Swampflix Review: Ant-Man (2015)

EPSON MFP imageThis review was originally posted on Swampflix.com on July 20, 2015. The rating was 4.5/5 Stars. 

When I was a kid, I had a deep and abiding fondness for any film or movie property that featured small people finding novel uses for normal-sized implements. I voraciously read The Borrowers and the sequels to it that my local library happened to have, and I have clear memories of the television series The Littles airing in the mornings before kindergarten, although I’m sure it was well into syndication by then. My absolute favorite, however, was always Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, with its theme park-esque magnification of the trials and travails of one’s own backyard (including one particularly nasty scorpion, which I have no doubt instilled a phobia of the arachnid in an entire generation of children, myself included). Ant-Man has many moments that directly reminded me of sequences in Honey. Part of that might be that the Alamo Drafthouses specialize in editing together interesting footage tangentially related to the film being screened, and my nostalgia goggles were primed due to the inclusion of the scene from Honey in which the Szalinski’s daughter first befriends Anty; moreover, Ant-Man takes pleasure in revisiting the magic of the ant’s eye view. Overall, it’s a fun ride.

Continue reading “Swampflix Review: Ant-Man (2015)”

The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (3010)

Note: The following is a reader’s response to William Alexander Percy’s Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son, written for Professor Michael Pasquier’s Reli 3010 (Religion in the Americas) class during the Spring 2010 semester. Date of creation: March 24, 2010. Please note, also, that insensitive racial terminology is used only in reference to the original text.

The nature of the post-Reconstruction South is one of dualism and dichotomy, and in few places is this more well evinced than the figure of William Alexander Percy, author of Lanterns on the Levee.

His rhetoric smacks of condescension, but it is an egotism tempered by what was, for his time, a progressive ideology. Kindness born out of a sense of responsibility (even if it is the supposed responsibility of the more enlightened man to lift his “lesser” fellow man) to better one’s countryman because he is “less evolved” is still better than using that same reasoning as an excuse to buy, sell, and trade human beings like baseball cards. Percy’s attitude is unconcealed, and while the language used is often shocking to the modern man, with his (more) enlightened worldview, the fact that one can find ethical dissonance with Percy, who, compared to his contemporaries, is a bastion of modern values, is encouraging for the state of current race relations. Percy does not shy away from delineating all that he finds despicable in the character of the “Negro,” spending much of the chapter “A Note on Racial Relations” describing the myriad ways in which those African Americans he vouched for and trusted managed to betray that trust, including one notable incident wherein he allowed a man named Jim to stay on his property and serve in his home, to protect him from potential reprisal from a sheriff who may or may not have abused Jim in prison. Jim proceeded to steal as many of Percy’s small possessions as he could carry.

Continue reading “The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (3010)”