Friday, November 05, 2010


Originally I was going to structure this as one of my increasingly-rare Random Thoughts posts, complete with a fake Larry King quote for a title and everything.  I thought it would be a good catchall way to mention a few things in passing, like the death of writer Monica Johnson (who co-wrote most of Albert Brooks' films and contributed scripts to the best sitcom of all time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and the results of Tuesday's election.  But the more I thought about those election results, particularly here in newly-Red State Iowa, the more depressed I got, and that's the kind of thing I'm trying to get away from, in my writing and my life.

Besides, there's something much more important to talk about.  Like this Spider-Man musical.

The mounting disaster known as Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is nicely detailed here, but the brief version is: Thanks to an incredibly drawn-out conceptual period imposed by "visionary" director Julie Taymor, who is apparently uninterested in such niceties as telling a story or keeping actors safe, this seemingly foolproof money-spender is burning through millions of dollars a week even as its opening date keeps getting pushed back.  It was supposed to open in a few days (hell, it was originally supposed to open last February, but whatever), but apparently Taymor and the show's composers, U2's Bono and The Edge, haven't even figured out how to integrate the songs into the thing yet, which would seem to be Priority One for a musical, but again, whatever.

Now I could use this story as a pretext to indulge my irrational hatred for Bono and The Edge.  It's nothing compared to my seething contempt for Jason Mraz or Marc Fucking Cohn, but aside from the fact that one's a pretentious, self-important douchebag and the other one has been recycling the same damned riff for decades now, there's the sad fact of guys in their fifties calling themselves Bono and The Edge.  Face it, guys, even Johnny Cougar is a less embarrassing rock star name.

And I could point out that whatever alleged innovations Taymor has in mind seem wildly misplaced, because really, who gives a sweet shit?  It's a Spider-man musical; get the Flying By Foy guys to figure out how to make him climb walls, write a stirring power ballad that includes the phrase "with great power comes great responsibility," market the whole thing to families and comic book geeks and call it a day. 

But what really pisses me off about this show is the title: Turn Off The Dark?  What does that even mean?  And why should anybody care?  I mean, yeah, Marvel Comics manages some hilariously overwrought titles on their own, but this is just ridiculous.  It's the kind of would-be poetic nonsense you'd expect from some cheap poseur who desperately wants you to think he's much deeper than he is.

But again, it's co-written by Bono, so I guess it's appropriate after all.