Pubdate: Thu, 14 Apr 2016
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Anthony Siino


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 percent

Anger, 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
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom