In a word, flour. Bear with me for a little while here.
About a week ago, Marvel released a little short film from its Avengers series featuring Agent Coulson, called “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.” I was lucky enough to catch it on Screen Rant while the whole thing was available. It apparently has since been taken down and only a partial clip, about 1:13 minutes in length is available on You Tube now.
I really liked the way it presented the New Mexico desert along the roadside the way I know it and love it…big, beautiful, and mysterious outside, looking in on the self-contained little world of our cars. The transition to the convenience store was perfect. That hooked me, and so did Agent Coulson’s appearance – I don’t really follow all that Avengers stuff (though any more previews like this, and I just might); I just liked him in the first Iron Man. Here’s the abbreviated version:
Lovely, just lovely. It’s no spoiler to reveal that later on Agent Coulson takes care of the two bad guys handily, not with a gun but with various convenience store products. This is way more impressive to watch than it sounds. The man has some moves.
However, it involves, at one point, a bad guy getting knocked down with an airborne sack of flour. That was a little sad, because it reminded me how Buster Keaton earned his chops in Hollywood, according to him – by taking a sack of flour in the face from Fatty Arbuckle in The Butcher Boy (Al St. John is the first to get hit, around 11:07, and the situation descends into a powdery dustup that might have sent Agent Coulson packing, had he been there).
It was impressive, as well as funny, to see that flour sack hit home – old-time comedians were a tough bunch – and the resulting flour fight was hilarious. Somehow it all seemed a sad commentary on our times that modern film makers did it to be bad, not for laughs.
Then I realized how ridiculous it is to be pondering gradations in the fine art of movie flour fighting.
It’s the same joke, 2010’s style.
So, about a hundred years since Arbuckle, Keaton and St. John, and we still enjoy watching somebody bring flour to a fist fight and still win.
We’re generally not mean. We are a very strange people, but a great people, whenever we’re not taking ourselves too seriously.
Categories: Random thoughts