Damn it there’s movie talk in this one, I guess I gotta chime in…
I don’t hate Baz Luhrmann! I sort of abstractly get why a lot of people do, but I don’t. There are a lot of stylistic maximalists I hate and Baz Luhrmann is not one of them. His goal is to present ultra-classical narratives in a tone of screaming, breathless post-MTV kitsch that matches their subjects, and he does exactly what he sets out to do and I find it perfectly enjoyable for what it is. His stuff, however loud and empty it may be, is way, way too heart-on-sleeve sincere and playful for me to hate. There’s always some wild CG transition or audacious soundtrack cue or gonzo performance just around the corner in his films, and they never leave me bored for one second which is more than I can say for a lot of “good” movies. I enjoyed Elvis and imo it’s totally worth seeing just for the duality of Austin Butler’s mesmerizingly good performance next to Tom Hanks’s hilariously bad one. If there’s anyone in video games producing Luhrmann’s level of raging kitsch with his level of technical competence and enthusiasm… I don’t even know who that’d be. Whoever’s in charge of Sonic Team these days? Tetsuya Nomura??
I also want to call out the pod for totally plagiarizing my post in the games general thread just the other day about BioShock Infinite being the Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! of video games. I also made the Guillermo del Toro comparison mentally while playing it, so clearly I need to don the tinfoil hat to keep you guys from stealing my private thoughts. (GdT comparisons aren’t quite compliments from me these days, though - last week I watched Crimson Peak and that one really hammered home everything I dislike about his post-Pan’s Labyrinth output.)
Honestly though, Ken Levine is totally the Christopher Nolan of video games. Same teen boy pseudointellectual energy, same caustic indifference to human subjects and images of violence, same vague reactionary slant, same obsession with spectacle and gimmickry over actual form and depth. I haven’t played System Shock 2 so idk if it’s actually good, but at least Aronofsky has made some watchable films in addition to some absolutely insufferable ones. (The Wrestler, which has the benefit of being written by someone else, is even downright good.)