Monday, May 07, 2007

Spider Senseless

I spent a few hours away from diminished scales and downward dogs this weekend to see SpiderMan 3. (I was a major league comic book geek in middle school, so most of the comic book movies have been required viewing. Except the pastel version of Batman, that was just silly. And Daredevil; I didn't know a film could be that bad) I won't bore you with a full review- briefly, pretty good, not great by any standard. Amazing effects, too many underdeveloped plots, ridiculous ending. But one thing relevent to this space caught my attention.

After a brief spin on Broadway, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst, doing her best acting of the series thus far, which I know is damning with faint praise) takes a job as a singing waitress at a club called the Jazz Corner. (This is fantasy New York, where geography doesn't matter, but it looks like one of those converted factory spaces in the West 20s.) This is interesting for two reason- one, the club looks like how I imagine the late lamented Detour if it were three times as large as it is, er, was. Long, somewhat dark, and a little dingy, with gorgeous, occasionally talented, singing waitresses. The music, at least as much of it as you hear, is mostly standards sung cabaret style (the two songs featured in the film are "They Say It's Wonderful" and "I'm Through with Love". Points for good songs that fit the movie.)

Second, except for one side character at the Daily Bugle, seemingly every single speaking actor in the film is white. (again, a fantasy New York, one that doesn't speak too well of the filmmakers.) But, magically, at the Jazz Corner 50% or more of the crowd is African-American. Again, something I've rarely seen at a jazz club south of Harlem. I don't know what that says about anything but it caught my eye.

For the record, Kirsten Dunst sings her own parts, and she's not good. Not good at all-. At least it makes the losing her Broadway role after three performances more believable.

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