Saturday, June 10, 2017

because of some idiot prejudice

So a few pet peeves. One about something that happens in movies. One about how people react to movies. And one about life. I'll be as brief as I can.

One, and this one occurred to me watching 9 to 5, is when a conversation is split over two scenes. The example in 9 to 5 isn't even the most egregious example--Judy waits until she is at the store with Violet to ask about Doralee, when realistically she would have asked, you know, on the way there. Some movies, though, it's like midsentence, or between question and response, and that is not how people talk. It's a cheap manipulation of the medium. (To be fair, it can be used well, to suggest a conversation that happens again and again. Because one character just can't let something go, for example. But, too often it's just cheap.)

Two, and this one occurred to me watching The Mummy, is about how people measure a film too much by what they wanted it to be. In this case, so many reviews referencing the 1999 The Mummy when this one has virtually no relation to that one. (Virtually because there are some visuals that echo that one a bit, plus one explicit easter egg.) The Mummy's (the new one) problems are nothing that numerous other recent big budget action films don't also share--unnecessary setup; overwritten dialogue especially with exposition; visuals that feel like echoes of other, unrelated films; relying too much on action when other genres would play better. As the first part of the Dark Universe collection of films, it actually rather works. But, people are having a problem with it initially because it doesn't seem, you know, fun. Because the Brendan Fraser one was fun. This is closer to a horror film in content (though closer to an action film in execution).

(Also, for the record, I'm kinda on Ahmanet's (Sofia Boutella) side here. I saw one review (which I forgot to bookmark and now cannot find) complaint about how the film treats women because, well, there are only two women in the film, and one is evil and one is helpless. Valid point on the surface, except 1) Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) is no more helpless than the numerous nameless male characters getting killed around her, plus she gets lines. Also, thinking conservation of characters, someone has to be the "helpless" one, and it can't be Jekyl (Russell Crowe) because, duh, he's in charge, it can't be Vail (Jake Johnson) or Greenway (Courtney B Vance) because they don't make it through to the end of act one alive, and it actually is Nick (Tom Cruise). Seriously, Cruise spends the film getting his ass kicked, trying to keep people from fighting or shooting, and almost inadvertently manages to save Halsey's life.

Meanwhile, considering my topic here lately has been feminism, I have got to actually side with Ahmanet, at least in her initial motivation if not the eventual destructive ends, because she seeks out power and lashes out when a patriarchal system robs her of her birthright. Good for her. Fuck the patriarchy. Burn it all down. Or whatever.)


Finally, and this one occurs to me all the damn time, the third pet peeve for today is how society and the world can be so deliberately unequal and unfair because of stupid fucking traditions, because men have always been on top (except for, you know, matriarchal cultures that got corrupted or co-opted and erased from the world) and white men have always been on the tippy top (except in say every Chinese Dynasty, the Mongol Empire, the Mali Empire, the Aztec Empire, or so many others), and rich white men have always been on the tippity tippy top

(except for... Well, not, once they managed to get on top, they kind of grabbed it and beat down anyone who tried to take it away and claimed nostalgic bullshit like MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN because, of course, America was only great when white men ran everything and people of color, and women, and gay people knew their place and we could blacklist communists even though there was nothing illegal about being one, and we could imprison Japanese families because some Japanese soldiers from the other side of the world attacked us because they were trying to MAKE JAPAN GREAT AGAIN, and every fucking imperialist, colonialist, and political bullshit artist is trying to MAKE --INSERT NAME OF PLACE THAT IS PROBABLY DOING JUST FINE-- GREAT AGAIN because we made the mistake of letting the weaker sex or the weaker race or some political party that is either fit in a "basket of deplorables" or are "not even human" or are corrupting our race, our people, our nation with their slightly different way of life that probably wouldn't even affect us if we weren't reactionary assholes)

and that's how we like it. And we can justify our own patriarchal, colonial views because if those other ways of life were any good, we wouldn't have been able to beat them down, execute or rape them out of existence. Nevermind our guns, our germs, our steel. It is obviously our whiteness that makes us powerful, our maleness, our ability to denounce any Other at any time not like it's second nature but our first nature, are every initial impulse, our very purpose in being. And, we feel vindicated every time it works all over again even though it's just power breeding power because that's what it does. It's just so fucking easy for those on top to stay on top, and then we echo it again and again in our films (coming back to the purpose of this blog). Case in point: all those action films from the 1980s (see this blog any day, January 2015) that reify (or defend) masculinity and American hegemony (often as one and the same) just by putting white males at the fore, and having them kill and destroy in the name of something... good. Or not taking a chance and having Dr. Jekyl be a woman, or Halsey save Tom Cruise, or make more superhero movies about women, and put the same marketing muscle behind them as behind the MCU movies, and how about a superhero who doesn't just win everything by fighting? And maybe the audience can actually go out in larger numbers to movies that don't just turn to exercises in special effects and violence and the use of force to get things done. (To be fair, the actual ending of Wonder Woman makes an effort to undermine that usual way of doing things, but not until the violent means hasn't already been tried a few times.) Except force is how we do things, and those pinko libtards who want us to actually help the poor and accept homosexuals and trans folk for who they are and let women have some power and influence and embrace foreign refugees and undocumented immigrants because they just want better lives than circumstances have given them--they can't even be bothered to pack more guns than they can carry and enough firepower and ammunition to kill us all time and time again, and certainly wouldn't have the balls (because power and the will to destroy absolutely must be associated with male genitalia) to drop bombs on all those foreigners who hate us for our freedoms, or whatever bullshit line is being sold today, to poison the world to sate our fear and paranoia and remind everyone that we're in charge, we're always in charge, we've always been in charge, we will always be in charge, and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, and everybody needs to man up or shut up (and women and homosexuals and trans folk and people of color, well "man up" just can't apply to them because that would be silly).

No comments:

Post a Comment