Off to see the lizard


Off to see the lizard

Godzilla Minus One Conquers Every Other Godzilla Movie

Godzilla Minus One (2023)
Directed by Takashi Yamazaki

I WENT TO see the new Godzilla movie in a theater in the middle of the day on a Tuesday because that’s the cheapest day to go see a movie at this one theater in town, seven bucks! I can go see a movie in the middle of the day on a Tuesday because I don’t have a day job. I think I’m kind of ashamed that I went to see a Godzilla movie in the middle of the day?

The first Godzilla movie was made in 1954, and the Japanese version was bleak and terrifying, a modern King Kong story without the melodrama. I watched the American edit on TV when I was a kid, with extra scenes tacked on featuring Raymond Burr, and only saw the re-released original version for real a few years ago, in a movie theater. In 1954, you could get away with a guy in a rubber dinosaur suit walking around destroying models of buildings and tanks and train cars, and the level of acting in the first Godzilla movie was the pinnacle of acting in Godzilla movies. From there, Godzilla stopped being a new idea and became a genre, and the franchise slid into genre-movie and sci-fi kid stuff.

Hideaki Anno in Godzilla Minus One (2023)

This new Godzilla movie, Godzilla Minus One, set in the fresh rubble of post–World War II Japan, is a reinvention of the original story, with the usual stuff that is in Godzilla movies. But it also has a compelling human plot involving people who are trying to deal with a Godzilla shambling around destroying everything, while they are enduring the misery and privation of living in a country ravaged by war, suffering loss, sadness, and the specific guilt that can be felt by people who survive war, and the really specific personal and social shame of surviving pilots of Japan’s famed Special Attack Unit, the kamikaze, who may not have been blindly obedient, in the last moments of the war, to their mission to stay in their planes full of bombs, accurately guiding them to crash into Allied naval vessels.

Ryunosuke Kamiki in Godzilla Minus One (2023)

Plus, there’s a giant dinosaur with glowing blue dorsal fin-spines and it shoots blue atomic fire out of its mouth which causes A-Bomb-looking explosions! There are some top-drawer special effects as Godzilla is ravaging the city, busily eating people and knocking down buildings indiscriminately, but it remains a Godzilla movie, with occasional slightly ridiculous Jaws-style mechanical-monster action, so there’s a very high-level requirement of the suspension of disbelief. Still, it's the best depiction of humans figuring out how to fight a Godzilla, and the best Godzilla movie ever made. OK, maybe the second-best after the original, if you’re one of those “Godfather Part II would not exist if there was never The Godfather so it can’t be better” people.

Godzilla Minus One (2023)

Godzilla movies always have segments featuring people in between the scenes of Godzilla fucking shit up, and the people parts have never been good, in any production, Japanese or American, and have almost never been well-acted, because of the weak dialogues that typically consist of shouting about ways to destroy Godzilla. A weird exception would be Shin Godzilla from 2016, which featured endless scenes of bureaucrats sitting around tables calmly discussing municipal cooperation and the logistics of how to destroy Godzilla. In Godzilla Minus One, the meetings are basically “How do we kill this fucking thing,” and then “OK, cool, who volunteers to go try and kill this fucking thing,” and then they go and try to kill it, pronto.

Godzilla Minus One (2023).

Also, Godzilla movies over the years got into the habit of anthropomorphizing Godzilla and making it a hero, complete with some unexplained emotional connection to a cloyingly precocious child running around underfoot. This new Godzilla movie discharges the cute-kid responsibility adeptly with the cutest goddamn baby ever, who hardly talks, and is at the mercy of a wild, murderous, not-at-all-humanized thunder lizard.

Please don’t say that thing about needing a bigger boat: Godzilla Minus One (2023),

What does this thing want? Why is it so fucking angry? Is it mad because it was once a powerful lizard just chillin’ on a remote island in the Pacific, a local legend, keeping to itself, until it got nuked in America’s war effort and transmogrified into a nightmarish gargantua, wading into populated areas and flattening everything? Instead of Godzilla symbolizing the wrath of nature in reaction to the unleashing of the unnatural horror of atomic weaponry, I think maybe the blind rage and unchecked destruction of Godzilla symbolizes America?


New York City, December 10, 2023

★ The rain that had been forecast to ruin the whole day was slow in coming, and a dull and humid morning stretched on out of the uneasy and uncanny warm night. Sparrows gathered in the dense strip of litter and crushed leaves running along beside the parked cars. When the rain did start, it came down as if it could go on forever. The steady drumming of it acquired new waves of heavier pattering, splatting, and gurgling. Wind occasionally boomed. At bedtime, the air was sweltering, but as the night went on, the draft from the window became relaxingly, reassuringly cool.


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 179: The same guy he's always been.

Tom Scocca • Dec 11, 2023


WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of select sandwiches from The Modern Cook Book and Household Recipes, revised and edited by Lily Haxworth Wallace, Lecturer on Foods, Contributor to the "National Food Magazine," Etc., Published in 1912. This book is in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

Harlequin Sandwiches
Use for each sandwich a layer of white and a layer of brown bread. Butter the bread, and spread with a mixture of chopped nuts and cream cheese, or a layer of tart apple sauce sprinkled with nutmeg or cinnamon, and moistened with whipped cream.

Tutti-Frutti Sandwiches
Butter thin slices of white bread cut in rounds. Fill with lemon jelly that has been filled very full of chopped nuts, dates, chopped figs, sliced bananas, and any other fruit at hand, and made very firm. Turn the jelly out of the mould and slice and place between the slices of bread.
After making, they must be kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or the jelly will become so soft as to soak into the bread. They do not, therefore, lend themselves readily to a picnic lunch, but are a novel accessory to the Sunday-evening lunch on a hot day, and the jelly may be prepared the day previous and left on the ice until a short time before the meal..

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to

Thank you for reading INDIGNITY! Please sign up for a paid subscription to support our work, or if you are already helping us, consider giving someone the gift of INDIGNITY!


The second printing of 19 FOLK TALES is now available for Holiday gift-giving and personal perusal!

U.S. Postal Service media mail delivery takes an estimated 4 to 8 business days, which leaves approximately two days of shopping time before it turns into a gamble against the calendar.

During those days—and afterward, for adrenaline junkies and/or Eastern Orthodox shoppers—the author stands ready to hand-fulfill orders as they come in, even at the cost of dealing with that one clerk at the neighborhood post office whose whole thing is trying to start a fight with everyone who steps up to her window. Happy holidays!

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm Daily. The special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

Thanks for reading INDIGNITY, a general-interest publication for a discerning and self-selected audience. We depend on your support!