How F*-#@^ed Up Are We? A Movie Rant
My channeling of John Wayne bears some scrutiny. Let's think about this. JW (as in WWJWD?) would have Jack and Ennis risk grave physical harm in order to stand tall as men, be true to their selves and each other. Do we demand this of heterosexual couples? Of course not - we only ask they stick together in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer. As a society, we don't expect heterosexual couples to risk dismemberment and torture (oh - I separate the two - as if dismemberment doesn't equal torture - nice distinction - I should go work for the Bush administration and write legal memos - hey GW, we can cut the dicks offa anyone - no problemo - ain't no crime, ain't no torture. Hmmm... guess we'd best start forcing clitorectomies on lesbians - that would in no way constitute torture - besides, those bitches have it coming to them and they have less standing than gay men - what the hell, we'll never get caught, and if we do, it will matter even less.)
Alright, that's relatively off my chest. Back to the general failings of human kind. I grow more and more convinced that the sooner aliens from outer space discover and destroy us (as in, the only good human is a dead human - as in - we are a breed apart and make no sense (a line stolen from Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans - only his character was speaking of the white man) the better.
But what about the movies, Bird?
Crash is finely written, filmed, and acted. Most of the characters are despicable - and sadly, accurately reflect us - all of us. Some scenes caused me to cry out in pain, in warning, in despair. We are a deeply fucked-up species. Hip high school and college instructors will glom on to this film, show clips in class, and force students to write witless, vacuous, and trite essays about the nature of race relationships in the United States. By doing so, they will suck the power and force out of the movie and absolutely no real, substantive societal change will result (not like that would happen anyway - so it ain't the teachers' fault).
Munich made me cry. Spielberg uses actual news footage in the beginning of the film and seeing those grainy images flickering on a large screen made me nauseous. I was 15 in '72, and saw the tragedy (instead of the thrill of victory- though Jim McKay's use of that term would come later in his tenure as ABC's Olympic anchor) and those news clips brought it back on a visceral level. I left the theater wanting to accost Israelis and Palenstinans and yell at them , "What's a matter with you? Knock this shit off you fucking idiots. And if not, just bomb each other off the face of the earth now would you, and be done with it. It's enough now!"
The power of Brokeback's societal statement is wrapped up in its narrative of a romantic and tragic love. The movie simply breaks your heart. It does so with exquisite and elegant craft. Ang, the actors, the crew never drop a stitch or miss a step. But as a friend of mine commented, "Can't we ever have a gay love story in mainstream film that has a happy ending?" Nope - can't have that. Unacceptable. Not acceptable as reality or art. Gotta send a message.
I'm done with "important" movies. There's only so much despair and hurt I can take. I haven't read the news in a bit - just to avoid such despair. I need to watch That Darn Cat , or A Charlie Brown's Christmas, or read Family Circle (god forbid - have things gotten that bad?) or write some horrid, fluff piece (this is horrid, over-generalized, but not fluff) and forget about the ridiculousness of humans. But we are fucked. We aren't going to hell in a hand basket - we are already there.