Our writer gets lifted and reviews Batman v. Superman and Life of Pablo
Can a higher perspective change your mind about art?
When a major movie or new album comes out, critical consensus snowballs into cultural consciousness and soon enough we find ourselves saying things like, “I haven’t seen that, but I know it’s trash.” We all know how we’re supposed to feel about certain pieces of media, often without even seeing or listening to it. But I wanted to see if I could break free from the zeitgeist—with the help of some OG Kush.
I decided to hit up one movie that everyone’s already made their mind up about and sit through the new Kanye West record to discover whether chronic influence could bring me to a different conclusion than the critical elites.Low-cost terror trip
If everybody agrees that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is the worst movie of the year, would being high out of one’s mind allow you to forget the shit plot and enjoy the violence?
Short answer, no. But at least this movie is so surreal in its awfulness that it can turn your cannabis buzz into a salvia terror trip at a low cost.
Watching this movie feels like you’re hallucinating your way through the nightmares of an edgy 15-year-old right after he’s discovered some of the “gritty” Batman comics. Scenes only last a minute or two before completely jumping over to another plotline, and characters fumble with grim, serious themes while nearly simultaneously posing dramatically and firing off one-liners.
Being high actually made this movie worse, as pot boosts my empathy to pathetic levels. Every unnamed dude straight-up murdered by Batman and every building collapsed by Superman contributed to a mounting uneasiness.
There’s also a heavy theme of characters holding grudges against divine authority, but the overt messaging of “Superman as God” doesn’t get much deeper exploration than the notion that someone seemingly all-powerful must be destroyed. This blisteringly wasted stoner cringed. The film is what someone might write after reading a list of Mikhail Bakunin’s quotes about athiesm while pounding a bottle of Nyquil.
I will say, however, that it’s nice to finally see a Batman movie that admits the character is nothing but a raging, unhinged nihilist whose complexes drive him to acts of incredible violence. If only Zach Snyder intended that.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29 percent
Anthony’s 4/20 Rating: 15 percentAnger, money, God
The first thing a high person notices on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo is the quality of its texture. This album seethes with intention: every sound heavy with purpose and sculpted as to allow a full expression of the surrounding quiet spots.
I’m blitzed enough to get lost in the hypnotic beats and to shoot back in my chair every time a gospel chorus flares up in “Ultralight Beam.” As Kanye digresses, rapping about bleached assholes, I’m right there—up until he samples Street Fighter II, causing me to consider moving to the living room so I can go play that game instead.
The more I listen, the more I feel the weight of Kanye’s mind. It’s the same pressure I feel in depressive episodes, the spiral of notions, pushed along by emotional momentum that refuses to let you stop asking the wrong questions. He’s captured not only his thoughts, but also the ordeal of suffering them.
The album feels like an “experience,” similar to the sense of import that I got after Vince Staples’ Summertime ’06 and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Unlike those albums, though, I couldn’t tell if this actually meant anything. What’s going here aside from anger, money and God?
During “No More Parties in L.A.” I make the mistake of looking at Facebook and am jumped by a Buzzfeed video on autoplay: “A bunch of stoned people get surprised with a sloth.” The comparison to my current task makes me feel too ill to think of anything but death.
The rest of the album blurs past, but the closer, “Fade,” reminds me that it’s OK to just groove along and let somebody else do the overthinking for a while.
Pitchfork Rating: 9.0
Anthony’s 4/20 Rating: 6.9