Boy Stuff

Based on the previews, this must be a movie for 14-year-old boys. For my sins, is it going to be a Bildungsroman?

29 thoughts on “Boy Stuff

      1. The attraction of good momma’s boys to mean, domineering bitches is depicted very well, though. A good momma’s boy wants his bitch to be a bigger bitch than momma to fight for his freedom for him. It’s the oldest story in the world.


            1. Herbert is up there with Bradbury, Asimov and Huxley in terms of all-time sci-fi greats, and Dune has been a cultural fixture for a while now. Like many properly great works, it’s immensely readable even if you already know the broad strokes from osmosis. That is to say, the books may well be unspoilable.

              I would say that Paul being any kind of guy becomes increasingly immaterial – it’s not about his particular psychology or its pathologies, it’s about making instrumental use of a myth, a myth that was deliberately created to be instrumentally used at that, and then getting entirely swallowed up by it regardless.


              1. I downloaded the first few pages from Amazon, and it’s definitely not a book you read for the aesthetic pleasure. The language is pompous and stilted. So you read for the plot. Which is perfectly fine but if you already know the plot, then what’s the point?


              2. That’s a shame! I remember it being a page turner, but it was a while ago.

                If I had to describe my own reasons for reading the book, it wasn’t really for the plot or the language, but more… hyperreal anthropology? It’s interesting anecdotes about a human culture as told by Geertz or something, but if the protagonist I like misunderstands it and makes a misstep, he dies a lingering death in the desert.


              3. On behalf of us SF fans I’d like to apologise for any spoilers. Dune is a foundational text of the genre, and those of us who didn’t read it as kids in the internetless 90s read it already knowing what would happen. This is considered fine for SF; unlike say, mystery novels, where I guess the whole point is the reveal and the surprise, in SF one of the main driving forces of enjoyment is worldbuilding: assuming X Y and Z, what would end up happening*? The mental detective work is rather similar to whodunit books I guess, but the cards are face up on the table. So if we’d be talking SF fan to SF fan nobody in the comments for this thread gave you any spoilers that’d ruin your enjoyment of the book by telling you that character A did B** but I can see how it’d seem that way from a different mental scheme

                obligatory credit: I’m paraphrasing an Eric Raymond blog post I can’t find tonight
                ** Also… charismatic mass murderer? Izgad I’ll fight you, preferably not where our host can see spoilers but I will 😛 You’re describing a sociopath here, which Paul absolutely isn’t, and the problem is less Paul’s charisma and more… how should I put this without spoiling …. a certain view on what the future should be, entirely understandable for the lost 15-year-old that is our main character, after all, but SF is the literature of the thought experiment and that experiment goes nowhere good.


              4. I saw some hints in the movie about the direction the story is going and the ecological aspect, and I’m tempted to read the whole thing because the hints I saw seemed to point towards something I’m very interested in. The concept of inhospitable nature and the human desire to change it is very interesting to me.


            2. The mass murder is mostly in the sequel. And calling him a charismatic mass murderer is a highly dubious characterization.

              Let’s just say that the book doesn’t end with they all lived happily ever after.


      1. In the books, the superpowers that Paul end up getting are SF speak for a fully integrated anima, so the androgyny is a visual hint at that. Very good movie adaptation, the director seems to have been a very careful reader of the original material, judging by all these small visual hints at stuff that didn’t fit in a 2h movie, and by how all the changes to the letter of the book end up respecting its spirit 🙂

        Clarissa, if you do another unusual thing and decide to read the book, make sure to read Dune Messiah as well. There was quite a bit of conflict between author and editor with the initial book (author wanted to write ecological SF, editor insisted on a classical hero’s journey plot) so after the initial book sold like the blazes and made the author a SF superstar that no editor would dare contradict anymore, he wrote 5 more books to drive home just how much of a disaster Paul and his superpowers end up causing. Dune + Dune Messiah work quite well as a thesis/antithesis, so either read 0 or 2 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “so the androgyny is a visual hint at that.”

          His mother was also ordered to give birth to a daughter by the crazy space nuns and she chose to make him a son (using crazy space nun techniques?) so the androgyny is also maybe related to that….

          When she does get around to having a daughter… that doesn’t turn out well either for reasons that are perhaps not in the first movie.


        2. The first book has by far the best story. The problem with the sequels is that the author became more interested in expounding on his philosophy than writing good books.

          The impeding disaster had already been implied by the end of the first book, so I think it can be read as a standalone without having to have anything spelled out in sequels.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I will make a personal comment on this post. But you mentioned Bildungsroman, and this movie is linked to my own coming-of-age years, but not as you may expect.

    Denis Villeneuve made that movie. He is a Québécois director who participated in a TV program that was, for me, the absolute best when I was a teenager: La course destination monde. In this show, young adults who were untrained in movie travelled the world and made short documentaries almost every week, and they were harshly judged by critics. The show was extraordinary, and allowed me to travel the world while staying in my basement. It also introduced me to criticism. So many talented people participated in the show, alongside Villeneuve, throughout the 1990s: Philippe Falardeau, Hugo Latulippe, Ricardo Trogi, Patrick Masbourian, Jennifer Alleyn et j’en passe. It was my dream to participate in La course, but it was probably expensive to produce and Radio-Canada put an end to it when I was 19.

    Teenage years are awful, but watching this show is one of the very good memories I have from the 1990s.


  2. “if you already know the plot, then what’s the point?”

    At least you’re a bit less likely to support a charismatic mass murderer than you were this morning….. so….. that’s something…..


    1. Yes, this was a definite danger but it was averted once the meeting with the administration got cancelled, so I’m good for now. Although, if I get any more requests for information on how I involve “racialized students” in research, I might start contemplating the possibility of supporting a mass murderer again.

      We are told that “racialized students” can’t be international. So if you are from Ghana, you aren’t racialized enough. You just can’t make this shit up.


      1. ““racialized students” can’t be international”

        What’s the under-over for Soviet style nationality laws in the US?

        My guess is pretty soon after 2024 if a democrat wins the whitehouse…


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