I just got home from watching Dr. Strange It’s about six o’clock in the evening. I left before one. This is my first movie since 2013 I think. I may be wrong but I think it is. In the year that I didn’t have a laptop, or the two years I spent wallowing in self-pity before that, there have been quite a bit of films I would have liked to discuss. It didn’t seem to matter much at the time. I feel now it may have been for good reason. I tend to go to all the comic book movies and occasionally I see movies outside the genre, like sci-fi action flicks and movies about dead rock stars. I, unlike my roommate enjoy seeing movies on the big screen and very, very loud. I like the 3D Imax spectacles. I was also a huge comic book fan and collected massive amounts of comics up until about three years ago. When I decided that spending money on comics was money I wasn’t spending on booze or other things that would help me forget the real world. They had become too expensive at nearly 4 dollars for a regular issued they simply weren’t worth my money to be transported to another world. Mushrooms and Jameson were more cost effective. Plus, there’s the fact that transporting them back and forth across country was costly and I couldn’t do it twice (even though I didn’t pay for it the first time). I illegally downloaded them from torrent sites for almost two years before I abandoned that practice. I couldn’t keep up with the pace. When I was kid comic came out once a month. I recall when they began coming out bi-annually, then came every Wednesday new comics would come out. And staying on top of all the storylines became difficult. So, you narrowed it down to lines. You could afford to read all the X-Men or all the Avengers, or Batman, or whatever else you wanted. Throwing in the odd Indy book or one shot was ridiculous the number of stories became too much and the glut in the market was overwhelming if you wanted to have any interest outside of reading comics all day and night. So, I quit, but I still love comics and maintain that love through the movies (which aren’t always accurate, but they’ll due).
I went into this movie not a huge Dr.Strange fan. I like most people my age or older enjoyed the late sixties/seventies Steve Ditko era. Although I read them in the 90s twenty years after they came out. I was never a fan of any other writers take on the character. They always made him too powerful or not powerful enough, the scope of his abilities was limited by many writers understanding of the occult or mysticism which isn’t a thing. All knowledge is arcane even science. So, I went into film with a little trepidation I didn’t know which take on the character was going to make it to the big screen. I was not disappointed it seemed to have a huge influence from the Ditko take on the character. It was very detail oriented and presented the magic of Strange in a kaleidoscope of colors and swirling visuals. In 3D, it was a beautiful moving tapestry that while burdened with comparison to Inception it was marvelously done (pun intended). I’ve read a few reviews complaining that the story itself was formulaic and held true to the “Marvel Formula”. These people are either too young to know what they’re talking about or too ignorant to know they’re history. It’s called “The Hero’s Journey”, it’s a storytelling method used since before there were written words. The tale of the mortal man from flawed to greatness the journey complete with obstacles showing the plight of whatever modern calamity or affliction to transcend and show the good in all men even the most flawed. In other words, none of these super hero tales are new. I have always felt, especially when I was an avid comic book collector, that these stories are simply modern day tales of Gods and Goddesses and mortal heroes that have existed since ancient times. This is how lessons were imparted on people long ago. Still to this day we tell each other fantastical stories to illustrate messages.
I ate a small half of a pot brownie I snuck into the theater as soon as the movie began it kicked in about twenty/ twenty-five minutes in and lasted until about a few hours later. By then I had made it home and could get a few shots of whiskey in me. As I sat there stoned and gazing at the screen twisting and turning in 3D Imax with all the beautiful colors and shapes giving me acid flash backs and making me wistful for a time when the floor moved like that for me. I thought about a lot of things paralleled in my own life. I wasn’t a world-famous neuro surgeon whose life was inexplicably taken from me by a freak accident caused by my own recklessness, I did find some common connections in the theme of hubris being my main downfall and redemption being found only in truly humbling oneself and given your life over to fight for the greater good. It wasn’t all about me I found out the hard way and it’s a lesson I’m still struggling to except. And like Dr. Strange I had just found myself joining a cult. My Cult wasn’t going to teach me a new way to bend reality by flicking my wrist though. The main motto of my cult was simply; “Fuck’em if they can’t take a joke!” After 39 years of being a Gimmie Bob, a Bobbie, a pink boy! I decide to sacrifice $35 and officially join The Church of the SubGenius! Along with the ability to join two people, I can also wed a person with anything they want! In the church, we believe in short term duration marriages! You can be married for a second or eternity it doesn’t matter to me or to our ever-loving savior JR Bob Dobbs!
If you’re unfamiliar with the Church of the SubGenius it’s a religion based around the idea of slack! How to get some, how to sell some, and more importantly how to keep some! And yes, Slack is exactly what it sounds like. Slack; as in cut me some, give me some, I need some! I first discovered the Church in the mid-nineties while I was still in high school. They had ads in the back of Rolling Stone magazine and I had a subscription from 93-94. I never paid my dues but I looked into them, and found their main bible at a local bookstore. That was the first copy I bought. A few years later I discovered the book missing. I had either loaned it out or lost it, I was eating a metric fuck ton of acid at the time and it honestly could have been either one. Luckily I had made friends with this older guy at the restaurant I was working at. He was going through some things in his life at the time and felt like unloading a chunk of his past. He gave me my second copy of the book along with tons of propaganda the church had sent him and a bunch of really cool Psychic TV pamphlets. I held onto this copy for an even shorter period, losing this one when I lost a good chunk of my worldly possessions just before I entered prison in 2001. I wouldn’t have a copy for close to ten years later. That copy while not lost to me is packed in a box in California along with all my other books bought during my time there. To maintain my connection with the Church I have religiously (pun intended) listen to their podcast of their terrestrial radio show entitled Hour of Slack. Once a week it comforts me to hear the random gibberish spat out by the heads of the Church.
Like Dr. Strange I too have entered a new world filled with secrets and untold magic. Although I didn’t have to travel to the other side of the world and I didn’t learn a secret martial art or sign language. I got my certificate in the mail for less than a pair of new shoes (which I desperately need). I do feel I am now walking a new path to unbridled enlightenment. The special effects aren’t as cool of mind-bending but if I get a hold of some shrooms I’m sure I can fix that. The main point of the movie isn’t all the hocus pocus or nifty CGI, it’s more about the heroes’ journey from hubris to humility and learning that only by humbling oneself to the uncontrollable are we able to rise above and save not just ourselves but others. The good Doctor goes from the top of the world, down to the bottom, selling off all his fancy attachments and accoutrements, faces demons both inward and outward, learns a valuable lesson about sacrifice and love, and ends up right where he belongs. It is as I said a tale as old as time. A parable that many in our society right now can use. The formula maybe tried, but it is still true. Steven Strange may be aided by his remarkable photographic memory and ability to learn Sanskrit in a montage, but even if it takes us longer to learn the lesson individually the lesson is simple. Look within, learn to let go and “Fuck’em if they can’t a joke!”