War is hell, and it’s never more fun to watch than through the safety and comfort of the silver screen. Hollywood’s love affair with the war film is well known amongst both cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. It’s no secret to historians that the victor in war is the one who writes the history, and it is difficult to argue that America is top dog in the business of winning wars. What is interesting is how American war films choose to portray its prolific history of armed conflict. More often than not, the typical American war film portrays its military in the most positive light it can manage, or the studio risks losing all cooperation from the real military itself in providing fighter jets, rifles, aircraft carriers, servicemen and equipment to the production in the hopes of not only saving money and conveying realism, but more importantly winning the approval of the most powerful and advanced armed forces the world has ever known. On the other hand, this has not stopped a handful of maverick filmmakers from exposing the painful truth of many American wars; that despite all the good the United States believes it does, reality is not so black and white, and occasionally history looks at us* as the bad guys; the aggressors, the tyrants, the invaders, the Great Satan.
Abraham Lincoln is arguably the most popular, beloved, hated, and talked about president in American history; yet for some unknown reason there are astonishingly few feature films that center exclusively around the 16th president of the United States (not including documentaries). In the typical civil war film, he is only seen for a brief moment or barely mentioned in passing, if at all. In fact the disparity is even greater with George Washington. When’s the last time anybody made a movie about the founding father(s)? The only hypothesis is that filmmakers just don’t like making movies about dead presidents. The majority of filmed entertainment featuring a portrayal of Abraham Lincoln is either television shows or a few cheaply produced made for TV movies. Half of the time it’s in the form of a comedy skit where Abe Lincoln fraternizing with Bill and Ted on their excellent adventure is the entire punch line.
In the pantheon of legendary Westerns, few films subvert our expectations and push the envelope as far as Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012). Compared to the classical westerns of say, John Ford [Stagecoach (1939) or The Searchers (1956)], or spaghetti westerns like Once Upon a Time in The West (Sergio Leone, 1968), Django Unchained is like, one hundred trillion times better because it’s not as boring as those old movies. Nah I’m kidding, those old movies are good too, but the purpose of this essay is to talk about how Django is in another ballpark entirely. It’s really something new and exciting. To put it succinctly, it represents the pinnacle of post modern revisionist Westerns. For those not in the know, a post modern film is anything made after 1994. Okay, all joking aside, let’s cut to the meat of it shall we? The central theme underlining the bold direction of Tarantino’s latest effort is simple and sublime; classical Westerns are racist. Tarantino has not just redefined the Western for a new generation of filmgoers, but also spawned the birth of an entirely new sub-genre: the Southern.
My last entry was in March of 2011. It’s been more than two years since I’ve touched this and I can honestly say I’m a completely different person. So many things have happened since then that it would be wasteful to recount it all here since the time and energy would be better spent on more productive measures.
Long story short: Got dumped, moved to a new city, started college, got a job, got laid, quit my job, made some movies, made some friends, pissed people off, got laid, grew as a person. Well, I’m not sure about that last part, but I might as well run with it or the second sentence of the first paragraph will have been for shits and giggles.
At the very least, I’ve become a much more capable writer. Nolan knows everything prior to this post comes off like a script written by an eight year old..
..heeeyyy weight a minute. That don’t make sense…
..for what its worth..
I’m back, bitches!
Léolo is a stinking gutter fuck of a good time. The worst that Internet porn has to offer, packaged in a neatly wrapped art house bow tie that actually predates the Internet, but predicts the burlesque grotesque-ity like a fortune teller dropping a massive deuce. Filled with semen, feces, bestiality, incest, fetishism, masturbation and girly men. It’s all here, and slut bag director Jean-Claude Lauzon is absolutely DGAF about it all. This film is incoherently blasé about good taste, but maybe that is it’s charm. Who is the judge of good taste anyway? Well, like all great art, it stirred an emotional response from me. The same emotional response one would get when you are offered money to have sex with a house cat in heat.
Alien Resurrection is a profound example of strained, nasally congested “good-enough”. They say the best movies always look as though they came together all by themselves. Effortless, and magical. Well, Alien Resurrection looks as though it was very carefully crafted from a set of logarithmic parameters, input into a Movie Calculator, and the results processed by an army of technicians, craftsmen, artists, a French director, and H.R. Giger‘s forgotten royalty checks. In short, it looks deliberate; full of effort, not magical. A formula. A formality. A filmmaking exercise in “good-enough”.
Roger Ebert has called this year’s annual Academy Awards ceremony “The worst Oscarcast I’ve seen”. And he’s absolutely right. This year’s Oscars were boring. Boring as a banana with no personality. You could also use those words to describe James Franco. Well, I’ll give him a little credit. He really likes doing things! Among the ruthlessly inadequate crimes committed this year, Christopher Nolan was snubbed for a Best Director nominee, first of all.
Second, Billy Crystal was on stage for only 5 minutes or something, yet he was still more entertaining than the entire 3 hours of Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Why were these two non-jokers chosen to be hosts? What were their qualifications? I think after reaching a milestone last year with electing Kathryn Bigelow with the honor of being the first Female Best Director, they wanted to do it AGAIN two years in a row by having one of the hosts also be a nominee for the first time. Yeah. That’s the logic of the Academy. Do things just because. First times are everything. JUST because.
The good news? Natalie Portman won best Actress. Inception won Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound. What’s the difference between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing? Well, mixing involves stirring the batter. And Editing involves putting sprinkles on it. That’s the basic gist of it. Learn it and love it. Otherwise, King’s Speech swabbed the decks. or Sweeped the trash. Or Bedazzled the Bejesus out of whatever kind of phrase you’d like to use to describe the act of winning the most important awards. Now, I’ve never seen King’s Speech, so I won’t pass too much judgment on it. Is it a good movie? Maybe so. Is it a painfully average good movie? That’s what it looks like… You know, the same kind of calculated, hyper dramatic drama picked from the same tree that grew The English Patient, or Shakespeare in Love, or Crash…
Which brings me to the best part of the show. Steven Spielberg. He was to announce the Best Picture winner, and he came out funnily enough to the Jurassic Park theme and gave a nice, subtle little troll to the academy, which basically amounted to saying that the greatest movies of all time almost never win best picture. It was essentially a reminder that these awards mean almost nothing and that only time will judge how great and amazing a film truly is. The golden statues will merely become a footnote in the details.
Other dumb things: Autotune. It’s awkwardly ironic that they are autotuning Justin Timberlake, but they’re also doing it to the most unfunny parody video of all time, furthering the intensity of the awkwardness. Want to know what the expression of my parent’s faces were when they sat on the couch and watched that bullshit? It was something like this: :| True story bro.
What else? Anne Hathaway tries to be funny and sings. Speaking of singing, the show ended with an army of little kids singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The “Wizard of Oz” song. I mean, I guess that will look good on their resumes when they turn 16 and enter the labor force, right? But, W.T.F.? Is this more of the attempt to make the Oscars more youthful, along with assigning Anne & James to stink up the joint with their youthful non-personalities? A lot of dumb decisions were made this year, and I’m not sure who to blame. Can anybody be blamed for this?
Yes. His name his George Lucas, he loves little kids, and he’s a dick. Do me a favor and go throw some tomatoes into his face.
Oh, and how about that Kirk Douglas? If only he hosted the whole thing. It would have been the most entertaining show of all time. MAYBE NEXT YEAR! KEEP ON TRUCKING KIRK!