The revered Japanese director Akira Kurosawa came into the world on this date, so here we go with:
Let’s just get some of the obvious matchups out of the way:
SUPER vs. Defendor: SUPER
SUPER vs. Kick-Ass: Kick-Ass
SUPER vs. Special: SUPER
I’ll let you figure out whether SUPER beats Ran or not, because some decisions a person just has to make on their own.¬† Originally, I planned on putting Ran up against Throne of Blood, which is another Kurosawa film that was based on one of Shakespeare’s plays (King Lear and Macbeth, respectively).¬† But, after sitting through Ran‘s nearly three-hour running time, I wanted to watch something a little less heavy.¬† I looked at the stack of movies I picked up from the video store and simply wasn’t ready to take on Throne of Blood.¬† So, you get SUPER instead.
Not that these don’t have anything in common.¬† There’s plenty of blood-spraying violence in both of them, as well as some major dramatics.¬† Also, a quote from each film struck me as being kind of similar:
Ran: Men prefer sorrow over joy… suffering over peace!
SUPER: Happy people are kind of arrogant.
Now, I don’t know if either of those are entirely true. ¬† What I do know is that these movies are on the depressing side.¬† Ran pretty much is required to be since it’s based on a Shakespearean tragedy.¬† With SUPER, I had trouble differentiating the dark comedic bits from the parts that seemed straight-up sad.¬† And believe me, there is one part that crushed my spirits momentarily.¬† It reminded me of those times as a kid when you’re joking around with sharp objects or the neighbor’s ill-tempered dog, and then somebody ends up with stitches.¬† But worse.
I should add that there is a dangerous woman in both flicks.¬† Ran has Lady Kaede, who orchestrates a very thorough revenge plot and licks blood off a guy’s neck that she sliced with a knife.¬† SUPER gives you the homicidal superhero sidekick Boltie, who also does some slicing.¬† Ellen Page plays Boltie.¬† I used to think that Whip It! was her most adorable performance, but her work in SUPER had me beaming. (Probably because every guy wants a girlfriend who idolizes him, is psychopathic and wears a superhero outfit.) ¬†¬†
Whether you’re more partial to Kurosawa or James Gunn (or neither), these are both entertaining movies in their own way.¬† SUPER even has an uplifting message about doing good for others so they might do good as well.¬† That may sound like Pay It Forward, but SUPER is better than that.¬† (I think Ran‘s message is that if you have three children, two of them will betray you and leave your kingdom in ruins.¬† Sound advice.)¬† ¬†
Joan Crawford would’ve been 107 today, so maybe some of you out there would like to ponder this matchup:
You have Joan as a mother who toils selflessly for her ungrateful daughter in Mildred Pierce vs. Joan (played by Faye Dunaway) who terrorizes her daughter in Mommie Dearest.¬† The latter film is based on a book written by Crawford’s adopted daughter about her abusive childhood.¬† Not everyone agrees if the book is true or embellished, but it makes for an entertainingly disturbing movie.¬† This is Christina Crawford discussing the book with Phil Donahue: