Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Western martyrdom in Zero Dark Thirty

February 5, 2013

Immediately after the Jordanian doctor martyrs himself by killing the six or more CIA agents, the Western Jihad against any threat to its global hegemony is stepped up, with the main character martyring the dead agents in order to further the loss of her own humanity and “gain the strength” to achieve domination of her enemies.

This is reminiscent of the American excuse for torturing Vietnamese resistance fighters – we must become monsters in order to gain the strength of monsters in order to maximize our power in order to ensure our domination of the world.

The outcome of such a policy may be domination of the world, although that’s merely one possibility among many. But even if the outcome is as the policy makers desire, the kings and emperors of this brave new world will be the most hideous monsters the world has ever seen.

Slavoj Zizek on “Zero Dark Thirty”

February 4, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty: Hollywood’s Gift to American Power

Thoughts on Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit”

January 5, 2013

Jackson betrayed the spirit of Tolkien’s work. In Tolkien’s book Gandalf uses magic to trick the trolls into bickering with each other (using their weakness against them) to delay them until the sun turned them to stone. In the movie he splits a rock to enable the sunlight to reach them. Gandalf has been betrayed – moving from Tolkien’s crafty subtle wizard to Jackson’s warrior-wizard.

In the lengthy early scene with the dwarves at Bilbo’s home, the movie points out that some of the dwarves are warriors, while the book made no mention of that, focusing on the importance of the mission.

Gandalf is further abused during the captured-by-goblins scene, as he unleashes warrior-wizard once again instead of in the book, where killing was only used as a last resort and flight was the primary action for all the characters (except for Bilbo’s curiosity about the ring).

Possibly the worst moment in the film was the easy takedown of the great pine trees by the wargs. Tolkien stresses the strength of these trees, a strength relied on by the party members. Only the goblin’s clever use of Gandalf’s fire put the group at risk. Jackson throws out the spirit of Tolkien, the trees become normal trees, and the wargs knock them over like dominoes. A fucking disaster.

Gone is the gentleness and cleverness of the book, replaced by soulless murder.

On the Movie “Chronicle”

June 9, 2012

There’s some interesting things going on in this movie –


There is an apex predator in the movie, but it’s not Andrew. It’s Matt. He pretends to be Andrew’s friend but doesn’t help him with any of his family problems. He uses Andrew’s concern for justice and fairness and various problems to act as the noble guide. He loves another sham (the would-be helpful Casey) and at the end of the movie celebrates his conquest by eternally fixing the camera at a dead place while his two dead “friends” are buried in the ground. Andrew’s view of himself as the apex predator protects both him and Matt from the truth – the movie is about the lengths Andrew goes to to express his love for others as well as Matt – a sociopath without the capacity to receive love.

Replying to Universal Leader about “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”

March 16, 2012

Universal Leader writes: If you think their movie, which is mostly about poop, is some grand sociopolitical statement, then you’ve been trolled.

I reply: If you think their movie is mostly about poop then you’re a propagandist.

Since I’m probably being trolled (by you, not by the movie) I won’t explain your propaganda in great depth, but here’s a major problem with the “mostly about poop” theory:

There’s no reason to make a movie about poop. Noone has made a (serious) movie about poop – for example, South Park includes poop when applicable in whatever they are discussing – when it’s important to the subject matter. Likewise with Tim and Eric. It is fair to say that an 8 year old boy who picks up a video camera for the first time might actually make a movie about poop. Adults do not and to propose that artists such as Tim and Eric would do so is absurd.

For Tim and Eric, the poop in question is a metaphor for the degradation and humiliation of modern humans.

Let’s look at the larger issue here however in terms of why you are treating the movie as “about poop”.

By “about poop” what you are really saying is that the film is meaningless – that it has no meaning, that it’s simply nonsense, it’s absurd, no meaning can be attributed to it. Hence it’s “about poop” – about something with no worthwhile meaning.

This belief is ridiculous at face value (for example, why would Tim and Eric select the specific sequence of events they did, why would they look pointedly at the camera at the end of the film, etc. etc.). According to you, the seeming meaning is merely an illusion and the film has no meaning, or at least no meaning worth discussing. So for you Diamond Jim is merely being Mr. Meanie Pants toward Johnny Depp, or maybe the sparkly diamonds look cool, or whatever other juvenile meaning might be attributed to the scene.

This brings to mind Fukuyama’s “End of History”, a theory that states (with logical additions) that global capitalism might as well become totalitarian because there is no alternative now, capitalism has won the grand war for dominance over human history and humans might as well just bow down and drink the slop they are fed.

Since we’ve reached the “end of history”, so the theory goes, there is no longer any meaning in reality since meaning is created by a desire for change and tension – obviously there is no longer any desire for change or any tension, according to the theory.

So especially movies which are meaningful, which are transgressive and challenge the status quo, ESPECIALLY those movies must be made to be meaningless, must be “about poop” so to speak.

It is precisely movies like the one we are discussing, the most dangerous modern movies, which must be shrugged off and laughed off as meaningless, in order to convince everyone that they are.

During the Cold War the battle was not between ideologies as is commonly believed, but between two large economic powers vying for global dominance. The bigger fish ate the smaller fish and now there’s only the one fish, with everyone living in the belly (in a horrific hierarchy).

All of us to varying degrees want to cut open the belly, get out, and breathe fresh air for the first time in our lives. Some of us, like Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, make art that expresses our desires.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

March 12, 2012

Tim and Eric offload their landmark television series into a movie which begins with a dig at the movie audience and then brilliantly deconstructs Johnny Depp’s onscreen persona. It takes on new age gurus and cuts to the core of depictions of organized crime (corporations). It has a far better take on the post-apocalyptic shopping mall than any zombie movie ever has. It takes on marketing, managerial zest, and anything else it can get its nervous masturbating hands on.

In the world of Tim and Eric everything is damaged. From the worn lined faces reminiscent of exhausted porn actors to the deeply panicked behavior to the insane ambition, Tim and Eric can now be a show because the nightmare people used to warn against went unheeded, and now its coming true. Tim and Eric may be deemed the final warning, the final laughter before the tears, or the final real laughter before the endlessly tragic radio dj laughter overtakes us all. The shine of Kawaii Sensation to cover up the cruel nasty mean grime, the false hope of a shower to wash away the pain, the feminine cuteness of Mickey Mouse to console us from the harsh apocalyptic reality, the remade faces and remade breasts and permanent children and permanent disaster.

Perhaps the most interesting topic handled by the movie is the deconstruction of the lackeys to the elite. They are monsters who make and re-make themselves solely for their own material ambition, who cleanse the unwanted within a vision of a bright new shopping mall – mirroring the remaking of New Orleans and the dreams of a “new Iraq”, among countless other examples. The movie tells us that the original managers of the “brave new world” are lost among dreams of adolescent escape and have fled the scene, leaving Hollywood types who don’t know anything other than to maximize profit and brutalize anything which gets in their way. The more progressive their vision, the greater the brutality. The final scene and message of the film is that the owners always get their money – or else, but the film paints the lackeys, the middle men, the global middle class, the cheerfully smiling perverse utterly miserable managers with their vision of remaking the world as the driving force behind the terrors of the world.

It’s difficult to imagine a better comedy or a better movie being released this year.

On “The Secret World of Arrietty”

March 1, 2012

I very much enjoyed the movie. Here are some points –

The characters are japanese stereotypes – quiet, controlling father, hysterical mother, bold daughter, and others I won’t go into.

The father obviously previously knew Spiller, but the daughter says this is the first time she’s met a Borrower outside of the family. Given how lonely and miserable the daughter is it was utterly cruel of the father not to invite Spiller over previous to this, *or even mention his existence to his daughter*. And this meeting only occurred because of the accidental injury to the father. This cruelty can be put down to the controlling nature of the father, whose anxieties over the danger to his family blinds him.

Also, the daughter says she is unaware of the existence of any other borrowers (now amended to any other than Spiller). What happened to her grandparents? Why do they have no contact with other borrowers? If the reason is safety and humans are so terrifying, why not be like Spiller and live in a forest? Only humans have the possibility of controlling Borrowers in the way that the maid does. In a forest the Borrowers could form a village and not be so isolated.

The obvious answer is that these are bourgeois people who couldn’t possibly live without “civilization”. The mother longs for a “better kitchen” and the father and daughter would happily move into the new opulent dollhouse if not for the father’s fears of a more controlled (controlled by humans) environment. They leech off of not just human possessions but their bourgeois culture as well.

So the white bourgeois little people get help from the noble savage (wow, that never happens) to move from one terrifying problematic home through the safer forest to another terrifying problematic home which they hope will have better stuff.

The most interesting metaphor I find in the movie is between the Borrowers in this movie and Westerners in reality. Westerners have long justified their material dominance of the world not just in raw racist terms but in terms of being weak – physically weak. Both nerds and the state of Israel therefore personify Western reasoning in clear terms – nerds justify dominating jocks and others through their fears of being physically dominated and the state of Israel justifies its domination through being an “oasis in the desert”, the “only democracy in the Middle East”, the “chosen people”, the “weak, outnumbered, neurotic, etc.” And of course the fear of another Holocaust is the ultimate justification for whatever atrocities Israel happens to commit on a given day. FDR is clearly long dead when “it’s fear which makes us strong” is the order of the day in the West.

The white people think little of the help of someone they barely even know (Spiller) because of course he’s helping them because they’re special. They are an endangered species, you see, and so what that they are useless parasites because they’re special.

On the movie “Drive”

February 6, 2012

A few things to point out –

This is more a horror movie than a crime drama or noir. It’s far more terrifying than slasher flics.

This is a fascist movie. There is zero forgiveness from any character for any character or any action. In this movie the “final solution” is always (another) murder.

The main character is not a “hero” as the movie would have us believe. He’s saved the physical form of the woman he supposedly loves but sure as hell not saved her overall well being after what he’s helped put her through. A woman is not just a body.

Also, the woman is not “innocent” but passively ignorant to a pathological degree.

As far as bad choices made by the “good guys” in the film, sticking around for the events of the movie to unfold was a terrible idea. Fleeing and establishing life somewhere else was the best way to go. This option was very much available in the beginning when they were only dealing with small-time crooks.

The “hero” did not choose the fleeing option due to his conceit that he could control events through his meticulous code, his ridiculous faith in his magical time window. So he smirks his way through much of the film and blank-faced stares his way through the rest as the emptiness of his nonsense faith is repeatedly revealed.

The script was easier to write than most – stares with “silent resolve” at each other thinly veiling the fear, terror, and perpetual grimness beneath.

This isn’t a movie about love – it’s about pain. It’s not about heroism but rather about “heroism” – it’s about filling an empty nihilistic life with the equally empty dream of noble heroic grandeur, and then manipulating events to produce said “heroism”.

The vision at the end of the film says it all – the two empty souls face off and the “hero” envisions his own stabbing, and then instead of countering that outcome (such as not turning his back on his foe) to keep himself healthy he engages precisely in that vision.

This is the true sequel to Taxi Driver, and the “hero” is the new Travis Bickle, older and wiser but just as dead inside.

Travis Bickle was the corrupt decadent perverse monster, evoking all the fears of 1970s American culture, fears that would be fully realized in the rise of the Neoconservatives.

Then America became “straight edged”, attacking smoking, porn, crime, bodily diseases, and whatever else it was that was supposedly wrong with them, while ignoring everything that was ACTUALLY wrong with them (such as Imperialism and greed). America became the “hero”, suave and well-groomed, manipulative and sinister. America became the noble protector of the innocent, with arsenals of guns and alarm systems standing between their awesome selves and the forces of evil corrupt darkness that would have their prized possessions of cars and homes and women’s bodies.

And so this is the sequel to Taxi Driver, showing what America has become in the past 35 years. It’s not pretty.

The War Games Generation

April 1, 2009

The only winning move is not to play.

A side effect of nuclear war is deterrance of a powerful foreign state. The primary purpose is creating fear and terror in local people.

All nuclear powers have terrorized populaces. The most aggressive, the United States and Israel, have the most terrorized populaces. These populaces are easy to control and manipulate.

This is just one tool of terror. Television is another. Lotteries another (regressive taxation). Corporations another. Schools another. Prisons another. Nearly the entire public society of Western countries is designed and acts to instill terror in the populace.

In the movie War Games, the computer Joshua never learned the most important lesson, futility. The War Games Generation, the Americans who grew up in the 1980s, learned that lesson all too well.

“The game itself is pointless”.

“General, what you see on these screens up here is a fantasy; a computer enhanced hallucination. Those blips are not real missiles. They’re phantoms.”

In a terrorized society, the populace looks to create pockets of safety, of real life amid the terror of daily reality. It is *precisely* fantasy, entertainment, “computer enhanced hallucinations”, “phantoms”, video games, that this generation turns to. Curiously, they call the world they have abandoned “real life” while they attempt to construct a digital real life.

“Is it a game… or is it real?”
“What’s the difference?”

Once one attempts to create reality through a game, through a digital invention, there becomes little difference. The War Games Generation has abandoned reality, rendering it unreal, while the digital reality they experience expands in “realness”.

The principle of Divide and Conquer is that the elite acts to split current or potential political opponents. What better way to do that than to introduce a myriad of “alternative universes”, so that people will rarely if ever interact with the real one?

What is an “alternative universe”, if not simply a form of entertainment that one never leaves? A television without an off switch?

The War Games Generation embraces “alternative universes” and thus their own irrelevance in the only real universe.