15 February 2006
  crash and its cohort
it really wasn't a surprise to me that crash was so blatantly anti-american, as this has been pretty par for the course with the movies of 2005. (incidentally it also wasn't really a surprise that it was made by paul haggis, a canadian). There was some an interview a few weeks ago with steven spielberg where he said that he thinks filmmakers are being "braver" in bush's second term to attack the u.s. i totally agree with this. you can read the article here:

http://www.imdb.com/news/wenn/2006-02-01/

although i rarely think that film industry people like george clooney, jane fonda or susan sarandon really have any idea what is going on in this country as they sit in their ivory tower on the malibu coast, they certainly think they do, and they have decided that this was the year that they were going to tell the world what was best for them. almost without exception this has made me want to vomit glass out of my eyes. here is a compilation of some of the films i have seen this year and why they all argue that the u.s. sucks.

crash. . . this is maybe the one exception to the rule stated above, since i really agreed with the message. i guess, in a nutshell, haggis' argument is that racism is so prevalent in los angeles today that nobody even notices that they are engaged in it. it parallels, among other things post-911 news stories about anti-islamic paranoia.

syriana. . . the granddaddy of anti-u.s. propaganda this year. the message is so convoluted that i don't even think i know what it was. stephen gaghan definitely thinks that the bush administration is so corrupt and so in bed with arab oil interests that the only way to get free from it is to a) impeach the entire republican party and b) secede from texas. it parallels the relationship between bush, cheney and saudi royalty.

good night and good luck. . . this one should be subtitled "george clooney is a total prick." in this moral tale, george clooney tells us he knows what is best thing for us because he learned it from edward r. murrow who also told us what the best thing was for us in the 50s. their message: only use the media to educate the populace about the evils of conservativism (and never for entertainment). well, there are other messages but this is the main one that pissed me off the most. it parallels media censorship in the bush administration.

munich. . . steven spielberg made a point that he is using his art in order to argue his own political ideals, and at least i respect the fact that he is willing to admit to that. otherwise, i would have been totally irritated by his pro-israel love fest. his message is that palestinianian arabs are terrorists and israeli jews are assassins. the ironic thing is that the film really made me feel a lot more deeply for palestine, whereas i was sort of appalled by his depiction of israel. that was definitely not his intention though. it parallels modern attacks on israel.

memoirs of a geisha. . . at least half of this movie is a world war ii movie, but it definitely isn't one of those wwii movies ala saving private ryan where the u.s. americans come and save the day. in this movie, the soldiers arrive in kyoto and totally destroyed the japanese culture. it was sort of powerful for me, because i thought it really paralleled the soldiers in iraq destroying museums and other cultural institutions.

north country. . . this was a completely entirely essentially unnecessary critique of u.s. american masculinity. it was unnecessary because it was untrue. the lifetime-esque message so effectively brought to the screen by charlize theron (blech) is that male workers in the u.s. unanimously teamed up against female workers in the 1970s until the women rose up against them as a single entity. give me a break. like there was never a good man in all of minnesota? this movie is so ridiculous that it couldn't possibly parallel anything real that is happening in the world.

brokeback mountain. . . there have been a lot of filmic representations of the problems faced by gay men living in the u.s. and i thought this one was really ineffective, probably because it was written by two people who are not gay men and it was directed by a person who is not a gay man and none of the actors were gay men. this is problematic!!! the message is simple: it's hard to be a gay cowboy in the 1960s. (well effing duh, haha). on one hand i think that any media effort to show that how the u.s. treats gay men is important. on the other hand, i found this untrue. it parallels gwen araujo, matthew shephard, brandon teena, etc.

palindromes. . . this one isn't nominated for any awards or anything but i throw it in anyway because it is fuckin brilliant. todd solondz is definitely one of my all time favorite filmmakers. his message in this anti-american gem is that people fighting on both sides of the abortion debate are selfishly supporting their own interests rather than what they argue is the popular good. it uniquely parallels other abortion fables in that solondz refuses to take sides.

capote, transamerica, grizzly man, the constant gardener, walk the line, and cinderella man all have some degree of anti-u.s. sentiment as well, but it is less central. in any case, this has definitely been a common element to almost all of the movies nominated for oscars this year. you would think i would have liked going to the movies more than i did, but i guess i just don't like being told what to think either way.
 
Comments:
do you guys watch boston legal?

i like lawyer shows and all but next to boondocks boston legal has some of the most intelligent political comentary [that is not like blatant political comentary] on tv. The one main character alan shore is quiet liberal and will challenge anything for challenges sake....his partner in judicial crime is EXTREMELY republican, gun toting and all [shatner] and between the two of them they have some lovely inuendos about politics. The whole show is very subtle...for instance last week there was something like there are worse things than being unpopular...and then alan flips up a newspaper with tom delay smiling on the cover...

HILLARIOUS.

also i love fat shatner....there's a reason he wont two emmys for the role.
 
oh that is on my list of shows i really wish i could watch but i already watch too much television so i can't start any new shows. i really like candice bergen. i didn't know it was like political though. i am so sick of politics in general right now. i am going to start watching nip/tuck. i am sure there are no politics in that.
 
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