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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

3-4-24 PDF
March 4, 2024
2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

The Heart of Twisted Cinema

I sat in a line with Nohshe, Mann, and Lizkin as we waited two hours for a special prerelease screening of Clark Gregg’s adaptation of Choke, a Chuck Palahniuk novel. I haven’t read it. I haven’t read anything by him, though I enjoyed the film adaptation of Fight Club. I expected a similar vibe from this film, with hints of punk cinema and a fashionably twisted ending sprinkled with a cast of morbid characters. Additionally, Clark Gregg himself was there to conduct a Q&A, hosted by Boston’s prodigious entertainment school Emerson College. It would be a delightful treat, I thought – something to take my mind off the spoiled economy foie gras.

Of course, two weeks earlier I had seen the trailer for this picture, and all hope of a spiritual sequel to Fight Club was washed away. Mediocre cinematography, flat acting, and a plot based entirely on predictable penis comedy and over-the-top dialogue. Like a raunchy sitcom at its worst.

The protagonist, Victor (played by Sam Rockwell, whose credits include Guy from Galaxy Quest and Head Thug from the 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), is a sex addict. His friend is a masturbation addict. They are colonial theme park workers. If you think these things are funny, then I bet you’ll enjoy this movie. Kelly Macdonald comes in from her subtle performance in No Country for Old Men as the love interest of Victor. There are sex scenes, and they are about as tasteless as the dialogue, though less awkward and forced than the jokes.

After it was over, the director came up and gave a Q&A. He was quick to ask the audience the variety of schools we came from – at least half of which were from Emerson; some Boston University, some Suffolk, us UMass Boston kids, and three Mass Art kids who sat next to me. All these students proudly boasted membership to their schools – as if it were the be-all-end-all of their meaning in life. The boy next to me struggled with the vastness of his lungs to get his beloved Mass Art recognized by the director, shouting three or four times amidst the chaos of the cheering crowd. That is when I realized that there was one school that was particularly underrepresented – a college that jumps above and beyond its requirements to give back to the community. I knew I was from UMass Boston, so I sought no validation from the college connoisseur standing up front – but instead I shouted triumphantly for my friends at “Bunker Hill!” And that rightly shut everybody up.

During the Q&A, the kid next to me raised his hand and proceeded to complement director Clark Gregg (also actor and professional douche bag) on his minor, but evidently memorable, role in Iron Man. I imagined that for anyone to truly have noticed that role, he or she would have either seen that movie too many times, or have seen his other brilliant performances as Muckle in Hoot or the titled Supernerd in Artificial Intelligence. The student next to me fumbled his words, reverting back to an elementary vocabulary when brought under the auspicious vision of his newfound idol: “So… you were like the best… non-character… character… in that movie.”

Another student commented on his great decision to include the Radiohead song “Reckoner” at the end of the film. His response: he loved Radiohead, with all the deepness of his perverse, shallow heart. The crowd erupted in applause with volcanic volume that could mute any competing noise save the sound of the audience’s combined egos swelling over their shared taste and the aggrandizing validation of a half-rate film director. But I too felt a sweltering inside me, and I vowed never to listen to my former favorite In Rainbows song “Reckoner” again lest I become on of them.

I got up and made for the lobby, abandoning Nohshe, Mann, and Lizkin during my contemplation. “What did you think?” they would ask. What could I possibly think? I thought as I made through the crowd of positively thrilled college students – the proud members of Emerson’s film division. What could anyone think?