Linin' up for Lincoln

Also, that miserable Twilight series is finally over

I stopped in to a Best Buy last Monday, and noticed a small crew of folks lined up in front of the building. It was dark and snowy, the wind wickedly cold. They were swathed in blankets, hats and mittens, shivering in their rickety lawn chairs. I assumed they were picketing, or something — like maybe they were disgruntled Best Buy employees, and were gonna fight for our right to get cheap consumer electronics.

Nope — turns out these sad bastards were waiting to get the video game Halo 4, being released to the basement-dwelling public at the stroke of midnight. That way, they can crawl back to their parents’ place by 1 a.m., and play their little hearts out until sunrise. (When mom will tell them to get up and look for a job.) None of this really appears to matter, except that it does: I had seen on the news that American pundits (or whomever would say such a thing) claimed that so many sad sacks were going to be playing Halo 4 on the day of the presidential election that they probably wouldn’t vote, and that those non-voters could actually affect the outcome of the election.

That is some scary, pathetic shit. What would Abraham Lincoln do? I don’t think teens back then were waiting in the cold for the pre-release of, I dunno, The Scarlet Letter, and its riveting tale of puritanical adultery and barnyard buttfuckery (see: the Demi Moore and Gary Oldman version). No, Lincoln had some serious stuff to contend with — war, slavery and keeping the union together.

Steven Spielberg had wanted to make a biopic on the president for years, but other projects (involving crystal skulls) kept getting in the way. His epic Lincoln finally hits the screen tomorrow, and looks less like the kind of huge, windier-than-an-old-man’s-pants historical clusterfuck than it does quiet chamber drama. I’m sure that’s largely due to screenwriter Tony Kushner (Angels in America), who wrote Spielberg’s fantastic political thriller Munich, which, despite the botched ending, remains one of his best films. Hopefully it’s more Saving Private Ryan than it is Amistad.

These movies are like the adult version of dress-up, with the audience trying to figure what celebrities are buried under pounds of makeup. There’s a bunch of heavy-hitters, including Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and even motherfuckin’ Hal Hollbrook, who is somehow still alive and kicking. What everyone will be anticipating, however, is Daniel Day-Lewis’s turn as the 16th U.S. president. It’s sure to be great, eccentric and hypnotizing. To be honest, all I can picture is his gargantuan character from There Will Be Blood pretending to be Abraham Lincoln. (They kind of look the same.) I’m sure he won’t act like that at all.

Obviously, we all know what the big hit this weekend will be, and it involves the dead-eyed Kristen Stewart and the equally dead-eyed Robert Pattinson pretending to be monsters in heat. (I guess Pattinson has an excuse, as he’s supposed to play a vampire.) Regardless of how much you love the Twilight universe — the shitty young adult novels, the barely veiled Mormon save-yourself-for-marriage propaganda, the glittery, PG-thrilling movies — I think everyone can agree on how terrible Stewart is at everything. She looks like she’s half-awake and someone just threw sand in her eyes. She’s awful, bland and soulless — perfect for a whiny, Bauhaus-looking vampire.

This is all speculation, however. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 is the last of the films in the series, and might involve the characters going to prom or something. At the end of the last film, Stewart’s character had a baby, some sort of devil spawn that gave her a wicked case of gestational diabetes and almost killed her, but it didn’t, and now it’s happily ever after. There’s a werewolf in there too, I think.



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