Rightwing Film Geek

Against inclusiveness

My expectations for THE NATIVITY are hereby lowered. From a commenter at Barbara’s (she was underwhelmed herself), here’s what the director said at the Vatican premiere.

“There were some things he (Gibson) did that maybe were a little controversial. We wanted our film to be uniting and make the public see the similarities between religious instead of the differences.”

— Director Catherine Hardwicke

Sorry, but I prefer my religion true, which is to say sectarian (error has no rights, etc.). Further, why would anyone think that the Nativity story is a particularly good vehicle for ecumenism. If you take away Who this is … there’s nothing interesting here, except a generic tale of a family fleeing a nasty dictator or the birth of a (possibly) cute baby. Why should the Three Wise Men give gifts and pay homage to *this baby,* say, unless he’s distinguished from other babies in some unique way? What would the urgency be that *this baby* escape Herod’s wrath, etc.

What’s so special here, in other words, if Christianity isn’t true in some privileged sense denied to other religions? And, in the words, of THE INCREDIBLES … if everyone’s special then nobody is. But if this baby is somehow different, then religions aren’t similar.

November 28, 2006 Posted by | Catherine Hardwicke, Religion in movies | Leave a comment

Life inspires life


If the art didn’t exist, life couldn’t have inspired life — I think that’s the point.

Last week, I watched an old (1991) Bill Kurtis documentary on the movies and copy-cat crimes, on one of the history/documentary channels. I started retching at the end, with all the talk of “positive role models” and whatnot. Still, there were plenty of examples, and I don’t think it’s possible to deny that violent images encourage violent behavior, however mediated.

But one example was really very very VERY ill-chosen. Jaw-droppingly ill-chosen. There was a whole segment devoted to a French-Belgian couple who bilked people selected from lonely-hearts ads out of their money and killed them. They were supposedly inspired by the movie THE HONEYMOON KILLERS. Except … that the film follows a true story, even giving the characters the same names as their real-life counterparts. How can you blame life on art, when that art imitated life in the first place?

November 28, 2006 Posted by | Documentary | Leave a comment

TCM Underground


Speaking of THE HONEYMOON KILLERS, I’m looking forward to seeing it for the first time next weekend, Dec. 8, when it plays as part of a new feature on Turner Classic Movies — TCM Underground. Hosted by Rob Zombie, the weekly late-night Fridays feature, shows cult, low-budget and exploitation films. Jim Ridley might think it hopelessly passe (its first week was an Ed Wood double feature), but, as a non-grindhouse fan, I’m enjoying the opportunities it gives to expand the notion of what Quality is.

A few weeks ago, I watched a Russ Meyer double feature of MUDHONEY and FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL — an experience I’ll never forget. Never have I seen such skill and (frankly) love, devoted to such obviously prurient hokum (some truly brilliant and brilliantly-directed sequences in MUDHONEY aside). But partly because Meyer has long been left behind in the explicitness sweepstakes, I found both films really worthwhile, despite being considered porn in their time, the mid-60s. I once wrote the following about Billy Wilder (who made a C-for-Condemned movie at about the same time) that I think applies to Meyer:

Wilder was the director who best straddled the Production Code era and its collapse. He had the craft and professionalism of the studio era without its oft-absurd comstockery of not showing toilets or having to have Lucy say she’s “expecting.” Here, in Wilder, is the director who handles bawdy subject matter … without collapsing into American Pie territory or pomo decadence, who shows that double entendres are most fun when they were kinda naughty—neither unspeakable nor all-too-speakable.

November 28, 2006 Posted by | Russ Meyer | Leave a comment

More offense for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan

BoratHeadBorat apparently already has caused one breakup — Pamela and Kid Rock or whatever rock star she was doing that week. And speaking of morally dubious pleasures, here are some ideas for extras on the DVD for BORAT, from the “New Yorker,” though I’m guessing the writer didn’t like the film as much as I did.

“GANGSTA” SECTION: The scene where Borat says something intentionally offensive to the inner-city black guys—where is that scene? I have been unable to find it. Here I definitely suggest a reshoot. In the attachment, I have provided a list of common racial slurs that Sacha could try out on “the brothers,” just to see what they do to him. My thought is, that seems to be the ethos of the rest of the film—i.e., Sacha saying/doing the most offensive things possible, in order to elicit a reaction—so I sense a little inconsistency here. Thoughts?

PENTECOSTAL SECTION: The scene where those wacky Pentecostals offer to take Borat into their homes, as Jesus would have done, and as, in fact, per Josh, many of them actually did? And also, didn’t they, like, take up a collection on Sacha/Borat’s behalf or something? Guess they really walk the walk! This moving-in-with-some-Pentecostals would be good, especially if, once in their home, Sacha could mock one of their children for, say, his/her overly prim table manners. That would really go a long way toward puncturing the sanctimonious posturing of the neocons.

November 28, 2006 Posted by | Sacha Baron Cohen | Leave a comment