|Starship Captain Syd certainly doesn’t understand how important the guy next to him is.|
I’ve known Syd for 15 years now (that’s right, I counted) and over that course of time I’ve watched him play in a handful of awesome bands. I met him when he was in Seaside Panel, but since then he has gone on to play in bands like City of Ghosts, Lee Van Cleef, and Visiting Nurse to name a few. He also was the cofounder of the now defunct podcast The Argument. Sure, we all know he’s a bodacious musician and an even better friend, but what gets this guy riled up? Music, comics and movies, that’s what.
If I am a nerd, then Syd Bishop is the king of nerds. His knowledge of comics puts mine to shame, and yeah, I do feel shame over things like this. He can out quote Star Trek and Predator more than any dude I’ve ever met, and seriously, that’s saying something. Syd loves movies, and like me, he especially prefers sci-fi and horror films, so I asked him a few questions about them. Because it is Monday, after all..
Never Nervous: What was your favorite movie of the last year, and what was so good about it?
Syd Bishop: It’s hard to pick just one and this is America, so I won’t. I play by my own rules. Last week I saw a movie that I really liked named “Under The Skin.” How I managed to find the time to watch this movie AND not fall asleep while tending to a newborn infant is both a testament to how interesting this movie is, and also the fact that I’m a goddamned hero, son. And I get to say “son” now, because I’m for real a dad and shit.
Seriously though, “Under the Skin” was bizarrely horrifying and thought provoking. Set in Scotland, the film follows Scarlett Johansson as something wholly otherworldly. What her character is remains entirely nebulous throughout the film; she’s a cypher reflected only by her initially inhuman actions, an impersonal predator that hunts based on her sexuality. It’s largely quiet, moved more by the phenomenal score and the striking and often disturbing visuals than any dialogue, but this only intensifies the mystery.
My other favorite movie from this year was Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. As super hero movies go, this is far and away one of my absolute favorites. It plays more like the most righteous Bourne movie, and less like the sort of camp that tends to be associated with super heroics. And it’s incredibly relevant to MCU continuity, which is a thing I get nerdy about. I mean, they referenced Dr. Strange and resurrected Hydra, which not only put a serious threat back into that world, but also refreshed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a way that was long over due. And there was an Ed Brubaker cameo, which made me very happy.
Now, I would very much like to see Interstellar. Not sure how feasible that is at the moment to cut out to the movies, but it’s high on my entertain priority list. I love Christopher Nolan and trust him implicitly. I honestly can’t think of any movie he has done that I didn’t love. And Matthew McConaughey is riding pretty high in my book after the amazing job he did on True Detective earlier this year. So I have pretty high hopes for that to possibly take the cake for favorite movie once all is said and done.
NN: Share one of your favorite horror movies, preferably one we may not know about.
SB: The Shining far and away. It does what I want horror movies to do, which is to couch it’s terror in the unknown, obscuring it’s supernatural elements with a haze of paranoia. Did any of the supernatural stuff happen in the movie or was it all in Jack’s head? I prefer the former to the later, but it’s definitely a puzzle to figure out. In fact, many people have tried to solve that puzzle to some laughably insane results. As an addendum here, if you want to facepalm the shit out of your hand, please watch Room 237 to learn how Kubrick faked the moon landing or something. Fuck everything.
Speaking of, Kubrick’s handling of the material is spot on. Gone is the corny ending that Stephen King had in mind, although to be fair, I’ve never been a particular fan of any of his work (except for the Shawshank Redemption, which I assume is as good as the movie). He writes like a twelve year old that just learned how to cuss writing a Young Authors book about a haunted desk lamp. That Kubrick made it a multi-layered statement on sanity and depravity on a personal level and on manifest destiny and hubris on a larger scale, is a monument to his immeasurable talent as a director.
And again the score is top notch, which is a critical component to my appreciation of most movies.
NN: How was your last going-to-the-theater-to-see-a-movie experience? Did you like the movie? Was the audience behaved?
SB: The last movie I saw in the theater was another superhero movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. I was excited for the movie going in, and strangely proud of Marvel for taking a chance with an unknown quantity. I read this tweet somewhere, possibly the most important tweet about comics ever, that made fun of DC for not getting it’s act together and making a Wonder Woman movie, while Marvel is like “fuck it… let’s put a talking tree and gun toting Racoon in a movie.” I wasn’t quite as overwhelmed as I thought I would be, especially since (spoiler alert!) the movie basically ends with a cosmic powered carebear stare, but I was happy and would watch it again. I bet the sequel is going to kill, since they won’t have to spend any significant amount of time with origin stories.
As far as the audience, I don’t recall anyone acting foolish. My favorite story about rotten crowds came about seven or eight years ago at a showing of The Proposition. Completely unrelated to me, Ryan Patterson was there. Some teens sat between my group and his, playing with their iWhatevers and talking like it was party time. Patterson, a gruff and imposing figure, said something to them, and they walked out.
Last year I went to Pacific Rim with my wife. Some old people came in, sat right next to us despite there being loads of available seats, talked to each other like there wasn’t a movie happening, answered a cellphone, and complained about the last movie they had just walked out of, which was some Sandler movie. I wish Patterson had been there for that, like the Ghost of GTFO or something. Fortunately, if I’ve learned anything about the elderly it’s that the site of giant robots fighting giant monsters is like the anti-Matlock and they roll tide asap. Fucking see ya.