CURRENTLY BINGEING: Same Villains, No Heroes

New York-based writer Jacob Seferian dissects the latest film releases, TV trends and streaming sites’ most-discussed new titles. This week, he explores Hollywood's fascination with anti-heros.

When Martin Scorsese, geriatric auteur of your dad’s favourite gangster movies, said superhero films aren’t “cinema,” people got very mad. I’m not sure why, since I understood comic book nerds to be, if not comfortable, at the very least used to being mocked. And what’s another passing verbal indignity when the film and television market caters almost exclusively to your tribe? I drank a large coke and had to piss three times during THE BATMAN (by Rick Owens), roughly once an hour. Which was my biggest takeaway: too long! Also, twinks shouldn’t be allowed to play Batman. However, the film proved a major moment for latent Nirvana fans.

At liberal arts college, you’d hear people insist that the X-Men is an allegory for queer people and the prejudice we endure. I always found this argument flimsy, mostly resulting in kids starved for representation inadvertently calling themselves mutants. But you can, like, trace the social construct of a hero’s journey to antiquity, so I understand the itch Marvel and DC comics scratch. Why then, with the amount of world-class talent superhero movies now attract, remake over-told stories?

Still from Everything Everywhere All At Once

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is an awesome example of what’s possible when you meet the masses’ impulse for strobe-y violence with originality and pathos. A visual spectacle which juxtaposes multiverse travel with the banality of taxes and family dynamics, the film made everyone in the theatre laugh, then cry. Our lives, while we’re barely handling the indignity of living them, may not seem epic, but existing often feels like a Herculean task. The flick transcends the ‘you are the hero of your own story’ bullshit and finds something layered and beautiful. That’s cinema, dude! 

I half-heartedly started THE DROPOUT, which chronicles the misdoings of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes, another girlboss gone bad. This new subgenre is growing tiresome, as our society refuses to address the core problems which create this type of villain. It’s not charming to see streamers spend millions depicting stories of capitalist greed only to feed their own. There’s a WeWork series, and soon, an Uber series… if I still took stimulants, I’d be inclined to argue that telling these stories through the perspectives of corrupt founders is a strategic move to shift focus onto bad seeds versus the economic conditions that encourage, nay, incentivize corporate malpractice. It’s not whistleblowing if everyone already knows these assholes are assholes. However, I’m starting to believe that our modern purgatory is less purposeful than darkly ironic. Instead of societal accountability, we’ll have to settle for cinematic schadenfreude. A wink and an ass grab: chin up, proletariat!

In spite of the millennial compulsion to blame our parents, or call them emotionally repressed, older generations have weathered struggles we erratically acknowledge. Hardships we’d unlikely be able to manage in the glow of our phones and the conviction of our mood disorders.

I am a bad writer for I didn’t read the book, but I’m loving PACHINKO on Apple TV+. It’s a remarkable display of production value, acting and resisting the urge to Spell It Out™, like a lot of Western art. Though my experience exists far away from the characters depicted, I cannot stop thinking about the show’s themes. In spite of the millennial compulsion to blame our parents, or call them emotionally repressed, older generations have weathered struggles we erratically acknowledge. Hardships we’d unlikely be able to manage in the glow of our phones and the conviction of our mood disorders. I find myself leaning on the strength and wisdom of the people who built the pedestal I Tweet from more than ever.

<strong>Jacob Seferian</strong>
Jacob Seferian

Jacob Seferian is a writer and editor living in New York City. His work has appeared in over 13 magazines, and he’s allegedly working on a novel.

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