Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mixed Bag of Blogging by Numbers

I don't have a movie review for you this week. Not surprising, considering that the offerings at your local theatre this weekend include Piranha in Real 3D and Eat, Pray, Love, a film based on Elizabeth Gilbert's inane quasi-memoir of the same name filled with pages of childish gibberish masquerading as profound insights on life.  I wish they would make a movie based on Azar Nafisi's much more engaging memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, which I would gladly pay double the price of admission to go see. If you haven't read it, you should. It chronicles the author's life in Iran's Islamic theocracy and follows the lives of seven female University students who joined Nafisi's (their former professor) secret book club where they meet to discuss banned Western literature after her resignation from the University of Allameh Tabatabei.  The book is filled with lots of eating, praying and love, but they are of a deep and profound nature that puts Miss Gilbert's gimmicky book/film to shame.  Hey! Let's do some blogging by numbers!

1 - I may not have a movie review for this week, but I do have a movie recommendation. Vigilante movies are a staple of American cinema, but as iconic as many of them have become - think Taxi Driver and Falling Down, for example - their heroes are usually a tad unstable.

Gran Torino was a satisfying film in many respects, but Eastwood can never divorce himself from his trademark tortured "victim hero", like he played in Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby - oh yeah, did it ever occur to anyone that once those gang members posted bail, they or their friends were probably going to massacre the entire neighborhood? Kind of a huge plot hole, one would think.

Anyway, I think that up-and-coming director Daniel Barber may have given us the best movie in the genre to date with his first feature length film, Harry Brown.

Harry Brown stars the ever brilliant Michael Caine as a recently widowed ex-marine living in London's south end, an area being terrorized by gangs of violent young thugs. After Brown's friend is murdered trying to fend off local hoods, he finds the police sympathetic but unable to exact any real justice under Britain's bureaucracy-laden justice system. Harry, of course, takes matters into his own hands.

What sets Harry Brown apart from other vigilante films is that Brown is not a wise-cracking Hollywood bad ass. The movie has wonderfully suspenseful moments, but Harry's body count is modest and not sensationalized. What keeps the film grounded is that the young punks who harass and terrorize the neighborhood are frightening and believable. The other well played card is the frustration of the movie's detectives, Hickock and Frampton, whose hands are tied by a PR obsessed upper brass more concerned with public opinion and press conferences than actually tackling crime.

Harry Brown is well acted, well paced, and succeeds were it's predecessors have failed. Go see it.

2 -  The Ground Zero Mosque debate is taking on the same tone I witnessed during theTea Party movement's early days, and as I discussed in the last blog, it's a tone intentionally set by the media.  The MSM has decided to frame the debate as the forces of the crazed, Muslim hating "Christian Right" vs the sober-minded liberal voices of tolerance and understanding.  Unlike the smear campaign the media launched on Tea Partiers, they are having less success painting the Mosque's detractors as crazed lunatics - but they sure are trying.  A recent protest against the Mosque was widely dubbed as an "anti-Muslim rally."  Strange, considering many of the people at the protest were Muslims. Rima Fakih, the first Muslim to wear the Miss USA crown (bestowed upon her by those intolerant Americans!!), has spoken out against the building of the Mosque. Hell, even Howard Dean has come to the defense of the protesters.

Those of us who oppose the building of the Mosque are opposed to it because it is in poor taste. The first amendment issues are utter hog wash and the so-called "Cordoba Center" has no more business being there than a Confederate flag would on a former slave plantation, or a Christian church would on the grounds of Auschwitz (yes, I do recall the "Cross Shadow" incident).

Putting aside the utter and complete disrespect the Mosque represents to the victims of 9/11, one must also question the motives of its supporters.  Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the Mosque’s principal backer and an outspoken ally of Iran's brutal theocracy, has previously blamed 9/11 on American foreign policy, claiming "America has blood on it's hands."  How can anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty look at Imam Rauf's history of notoriously anti-American utterings and believe in the purity of his motives?

The Ground Zero Mosque is a mockery to the memory of those who died there almost 10 years ago. We are not anti-Muslim, we are pro-respect. 

3 - Please email any tips on the types of food that helped you with nausea during your first trimester of pregnancy. My editor/incubator the lovely Mrs. Claire is re-enacting the ipecac scene from Family Guy every 2 hours and we welcome any suggestions that might help to ease the stomach of my dear wife. I know most writers wish this sort of thing on their editor, but I can't in good conscience allow this to continue.

4 - Speaking of editors, my precious wife is quite sick, so if you notice that my articles are full of mixed metaphors,  egregious punctuation and split infinitives, it's because she's too ill to edit my pieces at the moment. Any sloppiness is entirely of my own hand and not that of my talented editor.

5 - Oh the joy!! Oh the schadenfreude!! It's rare that an arrogant Hollywood liberal actually gets humiliated in public for his outspoken political beliefs, but James "the bully" Cameron finally shot his mouth off one too many times and got slammed for it. Now, there's nothing wrong with being a Hollywood liberal. Ben Affleck is surprisingly courteous and well informed, and people like Brad Pitt put their money where their mouth is and actually do some good in the world. I don't agree with most of their beliefs, but they're not pompous little dilettantes. James Cameron, on the other hand, has encouraged enviro-terrorism and has called people who question climate change "swine." Cameron decided to "call out the deniers" by challenging them to a debate, and here's what happened;

"... as soon as everything was organized, Cameron began changing the rules. First, he wanted to change his team. Then he wanted the format to be changed from a debate to a roundtable discussion. Then he wanted to ban the opposing side's cameras. Then he wanted to completely get rid of all cameras, stating that audio should only be recorded.

Breitbart, Morano and McElhinney agreed to all the unexpected changes, but Cameron kept going. He next said that he wanted all media to be banned and to make the roundtable open only to those attending the conference. He then decided against streaming the discussion on the internet and then concluded with a rule that no recording of any kind would be allowed.

The three men once again agreed. And finally, on the day before the event, Cameron withdrew, claiming that he no longer wanted to take part. According to Cameron's spokesman, the director did not want to participate because "Morano is not at James Cameron's level to debate. Cameron should be debating someone who is similar to his stature in our society."

Cameron is a coward and a liar and he knows he would have been laughed off the stage. Maybe now you'll shut your gd mouth, James.

6 - Have a good weekend!!




soblessed7x said...

Nice place you've got here, Joe!

Joe Leger said...

Why thank you so very much!