Racists & Rapists

September 15, 2009

The 9/12 protests in Washington, DC  last Saturday surprised everyone. Whether you believe there were 2 million people or 70,000, nobody expected anything like either number.

Eugene Robinson, professional race-baiter for the Washington Post, played the race card again, saying that those trashy Teabaggers have just been looking for an issue that would be excuse enough for them to vent their racism.

The legacy media focused heavily on the nutsiest people and signs. I don’t think they could find a single nut or sign that was overtly racist, as opposed to covertly racist–covert racism includes everything asshats like Robinson are annoyed by. Sure, there was a guy with a sign depicting Obama as witch doctor. I remember plenty of signs depicting GWB as cowboy or redneck.

So here’s my fundamental message to all of you people sitting there with race cards up your sleeves:

Get over yourselves. Most Americans aren’t racist. It’s worse than that. Most Americans don’t care about racism (though we won’t admit it, like we won’t admit we don’t care about the March of Dimes or Jerry’s Kids).

Very few American whites care about black grievances or about giving blacks something to be aggrieved about.

A few days ago, Maureen Dowd played the race card on Joe Wilson, the South Carolina congresscritter who forget his Southern manners and called Obama a liar in the middle of a speech. With morons like Wilson, who needs Democrats? But nobody plays the race card like an overprivileged menopausal upper-class New York articulate incompetent, and if she’s nothing else, La Dowd is all that and a bag of bitchy too.

Ok, let’s get on with the rape. I mean talking about rape.

Used to be, rape was a horrible crime. All right-thinking males, given a beer and a half, would advocate castration instead of pre-trial detention.

But nowadays, we must be skeptical of every rape accusation. We want to hear the facts before we get out the shears. And we will not take a woman’s word for it unless she can prove she didn’t know the guy before he crossed the finish line.

This is because feminists debased and devalued the definition of rape with their date rape campaign, which marked the end of rape as a heinous crime and its beginning as a metaphor for any sexual contact with a female after which she felt guilty, ashamed or annoyed. Way to go, feminists. If you tried a little more reacharound and a little less overreach, you might occasionally get what you want for once. If there’s any political movement that’s ever stuck the shotgun up its own butt and fired as many rounds into it’s stupid ass as feminism has, I’d like to know what it is.

Jimmy Carter and his spiritual grandchildren are similarly de-heinous-ing racism.

I can’t wait till I get accused of being a date racist.

UPDATE

Whoopi C. Goldberg, commenting on The View,  was unhappy about the recent arrest of Romn Polanski by the Swiss, who are holding him for extradition to the US for prosecution for rape of a 13 year old girl. Goldberg  said that what Polanski did wasn’t “rape rape.” What a “dum dum.”

The undisputed record is that Polanski got a 13 year old girl drunk on what Michael Jackson called Jesus Juice, gave her a Quaalude and had his way with her (several different ways, including third input) despite her sedated protests. So far, every voice in Hollywood that has commented directly has been in favor of Polanski. Approximately 72 vermin, including Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen and Jonathan Demme have signed a petition demanding Polanski’s release. Debra Winger has weighed in, nuttily as always. (To his credit, director Luc Besson declined to sign the petition, but appealed to the abstraction that “nobody should be above the law” rather than speaking specifically to the case. In the topsy turvy moral bizarro world of Hollywood, it’s dangerous to your career to disapprove of drugging and raping little girls.)

The transformation of rape from a crime to a misdemeanor is now complete. It’s no big Whoop Whoop.

UPDATE #2

Dennis Miller has distanced himself from his slimy Hollywood neighbors and unequivocally and polysyllabically come down on the side of justice.

UPDATE #3

More Hollywood people are coming out not backing Polanski. Who cares? They should have been out there from day 1, not waiting till they realized the whole country thought they were a bunch of pedophiles-at-heart. What I want to hear is Harrison Ford on Charlie Rose explaining why he thinks 13 year old girls really like it up the ass. I want to hear Harvey Weinstein explain how he gets bloodstains out of the casting couch. I want Bernardo Bertolucci to expound on why butter is better for underage girls.

Every single person who signed that stupid snotty “demand” that Roman the Rapist be weleased immediatewy! should be hounded to their dying day till they renounce and recant. I’m calling for a new Inquisition.

Harrison Ford endorsed the anal rape of a 13 year old girl. Think about that next time you watch him grin in one of his movies.

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The Happening

September 7, 2009

Color this movie baby shit green.

It’s a green morality tale told by a Hollywood baby signifying shit all.

Spoiler alert.

Plot: People start committing suicide, en masse. There’s lots of cool gruesome footage of people offing themselves with knitting needles, bungee jumping off roofs without bungee cords, passing a cop’s gun around like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert, setting the lawn tractor to go in circles and then lying down in front of it. 

Pissed off plants have had it up to here and have decided to defend themselves against the human race by developing a sophisticated neurotoxin that freezes crowds in their tracks and then makes them start artistically offing themselves. M. Night Shamalamadingdong appropriates the hippie term for a spontaneous artistic gathering as title for his movie to frame his barely competent footage of people turning in circles and murdering themselves instead of painting their faces. It’s Deathstock, not Woodstock. Yeah, we get it, douchebag.

Serious spoiler alert–I’m about to tell you how the movie ends.

The only defense against the plants is to break up into small groups of no more than 5. For some reason, plants give a pass to less than a sixpack of humans. The plant tantrum lasts 24 hours or so, and is ( I have to confess I was not paying close attention by the end, so I might have missed something) stopped by the plants going “Awwww…” because a desperate blended family braves the plants to run out into the neurotoxin and die together rather than die separated.

Mark Wahlberg is trapped in a house and his pre-plant-amok-time feckless wife (she grows some feck during the movie, I liked that part) and pre-teen child are in a shed. Miraculously, they have a speaking tube between shed and house that allows them to talk like they’re in the same room. Why? Because Betty Buckley plays a great crazy lady (I liked that part too).

The plants are outside, toxining away. Wahlberg doesn’t want to die apart from wifey and kiddie, so the steps slowly out on the porch, rather than running like hell holding his breath, and they all do a slo-mo reunion, thus resulting in a collective vegetative “Awwwwww…..

Me, I’m thinking, yeah, let’s run out into the toxin and get infected and off ourselves in ghastly ways right in front of each other, that’s a good idea.

The conceit of this movie, like that of its maker, is the power of Hollywood moral exceptionalism. Mother Nature hates everyone except bottled-water, Prius-driving enlightened people in California who make shitty movies about how the rest of us deserve to die.

At least it ended, in true cheesy horror movie fashion with the monsters coming back. And they’re after the French this time. A happy ending as frogs and mimes start offing themselves in front of the Arc de Triomphe.


Sylvester Stallone vs Clint Eastwood

September 3, 2009

The latest Rocky movie (Rocky Balboa) is a beautifully written, organically cohesive near masterpiece.

I also recently watched Gran Torino, which was a lot of fun until the stupid, illogical ending (I won’t spoiler it). Gran Torino was intermittently well written and the opposite of cohesive. I can say the same thing about the last several Clint-directed movies I’ve seen, including that overrated mess, Million Dollar Baby.

Which brings me to comparing Sly to Clint, and finding Clint less than Sly.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about Clint’s movies for a while:

Like too many directors, he’s now into the scene at the expense of the story and characters. The most egregious example of this trend is Scorcese’s The Departed, a movie I passionately hated. Nobody in that movie made any sense or had any arc or continuity from scene to scene. Everything was sacrificed to the bloated egos of the stars (I include Scorsese in the ego orgy). Oh, yeah, individual scenes were masterful. And evocative of other words that start with master.

Gran Torino was a lot better than The Departed, but still starfucker-infected and fragmented. Compared to Rocky Balboa, Gran Torino is a B-movie, at best.

(NB: The compound noun starfucker, as used in the above paragraph, differs from the conventional usage in that both star and fucker  are to be parsed as nouns.)

It’s interesting to compare the careers of Clint Eastwood and Sly Stallone. These days, Clint gets a lot more respect than Sly. I think that’s backwards.

Both have been in their share and more of really lousy movies with no excuses, because they were in charge of them start to finish. (Everybody remember’s Stallone’s bombs, but you might need reminding of “Left turn, Clyde!” or the Sondra Locke era). Eastwood has been forgiven his egregious transgressions against taste, but not Stallone.

Both stars have gotten plenty of industry awards. Right out of the gate, decades before Clint would graduate from starring with both simian and starlet knuckle-draggers, Sly made the Slumdog Millionaire of 1977:

Rocky walked off with best picture, best director (John Avildson, not Stallone) and best editing. Stallone got nominated for best actor and writer. Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith and Burt Young all got nominations too.

Sly Stallone wrote Rocky. He also wrote the new and perhaps as good Rocky Balboa (and he wrote the Rocky’s in between, just to level set).

Not only did Stallone write Rocky, he shopped it around for years while he was poor and refused to let it go even for what must have seemed like a bazillion dollars, unless he’d get to be involved in the movie. He’s the writer with integrity who held out till the suits gave in.

Clint ain’t wrote shit. He likes jazz and brooding and he shoehorns brooding jazz into all his movies lately. Cool.

But Clint directs. Well, so does Sly. He directed Rocky Balboa, with a beautifully understated hand.  And while Clint can be a great director, he can really lay it on too thick too. He’s like the Stephen King of directing. He NEEDS a good editor, and it’s obvious that too often nobody has the guts to tell him to rein it in.

Stallone is the Sarah Palin of Hollywood. It doesn’t matter what his virtues or faults are, he’s despised by the dilettantsia because of his social class. 

Who are the dilletantsia? They are the somewhat-smarter-than-average-but-not-much-smarter children of successful bourgeousie parents. They are the intellectual nouveau riche who got sent to good colleges, where they vaguely realized and quickly repressed the fact that they’re not all that intellectual or committed to much.

The dilettantsia can tell medium good from really good wine by the price. They seldom read the books chosen by their book clubs, but they do buy them. Their opinions on politics derive from whatever blowhard their favorite blowhard professor they had a crush on admired–or from The Daily Show or The Colbert Report or Bill Maher (all three significant improvements over the intellectual quality of the Ivy League when it comes to soft sciences).

They’re terrified most of getting caught being gauche. Stallone can be gauche; Eastwood is cool.

 A while ago, I came home and the missus was watching Changeling. Neither of us knew that Eastwood had directed it until the end. My review of the movie: skillful, absurd and cliched. A lot like Million Dollar Baby: heavy handed, moralistic, tear-jerking melodrama with no characterological integrity or continuity. Both movies (and Gran Torino) are a series of disconnected vignettes where what the character does in vignette A is contradicted or unrelated to how he acts in vignette B.

Eastwood can direct great movies when he’s got a great writer (Unforgiven, Gone Baby Gone). But Clint doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the quality of the writing as long as he can direct a really great scene. Scene uber alles.

Rocky Balboa made me misty more than once and Stallone didn’t have to kill little boys and boxing girls to get me there. Sly’s moments were deft and ordinary, unlike Clint’s reliance on one-in-a-million or once-in-a-century tragedies.

As they say, hard cases make bad law. And very often, bad drama. I think I’ve pounded this stake into the ground deep enough, so let’s talk about Rocky Balboa, which you should rent tonight.

For me, the emotional centerpiece of Rocky Balboa is a confrontation between Rocky and his grown son. His son is white-collar to the bone. He weighs 98 pounds. If his dad had ever punched him, he’d have killed him. Son is alternately shamed and gratified by the attention his dad draws.  His dad’s notoriety has been blessing and curse. He’s tossed between embarrassment and pride.

Rocky, in his ’50’s now, suddenly wants to fight again, and son is mortified. Forget the previous ambivalence and ambiguity he’s felt about his famous dad, now his dad’s about to become a laughing-stock and he needs to stop him before the association ruins his already-shaky career.

In most movies, this confrontation goes like this:

  • Parent having some kind of middle-aged crisis announces grand plan to fix life. This can be anything, as long as it upsets the expectations of adult child (not an oxymoron) for emotional or financial support and advantage.
  • Grown child says some form of  You’re off your rocker or Mom/Dad, stop embarrassing me already! or how can you be so selfish!
  • Parent guiltily, desperately pleads for understanding. Strike that–approval. Child says Fuck off! and storms off. Parent goes off and does it anyway. That’s what passes for moral courage in most parents these days.
  • At end of movie, child and parent are reconciled in some dopey sloppy bittersweet way that leaves nobody better off and does nobody any goddamn good.

Well, this stock scene doesn’t turn out like you have been conditioned to expect.  And that’s all I’ll say about it.

Rocky Balboa is a pastiche of cliche movie moments, some of them created by the Rocky franchise,  turned upside down.

 I don’t think Stallone was trying to do a trick–it just happened because he wrote something that’s real and thus the opposite of the usual Hollywood condescending scriptwriting abortions we’ve been conditioned to accept.

Stallone has a lot to say in this movie about giving back to your community, about being a good parent, about what it takes to make it, about how to close the deal and how to make a difference. Actually–he doesn’t have a lot to say–he has a lot to show. He bends over backwards not to be preachy. Watch the deleted scenes, which are mostly great, and you’ll see how he toned it down, down, down in the final cut.

Rocky is blue-collar Jesus in the movie. He never commits a sin and never fails to get people to go and sin no more.  And he does it credibly. He leaves you with the sense that this kind of decency and honor and influence is well within the reach of real human beings.

That’s a whole lot more than we got from the last several of Scorsese’s moral still-births. Or Clint’s all-over-the-road movies.