appearance of J.K. Simmons, who put in a pitch perfect performance as the exuberantly tyrannical DAILY BUGLE publisher J. Jonah Jameson, who was implicitly linked to DC Comics editor F. Whitney Ellsworth, in the Spiderberg films, as another exuberantly tyrannical boss named B.R. affirmed the implicit Spiderberg roasting intent of THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. The film’s fearless fondness for organizations with names and acronyms like Entertainment Global Offices (EGO) and Society for the Advancement of Firearms and Effective Training for Youth (SAFETY) also implicitly affirmed that Lee and Marvel were the targets of the film, for they recalled that Lee created such organizations as Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) and Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division (SHIELD) for Marvel Comics. The alcohol promoting Moderator Council reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lee’s brand of superheroic narrative art, for its MC acronym was shared by Marvel Comics. The acronym of the Pulmonary Council also affirmed the film’s interest in superheroic narrative art, for PC evoked DC aka Detective Comics, the chief rival of Marvel Comics.
The film long stern opposition of the sinister and possibly Bob Iger linked Vermont anti-smoking crusader, Senator Ortolan Finistirre-played by William Macy-to Naylor and his shameless cigarette promotion reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in superheroic narrative art. For Sen. Finistirre’s anti-smoking crusade evoked the anti-comic crusade of herr Doktor Fredric Wertham in the Fifties, a well meaning but silly crusade expounded in his salaciously entitled book, Seduction Of The Innocent (1954), which led Smilin’ Stan and Jolly Jack Kirby to implicitly roast Dr. Wertham in the form of the insidious Space Phantom with the perfidious power to send superheroes to politically correct Limbo-no!-in the second allegorical issue of Avengers in November 1963. Significantly, given that the anagram ‘Lantis’ was hidden in his names, sinister Sen. Finistirre also evoked Landis, who was also a stern anti-smoking crusader who did not allow anyone to smoke on his film sets.
However, despite Sen. Finistirre’s best tragicomic efforts, Naylor triumphed over him in the end, as well. This victory over Sen. Finistirre reminded us that the enhancement of film by CGI so as to pull off dangerous on set effects with CGI in order to avoid more fatal film set disasters had been just as tirelessly promoted by George Lucas-implicitly symbolized in the film by Sam Elliott’s Lorne Lutch-since the TZ disaster in July of ’82, leading to an embrace of CGI by film artists around the world. Sen. Finistirre even evoked this development and promotion of CGI to cure film art of all ills by his advocacy of the use of CGI to remove cigarettes from old films. Unfortunately, however, this pragmatic embrace of CGI enhancement of film art led to safe but dull, ahuman and fake looking film art. Thus, the fact that Naylor also triumphed over Sen. Finistirre in the Washington Senate hearing, in the end, before breaking free from comical cigarette control and going on his own as head of NSR implied Reitman’s hope that non-CGI enhanced film art in all of its imperfect, messy and sometimes deadly but endearingly human and vital glory would triumph over perfect but dull and sanitized CGI enhanced film art, in the end.
Fittingly, Reitman’s implicit interest in imperfect humanity triumphing over perfect inhumanity in the film was affirmed by all of the film’s allusions to BLADE RUNNER. Indeed, Naylor’s film long and exuberantly shameless voiceover (VO) evoked the film long voiceover of Harrison Ford’s Replicant hunter, Rick Deckard, in the 1982 release of BLADE RUNNER. This link implied that Reitman was not just interested in roasting Marvel Studios and freeing film from the rictus grip of CGI, but also eager to free film art from the TZ disaster. This eagerness was implicitly affirmed by all of the film’s other allusions to BLADE RUNNER, which openly linked the film to the twilit and disastrous July of ’82. Indeed, the initials of Naylor’s full throttle and Vietnam War vet boss, B.R., evoked BLADE RUNNER, and the man himself evoked Deckard’s boss, Bryant-played by M. Emmet Walsh. In addition, the uber rich cigarette baron and ATS founder, the Captain, evoked not only Lee but Joe Turkel’s equally uber rich Eldon Tyrell, while duplicitous Washington, D.C. reporter, Heather Holloway-played by Katie Holmes-evoked Tyrell’s Replicant ‘niece’, Rachael Tyrell-played by Sean Young-throughout the film. The fact that Naylor’s first meeting with the Captain evoked Deckard’s only meeting with Tyrell and that his first meeting with Holloway evoked his first meeting with Rachael reaffirmed Reitman’s implicit interest in BLADE RUNNER. Naylor’s fondness for wines from 1982 and the 332 house number of his ex-wife, Jill-who evoked Deckard’s ex-wife in BLADE RUNNER, and was played by Kim Dickens-also reaffirmed Reitman’s implicit interest in breaking free from the rictus grip of CGI spawned by the twilit and disastrous year of ’82.
Curiously, and perhaps influenced by Reitman, Polley also alluded to BLADE RUNNER in her first twilit and allegorical film, AWAY FROM HER (2006), making it somehow fitting that Maria Bello played Polley Bailey, a sympathetic alcohol lobbyist friend of Naylor and fellow member of the Washington lobbyist Merchant of Death ‘MOD’ Squad in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. In addition, the implicit link of the mysterious German scientist Erhardt Von Gruepten Mundt to Cronenberg, and the resemblances of Naylor’s ex-wife, Jill, to Linda Hamilton, of Jill’s new beau, Brad-played by Daniel Travis-to James Cameron, of Senate hearing participant Doctor Meisenbach-played by Michael Mantell-to Spielberg and of Senator Lothbridge-played by Spencer Garret-to Oliver Stone also implied that Reitman was eager to skewer other main players in the dread Zone Wars in his allegorical film art-film art that was already unusually confident, assured and knowing, with a natural artistry, intuitive framing and flair for hip montage-no doubt due to the fact that Reitman grew up surrounded by film art and film artists as the son of the elder Reitman.
Curiously, but fittingly, given the allusions to BLADE RUNNER in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, Sir Scott implicitly roasted the brash and cocky Reitman in the form of the equally brash and cocky English financial wizard ‘Mad’ Maximilian ‘Max’ Skinner-played by Russell Crowe-and implicitly urged him to create indie film art and avoid creating blockbuster beasts for Hollywood in the twilit and allegorical Scott Free film, A GOOD YEAR (2006). As for Reitman, he was implicitly pleased with the positive reception given THANK YOU FOR SMOKING and confident that the film had broken his father and himself free from the rictus allegorical grip of Lee, Marvel and Raimi. For Reitman implicitly lost interest in defending his father and himself and rose to the defense of Cronenberg and indie film art instead in 2007 by taking on the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Cronenberg roasting Raimi super satirical film, SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007), in super allegorical cinematic combat when he returned to the Temple Theatre along with Simmons, editor Dana E. Glauberman and production designer Steve Saklad in his next twilit, allegorical, brash, idiosyncratic, knowing, original, shrewd, montage lovin’, satirical, CGI free and Zonebusting film, JUNO (2007).
‘You’re quite the sell out, Mark.’
Indeed, Reitman implicitly linked Cronenberg and his quirky and indie film art to teen nerd Paul ‘Paulie’ Bleeker-played by Michael Cera- and his pregnant, quirky and indie girlfriend, Juno MacGuff-played by Ellen Page-throughout the film. This implicit link was affirmed by the fact that the name of Paulie Bleeker evoked that of Peter Parker in the Spiderberg Trilogy, that Juno was the name of Canada’s national film award at the time-an award that Cronenberg had won by 2007-and that Cera and Page were both Canadian actors-with Page openly linking JUNO to the super satirical mischief of Marvel Studios as she had played Kitty ‘Shadowcat’ Pryde in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and reassuringly entitled Brett Ratner film, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006). In addition, Reitman implicitly linked Raimi and his Spiderberg Trilogy to a wealthy but childless young couple named Mark and Vanessa Loring-played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner, respectively. Indeed, their link to Raimi and his marvelous Spider-man films was affirmed by Mark’s love of old comics and by Garner’s appearance as the implicitly Kathryn Bigelow linked Elektra Natchios in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Mark S. Johnson super satirical film, DAREDEVIL (2003), and the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Rob Bowman super satirical film, ELEKTRA (2005), a superheroine film from Lee and Marvel Studios. The return of Simmons as Juno’s father, ‘Mac’ MacGuff, reaffirmed the implicit links of the four main characters of JUNO, for Simmons reappeared as Jameson in SPIDER-MAN 3.
Thus, that the marriage of the Lorings still fell apart despite the fact that Bleeker and MacGuff were able to have a child for them implied that Reitman believed that Cronenberg and his less financially successful and quirky indie film art was still better and more potent than Raimi and his financially lucrative Spiderberg Trilogy. Ironically, Reitman’s implicit commitment to indie film art in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING was supported by Raimi, for Harry Osborn-played again from Franco-freed himself from the corporate control of Oscorp and the Evil temptation of becoming the new Green Goblin and helped Spidey-played again by Maguire-triumph in the end of SPIDER-MAN 3.
Curiously, seeing the poor, imperfect but endearingly human Juno give up her baby boy to the wealthy but implicitly inhuman Lorings-their inhumanity implicitly affirmed by the inability of Vanessa to conceive-reaffirmed the implicit interest in humanity defeating inhumanity in the film art of Reitman. In fact, Mac and his wife, Brenda ‘Bren’ MacGuff-played by Allison Janney-resembled the Replicants Leon and Zhora-played by Brion James and Joanna Cassidy, respectively-throughout the film, implicitly affirming the link of BLADE RUNNER to JUNO and reaffirming Reitman’s implicit commitment to flawed but human people and film art triumphing over perfect but inhuman people and film art in JUNO. Ironically, Marvel Comics/Studios was implicitly impressed with JUNO and THANK YOUR FOR SMOKING and felt that Reitman was now as worthy as Cronenberg of a super satirical roast. For they implicitly switched the link of the cocky and canny younger Reitman from a potential young supervillain who was head of a corporation inherited from his father to a potential young superhero who was head of a corporation inherited from his father in the form of the Reitman resembling and equally cocky and canny Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played by Robert Downey jr.-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Jon Favreau super satirical film, IRON MAN (2008), based on the character implicitly linked to tin can loving machine man wannabe, Andy Warhol, created by Lee, Don Heck, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber for Marvel Comics.
‘And what do you say to your other nickname?
“The Merchant of Death”?’
Indeed, Stark’s initial appearance in the film as the exuberantly conscienceless ‘Merchant of Death’ head of American military weapons manufacturer Stark Industries (SI) evoked Naylor’s initial equally shameless promotion of cigarettes as a member of the Merchant of Death MOD Squad in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, affirming the implicit Reitman addressing intent of IRON MAN. Stark’s decision to switch SI from arms manufacturing to more peaceful and idiosyncratic technology like the various Iron Man suits for the Good of mankind also implied the hope of Favreau and Marvel Studios that Reitman would succeed with his equally idiosyncratic indie film art for the betterment of film art-and mankind. This implication was reaffirmed by Stark’s triumphs over the implicitly Lucas linked terrorist leader, Raza-played by Faran Tahir-and the equally insidious character who aided and abetted his twisted machinations, the implicitly Irv Kershner linked SI Deputy CEO Obidiah Stane-played by Jeff Bridges-for the triumph over the blockbuster beast linked pair implicitly symbolized a triumph over beastly blockbuster lusts, in the end. Blockbuster lusts that were soon to gobble up Marvel Comics and Studios, for the appearance of Clark Gregg as the implicitly Disney CEO Bob Iger linked SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson presciently anticipated the takeover of Marvel by Disney the following year.
The resemblance of Stark’s first grey Iron Man suit to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man seen at the end of the twilit, allegorical and Ozian themed Reitman sr. film, GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), reaffirmed the implicit Reitman addressing intent of the film. In addition, the appearance of irritatingly persistent VANITY FAIR reporter Christine Everhart-played by Leslie Bibb-also affirmed the implicit Reitman satirizing intent of the film, for she recalled the equally persistent and irritating reporter Heather Holloway in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. Stark’s helpful human assistant, Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts-played by Gwyneth Paltrow-and equally helpful digital assistant, Jarvis-voiced by Paul Bettany-reaffirmed Stark’s implicit link to the Toronto linked Reitman, for Potts resembled and was implicitly linked to Cody, while the name of Jarvis evoked Jarvis Street in Toronto. Significantly, the name of Potts also reminded us that Pepper Pot was one of the 32 types of soup featured in the first group of Campbell Soup cans painted by Warhol that appeared in July 9, 1962 at a gallery show in Los Angeles a year before the arrival of Iron Man in an implicit affirmation of Stark’s link to Warhol. Last but not least, the fact that Favreau played Stark’s long suffering bodyguard/driver Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan implicitly affirmed that a film artist was being addressed in the film.
Not surprisingly, Louis Leterrier also implicitly linked Reitman to the Avengers assembling Stark-played again by Downey jr.-that same year in a cameo at the end of the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Cameron roasting super satirical film, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008). As for Reitman, he defied Thurber by not abandoning his father when he returned to the Temple Theatre with Bateman, Elliot, Glauberman, Saklad, Simmons, JUNO director of photography Eric Steelberg and THANK YOU FOR SMOKING composer Rolfe Kent and costume designer Danny Glicker on his next twilit, allegorical, brash, indie, intelligent, original, shrewd, knowing, satirical, montage lovin’, CGI free and Zonebusting allegorical film, UP IN THE AIR (2009), inspired by the allegorical Walter Kirn novel, Up In The Air (2001), co-produced by Reitman sr. and released under the banner of dad’s Montecito Picture Company.
‘Am I the only one that sees that by doing this
we’re making ourselves irrelevant?’
Significantly, the film’s opening titles featured another hip montage sequence, this one of artful landscape shots from airplanes that evoked the equally hip and artful landscape photography of Edward Burtynsky. These aerial shots also evoked similar shots from U.S. military and spy satellites-and perhaps even drones-of American southwest landscapes seen in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Richard Kelly film, SOUTHLAND TALES (2006), and of Middle Eastern landscapes seen in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Sir Scott film, BODY OF LIES, (2008), which implicitly replied to SOUTHLAND TALES. Thus, Reitman implicitly affirmed that he was replying to BODY OF LIES and SOUTHLAND TALES in UP IN THE AIR. This implication was reaffirmed by the sight of the implicitly Kelly linked and peripatetic bachelor dismissal expert, Ryan Bingham-played by George Clooney-flying around the U.S. gently but firmly dismissing people, for it wryly evoked the sight and sound of the implicitly Kelly linked Agent Roger Ferris-played by Leonardo Di Caprio-firing Holliday-played by Michael Gaston-the head of the CIA in Amman, Jordan in BODY OF LIES. The fact that Ryan Bingham had a name that evoked Ian Fleming and looked, dressed, talked, acted and womanized like an American James Bond throughout the film, symbolically linking his dismissals to secret agent assassinations like those in BODY OF LIES, implicitly reaffirmed that Reitman was addressing that film and Sir Scott in UP IN THE AIR-a title that fittingly had the same syllable cadence as BODY OF LIES and SOUTHLAND TALES.
In addition, Bingham’s raucous and rivalrous relationship with his experienced, callous and implicitly Sir Scott linked stay at office boss, Craig Gregory-played by Bateman-evoked the equally raucous and rivalrous relationship between Middle Eastern field Agent Ferris and Washington based Near East Division head Hoffman in BODY OF LIES, reaffirming the implication that Reitman was addressing that film in UP IN THE AIR. Thus, the fact that Bingham’s in person dismissals beat Gregory’s plan to ironically dismiss Bingham and most of the rest of the other dismissal experts and take advantage of the internet to fire people around the U.S. from the head office via computer, in the end, reaffirmed the implicit conviction of Reitman that imperfect humanity would also triumph over perfect and CGI enhanced inhumanity in film art. Indeed, Bingham’s film long VO reaffirmed that implicit conviction, for it evoked the film long VO of Deckard in the 1982 release of BLADE RUNNER.
Curiously, the ‘Gary’ hidden in the names of Ryan Bingham, his insistently bachelor life, Polley evoking sister, Kara-played by Amy Morton-Rita MacNeil evoking sister, Julie-played by Melanie Lynskey-Sarah MacLachlan evoking cousin-played by Jennifer Nitzband?-Streetsville Secondary School evoking ex-high school and love of backpacks and the Wright Brothers and the fact that UP IN THE AIR was a Right Of Way production presciently linked Bingham to Canada, Toronto film art and film artists and myself. Intriguingly, this was not the first time that a character in a Reitman film anticipated me, as Eric Haberman’s Cancer Boy in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING and the use of Canadian actors as the teen male and female leads of JUNO had also ominously foreboded the arrival of the Gardevil. Ominous, indeed, for I soon intruded on the peaceful life of Reitman not long after the release of UP IN THE AIR. But first, Reitman had to implicitly triumph over Sir Scott and his own ego in the end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Favreau super satirical film, IRON MAN 2 (2010).
‘You just peed the suit.’
Indeed, the film saw the brash, cocky and implicitly Reitman linked Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played again by Downey jr., and also by Gavin Ransom in a reel blast from the past of Stark-battle to defeat his own Dark Side as much as Mickey Rourke’s Ivan ‘Black Tsar’ Vanko, who was implicitly and ironically-or was that fittingly?-linked to Sir Scott given the film’s allusions to BODY OF LIES, UP IN THE AIR, and the twilit, allegorical Sir Scott films, GLADIATOR (2000) and MATCHSTICK MEN (2003). The appearance of Sam Rockwell as the implicitly Mike Myers linked rival Hammer Industries CEO, Justin Hammer, as Vanko’s duped confederate reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Sir Scott, as Rockwell played con man Frank Mercer in MATCHSTICK MEN. Luckily for Stark, he was able to defeat Vanko and Hammer and their pesky ‘Hammeroids’ and solve his deadly palladium problem with the life affirming element, vibranium, in the end, with the help of the irrepressible and implicitly Cody linked Potts-played again by Paltrow-the implicitly Toronto linked digital assistant, Jarvis-voiced again by Bettany-the celluloid ghost of his implicitly Ivan linked father, Howard-played by John Slattery-long suffering bodyguard/driver Hogan-played again by Favreau-the implicitly Iger linked SHIELD Agent Coulson-played again by Gregg-and his new ally, the implicitly Clement Virgo linked Lieutenant-Colonel James ‘War Machine’ Rhodes-played by Don Cheadle.
Stark was also helped by Scarlett Johansson’s implicitly Sofia Coppola linked Natasha ‘Black Widow’ Romanoff, her link to Coppola affirmed by the film’s allusions to the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Lucas roasting Coppola films, LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003) and MARIE ANTOINETTE (2006), and the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Coppola addressing Tony Scott film, DOMINO (2005), which was openly linked to IRON MAN 2 by Rourke who played bounty hunter Ed Moseby in that film. Not that the implicitly Spike Lee linked SHIELD Director Nicholas J. ‘Nick’ Fury-played by Samuel L. Jackson-was impressed, for Stark was still turned down, in the end, by Fury and Romanoff for the dissembling Avengers in a not so subtle hint to Reitman to not get too cocky, kid. Prudent advice indeed, given that it was now time to take on the Gardevil.
For in September of 2010, I accepted an invitation sent out via newspapers to the world and to myself in my tiny and untidy cell of an apartment overlooking the Credit River in Mississauga, Ontario to attend the opening and christening of the new permanent headquarters of the TIFF at the corner of King and John streets in star linked Toronto. Things went well until I looked through the free TIFF souvenir magazine and pondered a list of what TIFF believed to be the One Hundred Essential Films. Noticing that TIFF had condescended to include only two and a half allegorical Canadian films-Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME (1982), Michael Snow’s WAVELENGTH (1967) and John Huston’s THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)-on the ‘essential’ list, I hit the roof, convinced that TIFF had deliberately snubbed Canadian film art, Canadian film artists, and the Toronto, Ontario and Canadian taxpayers who had mostly paid for the permanent TIFF Bell Frightbox.
Thus, later that night, when I returned to that tiny cell of an apartment in Mississauga, I wrote a furious and nasty letter signed by me and with my name and address on the return address of the envelope trashing TIFF, TIFF CEO Piers Handling, TIFF second in command Cameron Bailey, and the Reitman clan who had donated the land for the TIFF Bell Frightbox and some money to help build the edifice, for insulting Canadians with this infuriating One Hundred Essential Films list. In the months that followed, I also wrote and mailed several more righteously furious letters with spoof male and female names and return addresses on the various different sized and coloured envelopes, so that the receivers would not know who had really written them until they opened the envelope and read the letter. Most of these righteous rants also shamelessly plugged my website, www.zonewarsonfilm.com, to really drive the readers crazy.
I might have even used the first name Mavis on one of the spoof female names, a pseudonym that was not lost on Reitman. For Reitman implied that he read the letters and did not like them, given that an equally nasty and implicitly Gary Wright linked character named Mavis Gary made her corrosive appearance when he teamed up again with Glauberman, Kent, Simmons, Steelberg, and screenwriter Diablo Cody, co-executive producer Nathan Kahane and co-producers Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick and Russell Smith-all back from JUNO-and implicitly returned the nasty favour in his next twilit, allegorical, brash, independent, idiosyncratic, original, satirical, CGI free, montage lovin’ and Zonebusting film, YOUNG ADULT (2011), a film fittingly made again with Right Of Way Films, and resembling and implicitly inspired by the allegorical and implicitly Alfred Hitchcock and Arthur Penn addressing Francis Coppola film, THE RAIN PEOPLE (1969).
‘You’re better than this.’
Indeed, the film began on all too familiar note with the sullen, solitary, lonely, embittered, brooding, frustrated, fragile, nasty, scheming, snobby, snotty and self-obsessed Mavis Gary-played by Charlize Theron-waking up bedraggled and all alone in her tiny and untidy cell of an apartment in a building on Marquette Avenue overlooking the Mississippi River in the mini-Apple of Minneapolis, Minnesota, evoking the equally solitary me in my one bedroom apartment near the Credit River in Mississauga, Ontario. This link to myself was reaffirmed by the email Gary soon pondered from her implicitly Reitman linked ex-Mercury High School flame, Buddy Slade-played by Patrick Wilson. For the email announced that his wife, Beth-played by Elizabeth Reaser-had given birth to their first baby, a successful birth that affirmed the imperfect but endearing and enduring humanity of the Slades.
Significantly, the email and its accompanying photo announced that the baby was a girl rather than a boy as in JUNO, making her an implicit symbol of the new age of digitally enhanced film art in general and of Reitman in particular. The email also invited Gary back to Mercury, MN to attend the christening of the tot, evoking the invitation I received to attend the opening day of the new TIFF permanent HQ in Toronto in September 2010. Thus, the sight and sound of Gary accepting the invitation and driving with Dolce, her faithful Pomeranian, to her star linked and Toronto cadenced hometown of Mercury in her red, white and true Mini-with the twilit license of X3N 2R9-while endlessly playing the allegorical Teenage Fanclub tune, ‘The Concept’ (1991)-which evoked the sight and sound of Shirley Knight’s Natalie Ravenna driving away from her problems in the Big Apple of New York and into the country in THE RAIN PEOPLE-and upon in arrival in Mercury furiously blasting Slade for refusing to return to her, for fathering a baby girl and for being married to Beth, reminded us that I accepted the invitation to attend the grand opening of TIFF and duly showed up, only to furiously criticize the spanking new HQ, its principal creators and its TIFF One Hundred Essential Films list.
Significantly, there was quite a lot of evidence to implicitly affirm that Reitman was indeed roasting me in YOUNG ADULT. For the first name of Mavis was an actual street in Mississauga not far away from where I lived in the Streetsville area of Mississauga-a fact easily discovered by googling up a map of Mississauga-while the surname of Gary evoked my first name, Gary. The name of Mavis Gary also evoked that of Quebec writer Mavis Gallant, reaffirming the implicit link of Gary to Canada. The red, white, red, white and red colour combination of the Mini that Gary drove from the mini-Apple to Mercury reaffirmed her Canadian links, as the colour combination was the same as that of the Maple Leaf flag of Canada. Gary’s ironic preference for eating Kentucky Fried Chicken fare at the Kentaco Hut that she initially mocked when she arrived in Mercury but then fell prey to also reaffirmed her links to Canada and her status as a Canadian citizen, for the red and white colours of KFC again evoked the Maple Leaf flag of Canada. Of course, the English manufacturers of the Mini also reminded us of Canada’s famously weird sentimental affection for England and its monarchy, whose sovereign was still guaranteed by Canada’s Constitution to be the true ruler of Canada to this day, centuries after the United States won its freedom from the UK in the American Revolution.
In addition, Gary’s father, David Gary-played by Richard Bekins-looked, dressed, talked and acted like Cronenberg, while Gary’s mother, Hedda Gary-played by Jill Eikenberry-evoked Toronto actress Jayne Eastwood, reaffirming Gary’s implicit link to Toronto film art and artists. The NHL signs seen near the front door when Gary and Slade walked individually into the bright and new Champion O’Malleys chain pub for their first ‘Mercury High reunion’ reaffirmed the implicit link of Gary and Slade to Canada. Not surprisingly, an NHL logo was on the sinister left of Gary, while a cardboard cutout NHL hockey player that evoked the cardboard cutout cutups in UP IN THE AIR was on the Good right of Slade. Champion O’Malleys also reaffirmed the link, as the Irish pub evoked Grace O’Malleys, located just up the street from TIFF at the corner of Ed Mirvish Way and Pearl. ‘Bud Light’ Slade’s revelation to Gary during this first ‘reunion’ that he still worked with his father reaffirmed his implicit link to Reitman, reminding us that he worked in the same film art business as the elder Reitman.
Gary’s tragicomic obsession with Hard Jack cider and the Mos Eisley Special Reserve ‘Star Wars juice’-aka aged bourbon-made in the garage still of the chubby, avuncular, sad eyed and all too knowing Mercury geek, Matt Freehauf-played by Patton Oswalt-evoked my equally tragicomic obsession with the lives and films of John ‘Black Jack’ Landis and George Walton Lucas, jr., obsessions on open display at www.zonewarsonfilm.com. The fact that Gary preferred drinking Hard Jacks in Woody’s, a dark and cave-like independent bar in Mercury, rather than in chain pub Champion O’Malley’s, also reiterated Gary’s link to film art and TZ disaster obsessed me. For Woody’s evoked the life and film art of Woody Allen-a prominent director in the Zone Wars-and also evoked Woody Harrelson’s character Woody Boyd on the twilit and allegorical NBC television show CHEERS, a television show that linked YOUNG ADULT to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 as CHEERS arrived on television on September 30, 1982, a little over two months after the TZ disaster, no doubt with a mission to soothe people troubled by the disaster.
Heck, even Dolce, the Pomeranian, linked Gary to film art, as the dimunitive and implicitly Toto-linked dog’s name evoked the allegorical Federico Fellini film, LA DOLCE VITA (1960)-and also evoked my flippant assertion on an early version of my Zone Wars website that I was a fifth dimensional being who manifested in this dimension as an unusually discerning and knowing Shi Tzu. Clearly, Cody and Reitman-who looked like Beth and Buddy, reaffirming the implicit link of the film’s characters to the real life characters-implicitly hoped that I would just grow up, stop complaining about TIFF film lists and Zone War films, and just get a life, as seen by the cancellation of Gary’s Waverley Prep young adult series, her failure to woo Buddy to her cause, and her decision to give up on Buddy and drive her now drunken crash battered Maple Leaf Mini back to the Mississauga linked mini-Apple of Minneapolis and start anew, in the end.
Well, touche. Write nasty letters and essays, get a nasty response. Enjoy your oh so withering and satirical in-joke, Reitman and Cody. As for me, I was surprised, amused, flattered and reassured that film artists were reading my letters and Zone War essays and were moved enough by what they were reading to reply in such an unusual, but somehow fitting, cinematic way. An implicit allegorical roasting of a critical film ‘scholar’ that evoked the implicit roasting that film reviewers Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel received in the form of the dreaded two-headed monster, the Siskebert, and that Pauline Kael also implicitly received in the form of the cruel and merciless General Kael, in the twilit and allegorical Ron Howard film, WILLOW (1988). Thanks for also proving my thesis that film art was allegorical, and for giving me a tragicomic example that I was able to use to defend my thesis. Not just by the implicit intent of the film itself, but also by the openly allegorical Waverly Prep young adult novel that Gary bitterly and desperately wrote over the course of the film in an attempt to manipulate reality and win back Slade by having her literary alter ego, Kendal Strickland, try to win back her implicitly Slade linked ex-boyfriend, Ryan Ashby-a name that evoked Ryan Bingham of UP IN THE AIR. In fact, thanks for proving that even films that were not scripted by the director were allegorical, implying that screenwriters carefully followed the lives of film artists and tailored the allegorical messages they embedded in their screenplays so as to appeal to particular film artists and increase the likelihood that that film artist would option that screenplay and transform it into a film.
And in my defense, snubbing Canadian film art and film artists at the opening of the most significant shrine to film in Canada was worth ranting about. Or, as my symbolic ‘twin sister’ Mavis-Gary Wright would snarl with embittered and sarcastic fury, ‘…Gawd! Excuuuuuse me for living with my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, fingers, heart, mind and soul wide open instead of wide shut like the rest of the huvine herd-as Stanley Kubrick sarcastically noted in the title of his last twilit and allegorical film, EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)-and actually noticing and doing my best to understand the true meanings of allegorical fiction and film art-particularly the fiction and film art of the dread allegorical Zone War era-and noticing the failure of TIFF to acknowledge the quality and importance of allegorical Canadian film art in that infamous One Hundred Essential Films list.
Excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me for also thinking that the dread allegorical Zone Wars and some of the issues that were raised by the conflict-particularly the recurring and guilt stricken implications of twilit wrongdoing seen in all of the post-1982 allegorical film art of Spielberg-were serious enough for me to write about and share that insight with the world via my website. At least I had the courage to do it openly and not rush for the hills with my tail between my legs and launch oh so subtle and mysterious allegorical salvoes like YOUNG ADULT. In fact, if you had any guts and class, Cody and Reitman, you would simply have sent a letter or email to me explaining the reasons for TIFF’s infuriating One Hundred Essential Films list, reasons that I may have accepted, ending any flamewar before it started.
And what about that shot of Gary sitting in a cheap white plastic lawn chair on the balcony of her apartment in Minneapolis at the beginning of the film, a shot that evoked me sitting in my own cheap white plastic lawn chair on my apartment balcony in my cheap white plastic lawn chair, suggesting that it was taken from space via satellite cam, implying that you spied on me on my balcony from satellite cam before making the film-talk about creepy! And that noticeable resemblance of Oswalt’s Freehaus to a friend in Streetsville I had at the time, implying that you had my friend and I tailed by a private detective before creating YOUNG ADULT-talk about twice as creepy!! Who was the real pestilent pest who refused to grow up in this situation? Gawd!’
Ah well, luckily for Cody and Reitman, I am not always a diehard mean girl and ‘…psychotic Prom Queen bitch’, and I was strangely flattered and pleased to be roasted in YOUNG ADULT, so I will content myself with this little essay on the topic as my only response. If I was truly mean, I would have struck back by writing an equally tragicomic, nasty and allegorical story that would liken you two and your perennial efforts to pitch and sell your ideas to investors and studios in order to get the money to make your allegorical film art to the efforts of two L.A. area Latina prostitutes-Angela y Jacinta, respectively-and their perennial efforts to sell themselves to male customers on their favourite L.A. intersection of Hollywood and Sunset in order to get the money to live their lives. Instead, I will leave that tragicomic allegorical tale to real film artists, and instead note that in the triumph of the imperfect but endearing humanity of Buddy, Beth and their bambina over weird and nasty Gary’s desperate longing for perfect marital bliss, Reitman implicitly reaffirmed his ‘Slade Runner’ commitment to imperfect but endearing humanity triumphing over inhuman perfectionism in film art in general and his film art in particular.
A triumph over inhuman forces that was also vicariously experienced by Reitman when the always brash, cocky and implicitly Reitman linked Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played again by Downey jr.-got a massive ego boast when he played a pivotal role in saving New York when he rejoined the implicitly Cody linked Potts, the implicitly Coppola linked Romanoff-played again by Johannson-the implicitly Iger linked SHIELD Agent Coulson and the implicitly Toronto linked digital assistant, Jarvis-played again by Paltrow and Gregg and voiced again by Bettany, respectively-and teamed up with other implicitly film artist linked superheroes like the implicitly Cameron linked Thor-played by Chris Hemsworth-the implicitly Lucas linked Doctor Bruce ‘Hulk’ Banner-played by Mark Ruffalo-the implicitly and surprisingly Sir Scott linked Clint ‘Hawkeye’ Barton-implicitly due to Disney and Marvel being impressed by the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Bruce McDonald addressing Sir Scott film, ROBIN HOOD (2010), and played by Jeremy Renner-and the implicitly Clint Eastwood linked Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers-played by Chris Evans-in order to triumph over the implicitly Spielberg linked Loki-played by Tom Hiddleston-and extraterrestrial Chitauri Evil in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Joss Whedon super satirical film, THE AVENGERS (2012).
Curiously, that same year Ben Affleck implicitly roasted Reitman and his film art in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced film ARGO (2012), a film released on August 31, 2012 whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by the film’s allusions to JUNO, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING and YOUNG ADULT. Then Reitman implicitly addressed the triumph of superheroic film art when he returned with Glauberman, Glicker, Halfon, Kent, Saklad, Simmons, Smith, Steelberg, UP IN THE AIR co-music supervisor Randall Poster, co-producer Jeffrey Clifford and co-executive producer Michael Beugg and YOUNG ADULT co-executive producers Steven Bales and Helen Estabrook to implicitly take on Iron Man in his next twilit, allegorical, brash, idiosyncratic, independent, original, satirical, montage lovin’, CGI free and Zonebusting film, LABOR DAY (2013), inspired by the allegorical Joyce Maynard novel, Labor Day (2009).
‘Is it all right if I go check out the comics?’
Curiously, however, the film began with a dreamy montage that established the film’s setting in a small town, a dreamy montage that evoked the dreamy montages that began the twilit and allegorical David Lynch moving painting, BLUE VELVET (1986), twilit and allegorical Lynch tele-moving painting series, TWIN PEAKS (1990-91), and the twilit and allegorical Coppola film, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1999). Indeed, the latter film was openly evoked by the film long VO by Maguire’s older Henry that began soon after the opening montage ended, for it recalled the wry film long VO of Giovanni Ribisi’s unnamed narrator of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES. Thus, Reitman implied that he was also addressing Coppola and her film art in the film in the implicit form of depressed and lonely single mother, Adele Wheeler-played by Kate Winslet.
A depressed and lonely single mother and her young son, Henry-played by Gatlin Griffith-soon taken willing hostages in their house one sultry and steamy Labor Day weekend in 1987 in the small and Hollywood cadenced town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire by escaped convict Frank Chambers-played by Josh Brolin-whose resemblance and implicit link to Downey jr.’s Tony Stark throughout the film implicitly affirmed that Reitman was replying to Favreau and Whedon in LABOR DAY and implying that the Marvel Studio super satire films had also taken Hollywood film art and serious film artists like Coppola and himself hostage. Indeed, Henry and Adele were taken hostage by Frank inside the local Price Mart general store soon after Henry pondered the latest comics-ironically, all of them DC?!?-on a spinner inside the store, openly linking the hostage taking to superheroic narrative art.
The appearance of Gregg as Adele’s ex-husband openly affirmed the implicit intent of the film, given that he played the implicitly Iger linked SHIELD Agent Coulson of SHIELD-now standing for Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division-in IRON MAN, IRON MAN 2 and THE AVENGERS. The return of Simmons as Reitman lucky charm and next door neighbor Mr. Jervis and the appearance of Maguire as both film long VO narrator and as Henry as a young man, in the end, also reaffirmed the implicit intent of LABOR DAY, reminding us that they played Jameson and Parker in the Spiderberg Trilogy, respectively, and that the surname of Jervis evoked Stark’s helpful and Bettany voiced digital assistant, Jarvis, in the IRON MAN films. Even the name of Henry ‘Hank’ Wheeler affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Marvel superheroes, for it evoked that of Stanley ‘Stan’ Leiber, better known to the world as Stan ‘the Man’ Lee, who was implicitly linked to an unnamed prosecutor-played by Ed Moran-consulted by Adele and Henry after the hostage crisis was over at the end of the film.
Thus, the arrest of Chambers and the escape of Adele and Henry, in the end, implicitly symbolized the conviction of Reitman that imperfect but human Hollywood film art would also escape from the CGI enhanced grip of superheroic satirical film art like that created by Marvel Studios in time. Indeed, the film’s celebration of the ordinary but reassuring and life changing human touch over that of the extraordinary and CGI enhanced superhuman touch supported that implicit theme. The sight of Chambers being released from prison twenty-five years later and reuniting freely and lovingly with Adele also implicitly affirmed the hope of Reitman that one day the craze for CGI enhanced superheroes would be over, and a vital humanity would return to film art and life, in the end. Thus, given this implicit message, it was ironic that the year of the release of LABOR DAY saw the release of not one but two implicit super satirical meditations on Reitman, starting with the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Gardevil roasting Shane Black super satirical film, IRON MAN 3 (2013).
‘Yo listen up here’s a story
about a little guy that lives in a blue world.’
Indeed, Shane Black implied that the battle of the cocky, confident and implicitly Reitman linked Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played again by Downey jr.-the redoubtable and implicitly Cody linked Potts-played again by Paltrow-their helpful and implicitly Toronto linked digital assistant, Jarvis-voiced again by Bettany-their still long suffering and new ‘forehead of security’, Hogan-played again by Favreau-and the sturdy and implicitly Virgo linked Rhodes-played again by Cheadle-against the implicitly Wright linked Aldrich Killian-played by Guy Pearce-the insidious head of AIM, symbolized Reitman’s tiff with Wright throughout the film.
Indeed, the name of Aldrich Killian evoked that of Vancouver teacher and writer Crawford Killian, affirming the implicit link of Killian to a Canadian resident linked to the Greater Vancouver Area. The name of the implicitly Kathryn Bigelow linked Maya Hansen-played by Rebecca Hall-also affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Mississauga film ‘scholars’, as Hansen evoked Rick Hansen Secondary School in Mississauga, which was located not far from where I lived in Streetsville. Actor Terry Slattery’s terrorist leader, Mandarin-played by Sir Ben Kingsley-also affirmed the film’s implicit interest in Mississauga film ‘scholars’, for his name evoked the Mandarin restaurant chain in Mississauga. Curiously, and not to be outdone by Disney and Marvel, DC Comics and Warner Brothers implicitly linked Reitman to Clark/Kal-El ‘Superman’ Kent-played by Henry Cavill-that same year in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical Zack Snyder film, MAN OF STEEL (2013), inspired by the DC Comics characters created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel.
‘You can embody the best of both worlds.’
Indeed, the sight of ace DAILY PLANET reporter Lois Lane-played by Amy Adams-helping Supe save the world reminded us that Reitman was helped to succeed as a film artist by ace screenwriter Cody, afirming the implication that Kent was linked to Reitman in the film. The film’s allusions to UP IN THE AIR and the presence of Richard Schiff as the implicitly Spielberg linked Doctor Emil Hamilton reaffirmed Kent’s implicit link to Reitman, for Spielberg was implicitly linked to Kent in the Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN films. Thus, with Spielberg implicitly linked to Hamilton, Kent was now implicitly linked to another film artist. The implicit link of Kal-El’s Kryptonian father, Jor-El-played by Crowe-to Sir Scott also affirmed the implicit Reitman addressing intent of the film. For hearing Jor-El warn Kal-El not to let his Kryptonian side get the better of his imperfect but vital humanity and urging his extraterrestrial son to work hard to save a fragile Earth evoked Sir Scott’s warnings to Reitman to not let blockbuster lusts destroy the vital humanity of his indie film art and his hopes that Reitman would work hard to save and kick off a new era of CGI enhanced indie film art in A GOOD YEAR and BODY OF LIES, affirming the implicit link of Jor-El to Sir Scott. Indeed, the film’s allusions to ALIEN, BLACK HAWK DOWN, BODY OF LIES, LEGEND and PROMETHEUS affirmed the implicit interest in Sir Scott in MAN OF STEEL.
Curiously, the year of the release of LABOR DAY also saw film artists such as Coppola, her niece Gia and Kimberly Peirce implicitly weigh in on the tiff ‘twixt Cody/Reitman and myself in such twilit and allegorical fare as THE BLING RING (2013), PALO ALTO (2013) and CARRIE (2013). This implicitly set off a tragicomic sub-genre of allegorical Zone War film art that continued to this day, and is pondered in all its peevish and grisly glory in ‘Cinema Garite’, an essay found on the Gary W. Wright tab in the Zonebusters section of www.zonewarsonfilm.com. A tragicomic sub-genre that Reitman implicitly noticed, for he implicitly replied to the implicit roast Cody and himself received in the forms of teen evildoers, Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan-played by Portia Doubleday and Alex Russell, respectively-in CARRIE and reaffirmed his support for imperfect humanity and film art when he returned with Beugg, Estabrook, Garner, Glauberman, Novick, Poster, Simmons and Steelberg in his next twilit, allegorical, brash, confident, independent, idiosyncratic, shrewd, knowing, montage lovin’, satirical, unusually CGI enhanced and Zonebusting film, MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN (2014), a film that was inspired by the allegorical Chad Kultgen novel, Men, Women And Children (2011), and that often evoked the allegorical Robert Redford film, ORDINARY PEOPLE (1980).
‘You’re better than the website.’
Indeed, the appearance of Ansel Elgort and the Kennedy resembling Judy Greer as troubled teen Tim Mooney and conniving and implicitly Gia Coppola linked mother Donna Clint, respectively, affirmed the film’s interest in replying to CARRIE, as the two had appeared as naïve high school student, Tommy Ross, and sympathetic gym teacher, Ms. Desjardin, respectively, in that film. Reitman even had Mooney strike up a relationship with weird girl, Brandy Bethmeyer-played by Kaitlyn Dever-to implicitly reaffirm that he was replying to CARRIE, for the relationship reminded us that Ross faked a relationship with weird, troubled and implicitly Gary Wright linked telekinetic girl, Carrie White-played by Chloe G. Moretz-in CARRIE. This implicitly linked Mooney to Wright, an implicit link reaffirmed by the surname of Mooney, which reminded us that I was a moon ruled Cancer with a looney sense of tumour, and by the red and white Canadian colours of his high school, East Vista Secondary School.
The sight of Mooney sitting alone in his room at his computer endlessly playing GUILD WARS-its GW abbreviation evoking the initials of Gary Wright-also reaffirmed his implicit link to myself, evoking the endless hours I spent alone at computers brooding over and writing about the dread allegorical Zone Wars. Thus, the sight of Mooney trying to commit suicide at the end of the film when his Gardevil resembling father, ‘Clark’ Kent-played by Dean Norris-banned him from playing GUILD WARS implied that Reitman thought I was destroying myself with my unhealthy obsession with the Zone Wars. However, given that Mooney recovered from his pill swallowing attempt with the help of Brandy, Reitman reluctantly implied that there was hope that even the poor ol’ Gardevil might free himself from his self-destructive bent and become an endearingly imperfect human, in the end.
Curiously, Reitman also implicitly meditated over his oeuvre in MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN. For the troubled and divorce haunted house of Tim and Kent Mooney evoked the divorce haunted house of Adele and Henry in LABOR DAY. The miscarriage of Tim’s fellow teen, Allison-played by Elena Kampouris-evoked the successful pregnancy and childbirth of Juno, a link to JUNO openly affirmed by the return of Garner as Brandy’s concerned mother and self-appointed cyberspace watchdog, ‘Princess’ Patricia Bethmeyer, and Simmons as Allison’s father. In addition, Hannah Clint and Chris Truby-played by Olivia Crocicchia and Travis Tope, respectively-came across as a tragicomic teen version of Mavis and Buddy, while the slowly swelling romance of Kent and Donna evoked the slowly swelling romance of Adele and Frank in LABOR DAY. The sight of Donna Clint being shamed for exploiting her daughter Hannah by posting pix of a scantily clad Hannah on a website also implicitly affirmed that Reitman was striking back at Gia Coppola for implicitly roasting him in PALO ALTO. This sense of familiarity was reaffirmed by the film long VO of Emma Thompson’s unseen but wryly omnipresent and omniscient narrator, which evoked the film long VOs of Bingham, Deckard, Juno and Naylor-and of Stephen Fry’s guiding Narrator in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and mostly charmless Garth Jennings film, THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005).
The main difference between MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN and the rest of the film art of Reitman was the surprising and unusual use of CGI to recreate the flight of one of the Voyager spacecraft through the solar system at the beginning, middle and end of the film, leaving behind a photograph of Earth as a pale blue dot as the unmanned spacecraft left the Solar system. A passage through the solar system that reminded audiences that while technology came and went, an imperfect but vital humanity always remained on Earth, and that we should all do our best to get along despite those imperfections for the sake of world peace and harmony.
Curiously, the following year Whedon had the always brash, confident and implicitly Reitman linked Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played again by Downey jr.-rejoin the implicitly Toronto linked digital assistant, Jarvis-who transformed over the course of the film into the implicitly Cronenberg linked Vision, both voiced and played by Bettany-and the implicitly Virgo linked Rhodes-played again by Cheadle-and also team up again with the implicitly Sir Scott linked Barton-played again by Renner-and the rest of the assembling and implicitly film artist linked superheroes in a triumph over the implicitly David Lynch linked Ultron-played by James Spader-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015). Just as curiously, the following year Snyder implied that he was aware of the animosity between Reitman and Wright when he teamed up again with Adams, Cavill, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane-who played his adoptive human parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, respectively-Laurence Fishburne-who played irascible DAILY PLANET publisher, Perry White-and MAN OF STEEL editor David Brenner, producers Christopher Nolan, Deborah Snyder and Emma Thomas and composer Hans Zimmer on his twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016), inspired by DC Comics characters created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane.
‘Maybe he’s just a guy trying to do the right thing.’
For the implicitly Reitman linked Clark/Kal-El ‘Superman’ Kent-played again by Cavill-battled the implicitly Wright linked Bruce ‘Batman’ Wayne-played by Ben Affleck-throughout the film. Indeed, an Ontario shaped hole that was created when Superman tossed Batman through a wall at one point in the film linked both heroes to Ontario and its film art, film artists and film ‘scholars’, implicitly affirming the Reitman and Wright roasting intent of the film. The sight of young Bruce Wayne-played by Brandon Spink-being traumatized by the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne-played by Jeffrey D. Morgan and Lauren Cohan, respectively-as they left a Temple Theatre playing the allegorical and implicitly Lucas addressing John Boorman film, EXCALIBUR (1981), at the beginning of the film also implicitly affirmed the link of Wayne to Wright. For this flashback prologue took Wayne out of the Thirties and linked him to perseverant Perceval and the early Eighties, evoking the traumatic TZ disaster that the equally perseverant Wright experienced in the early Eighties on July 23, 1982.
At any rate, the appearance of Jeremy Irons as Wayne’s faithful butler and implicitly Cronenberg linked aide de camp, Alfred, openly linked the two battling heroes and the film to Cronenberg and to Toronto and its film, film artists and film ‘scholars’. For Irons played the deviously doomed Mantle twins in the allegorical Cronenberg film, DEAD RINGERS (1988), and the equally doomed Rene Gallimard in the allegorical Cronenberg film, M. BUTTERFLY (1993). The appearance of Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch also implicitly affirmed the film’s link to Toronto, as her names evoked the apartment near Jane Street and Finch Avenue where I grew up in Toronto. Snyder also implicitly hoped that Reitman and Wright would put aside our differences and work together to advance the cause of film art, given that Batman and Superman eventually put aside their differences and united with Lane-played again by Adams-and the implicitly Coppola linked Diana ‘Wonder Woman’ Prince-played by Gal Gadot-to literally defeat the blockbuster and CGI enhanced beast in the embodied form of Doomsday and save the world at the end of BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. Significantly, given that Superman died saving the world, Snyder implicitly warned Reitman to watch out lest he be snared and killed by CGI enhanced blockbuster lusts.
Even more curiously, the same year Sean Baker implied that he had read this ‘insightful essay’ and had been amused by my idle threat to write an allegorical story that linked Cody and Reitman to the resignedly intrepid and L.A. based Latina prostitutes, Angela y Jacinta. For Baker implicitly turned the tables on me and linked me to the Latina half of a dynamic duo of resignedly intrepid and L.A. based transvestite prostitutes in his twilit and allegorical film, TANGERINE (2016).
‘I promise no drama, Alexandra!’
Indeed, the poor ol’ perennially backpack wearing Gardevil was implicitly linked to the poor ol’ perennially backpack wearing transvestite Hollywood prostitute, Sin-Dee Rella-played by Kitana K. Rodriguez-throughout TANGERINE. This implicit conclusion was supported by Sin-Dee-Rella’s film long tiff with ‘her’ implicitly Reitman linked pimp, Chester-played by James Ransone. Indeed, Chester’s blue and white bandanna and hoodie evoked the colours of Toronto, implicitly affirming his link to Toronto film art and film artists in general, while his Kendrick resembling other girl, Dina-played by Mickey O’Hagan-implicitly affirmed his link to the film art of Reitman in particular. The presence of Sin-Dee-Rella’s constant and resigned companion, Alexandra-played by Mya Taylor-also supported this implicit conclusion, as the name of Alexandra evoked the Royal Alexandra Theatre located near TIFF on King Street in Toronto, recent home to a successful run of the equally allegorical and exuberantly transvestite Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi ‘Sin-Dee’ Lauper musical, KINKY BOOTS, itself based on the also twilit, allegorical and implicitly Lucas addressing Julian Jarrold film, KINKY BOOTS (2005).
How fitting that the struggles of the bewigged Alexandra and Sin-Dee-Rella to retain their endearing and imperfect humanity on the callous and inhuman streets of L.A. evoked not only the struggle of Daryl Hannah’s equally bewigged pleasure replicant, Pris, to achieve a full humanity in the future L.A. of BLADE RUNNER, but the struggles of the main characters of the film art of Reitman to attain a full and vital albeit imperfect humanity! A struggle that implicitly continued when the brash, cocky and implicitly Reitman linked Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played again by Downey jr.-returned aided this time by his new digital assistant, Friday-played by Kerry Condon-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical Anthony and Joe Russo film, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016).
‘What gets you outta that twin bed in the morning?’
Curiously, the true climax of the film saw Stark leading a group of disgruntled and UN Sokovia Accord supporting superheroes mostly and implicitly linked to CGI avoiding and Canada linked film artists and film ‘scholars’ such as the implicitly Coppola linked Romanoff-played again by Johannson-the implicitly Cronenberg linked Vision-played again by Bettany-the implicitly Virgo linked Rhodes-played again by Cheadle-and the new, short, skinny, naïve, innocent, accident prone and film referencing Peter ‘Spider-Man’ Parker-who, in his hoodie and black and orange Tiger backpack evoked the poor ol’ Gardevil now more than Cronenberg as in earlier films, and played by Tom Holland-against another group of disgruntled and UN Sokovia Accord defying superheroes mostly implicitly linked to CGI embracing American film artists such as the implicitly Terry Gilliam linked Bucky ‘Winter Soldier’ Barnes-played by Sebastian Stan-the implicitly Richard Kelly linked Scott ‘Ant-Man’ Lang-played by Paul Rudd-and the implicitly Will Smith linked Sam ‘Falcon’ Wilson-played by Anthony Mackie-who were led by the implicitly Clint Eastwood linked Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers-played by Chris Evans. As the super showdown ended in a draw, the Russo Brothers implied that there was a place for CGI free allegorical film art in the age of CGI enhanced allegorical film art.
The canny, cocky and implicitly Reitman linked Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark-played again by Downey jr.-and Friday and Hogan-played again by Condon and Favreau, respectively-also reappeared to battle evildoers implicitly linked to TIFF bigwigs Handling and Bailey with the implicitly Gardevil linked Peter ‘Spider-Man’ Parker-played again by Holland-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical Jon Watts film, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017). Not to be outdone by Marvel, the implicitly Reitman linked Clark/Kal-El ‘Superman’ Kent-played again by Cavill-returned from the dead to team up again with the implicitly Cronenberg linked Alfred, the implicitly Cody linked Lane, the implicitly Coppola linked Prince and the implicitly Wright linked Wayne-played again by Irons, Adams, Gadot and Affleck, respectively-and with newcomers briefly glimpsed in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE like the implicitly Jay Baruchel linked Barry ‘Flash’ Allen-played by Ezra Miller-and the implicitly Luc Besson linked Arthur ‘Aquaman’ Curry-played by Jason Momoa-to battle to preserve an imperfect but vital humanity on Earth by defeating the implicitly Spielberg linked and CGI enhanced alien evildoer, Steppenwolf-voiced by Ciaran Hinds-and his legions of buggy and belligerent CGI enhanced alien parademons in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Snyder super satirical film, JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017).
Eager to trounce DC and Warners, the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical Russo Brothers film, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018), saw the implicitly Reitman linked Stark-played again by Downey jr.-aided again by Friday-played again by Condon-almost killed in the end when he rejoined the implicitly Cody linked Potts, the implicitly Virgo linked Rhodes and the implicitly Wright linked Parker-played again by Paltrow, Cheadle and Holland, respectively-and the familiar gang of implicitly film artist linked superheroes-now including Chris Pratt’s implicitly Luc Besson linked Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill-to battle Brolin’s implicitly Michael Eisner linked and Infinity Stones lusting Thanos and his major domo, the implicitly Jeffrey Katzenberg linked Ebony Maw-played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor-perhaps so new Disney CEO Iger could symbolically end the Eisner era-a new beginning that did not happen, as Thanos acquired all six Hollywood film studio evoking Infinity Stones and lived to fight another day. Another implicit super satirical film that Reitman again perhaps more subtly satirized when he teamed up again with Cody, Steelberg and Theron on his next twilit, allegorical, brash, idiosyncratic, indie, knowing, original, montage lovin’, shrewd and CGI enhanced film, TULLY (2018).
For the name of the film’s main character, Marlo Moreau-played by Theron-again evoked Lee’s love of giving his Marvel superheroes and their associates alliterative names like Peter Parker and Pepper Potts, implying that Reitman was replying to Marvel again as in JUNO, LABOR DAY and THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. The arrival of Moreau’s young, tireless and superheroic night nurse, Marlo ‘Mermaid’ Tully-played by Mackenzie Davis-who showed up the worn out and cranky Moreau by looking after her newborn and her two older children night after night reaffirmed the implication that Reitman was subtly roasting CGI enhanced super satirical films again. For she evoked the new and Kerry Condon voiced digital assistant, Friday, that helped Stark in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR after Bettany stopped contributing his voice to the previous helpful digital assistant, Jarvis, when ‘Jay’ transformed into the implicitly Cronenberg linked Vision in that same film. Thus, the sight and sound of Moreau releasing Tully, in the end, implied that Reitman was urging Hollywood to also release its current obsession with all these CGI enhanced super satirical films.
However, as Tully was actually Moreau’s younger, more energetic, unmarried and imaginary self, and Moreau eventually released Tully to preserve her vital and imperfect humanity and sanity and to reconnect with her long suffering husband, Drew-played by Ron Livingston-in the end, perhaps TULLY was another implicit message aimed at the poor ol’ Gardevil that again urged him to let go of the past and finally get a life. Indeed, to support that unusual implication, it was noticeable that Moreau was born on 6-7-77, evoking my birth in July of ’67 and the year my life was changed forever by the arrival of the allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977). It was also noticeable that the license of the Moreau family van was T4E 4812, linking the Moreaus to the fateful, twilit and disastrous year of 1982. In fact, Tully’s premarital surname also linked her to one of the first years of the dread allegorical Zone Wars as it evoked that of the implicitly Woody Allen and Toto linked Louis Tully-played by Rick Moranis-in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Reitman film, GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), reaffirming the possible Wright roasting intent of TULLY.
In addition, Moreau’s brother and sister-in-law, Craig and Elyse Tully-played by Mark Duplass and Elaine Tan, respectively-resembled and were implicitly linked to Reitman and his ex-wife, Michelle Lee. The presence of Xantha Radley as harried elementary school teacher Mrs. Marvish also supported that implication, as her name evoked both Mavis Gary and the Mervish live theatre supporting family in Toronto. The name of the Moreau’s newborn daughter, Mia-played by ?-reaffirmed that link to Mervish supported live theatre in Toronto, as it evoked MAMA MIA.
However, since the name of Marlo Tully also evoked that of Toronto film artist Sarah Polley and the three children of Tully also evoked the three films that Polley had made up to that point, perhaps the film was just a gentle implicit roast of Polley that urged her to release her youth and grow up. Curiously, however, an implicit interest in roasting the poor ol’ Gardevil continued when Reitman returned with Dever, Farmiga, Glicker, Saklad, Simmons and Steelberg in his next twilit, allegorical, brash, indie, idiosyncratic, original, shrewd, confident, knowing and montage lovin’ film, THE FRONT RUNNER (2018), whose focus on 1988 Democratic presidential hopeful, Senator Gary Hart-played by Hugh Jackman-brought another Gary into the film art of Reitman.
‘It’s not even ’82.
It’s different now.’
Indeed, the sight and sound of 1988 presidential front runner Sen. Hart losing the race after being brought down by his adulterous relationship with Donna Rice-played by Sara Paxton-a young blonde woman who resembled the young Tully in TULLY affirmed the implication that Reitman was blasting myself again and implicitly urging me again to let go of the past like Moreau released Tully at the end of TULLY so as to finally get a twilit free and twenty-first century life, in the end. The birthplace of Hart in Ottawa, Kansas affirmed the implicit message of THE FRONT RUNNER, linking Mavis Gary Hart to Ottawa, Ontario, reminding us that the poor ol’ Gardevil was born in North York, Ontario, a suburb that was now a part of the Toronto megacity. The signs proclaiming ‘Gary Hart for President’ reaffirmed his implicit link to a person linked to Canada and Toronto, for the sight of the supportive message spelled with blue letters on a white background or red letters on a white background reminded us that red and white were the official colours of Canada, and blue and white were the official colours of Toronto. The ability of Sen. Hart to cut through the bullshit and explain politics to people also evoked my desperate and tragicomic attempts to see through cinematic and literary allegories and explain them to people, reaffirming the implicit link of myself to Sen. Hart.
Ironically, however, THE FRONT RUNNER was as unsuccessful as TULLY and YOUNG ADULT, giving me the last laugh once more. Perhaps due to the fact that deep down in the invisible but definite and shrewd individual subconscious of each audience member who watched THE FRONT RUNNER it was understood that I was in the right in my tiff with Reitman, and Reitman was in the wrong. So right, that even a frustrated attempt to exorcise me and free the internet and the Temple Theatre of my irritatingly ‘insightful’ presence at the convulsive, ectospasmic and CGI enhanced boffo blockbuster climactic end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI entranced film, GHOSTBUSTERS 3 (202?)-no doubt with another gleefully diabolical and fiendishly sarcastic Cody screenplay-was doomed to failure. Indeed, how ironically fitting that the implicitly Reitman linked Stark-played again by Downey jr.-died saving the world and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) yet again by defeating the implicitly Eisner linked Thanos-played again by Brolin-and his mad minions at the end of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Russo Brothers super satirical film, AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), for the death of Stark affirmed that Reitman’s years as a brash, quirky and original indie film artist were over and his years as a creator of CGI enhanced blockbuster schlock like GHOSTBUSTERS 3 had begun. Not that Matt De La Pena noticed or cared if he did notice, for he implicitly linked Reitman and Cody to the sadolescent Clark ‘Superman’ Kent and his teen sweetheart, Gloria Alvarez, in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced novel Superman: dawnbreaker (2019), an implicit allegorical intent affirmed by the novel’s allusions to MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN and YOUNG ADULT.
Too bad, for until now the brash but subtle confidence, intelligence, originality, satire, opposition to the destruction of film art by excessively beastly CGI enhancement and implicit Zonebusting intent of the film art of Reitman were all admirable-indeed, had made him one of the best and most important film artists of the new millennium. However, his tacit acceptance and support of the infamous and infuriating TIFF One Hundred Essential Films and its dismissal of Canadian film art and artists-where was Mary Pickford? Mack Sennett? Nellie McClung? Allan Dwan? Norman Jewison? Denys Arcand? Don Shebib? Allan Moyle? James Cameron? Sandy Wilson? Patricia Rozema? Alanis Obomsawin? Zacharias Kunuk?-and his implicitly sarcastic response in YOUNG ADULT to my outrage over the ‘essential’ list had unfortunately also implied that while the confident and talented young film artist was the Reitman to roast Wright, Reitman had not entirely triumphed over his perfect and inhuman Dark Replicant Side. A Dark Side that now had Reitman in its insidious grip, making him create soulless CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts like GHOSTBUSTERS 3, preventing him from getting on with the fascination, the realization, the underlying theme and truly becoming an endearingly imperfect and fully human Slade Runner.
De La Pena, Matt. Superman: dawnbreaker. New York: