5 Questions About That Netflix Will Smith Thing

Bright is an original made-for-Netflix film about Will Smith being Will Smith, opposite an orc, fighting fantasy evil. The film’s about as good as any cynical, world-weary person would expect. Which is to say, it’s not all that great. The argument I’ve mostly been hearing about the film is whether it’s good enough to finish. 

I have some other concerns.

Does anyone else miss the titular songs in movies that describe the movie? Like Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” about the Ninja Turtles? Mc Hammer’s “Addams Family Groove“? Run DMC’s “Ghostbusters II Rap“? Will Smith’s very own “Men In Black” and “Wild Wild West“?

Listen, I know that Will Smith is probably still reeling from Wild Wild West, but he needs to recover. Writing another rap anthem for his blockbusters is immersion therapy.

Is Will Smith ever not a cop? He is an officer of the law/government in his biggest movies and series: Bad BoysMen In Black, Independence Day, I Robot, I am Legend, Bright, and — of course — Wild Wild West. Plus possibly some of his other movies I haven’t seen.

So, like… is racism… bad? In this film, humans constantly shit all over orcs (metaphorically). It’s weird to watch a person of color act racist. Shouldn’t he be more compassionate? Maybe the orcs were the slaves instead? 

Contemporary race/class structures among humans do still seem to exist.

For example, there is a Latinx gang we meet. They are a slapdash collection of uncomfortable-to-watch Chicano tropes. It’s fairly clear that, at the very least, these particular people are in a position to choose this unsavory life. So humans still have some sort of disparity within them.

But the orcs are still the worst.

While I was watching the movie, I was like “how the fuck is racism still a thing in this universe?” Then remembered that, in the real world, humans are shitty to other humans. So there’s that.

People are racist, maaaaaaan.

Was this written by a committee of 13-year-olds? The two legs that the plot stands on are: 1) Racism Is Bad; and 2) Violence Is Fun. The plot is so simple that it feels like a few young teens on Adderall came up with it.

“I want a bunch of shit to blow the fuck up,” Mike said.

“I think there should be magic,” Joe said. “Like, sexy, backflipping elves.”

“But, like, an underlying message, maybe about racism being bad?” Ella said.

“Can Will Smith do a rap?” Joe said.

“I don’t think he does that any more,” Mike said. “Don’t worry. We’ll include a gratuitous strip club scene. Tits.”

“And one of the cops is a centaur,” Ella said.

What now? Despite being torn asunder by critics, Netflix has ordered a sequel.

We can only hope the cop centaur gets a bigger role.

What music should you be ashamed of liking?

Should you be ashamed of the sounds your ears like hearing? At what age do you stop apologizing and start listening to whatever you want, balls to the wall?

At work, we put on a Spotify “guilty pleasures playlist.” It started out really strong:

Photograph of Vertical HorizonVertical Horizon! I’m not ashamed of that!

The playlist went on to feature Marilyn Manson, Ace of Base, and Phil Collins. I’m not ashamed of those, either!

Screen Grab Photo of Wild Wild West Starring Will SmithThen “Wild Wild West” came on. The song written for and inspired by Wild Wild West.

An alternate history in which Lefteye inserts herself into all music ever made.

If I could, I would charge academia’s Ivory Tower and ring its bell with this thesis.


The backbone of the thesis would be an alternate-history novel in which Lefteye lived. The plot would chronicle her rise to power.

When, in 2250, she ultimately dies, she uploads her consciousness and hella-tight rapping skills into a super-computer.

Her digitized self inserts her raps into all music, starting from Gregorian chants. No “classics” will be safe. She will drop the a sick hook onto Mozart. She will put Beethoven on blast. She’ll improve upon Elvis, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and all country music. Whole genres will finally become listen-able.

Her digitized self would do some world-peace stuff, too.

Anyway, along with this full-length doorstop of a novel, my thesis would also include the actual songs mentioned therein. I would learn how music works, then extract Lefteye raps and lay them over every genre.

If anyone is interested in this thesis, you should pay my way through grad school.

RIP, Lefteye. You’re missed.

Another Damn Thing I’ll Have To Boycott

A couple days ago, shit hit the fan in New Zealand. You know — that place you never think of. Well, there are a lot of places you never think of, but anyway, some X-Factor judges down there tore up a contestant for… wearing a suit.

The whole thing is so fucked up you have to see it to believe it.

As I watched the video, I thought “this chick looks super-familiar.”


Turns out, she’s the same person I’d been listening to nonstop on Spotify.


I am so tired of finding out that I’m going to feel guilty about liking the things I like. (Or indulging in the basics that everyone else does.)

My list of things to ban just keeps getting longer. New things don’t seem to be cropping up to replace them. It’s like this “why it’s socially unacceptable to do anything” video.

I worry I’m going to wind up living in a stone convent, wrapped in a used sheet, trying to sustain myself on grass from the yard.

Below this cut is a list of things I’m trying to avoid patronizing. It’s incomplete, I’m sure.

The Week In Media: Themes of Identity

Hey guys, it’s time for that totally-not-regular update on what media I’m soaking up!

As I was compiling this list, I realized they all had a common theme:


IdentityMaking identity up, taking identity on; escaping who you are, becoming who you are.

Yes, I even mean this for the Oreos I ate.

Read on.


Red Velvet Oreos

Imagine a man in a taste laboratory. He hasn’t left in years.

He has a Pinterest board full of pictures of red-velvet-flavored confections. He yearns for red velvet, but he has no idea how to create it.

No matter. He’ll make it up.

The resulting flavor is not red velvet. It is a Platonic ideal of the notion of red-velvet-ish things.

I will not say that Red Velvet Oreos are icky. They are actually a bit tasty. However, their flavor not, really, red velvet, when it comes right down to it.


Sia: 1,000 Forms of Fear

Sia wears a giant wig and a variety of masks to “conceal her identity.” A quick Google of “Sia no mask” shows her face, so it’s not technically a mystery. It’s more of a schtick. At worst, it’s a cry for attention. At best, it’s a comment on the meat-grinder of celebrity.

Her weird antics sometimes distract a bit from her music. You might think of her “as the chick with the wig.” But she’s so much more than that.

I can’t stop listening to this album. Her voice is distinctive, and pain-filled, and elegant. This is a beautiful collection. Give it a whirl.


Kingsman: The Secret Service

An English spy ring (not run by England itself) recruits new members every time one of its “knights of the round table” dies. Through a series of “ugh”-level plot mechanics, a former recruit’s son gets recruited when he comes of age. This youngster is part of the subculture I have heard referred to as “chavs.”

The English spy ring has to battle against environmentalist-lunatic Samuel L Motherfucking Johnson. He performs the role with lispy zest. He plots to save the Earth by…

You know what?

Let’s not focus on the plot, okay?

It’s not the point. Whatsoever.

This movie is about shit blowing up, crazy technology, sexual innuendo, outlandishness, and Pugs.

It’s like Get Smart had a baby with Kill Bill and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. A three-way baby. That’s scientifically possible now.