Twice today I cracked myself up while everyone around me remained stony-faced. First, after agreeing to review “99 Homes,” I bellowed “AND A BITCH AIN’T ONE. ” (Crickets.) Then, while discussing a financial issue, I bellowed, “MO MONEY, MO PROBLEMS.” (More crickets.) Perhaps the latter statement seemed too pathetically fantastical to be funny, given that I am notoriously un-moneyed. Perhaps a blond middle-aged lady barking rap lyrics was simply too problematic to be funny in any context. Either way, it is a good thing I am very confident that I am an absolutely highlarious human being or else I’d be developing a complex right about now.
I’m kind of joking (again) but it’s true that even when people don’t find me funny–which, quixotically, happens all the time— I tend to amuse myself. This may be an essential quality if you’re going to live alone, an argument for why ladies like me are best left to our own devices, or a genuinely radical act. I’m wondering if it’s all three. After all, given that most women are taught to titter at guys’ witticisms rather than attempt any of their own–given that most women are trained not to take up space, period–it’s an enormous transgression to say, “Fuck it, man. I’m just going to bust out these jokes regardless of whether you laugh.” And on that note, if none else, I am serious as a heart attack.
These days, Michael Bay is best known for his seemingly endless stream of “Transformer” movies but he’s also this country’s most unabashedly pro-military director; since “Pearl Harbor” (2001), he has demonstrated an enthusiasm for artillery-laden features whose guiding principle seem to be “Keep it butch, boy.” All lickety-split edits, percussive soundscapes, deafening blasts, grunted one-liners, and searing pops of primary color, it’s an aesthetic perfectly suited to Hollywood’s oddly bland code of neo-masculinity but one that doesn’t exactly lend nuance to, well, anything. Put bluntly, this makes him both the best and worst living director to tackle “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” the adaptation of Mitchell Zuckoff’s book about the six ex-military security contractors who defended two American bases in Benghazi, Libya, during the September 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Continue Reading →