Freed Financially, Or, Big Ass Sellout?

This is so sad to admit, but I didn’t get to watch Spiderman 2 until yesterday afternoon, a full 6 days after it’s release. I know it comes as a shock that your friendly neighborhood Geek took so long to watch the further adventures of your friendly neighborhood spider. (God, I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to use write that line, sweet)! Before I continue, I should probably give my quick review of the picture. I thought it was a near perfect comic book movie. Like Hellboy, Spiderman 2 wasn’t afraid to acknowledge that it was a superhero film, with all the superhero clich?s. The story was heartfelt and at times touching. The action was directed perfectly and thanks to improved CGI, did not look like a cut scene from a Playstation 2 game. This Geek actually caught himself tearing up a bit during a few key scenes. Granted, your favorite Geek can get a tad emotional, but the film has some genuinely touching moments. Those who have seen the movie know which parts I speak of. Alfred Molina who (unlike poor William Defoe) was actually allowed to express AND display his emotions played the villain perfectly. Moreover, as a bad guy Doc Ock was always a bit more sympathetic. However, by far the best scene in the entire film was the harrowing surgery scene that I had read about so many times on various fanboy sites. Everywhere I went I kept hearing phrase like: “It was Evil Dead 2 all over again”, “I saw the old Sam Raimi in that hospital room”, “Fans of old school Raimi will cheer”. Well let me tell you friends… Those quotes were right on fricken target! So very great


This reminded me of a conversation I had with a certain director who has a creepy obsession with Wil Wheaton…

She knows that I have great respect for and often study the work of Sam Raimi. She would take great pleasure in letting me know that Sam turned his back on his roots when he directed the first Spiderman. He didn’t cast Bruce Campbell as the title character. (She found an old interview where Sam mentioned he always wanted Bruce to play the nerdy Peter Parker…Now, I love Bruce, but we all know that Peter Parker is ONE role the king could never play). In her mind, that was one strike against Mr. Raimi’s integrity as a director. I could argue that he wasn’t serious, and that Bruce really wouldn’t make a good Spiderman. She relented, but then reminded me of how stale the directing of the first Spiderman was. She claimed that the man that I idolized and studied had sold out. That he gave up all his artistic credibility for product placement and simple (i.e. safe) camera work. I ranted and raved. I mocked all her lame French directors (one of whom I actually respect but will NEVER fess up to). How dare she mock Raimi! Bloody heathen! Sure, he made some films that were typical Hollywood drivel (For the Love of the Game), but he also cranked out some non-horror gems (A Simple Plan, The Gift). She merely huffed and said, “Uh huh, and how long did he linger on that Dr. Pepper can in Spiderman”. I lowered my head. “Face it Aaron, your Sam has sold out and has become just another Hollywood hack. My French boys may not make the money, but they have respect at the end of the day”. I then told her to suck it long and hard and we went back to drinking our coffee…

Dammit…She was…was…was…right…

It was starting to look like Sam had sold out. Then I started to wonder if it was possible to make the movies you wanted without selling out just a little bit. See, Sony had invested a ton of money into Spiderman, their first major motion picture. It was a pretty big risk to hire Raimi as the director. This was a guy that had a strong cult following but never really had a mainstream hit. I can completely understand why Sony would keep a tight rope on him and make sure he got shots that promotions and sales people had promised to various companies. The first Spiderman made a whole grip of money though. Sony seemed to breathe a little easier and eased up on Mr. Raimi. That scene in the hospital proved it. It was like watching the Sam of old. Forced perspectives. Zoom-Pop shots. A chainsaw. Hell, there were even a couple of Sam-O-Cam shots. I kept waiting for a deadite to rush into the room and possess Doctor Octavious. It was great and I did indeed cheer.

Is that what it takes? Do you have to sell out just a little bit? Is it even selling out if you know that the “man” will back off a bit the next time he hands you the reigns? I don’t think so. I’ll admit, my love for Sam has never waived and I’m sure I cut him a bit more slack then others may. I’ll continue look up at him as my inspiration. I’ll continue to study his work and wonder how he pulled off some shots. Hell, I still read “The Evil Dead Companion” whenever I feel myself getting creatively burned out. So, I guess that means I’ll have to sell out just a little bit someday to ensure that I’ll get to make the movie I REALLY want to make. Truthfully, I’m okay with that…Hope Nerdy Girl is too…