So likely you have heard the particulars. On the set of RUST a live bullet ended up in a gun and someone lost their life. Lives were unalterably scarred.
John Campea on his Youtube channel, has a really great overview on the issue. And I direct you to the videos below.
I will explain.
In over a hundred years of cinema, you and I can count on one hand the number of gun related deaths that occurred on a movie set.
Compare this subset, to the amount of deaths that occur outside the film industry, and proportionately the film industry may be one of the safest industries in the world.
A lot of this is an environment that encourages having licensed armorers and weapon smiths and experts on hand. Currently the movie industry when it comes to guns, works from the point of view this is dangerous, “let us have checks and balances and layers of accountability to make everyone aware of the danger and treat it with respect and with care.”
And that mindset, that process, placing the Brandon Lee and the Baldwin tragedies aside, that process has proven to work 99.99% of the time.
And the times it doesn’t work, as in what we are learning from the Baldwin case, is people grossly not using the industry standard checks and balances.
Now I am not one of these gun toting idiots (though I do own guns) who chants idiocies like ‘guns don’t kill people’. Given the bloody, almost daily issues of American mass shootings, only an ignorant idiot, a venal scumbag. or a psychopath would be against greater checks and balances when it comes to gun ownership and gun control. We may differ about how that should be enforced, but without a doubt greater checks and balances are needed.
That’s not what the Baldwin conversation is about.
However I do think the response to the Baldwin tragedy to replace a 100 years of checks and balances and onset experts, with fake guns will actually make the movie set less safe.
Who needs an armorer on set, or to check guns if we sell the industry on the idea we have fake guns on set?
That’s all well and good, until someone, does something similar to what was done in the Baldwin case, say bring a real gun on set that looks like a fake gun.
And now, in that future ‘safer’ set, you have dismantled the checks and balances of a 100 years of treating every gun on a set like the dangerous thing it is. You are lulled into thinking every gun on set is now a toy, and don’t have the experts on set, it is a recipe for exponentially more disaster.
The Baldwin situation did not happen because the system was broken, it happened because the checks and balances of the system, of a standard movie set, were not used. According to early speculation, to save money, unqualified people were placed in positions of trust. and their failure to be worthy of that trust… ended in blood.
The takeaway of such a tragedy should not be to do away with a branch of cinema, the armorers and weapon masters, and checks and balances, treating every gun on a set like a deadly weapon. You do that, and you infantilize the industry with this false belief “oh we are using fake guns, now we are safe, this tragedy will not happen now” is the very kind of mindset that will lead to exponentially more such tragedies.
The armorers and the weapon masters, the trained, licensed ones, are the ones who keep people from getting dead, and have done so for a 100 years. Making movies will always entail risk. Whether it is helicopter accidents, car accidents, fires, or munitions. But every job entails risk. Life is risk. You may get run over crossing the street, die while on the highway to work, fall down steps, get electrocuted (my line of work), or simply slip in the shower.
Few places or jobs offer experts around you to try and keep you safe. A movie set is one of those few places.
Here Endeth my 2 cents.
My condolences to all affected by this tragedy.
Now wrapping up my list of the top must own Absolutes:
This can be collected in two ways. The original 2 volume release, or the one volume expanded edition that adds three additional one shots not included in the 2 volume set.
The Downside of the new one volume expanded edition is the binding that offers issues of gutter loss and inability to stay open. Youtube channels INFINITE PANELS and COMIC BOUND have great overviews on the one volume Expanded edition, the strengths and weaknesses.
Continuing my Warren Ellis theme, the next must own omnibus is also by this most prolific and influential turn of the century creator. (And a creator I am sad is not currently bringing us more work. His personal life is his personal life, but as a creator, I think his work is informed, entertaining, and always compelling)
I think we are actually going to call it there. I have decided not to include THE ABSOLUTE CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS because I do not like the matte paper used in this release and feel that the Deluxe Edition, though a little bit smaller, presents much better. AND ABSOLUTE FOURTH WORLD, rather than getting this story spread over two absolutes I’m good with just going the “all in one” Omnibus route.
So there you go… TWELVE— I mean TEN 🙂 MUST OWN Absolutes!!!!
You will need a region free blu-ray player to view region locked Blu-rays (ie Blu-rays from European or Asian distributors) but some of the best physical media releases are coming from non US distributors. Not all of course, but quite a lot. If you do not own a multiregion Bluray player you are missing out.
Do your own homework but one that works for me (and does 3D) is:
Those are all the box set related special editions that are currently on sale.
Here are the one title limited and standard editions that are currently for sale:
Alan Moore and Gene Ha’s TOP TEN is one of the most massive ABSOLUTES, and is another gem from the mind of the justly accalaimed Alan Moore, and Gene Ha’s artwork is arguably the best of his career.
ABSOLUTE PROMETHEA, the entire Alan Moore and JH Williams series is collected in three drool worthy must own Absolutes. Much like Alan Moore’s ABSOLUTE SWAMPTHING, all the absolutes in the series are must own. Pick these up before they are all unavailable.
The 4th and last selection for this installment, surprise, is not an Alan Moore entry. Artwise and storywise I personally do not feel LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN is Absolute worthy. V FOR VENDETTA has well known binding issues, and I think the Deluxe Hardcover with the extras is a better way to collect that title.
No the 4th pick for this installment is…
Another I will be picking up during the November sale is MEMORIES OF MURDER, which for me is BONG JOON HO’s best film by a large margin. I thought PARASITE was 3/4ths of a great film, but for me completely dropped the ball in the last act. I did not think it deserved the Academy award, but I seldom agree with the Academy. I did think 1917 deserved to be the best picture of that year, over PARASITE. However Ho’s earlier film MEMORIES OF MURDER is the release that really deserves acclaim. And Criterion offers a release with older features, but also adds a new commentary and some new interviews, so i will be picking this up during the sale.
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS IS AN OL
I also purchased Criterion’s THE DAMNED, and it was strictly a cover buy (this is an example of CRITERION knocking it out the park with the cover art) , I purchased it for 50% off its retail price. Its Director, Luchino Visconti, is very much hit and miss for me. I loved one of his earlier features, ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, however his THE LEAPORD left me unmoved, to bored throughout its runtime. And halfway through THE DAMNED, and while ravishingly shot, it likewise fails to engage me or interest me. And the special features are all but non-existent.
There is a newer 15th anniversary version of THE ABSOLUTE NEW FRONTIER that has something like 60 additional pages, and flips the slipcover and book artwork from the above shown original absolute. But boy I do like the slipcover artwork on the old one so much, it would have been nice to have that artwork on the slipcover and the cover of the new one. If you can afford it, buy two copies while you can. One to keep, one to give away as a gift or resell.
This 2020 Absolute is for me, one of the most sought after ever. Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben over 30 years ago, almost single handedly redefining comics as the stuff of legitimate literature and art. A masterpiece. So to finally in 2020 get released in the Absolute format, with Alan Moore’s name on it (given the problems on getting his name on other collections of his great work, such as MIRACLEMAN), is a holy grail finally acheived. By a large margin not just the Absolute I was the most excited to pick up in 2020, but one of my favorite purchases of 2020.
You wont find PREACHER (which is a series I love) or the original run of Gaiman’s SANDMAN on this Absolute list, largely because for me, the art just doesn’t appeal to me enough to want to see it in an oversized format. The artwork, in my opinion is serviceable to ok, but not worthy of the Absolute presentation. And that is my opinion, if you love the art on PREACHER or SANDMAN, I am happy for you. For me the art helps tell the story, gets us from point A to B, but does not wow me on its own. Now what does make it on this list is Neil Gaiman and JH Williams SANDMAN:OVERTURE. To call JH Williams one of the finest and most exciting and innovative artists currently working, is to begin to get it. And his artwork, in marriage to a compelling story, is the stuff that Absolutes were made for.
Speaking of art that was made to be in an Absolute, archival, over-sized edition, you will find few things more worthy than Alex Ross’ Kindom Come. People always credit Mark Waid as the creator, forgetting that Alex Roiss did not just paint KINGDOM COME, this was a story he brought to DC. And they assigned him Mark Waid to turn his story idea into a full fledged story.
To Mark Waid’s credit he did a fantastic job, but I do feel Alex Ross role as co-creator/co-writer (that is Alex Ross’ Dad in the pivotal roles in both MARVELS and KINGDOM COME, and the religious themes, the pull toward iconism, all things Alex Ross brought to the table) does not get the credit he deserves.
The reason I am still reading comics, when I had walked away from comics in the 90s, after it failed to follow up the renaissance of the middle and late 80s, with anything of quality,.. is because I happened upon KINGDOM COME, and it felt (to borrow a line from the book) like faith rewarded.
KINGDOM COME, many moons ago, was one of the earlier Absolutes I purchased (the 2012 ist printing). As of this writhing Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING is the latest.
I am ecstatic to own Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING in Absolute format, that said… I can not imagine a world where I do not own Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s KINGDOM COME in Absolute format. It is a must own, and one of my favorite stories ever done in the medium. It showed the world, through Ross’ visuals, a cinematic view of these heroes, that would pave the wave for the new superhero golden age on cinema and tv.
It would make us believe… to cross brands for a moment… in Marvels. 🙂
Well that’s the 4 for this installment. Come back next entry for 4 more must own Absolutes— before they go out of print.
Thar said it is not perfect. There is a monologue at the end that comes off as a step too far. It feels too forced, contrived, not particularly well shot or directed, and simply too far over the line. Also the speech was a lot better (and shorter) when it was used at the end of a famous Richard Matheson penned movie. The speech feels self indulgent, and you can argue the whole series is that, but this speech is one step too far.
Girl: We’re going to be ok.
Boy: You think we’re going to make it?
Girl: That’s not what I said. I’m saying… either way, we’re going to be ok.
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