by DICK CHENEY
You might think that Sansa Stark waffling around the North, screaming “House Stark still lives!” and then administering dirty looks to the rest of the cast is wretched television, but it is something of a relief after X-Men: Apocalypse. I was recently forced to view this period drama in theaters because of my wife Lynne, who demands we view every James McAvoy joint as soon as possible. “You never know when it’ll happen,” she explained to me, stuffing kettle corn into mouth, “the instant where you will see Professor Xavier’s dick.”
That moment seemed to approach during a scene where Professor Xavier wheels himself into Jean Grey/Sansa Stark’s room one night. She has already made a ton of odd markings on the walls with her mind, some of which looked like splooge. But Professor Xavier isn’t the type to play around with his students, and he was wisely a lot more interested in Rose Byrne.
Jean Grey was always played by a very beautiful woman with tons of innate pathos. It is a very difficult thing to pretend to suffer, and as she was enslaved, raped and tortured throughout her run on Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark always looked only mildly inconvenienced, as if she were holding in a breath she could release when the scene is over.
To be completely honest, both of the female leads in X-Men: Apocalypse are quite homely, and it is a chore to sit through a movie where everyone spends half their screen time musing about what a legendary beauty Jennifer Lawrence is. There are even posters worshiping her, and other young mutants explain how they want to be exactly like her. It’s so forced, especially since the one thing a shapeshifter is unlikely to be known for are the dimensions of her real face.
The villain in all of this is Oscar Isaac, who is 5’2″ soaking wet. They dress him up to look just like the Emperor at first, although he eventually puts on all his armor and becomes slightly more forboding, if still a tiny collection of powers. Enlisted in his cause is Olivia Munn, whose skills in the Stanislavsky Method are best expressed during periods of absolute silence. Fortunately she has like six lines in the entire movie and she does her relatively easy job of making Sansa Stark seem young and lovely in comparison.
Thrones was only mildly more entertaining this week. There really isn’t much left in the North. Even Lyanna, the young Queen of Bear Island, was incredibly bored by the sibling duo, so much so that that illiterate fuck Ser Davos had to step in and show off his proficiency at speaking the language of children. “You’re really brave and smart!” he crowed as Lyanna consulted her male advisers about what kind of bald dunce was paying her such mediocre compliments. Normally when young women are told they are fierce, it can come across as somewhat patronizing. But Ser Davos has that way about him. He can talk almost anyone into an early grave.
The story involving the return of Sandor Clegane was incredibly predictable and featured him chopping wood for a good ten minutes of the episode. Clegane’s path of redemption would have to take him back to kill Brienne, or maybe that is only what I hope will happen. For the most part, the only thing that I felt was sadness Deadwood did not go on for at least eight seasons.
This episode seemed a bit scattered, strung together by the magnificent sets the show badly needed in years past but could never get the funding for. Reusing Stannis Baratheon’s camp above Winterfell was a funny touch, and the sight of Riverrun and Braavos almost made me feel like I actually was living in another place and time. Just as quickly we were whisked away to some other venue, where I had to start getting that damp feeling all over again.
X-Men: Apocalypse suffers from much the same problem of disjointment. I understand on Game of Thrones the point of having such a large and diverse cast (except racially) is that discrete stories and motivations eventually interact with one another, but damn they take their time. All the stars of X-Men: Apocalypse spend most of the film completely separated. McAvoy has absolutely no one to play off of except Beast, the dullest mutant in history, while Michael Fassbender spends most of running time whining about all the people he has killed and working in a foundry like some anonymous doofus.
Things will at least come together on Thrones for a greater reason than Oscar Isaac living out his disturbed fantasies of being a giant. Arya will make her way to Riverrun, since it makes all the geographic sense in the world, where she can hopefully execute Jamie Lannister. There was not a lot of stress involved in watching her get stabbed, since they have all but promised never to kill her, but it will be good to see what waiting arms she falls into. Knowing my luck, it’ll be either Iain Glen or Jennifer Lawrence.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.
“Darling” – Albin Lee Meldau (mp3)