Some Hollywood adaptations go through the motions of the full original story, typically regarded as a boon for new viewers unfamiliar with the original. Some of your more challenging renditions assume everyone knows the original text backwards and forwards, thus giving the filmmakers leeway to invert, subvert, satirize, or otherwise frame it through a cracked lens from an askew angle. With the visually majestic misadventure of The Green Knight, writer/director David Lowery (whose riff on Disney’s Pete’s Dragon was straightforward and exceeded every expectation) opts for the latter treatment and avoids the easy way out, the road taken by far too many King Arthur flops. The tale of Sir Gawain and his verdant nemesis recently came up in the BOOM! Studios series Once and Future, which benefited me as an advance refresher. Other viewers who came into it cold might have questions and argue about it with the driver the entire way home. Which is fine! Arguing about cinema is much more fun offline than on-.
If now is not the time for a tortured metaphor involving a convoluted board game set in a fictional universe created by a flagrant racist, I don’t know when is.
Once upon a time, there was a cute little reindeer candle. I have no idea who gave him to us or on which Christmas, but we accepted him with open arms into our diverse family of Christmas decorations. Unlike other reindeer, he was white and chubby, but no one made cruel albino jokes or excluded him from reindeer games. If anything, he reminded me of me. Like many other candles, he was made of wax and topped with a fuse. Perhaps he was made to chase away the dark, but to us he was too cute and innocuous to light up.
When I retrieved our Christmas decorations from the attic last week, during the unpacking phase I discovered to my dismay that the attic’s complete lack of environmental controls had taken an unkind toll on the little reindeer candle. The summer heat had jump-started the melting process, no open flame required. His hooves and horns were now deformed. A homemade yarn-and-popsicle-stick from someone’s childhood had melded with his poor, softened, formerly rotund face. I yanked it off as delicately as I could, but several strands and dog hairs were stuck fast, leaving him with a scraggly, patchy, mountain-man countenance. He didn’t look very happy to be rescued.