Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Oct. 21
Black spot/one star
Two sides of a fine line
So I black-spotted Monsters University, in part because of its hackneyed plot: lovable band of losers must rally via their particular skills to defeat the overbearing jerkball champions. (But only in part.)
And a couple of weeks ago, I one-starred The Internship, despite its use of the same hackneyed plot.
Have you heard Kanye West's Yeezus? It's all over the Internet this week, and Yeezus, but it's dirty. And irreverent. The song "I'm In It" contains the line, "Your titties, let 'em out, free at last/ Thank God almighty, they free at last." Hello, Martin Luther King, Jr.! And while we're on the subject, there's another gem in there: "Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign." Oh, my.
This strikes me as just awful. But according to this guy, that's the point.
Even if Yeezus doesn't address West's impending — sorry, make that current — daddy status directly, you can feel him trying to process it. Yeezus is a pornographic, self-indulgent, self-parodying, incisive, funny, sickening, and (yes) brilliant unpacking of West's pre-fatherhood self. The most singular and stunning entry yet in the most singular and stunning discography for any pop artist in the 21st century — it's not even close, really — Yeezus amounts to a no-holds-barred accounting of who Kanye West must now protect his family from: Kanye West.
So the filth? The argument here is that it's okay because of the context. I'm not sure about this particular instance, but I'm happy to grant the general principle. The Internship took a hackneyed plot and deployed it in the service of an aging comic's meditation on cultural obsolescence. It was the happy fairy tale that a failing man tells himself in order to keep going. But Monsters University just used it to kill time. The ultimate solution, the thing that ultimately starts Mike and Sully on the road to being legendary scarers? It had nothing whatsoever to do with the use of that hackneyed plot.