I flew across country last weekend and filled part of the time in the air watching (or attempting to watch) two blockbuster movies: Wonder Woman and The Accountant. I’d been holding out on these for the simple reason that I rarely see any movies and if I do I see them on a small screen. Both of these movies are about mythology but it was shocking to me how little effort was made by the Wonder Woman people, especially when compared to The Accountant people, who went way overboard in their efforts. It was like Ben Affleck watched John Wick and said, I want that! Make me that! Whereas in Wonder Women it was like, hey, what if we kill off Zeus and no one gives as shit, we just mention it in passing. Lazy-ass writing drives me up a wall. Meanwhile The Accountant is so full of … mythology it’s kind of sick. He’s Severely Autistic! He’s Military! His Dad’s a Bully! Martial Arts Training, with Asian Masters! He’s in Prison! He can Shoot Like Nobody’s Business! Hits Melons from a Mile Away! He’s Awesome at Math because did you forget he’s Severely Autistic! And he’s Awkward with Women! He Works for The Mob! He’s an International Sensation! He’s Got Principles (all of a sudden)!
All in all, two hilarious movies for all the wrong reasons.
Some of my favorite shows lately are converging on the theme of Alternate Realities, a.k.a. Parallel Universes. We’ve seen this in Twin Peaks The Return (where the ending is clearly an intro to yet another universe), in Man in the High Castle, where season three promises a Nazi invasion of a parallel universe, and Mr. Robot as well, where White Rose is apparently intent on breaking through to his doppelgänger in some other universe so they can merge personalities and whatnot, and Angela thinks that in this other universe Evil Corp did not kill her mother with cancer. Good luck to all of them, I say. I wonder how much of this trend is due to the emergent split personality of America, fostered deliberately by Fox News and now broken through by the whole Trump madness, where it seems we are all occupying two completely different realities simultaneously.
I thought of this at the JFK airport last weekend when our gate – #11 in Terminal #7 – did not actually exist. There was an #11A and a #12, and the signage at #12 informed us that our flight had already departed – two hours from now. For a moment it seemed possible to switch timelines and I hoped, for that moment, to take my family with me to the other universe where who-the-hell-knows-who’s-in-charge but at least not the particular monster currently inhabiting ours and poisoning the general thought-o-sphere with his fart-joke-foreign-policy and incipient racist genocide. But it turned out that JFK is just a shitty airport.
In the end, The Accountant is pretty much John Wick and Wonder Woman is pretty much Super Man and retreads still get you cash on the barrelhead. Scientists and science fiction writers may wish and wish real hard for a parallel universe to come cracking through the atmosphere, but my money is on No, Not Happening, Sorry.
Might as well build your own mythology – just please don’t make Athena your high maintenance girlfriend!