Monday, July 27, 2009

Death Proof

One day post-modernism will be dead and Quentin Tarantino and I will both be out of a gig. Huzzah, huzzah, the world rejoices. Finally we'll have some art that doesn't disappear up its own arse! But let's not get too carried away. We're not there yet. Before we can tie a tag on the toe of post-modernism, first we'll have to descend into the inevitable hell of self-parody. And with Tarantino's fifth film, Death Proof, we're not far off!

Many years ago, when I was doing design in college, and post-modernism was at its height, one of my lecturers famously said (to a student who'd based his unfortunate design on something that was unfortunate to begin with), 'If you're going to rip off an idea, make sure it's a good one'. Tarantino took this to heart obviously but added a crucial caveat: '...and in order to appear original pick something obscure that nobody's seen before'. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Quentin Tarantino, the erstwhile insufferable know-it-all video-store clerk, became the great and original auteur who single-handedly re-created American cinema.

In amongst the pastiche/homage (let's shorten it to 'pastage' ha ha), Tarantino can be relied upon to deliver his two trademark devices. These are his famous cooler-than-thou dialogue and his eclectic soundtracks comprised of obscure pop songs. Depending on what day of the week it is, these will either comprise the flesh that Tarantino adds to the skeletons he dug up in some out of the way Asian graveyard, or instead be the skeleton on which he hangs some other flesh of his choosing. Either way, the result is a jerky beast that excites in parts but never quite makes sense as an entire creature. It's like Bruce Lee's head with Uma Thurman's tits and Lucy Liu's arse, kind of thing.

Soundtrack v score

Let's deal with the music first. Any given piece in a soundtrack is primarily there to add a mood to a scene. Okay, in this regard we give Tarantino a tick. We could pick any number of scenes in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Death Proof that are maxed out by some song that no one ever thought much of until Tarantino laid it over some intense (and usually blood-spattered) images. Thus within the scene the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. But the scene is merely a part within the whole that comprises the film. What of that whole?

In those terms, we need to consider the other aspect of the soundtrack, which becomes clearer if we were to call it a 'score'. A score, as written by a single composer, will fulfil the aforementioned brief of intensifying a given scene but will also perform another role - that of tying the movie together as a coherent whole. Sure enough: Tarantino. Doesn't. Do. Scores. If you want to see how this works, or more precisely doesn't work, watch Pulp Fiction. I know everyone went completely nuts for Pulp Fiction, but don't think of it as this-scene-that-scene (each breathlessly following the other), instead think of it in its entirety. Did it have one? Really? What was it?

Super cool dialogue

Tarantino's preference of a tactical scene-by-scene soundtrack over a strategic film-as-a-whole score is perfectly replicated in all of his super cool dialogue. Take your pick: Mr Pink discussing Madonna's rejoicing over a huge dick; Jules and Vince discussing foot massages and cunnilingus; Ordell explaining to Louis about the joys of AK-47's - each only work viscerally in and of themselves and are completely meaningless within the larger context of the film as a whole. They're merely pet dialogues held together by what passes for a plot.

Tarantino's dialogue's purposelessness in terms of plot is echoed in its purposelessness in terms of meaning. They're about nothing more than a cool variety of posturing. In a society where people would rather push popcorn up their nose than discuss anything even half way philosophical it's the perfect template for all who wish to be cool. Don't tell me that Hollywood has no effect on how we all talk. Just come to Australia and see how many teenage boys call each other 'bitch'.

A totality of bits

Both the soundtrack and the dialogue are typical of Tarantino's approach to film-making as a purely visceral exercise of 'in-the-moment'. With Tarantino, in-the-moment is all there is. I'll go out on a limb here and declare that our Quentin probably never walked out of a cinema impressed with any given film's big-picture message. Here's a rudely imagined conversation between Tarantino and yours truly as we sit in a cafe after having seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (say):

QT- Man that was cool! Michelle Yeoh is a goddess! That fight where she works her way through every weapon on the rack completely rocked!
n- Yeah, it was wild.
QT- And Zhang Ziyi's fight in the tavern was a masterpiece! That bit where she flew up spinning through the air and landed on her feet while delivering that poem about Wudang Shan was awesome!
n- Yeah, pretty cool. And what did you think of the central theme of the impetuous self-impressed nature of youth encountering the boundless patience and forgiveness of the sage? I liked how Chow Yun Fat always offered redemption, and effectively gave his life for it, and that it was only through this sacrifice that Zhang Ziyi finally learnt the worthlessness of self-gratification.
QT- Man, what are you talking about? Forgiveness? Shee-it! Cheng Pei Pei's knife in the head!!!

Never mind me imagining, the proof is in the pudding. Tarantino's films are only 'films' insofar as they're a collection of intense moments, one after the other until he's filled ninety minutes. In light of this, his exotic and 'innovative' narrative structures are not so much a Kurosawa-esque serving of the central message (à la Rashomon and Ikiru) but rather a desperate striving to tie a series of otherwise unconnected pet-scenes, pet-characters, pet-dialogues, and pet-pop tracks into something that vaguely resembles coherency.


Okay, dandy. But what of Death Proof? What with having exhausted Asian cinema with his mad lumbering Kill Bill opus (perversely stitched together from the bodies of Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers and Japanese chambara exploitation flicks), Tarantino has decided to plunder the graveyard of obscure early 70's muscle car chase flicks - to wit: Vanishing Point; Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry; and Gone in Sixty Seconds ("The real one, not that Angelina Jolie bullshit"). We know these are the films that are being referenced because the film's characters actually say so in one of Tarantino's cool dialogue scenes.

In this scene, right before your eyes, you get to see cinema disappear up its own arse: the cool conversation involving the film's film-industry muscle-car movie-fan characters is the conversation had by the film's film-industry muscle-car movie-fan director in the film's pre-production meetings. I'm thinking there's only a single line from the pre-pro conversation that failed appear in the script and that is 'And we can put this whole conversation in the script!' Anyone remember Steely Dan's line about 'Show business kids making movies 'bout themselves'? Now all we need is for the needle to skip and endlessly repeat the line 'making movies about themselves making movies about themselves making movies...' etc etc ad nauseam.

The villain as structural skeleton

So we've got the climactic car chase (which is good for twenty minutes), and the disappear-up-its-own-arse conversation establishing it (which is good for ten), but what of the other sixty minutes? Obviously we need more cinematic flesh. Not forgetting a skeleton to hold it all together. Since a car chase involves two parties, one being chased and one doing the chasing, surely there must be a bad guy? Did somebody mention 'disappearing' and 'arse' just now? Oh, it was me. Sure enough, in a film that is a homage to old-school Hollywood stuntmen, the villain is, wait for it, an old-school Hollywood stuntman. Just in case we might miss it, he's called Stuntman Mike. Should we all roll our eyes? Or just have a cool conversation about rolling our eyes, and put it in the script? Perhaps we'll even put the bit about putting it in the script, in the script. Ha, I out-Tarantino Tarantino! (Sorry, I'll stop there before we all go mad).

Here the ever redoubtable Kurt Russell does the honours as villain. Whilst he might be a poor man's Clint Eastwood, that's still a pretty cool place to be and Russell is definitely good at it. What with this being a Tarantino movie, Russell's character is a pastage of himself as Snake Plissken from Escape From New York as well as himself as Jack Burton doing his John Wayne schtick from Big Trouble In Little China. Are we bored with this loop-tape self-reference yet? Don't blame me, blame Tarantino.

All of that aside, Russell's Stuntman Mike villain represents the skeleton holding the film's two acts together. The two acts are mirror image dichotomies, each of which is its own mirror image dichotomy of car-driving victimiser and car-driving victims. The first act involves four cool chicks who are graphically slaughtered by Stuntman Mike, and the second features four cool chicks who aren't, and then go on to turn the tables and kill him instead.

Best we not discuss the unexamined absurd nature of the villain. The only way he could make any sense at all is as a mind-control zombie à la Susan Ford. Hmm... keeping in mind the intense Hollywood connections detailed in Ford's book, not forgetting McGowan's Programmed To Kill and Laurel Canyon series, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Hollywood villains bear such a spooky resemblance to such otherwise unlikely creatures. Works for me. As is, Stuntman Mike doesn't make a lick of sense apart from one-who-must-kill-and-be-killed. Besides, if you stop and think about him the movie falls apart. Perish the thought!

The flesh on the skeleton

Most of the film's time is spent on the aforementioned 2x4 chicks. Ha ha ha, 2x4, nice one. They're possessed of a bit more charm than a piece of 2x4 but only barely. And like a stack of 2x4's there's no telling them apart. Each of the first four is pretty much interchangeable. As are the second lot from the first. With the first four meeting their perversely graphic Hostel-like ends, (followed by a go-nowhere interlude featuring two cops, one of whom explains that the killer is a madman who gets his jollies crashing into chicks), we meet the second lot of women and rub our eyes in amazement. These are the same chicks surely? Oh wait, one of them is a Kiwi. But that aside, it's a good thing there are no costume changes in this flick otherwise we'd have been in a world of confusion.

Best I can make out, these women comprise eight versions of Tarantino in drag. They're either black or they want to be, sex-obsessed, and all of their conversations are cool to the point of vacuous. It's my opinion that with this flick, and whether he knows it or not, Tarantino is now just going through the motions and barely a heartbeat away from self-parody. The entire first half of the film is all super cool dialogue and tedious beyond imagining. Anyone who wants to fast forward through the first 45 minutes won't be missing anything. There are no characters as such, no relationships, no big picture, no action, no comedy, nor even any great explication of plot, not that there's much of that either. In looking for a contrast I settled upon Chow's Kungfu Hustle. There, not a single shot or word is wasted, and all to a big picture purpose. Here the big picture is, truth be known, twenty minutes long and it comes at the end. Tarantino declared he wanted to make the 'best damn chase movie ever'. Ha ha ha, hey Quentin, you nearly got there mate, shy by four words. Thus you earn an honorary nobody award for the best Damn, let's cut to the chase movie ever!

Post-modernism comes full circle

With Tarantino, the means is the masturbatory end - one man, a room full of mirrors, and a perfectly realised circle jerk. Dressed in a stripey yellow go-go suit that is his homage to Death Proof's Sydney Poitier's homage to Kill Bill's Uma Thurman's homage to Game Of Death's Bruce Lee's homage to Quentin Tarantino's homage to himself, he talks to the drag queen in the go-go suit, "Yeah, you like that bitch? I bet you do! C'mon, say it you whore! 'I'm a dirty bitch and I love it!' Ooh yeah!"

Monday, March 16, 2009


Calling all young film-makers! Here's today's challenge - To come up with a film that contains neither plot, nor characters, nor themes, nor originality, nor even intelligibility, and still get major studio backing and worldwide release. Don't worry, it can be done. And you don't even need a tripod! All you need is fear. Not yours of course, just other people's. And if that fear plugs into some aspect of our current worldwide Sanctity of Banking Campaign™ then your $25,000,000 budget is a shoo-in.

Fucking wobbly-cam!

But first an explanation of the differences between human vision and the camera. Camera technique has come a long way. If you look at the earliest silent films you'll notice that the camera never moves. Every shot was what we now call a lock-off. This was because the first tripods were the same as those used by stills photographers. And since stills didn't need to move (natch), what we now know as pans and tilts didn't exist. But gradually the early film-makers came up with innovations that attempted to replicate the human ability to look about. Sure enough the simplest moves, the aforementioned pans and tilts, were first, and then came dollies, zooms and the final triumph of steadicam.

But regardless of these advances, the cinematic experience of vision will never - never ever - match actual human vision. Here's an experiment you can try right now. Swing your head left to right. Repeatedly if you like. Was there any motion blur? Did your image of the world in front of you become some variety of unintelligible? Of course not. Our image of our world does not consist of it sliding about. If it did, we'd either lose our balance and fall over, or vomit, or both. Besides, if human vision fell to pieces every time we moved our head (particularly when we were being chased by predators, or were in turn chasing prey of our own) the human race would have died out long ago.

Fact of the matter is, as visual data is transferred from the eyes to the brain, the brain cleverly reduces what it receives into a series of near-stills that are then plugged in to our spatial sense. Thus, as we swing our head, the world stays still. Sure enough, watch any pan in any film and see how slow it is. It must be this way since even a simple thing like a pan is only the merest approximation of human vision. Try slowly panning your head right now. Notice how your eyes cannot smoothly slide across what you see. Instead they will have to make a series of small staccato flicks from object to object. Your brain only perceives what the eyes stop on. And the in-between visual data, which in a camera would be motion-blurred, is precisely ignored/rejected by your brain. The only time our vision truly goes to motion-blur hell is when we're drunk or in a car-crash. For the other 99.99% of the time we spend looking at things, there is no such thing as motion-blur. It's as unnatural as dogs and cats getting it on.

So whose brilliant fucking idea is this current rash of movies and TV-shows that feature nothing but hand-held wobbly cam? It's everywhere! Did anyone see The Bourne Ultimatum? I wasn't counting but it seemed like there were maybe three shots in the whole film where a tripod was employed. Every other goddamn shot drunkenly slid this way and that. This can be forgiven for action sequences, sure, but in the first scene of The Bourne Ultimatum, with our hero and his gal doing nothing more than sitting on a verandah watching the sunset, we're subjected to a perfectly idiotic, nausea-inducing wobble. On the small screen it's bearable, but on the big screen it's enough to make me walk out. I frankly view it as a display of contempt for the audience by the director and DOP.

And then there's Cloverfield! Jesus Christ! Cloverfield goes waaaaay beyond wobbly-cam and bravely heads right into the realm of complete unintelligibility. The camera madly swings this way and that as if operated by an eight-year-old on drugs. Whole swathes of the movie make no sense at all. On any number of occasions we can't even tell if we're upright. In Cloverfield, the answer to that famous drunk question, 'Am I standing up yet?', is - 'Hell if I know!'.

Clearly, we're in high-concept territory. "What we want to do is make a whole film that looks like it was shot on handicam. The picture will be full-rez okay, not grainy at all, but the camera will always be moving and swinging about and giving us a you-are-there feel." I just made that up but I expect that some bullshit variation of it was uttered at more than one production meeting.

And it's not only the audience that's being insulted here. As an ex-visual effects guy, I spent the whole time watching this film pitying the 3D animators who had to track in the various destroyed buildings, monsters, and jet fighters etc. Those poor suffering bastards. Okay, quick explanation - when a digital element is inserted into a background plate, the virtual camera in the 3D scene has to precisely match the move of the real world camera that shot the original footage. Otherwise the background and the foreground element won't match. This is easier said than done. Get it wrong and the inserted object slides about in the scene and looks like crap. Way back when, this camera-tracking had to be done by hand. In fact it was one of my specialities and I was the 'it' guy. Until they came up with software that did it for you. Ha! Overnight I went from being the indispensible wonder-boy, to just another 3D hack. Boo hoo. But software or no, this film would have had the animators spitting chips, wanting to kill somebody. If only they had! Never mind...

Overlooking sins

If, in totality, a film is possessed of - I don't know - let's just call it 'something good', all manner of sins will be forgiven. Searching for an example now, Blueberry just popped into my head. With my doppelganger, that saucy Frenchman Vincent Cassel, in the lead role, there were obviously problems with his French accent. And so he was dubbed with an American one. And not well either. But never mind, it's still a great film and the poor dubbing can be overlooked. And likewise, even The Bourne Ultimatum had its good points. It had dialogue that made sense, appealing actors whom we cared about, and a plot with a beginning, middle, and end. Three cheers.

So what does Cloverfield have? Fucking Nothing! It's as if we took a real movie, clipped out a ten minute sequence from the middle and stretched it into an hour and a half. Subsequently nothing makes sense. At no point is anything explained. What is this monster? Where did it come from? How come 1000kg bombs that can level buildings have no effect on it? What are those little monsters? Why does one bite from them cause you to explode in blood? Who the fuck knows?

Actually, I expect we're in high-concept territory here again. "No man, this is a slice of real life. If you were actually there you wouldn't know what was going on either. What we want to replicate is this sense of confusion, of not understanding what's happening." Shit, like that's difficult! But it's hardly surprising really. This is a horror movie, which is to say a 'fear' movie. Scaring people is the easiest, most witless thing in the world. Even my favourite six year old niece knows how to say 'Boo!' At least with a six year old it's funny.

Anyway, if we're going to be witless, let's go the whole hog and dispense with narrative, explanation, hell, every goddamn thing. And then, when people wander out of the cinema shaking their heads saying, 'What the fuck was that all about?' we can cleverly congratulate ourselves for having perfectly achieved our 'high-concept'. Well we would if we were a bunch of pretentious, overpaid, lazy, smug Hollywood gits, that is.

How to score $25,000,000 without even trying

Ha! I have a mate who is a real film director. No really, she won at Cannes and everything. And boy, does she ever have a tough time funding her films. It's a goddamn nightmare. Track record? Who gives a shit. As I said to her, if only she'd find some way to insert an Arab villain into the script, the money would be a lock. (Hmm... Imagined Experiment #257 - Let's go through Hollywood's yay-or-nay funding decisions and compare the knockback percentages for all films compared to those specifically featuring Arab villains. That would be one savage statistic, don't you think? In a bar chart with two columns, there'd actually only be one column. The other would be so statistically negligible that it would barely stand out from the baseline.)

And okay, yes, there are no Arabs in this movie. Ha! Now that I think about it, in much the same way that horror movies are routinely described as a 'cathartic release', rather than a reinforcement of fear, this movie could be described as 911 albeit with Arabs being given a pass. Ha ha ha ha. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if someone, somewhere put this idea forward.

Make no mistake, this film is 911 - right down to a precise recreation of the asbestos-laden pyroclastic flow of concrete dust. If the brief was to recreate 911 without actually doing 911 as such, this film would be the answer. Instead of Arabs we merely insert a non-denominational monster - a monster that can magically drop modern high-rise buildings neatly and vertically into their own basements. Buildings do that doncha know. They did on 911 anyway - three of 'em, no less. And forgetting controlled demolition now, only Arabs do this. And whilst it's true that superficially this monster doesn't resemble an Arab (ie. he's not wearing a kaffiyeh or yelling 'Allahu akbar') he certainly serves to remind us of the inner soul of Arabs who hate us for our freedom and otherwise want to neatly demolish our obsolete and well-insured iconic and treasured landmarks.

Cloverfield was bankrolled for one reason, and one reason only. With actual depictions of 911 being ho-hum now, it's necessary that we be reminded of what we're fighting for. And with an audience bored with the old 'New Pearl Harbour', this is the equivalent of a quick coat of lacquer to make a worn-out idea fresh again. It's a new 'New Pearl Harbour', dig it.

At long last, fellatio

And so! Aspiring young film-makers, there you have it! Forget everything they taught you at film-school. Plot, characters, camera technique, you don't need any of it. Forget beginning, middle, and end. Your film need not make a lick of sense. The only thing your film needs is a high-concept take on the same old 'the-world-is-thus' of Hollywood's money men. And any old piece of shit will do. Hell! Dress it up right, talk the talk, and what would otherwise comprise an unremarkable ten minute sequence in a real movie can suddenly become a complete movie all of its very own. In Hollywood, it's as easy as copping a blow-job.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This movie has one line of exquisite truth by way of the David Ferrie character played by Joe Pesci -
"Shit, this is too fuckin' big for you, you know that? Who did the president, who killed Kennedy, fuck man! It's a mystery! It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! The fuckin' shooters don't even know! Don't you get it?"
You got that right buddy. And yeah, we get it. Welcome to JFK.


So. Is this a good movie, or is it bullshit? Says I - it's both. If nothing else, it's insanely watchable. Hell, I've seen it maybe ten times. The script is as tight as a drum. The dialogue is sharp and pithy. And the cast is spectacular - inspired by The Longest Day, Oliver Stone filled any number of minor roles with Hollywood heavies. Even the small scenes shimmer. A heavy like Walter Matthau signed on for a minute of screen time.

Like The Longest Day, JFK's story would rightly be described as 'sprawling'. In spite of this, it effortlessly slides from its 1960's present to an infinite number of disparate flashbacks. If one hadn't seen the film and were to judge it from a complete list of each scene's location and date, the film would appear to be an unintelligible hodge-podge. But we've all seen it and it's no such thing. Instead it flows like a river. That's editing for you. A determined Stone overrode his regular cinema editors by bringing in Hank Corwin who was schooled in the cutting of thirty second commercials. Good move. The film is frame perfect and deserves its Oscar for editing.

I have a tendency at this blog to look at what is never discussed in film reviews. We could loosely call this context. But I don't want anyone to confuse me with some soppy post-modernist who dismisses craft. For mine, intent is not enough. If one is going to employ a medium to express one's ideas, its absurd to imagine that whomever is on the receiving end won't pay equal attention to the medium. The medium, and a mastery of it, is not a fascist con to repress the unskilled but otherwise deserving masses. I get this view utterly having been at university and art-school when it was at its height, and I have no time for it. Between Botticelli's chick in a clamshell, and some clammy chick's used tampons rotting on a canvas, only one of them is worth anything. And film is no different. Subsequently, even execrable propaganda like Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down will get multiple viewings, if for no other reason than for having a nice colour grade. I groove on a nice grade and that's cool. As long as we know it for what it is and don't confuse technique with message. On this blog, I merely say it's not an either/or proposition.

What's right with this picture

One could never confuse JFK with pro-war Hoo-er! bullshit like Black Hawk Down. If we were to distil JFK down to its essential message, it would be that we've all been lied to. And this is laudable - up to a point. Let's not forget that on its release JFK copped more shit than maybe any other film in history. The MSM attacked it like it was some kind of celluloid anti-christ. So it must have something going for it.

Even today, right this minute, one can find any number of websites devoted entirely to denouncing JFK and to tearing it down point by point. They're interesting, these websites. If you leave your brain in neutral you'd almost come away thinking that yep, JFK is rubbish. But read them carefully. They're not what they seem. In spite of their 'I too was convinced that Stone's movie was truthful until I looked into it...' tone of regretful disenchantment, they're actually disinfo sites.

My favourite line on one site pivoted on Stone's assertion that fifty-odd witnesses in Dealey Plaza had declared that they'd heard or seen a shooter on the grassy knoll. 'False!' declared the site's author. There were only twenty witnesses! So there! ...Pathetic. Does the fact that he thinks we're that stupid say more about us, or him? Anyway fuck you, mate.

But let's concede that these sites do make some sensible points. Okay, so the chick who declared she was the 'Babushka Lady' was bullshit. But as David Ray Griffin wrote in his masterful piece (of limited hangout), A New Pearl Harbour, individual pieces of evidence do not comprise links in a chain but rather strands in a cable. The fact that Beverly Oliver isn't the Babushka lady doesn't mean that Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Russia and back (not only unmolested but with his ticket paid for by the US government), somehow makes sense. It doesn't. Oswald was obviously a spook. That strand in the cable still ties one thing to another.

And even if a hundred strands in the cable turn out to be rotten, there's still another thousand to connect the evidence to the truth. Frankly as few as three would do the job equally as well. Stone's pointing out that the bullshit nature of the government's story of Kennedy being killed by a lone nut, who was in turn killed by another lone nut, holds water. (BTW - Speaking of Jack Ruby, aka Jacob Rubenstein, it seems he worked as a snitch for Richard Nixon in the HUAC days. Interesting, huh?)

JFK says that your government is as wicked and as corrupt as you can imagine. And he's right. But not quite right enough. And not in any useful fashion.

What's wrong with this picture

Here's a trick you can try at home. When watching any Hollywood film: if it smells bad; if it has a neocon whiff; if it's anti-Arab/Muslim; if it asserts an us-and-them mindset; if it posits an old testament rightness of merciless slaughter; if it's divisive and racist; if it teaches teenagers to be self-obsessed gits; if it glamorises drugs, prostitution, and crime; if it promotes perverse individualism and adds to the centrifugal, self-destructive nature of society, don't waste your time wondering at the director, nor even the producer. In the world of cinema context, these are the also-rans, the glorified step-and-fetchits. The names you want to read, as the titles or credits roll, are those of the executive-producers. These are the true money men. They decide what gets made and what doesn't. If you're watching that hateful movie and you wonder if you'll see the names of the usual suspects listed, as God is my witness, you'll never be disappointed. It's the same thing every fucking time.

And so it is with this film. Two men are solely responsible for JFK's existence, they being Terry Semel and Arnon Milchan. Without them, Stone's dream of a JFK movie would have remained just that, a dream. These two are brave men who've never shied from making controversial films. But not too controversial. In some ways executive producers are less about what kinds of films do get made than they are about what kinds of films don't get made. Subsequently, if the question is 'Why was Kennedy killed?' the answer will be, 'Because of the Vietnam war.' Thus the blame lies with the FBI, the CIA, the MIC, the Italian mafia and assorted Cubans. The answer is emphatically not, 'Because of Kennedy's attempt, by way of Executive Order 11110, to end the Rothschilds-owned Fed and its money-as-debt monopoly.' Heaven forfend!

This control of the money supply is a tricky business. It's tricky because it carries no benefit at all for the 99.99% of the population who are subject to it. All it does is impoverish them. The only people to benefit from it are the immediate owners and the handful of corrupt minions who enable it. Subsequently it is absolutely crucial that no one knows what it is, how it works, or even that it exists. If they did there'd be neo-classical buildings in flames and bodies in expensive suits dangling from the lamp posts in front of them. Happily control of the money supply provides one with insane amounts of, well, money. Never mind those top 100 rich lists, the Rothschilds have more money than all of them put together. Hell, you could throw in everybody not on the list (and that's a lot of people) and the Rothschilds would still trump them.

With that kind of throwing down money, ensuring that no one knows the truth about the Fed is not only do-able but a sine qua non. That the masses remain ignorant is the single imperative, the only thing that counts. What the Rothschilds require is not so much a marketing division but an anti-marketing division. Their product doesn't require advertising - they don't need to convince people to use it. They merely need to convince them that this is how it is and that there's nothing to be done about it. In fact this last thought would be a thought too far. Do people ask what's to be done about the sun coming up in the morning? Hardly. That is how those who control the money supply wish us to view their actions. They need people to view their money-as-debt villainy as an Act of God, a thing beyond question.

And sure, they have to kill an upstart president every now and then. People exist who can't be bought and occasionally they make it to a position where they might interfere in the banker's business. But never mind, when you control the money supply, killing a president is just one of the those things you have to do. Sure enough. But underneath the man who can't be bought exists everyone else who can be. To wit - the FBI, the CIA, and sundry penny-ante Mafia and Cubans. Just throw the money out there and tell them to earn their pay. And their plans involve a patsy? Like the bankers give a shit about the details.

Their only concern is that the business carries on and no one finds out about it. And that's when executive producers fulfil their roles in terms of the films that do get made and the films that don't. That's why Terry Semel and Arnon Milchen gave Oliver Stone $40,000,000. Happily Stone's film makes no mention of Executive Order 11110 and instead points the finger at everyone but those who had the most to lose. The film that mentions Executive Order 11110 doesn't exist and nor will it ever. The seal must be complete. All media must be controlled. Any medium that can be bought, will be. It's not like the Rothschilds have anything better to do with their money. And any medium that can't be bought will be shut down. The absence of the Rothschilds' business must be total, remember.

And here I am, not under control. The net allows me to speak publicly without any executive producer being able to give me a thumbs down. Not for long, ha ha. This internet we know and love? Enjoy it while it lasts boys and girls because, in much the same way that Kennedy was a threat, so too is the net. As it stands it cannot be allowed to live. The Rothschilds have more money than God and nothing better to spend it on.

But never mind, when the net is gone we'll still have cracking films like JFK to watch. Terrific cast! Marvellous editing!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

괴물 Gwoemul - The Host

What a lot of horror movies there are. Was it always thus? Perhaps this is a topic for another review - Saw or Hostel, maybe. Let's not attack the central question of horror here, nor why there it so much of it now. We'll skip the 'why' of the genre, in favour of the 'how'. Let me just say, I view horror as a shit genre. But in amongst the shit, one occasionally comes across pearls. Apart from being pretty in and of themselves, such pearls can be instructive.

In this regard, The Host is a salutary lesson. If you do happen to like movies that scare the pants off you, The Host succeeds admirably. But if that's all it had, I wouldn't give you tuppence for it. Scaring people is the easiest and most witless thing in the world. It's everything besides this instilling of fear that sets The Host apart. Sure enough, all the reviews of The Host concentrated on the scariness of it. God forbid anyone should dwell on the context in which it was surrounded. In the West context doesn't exist.

Lessons aside, The Host is a cracker. It's gorgeously shot, edited, and has an inspired, um, 'whimsical' soundtrack that vaguely reminds me perhaps of Nino Rota of Fellini fame. It's simultaneously exciting, brave, sad, and nutty. The cast is spectacular, equally up to the task of the film's comedy and tragedy, both of which are intense. I don't know that there's a single Hollywood horror flick that has the emotional punch that this film does. Actually, let's scratch the word 'horror' there - this film has greater emotional depth than most Hollywood flicks, period. And sure enough, hats off to the director, Bong Joon-Ho. He's really something.

BTW - The 'Host' is a crummy title. It refers to a single reference in the film related to a red-herring subplot. I'm not spoiling anything if I say there is no host. Gwoemul (pronounced 'gway-mul') translates literally as 'monster' which in Korea would have been both catchy and succinct. I expect that the American distributors chose not to use this name because other films with this title exist already. I can imagine the meeting that would have discussed finding an English name - a roomful of suits displaying their creative genius. How eye-glazingly tedious it would have been. Me, I think a far better title would have been 'Saving Hyun-Seo'. My imagined suits would have declared this 'not scary enough and too foreign', I expect. What stupid people suits are.

The Victims

Ordinarily, in Hollywood horror, the victims are carefully chosen. Within each choice are subtle messages to shape our understandings. Priests should always die of course, along with those who are demonstrable in their faith. As should drug takers, those of a lascivious bent, those who are too straight-laced, and sure enough, anyone who asks questions or otherwise suggests some path other than killing and slaughter. God spare the latter, because Hollywood's killers never will. Mind you, I just throw these out loosely. I am no note-taking expert on horror. But others are, and documentaries (all self-serving, natch) exist that analyse what it all means. The key point here with The Host is that there are no such messages. The creature is not an avenging spirit. It has no agenda. It is nothing more than a dispassionate predator of nature. Run fast and zig-zag and perhaps you won't be eaten.

To be honest there is only one victim who counts, and that is the aforementioned Hyun-Seo, the youngest member of the family that is the heart and soul of this film. Arguably the monster in this film is irrelevant. The script could have been rewritten with the girl having been: abducted by gangsters; taken by the government; or just plain lost, and the heartbreak story of the family would have differed barely at all. It is the intensity of the family's journey from grief, to hope, to mad desperation, and Pyrrhic sideways victory that makes this such a substantial movie.

The Monster

Certainly there have been many cinema monsters that were a commentary on scientific and/or military hubris. A recent example being the idiotic Deep Blue Sea. And so it is here, but with a very specific geo-political edge. South Korea, like Japan, is an occupied country. My sole experience of Korea (ha! pun!) is the three hours transit I spent in Seoul Airport on the way to Tokyo one time. I was astounded (not really) to see the staggering numbers of US servicemen there. And in Japan I heard many stories of people doing visa runs to Korea who were treated like shit there because it was assumed that they were soldiers in civvies. They weren't of course, but the Koreans are past caring. Keep in mind that during the Korean war the US military was every bit as happy to see South Koreans die as North Koreans. The more dead gooks, the better. No surprise then that the occupiers are not loved.

Beyond this initial history, Korea, like Japan, has had many many high profile crimes committed by US servicemen, with the military perpetually refusing to surrender them to Korean justice. The Koreans groove on this in precisely the same way Americans would if they were occupied and gooks were raping the white women and getting away with it. Which is to say, they fucking hate it. Koreans were equally unimpressed when the US military dumped Formaldehyde and assorted industrial toxins in the Han River in 2000. Here, this front-page news event is re-imagined with a toothy aquatic mutant as the result.

The director has declared that The Host is more than an anti-American film, and he's right of course. Still, what sets this film apart in terms of indictment is its vicious and undissipated nature. Western versions invariably couch their 'indictments' in uselessly vague terms, or otherwise make excuses that render whatever point they were trying to make worthless. Take The Deep Blue Sea. Please! Its super sharks (which madly seem to possess a post-doctoral understanding of architectural engineering) were the results of well-meaning Big Pharma scientists trying to make the world a better place. Ha ha ha, get fucked!

The Environment

I'm referring here to the cinematic environment. Think hard - how many horror films have you seen that were 'confined', which is to say, they ensured the isolation of the protagonists in some remote location? In film after film, there's no escape because everyone's stuck: on a boat; in a spaceship; in a house; on a planet; in a small town; in a shopping mall; on and on, ad infinitum. It's a standard cinematic horror convention.

There's several reasons for this. Firstly it keeps down the costs because less sets are needed. Secondly it stops people escaping. If they could escape, there'd be no movie. Remember, in horror movies we don't actually give a shit about the survivors. They only occupy the last five minutes of the flick (sometimes less). It's the killing that counts - it doesn't take up 95% of the movie for nothing. Thirdly the confined environment allows the director to get away with cardboard cut-out characters. It's not easy making real, flesh and blood people that an audience might actually care about. Nor does it serve the purpose of horror. We the audience are actually meant to enjoy the killing, which is the point of the whole exercise. We are not meant to mourn the victims, so much as be impressed by the new and graphic means by which they were killed. 'Wow, that was pretty cool where the spike went through his arse and came out his mouth!'

Believe it or not, this idea of the cast of cardboard cut-outs is invariably held up as some kind of achievement. "Well, the interesting thing about this script is how it takes a social dynamic of six complete strangers who are thrown together and examines how they might each behave when the 'insert-creature-here' is trying to kill them." Hmm... what an interesting philosophical question... Will they scream? Or will they say, 'Fuck you!' and die bravely? Or will they just gurgle and have blood come out their mouth? It's what passes for an intellectual discussion amongst fans of horror.

Significantly, The Host completely blows this convention. The film's action takes place in a city full of people. At the monster's first rampaging appearance a cast of thousands flee. There are no 'confines' as such apart from the high walls in which Hyun-Seo is trapped. She thus becomes the centre of gravity drawing in the hitherto centrifugal family. The director chooses not only to have an expansive film environment, but astoundingly turns the tables and has the environment, in this case the government response to the monster, become the greatest threat to the family. To a certain extent, the monster is the least of the family's problems. Far more of the film's time is devoted to the family battling the government than the monster itself.

The Government

What kind of crazy government is this? Says I - a realistic one! Not one single representative of the government does anything of any use at any time. The entire government monster-inspired programme is an idiotic, mad charade. The government is not only uninterested in capturing or killing the monster, it is also perfectly unconcerned about what the survivors have to say about its behaviour. All of the government's energies are devoted to the 'virus'. Virus? What virus? Exactly - there isn't one.

Is this an indictment of the US government and their bullshit War On Terror? Not quite. The government here did not cynically create this monster to implement a pre-planned fascist roll-out like the US is doing. The Koreans here merely abjectly went along with the US government's opportunistic pseudo-science diktat. Subsequently this film could more correctly be described as a criticism of all those US allies who've pathetically piled in on the US's bullshit War On Bottles Of Shampoo, if you can dig it. The film's message to the citizens of democracies in thrall to the US is crystal clear - your government is bullshit, and their US inspired message is bullshit too. If you hold to your belief that your government is there to help you, you're deluded. Did you notice how many 'you' and 'yours' there were in that last sentence? Quite right too. It's YOUR government.

Now. Can anyone think of any US film with a message even half as damning as this? If this were a US film, the government (wicked rogue agents aside) would be depicted as a) helpful and concerned, b) the only people who will save you, and c) the enemy of wicked rogue agents, ha ha. Welcome to Hollywood, the government propaganda machine.

The Horror

Well, here's the irony. The horror is the least important aspect of this film. I declare the director a sneaky genius. He's taken the horror mantle and made a whole other movie. The monster of this film is the cousin of Hitchcock's McGuffin once removed. Believe it or not, this film is not so much a horror film as a family drama. Don't be dismayed by this description. Think Little Miss Sunshine with special effects.

I fell in love with this family. They were such losers. The only thing they had going for them was their unquenchable spirit. The joy of it! You've never seen a scene quite like the family's reunification at the funeral. It's utterly absurd and utterly real. It's a heartbreaker and a comedy masterpiece. Only the deftest of directorial hands could pull this off.

The Host is one of those films where the end leaves one broken-hearted at the thought of never seeing this family again. Sure enough the film's success (it was Korea's highest grossing film ever) means that there will be a sequel. But I'm not getting excited. In fact, I'll lay odds that the money men will take over and everything that's good about this film will be completely absent in the sequel. All it and the original will have in common is the monster. Typical. Unsurprisingly, the director has declared he's uninterested. Good on him. Bugger the sequel, just keep your eye on Bong Joon-Ho. He's a cracker.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Aristocrats

This is a film based on a single famous joke. It's the filthiest joke in existence. In this film we hear it over and over again, along with discussions of what it all means.

I was actually slated to appear in this film, believe it or not. The director and crew turned up at my house, the camera rolled, and I told my version. Here it is -

A man walks into a talent agent's office and says the agent should put him and his family on his books. 'Why? What do you do?' says the agent. 'Well, we all come out on stage...' says the man and he then goes on to describe how each member of the family performs the most perverse, violent, and appalling acts on each other. Nothing is left to the imagination - incest, pedophilia, bestiality, coprophagia, sadism, you name it. It's goes on and on. Everyone in the family, kids included, gets raped, brutalised and tortured - all rising to an unspeakable crescendo with blood, fecal matter and bodily fluids spraying in all directions.
'Bloody Hell!', says the agent, 'What the heck do you call that?'
'Jewish Comedy!' he says.

Well, that was the end of my Hollywood career. Humourless gits. Never mind!

It's not easy being a comedian. It's all in the timing, sure, but it's also all about having a team of writers to come up with the gags. What to do without your writers? Thank God for this filthy chestnut! The only parts of it one needs to remember are the talent agent introduction, and the 'Aristocrats!' punch line. The in-between bits you can make up, limited only by your imagination. And all you have to do is come up with the most extreme combination of bodily functions, perverse sex, and violence.

Gosh, that's weird... those three things are precisely the first three of the four gags that comprise the totality of Jewish farce. The fourth was racism. Hmm... there doesn't seem to be any racism in this gag. Never mind, this joke is nothing if not versatile. With a flick of the wrist, one clever comedian appearing in this film turns the punch line into 'Nigger Cunts!' Bingo! Four from four.

Might this be the most Jewish joke ever? I didn't count, but easily half of the hundred or so comedians appearing in this flick were Jewish. The rest just wish they were - like Robin Williams. Honestly, could he be any more Jewish? Otherwise, what's going on here? Why is it that the lowest of low-brow smut, violence and pornography invariably seems to come from Jewish sources? Unsurprisingly in this film's discussion of The Aristocrats and its implications, all is dissected except for this angle.

Same same on wikipedia. Well, no surprises there. Wikipedia gives this joke an undeserved pedigree straight from the English canon, by way of Charles Dickens, no less. Here it is -

'He has a very nice face and style, really,' said Mrs Kenwigs.
'He certainly has,' added Miss Petowker. 'There's something in his appearance quite—dear, dear, what's that word again?'
'What word?' inquired Mr. Lillyvick.
'Why—dear me, how stupid I am,' replied Miss Petowker, hesitating. 'What do you call it when Lords break off door-knockers and beat policemen, and play at coaches with other people's money, and all that sort of thing?'
'Aristocratic?' suggested the collector.

Hmm... hands up who can spot the fundamental difference here? For mine, Dickens is commenting on the dichotomy of the behaviour of the ruling classes and how they would wish to represent themselves. The Aristocrats joke is utterly free of any such societal reflection. I doubt anyone hearing it would laugh and say, "It's funny because it's true. The aristocracy does like to like to eat fecal matter, ha ha ha!" Says I, the connection between The Aristocrats joke and the piece from Dickens is superficial, self-serving bullshit.

The point of The Aristocrats joke is to most perfectly embrace extreme perversity. One 'succeeds' with The Aristocrats by plumbing the depths of human iniquity. Actually scraping the bottom of the barrel falls short. One must dig right through the bottom, find a sewer line, and then wallow in the excrement.

Have we tapped into some fundamental human trait here? Do other people, particularly those without Jews redefining their culture for them, do this too? I scratch my head and fail to come up with anyone. Certainly other people are earthy. Straight away I think of the Japanese. Believe it or not, they are a tremendously earthy people. In shops you can buy 'unchi' hats shaped like an idealised spiralling turd (unchi = pooh). Pooh is part of life and they're cool with that. Granma might purse her lips, but that's about it.

I have a feeling that Jews are on their own with this one. Certainly others are influenced to follow them. But Jewish culture leads the way. It's like a wellspring of shit. I imagine some arse-about version of Tom Joad's speech - "Wherever there's smut and pornography, we'll be there. Wherever there's a dildo being hammered up an arse for comedic effect, we'll be there. And when the people are eating shit and laughing about it, we'll be there too." Dig it, it's from The Grapes Of Roth, ha ha.

I understand I might make people uncomfortable on account of the fact that they watched this film, and all those other Jewish farces, and laughed their heads off. Don't worry I did it too. And in small doses I don't know that there's much wrong with it. Even Shakespeare had his moments of coarseness. But a few decades ago there was precious little of this sort of thing and now we seem to be wallowing in it. Is there any purpose served by this? Unsurprisingly people have sought to justify it, indeed to hold it up as some kind of worthy societal campaign.

Once more, wikipedia offers up the first appearance of The Aristocrats in print. It seems it was by way of another Jewish fellow, Gershon Legman, in his 1975 book, Rationale of the Dirty Joke. Legman is the fellow who '...more than any other, made research into erotic folklore and erotic verbal behavior academically respectable'. This was driven by his belief 'that American culture was permissive of graphic violence in proportion to, and as a consequence of, its repression of the erotic.' Okay, perhaps he's got a point. But in what way is Jewish humour's turning of incest, coprophagia, and bestiality (etc. etc. ad nauseam) into common coinage, helpful in dealing with the 'repression of the erotic'?

Does embracing one extreme lessen the other opposite extreme? Or reinforce it? By what mad logic is a society that is shocked by a naked breast going to be cured by the media airing discussions about having children swallow semen mixed with shit? Honestly. What madness is this?

It seems that we in the West are now given to vaguely agreeing that it is good to smash taboos and that somehow, once they've all been smashed, we will truly be free, or something. Really? Or is this just more bullshit? Does anyone remember the scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray is driving two local barfly buddies home? Murray - "It's the same things your whole life. 'Clean up your room', 'Stand up straight', 'Pick up your feet', 'Take it like a man', 'Be nice to your sister', 'Don't mix beer and wine, ever'. Oh yeah, 'Don't drive on the railroad track.'" Says the barfly as they drive into the path of an oncoming train, "Er, Phil. That's one I happen to agree with..."

Three cheers for the voice of common sense. I know that this is a variation of modernist heresy, but perhaps there are sexual taboos worth having too? "Er, Phil. That one about not raping children is one I happen to agree with..." Would anyone say that that was an extremist view? Or would we say such views were fair enough? Okay, so why do we think so little of films like this that make light of it, that push it into the vernacular as a subject with no great opprobrium attached to it? How is it that Andy Richter can regale his own infant, whom he is holding in his arms, with a story about fucking the infant's mother up the arse and then eating shit, and no one bats an eyelid? What the fuck is wrong with him? What the fuck is wrong with us? And what do you have to do to be called a 'sick freak' in this joint? I shake my head.

Don't dismiss all this with, 'It's only a movie'. American kids are now perfectly familiar with perversities that I as a teenager had no idea existed. Hell, I expect they know of things that never even occurred to Caligula. But then again, neither I nor Caligula had films like this to shape our thoughts. But that's today's America for you - a culture that would make Caligula blush. And all courtesy of the Jews and their none-may-stand-against-it media machine.


Anyway, a man walks into a talent agents and says, "I've got a great new act."
Says the agent, "Does it have infantile gross-out humour, perverse sex, mindless brutality, and racism?"
"Does it ever! It represents a new nadir in human depravity."
"Boychik, welcome to Hollywood!"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bloody Sunday

Did somebody say U2? Not me - whatever it was they had got lost when they started hanging with Paul Wolfowitz and hawking credit cards. Forget them. Watch this film instead and see how there are some events that will never be done justice by any pop ditty regardless of how many people flick their bics.

Paul Greengrass's retelling of Bloody Sunday will do your head in. We're all sick of docudrama and wobbly-cam now, sure, but here it works to perfection. Everything in Bloody Sunday feels very, very real. And its unromanticised discussion of non-violence provides no pat answers, only ambiguity. No happy endings here. This is not Attenborough's Gandhi. In Bloody Sunday, non-violence does not win the day. The despair in the eyes of those in the film who'd held out hope for a non-violent resistance is crushing. The lead character's prediction that the IRA's numbers would be swelled all come true. The Catholics of Derry learned the truth of non-violence. It's not non-violent at all. It's extremely violent and the violence runs one way.

Arguably the events of Bloody Sunday contributed to the peace that currently exists in Northern Ireland. It didn't do it on its own of course. There were many many bloody events on that particular centuries-long journey. We're familiar with a handful of them. We saw In the Name Of The Father, Michael Collins, and the more recent The Wind That Shakes The Barley. These events helped pave the road to peace.

Go read that last sentence again because it's actually bullshit. The murderous events depicted in those movies didn't pave the road to peace at all. They achieved nothing beyond leaving more bodies in the bloody trail left by a brutal murderous occupation. This trail, in and of itself, leads to nowhere but to more of the same. The road to peace requires an about-face and a journey back over those bodies. What actually paves this road is the awareness, by those other than the oppressed, that the bodies exist. In a campaign of non-violence, it's this awareness that counts. This awareness leads to the crucial answer to the crucial problem - the oppressor's own view of what they're doing. And this requires the shaming of the oppressors in the eyes of others. Passively allowing oneself to be shot, in and of itself, achieves nothing.

Without opposition and left to their own devices those who'd shoot women and children will carry on doing so without batting an eyelid. Unless their own mothers, wives, and daughters are sickened and appalled by what they've done, it's all good. Those with a mindset that they are amongst a lesser people actually get a thrill from shooting them down. When they go home to their families and friends and are met with approval, the mindset is reinforced. What other people think of you is a tremendously powerful stimulant. If everyone says it's good, it must be good.

Reading the above, did the occupation of Palestine pop into your head? It was in mine as I wrote it. Indeed thoughts of Palestine floated through my head the whole time I watched this film. Interestingly, the Paras in Bloody Sunday (the most murderous of the English occupiers in Ireland at the time) wear a distinctive paratrooper's helmet that spookily resembles the helmets of Israeli troops. In fact it's arguable that Bloody Sunday is as close to a filmic depiction of the Israeli occupation of Palestine as we're ever going to get.

It falls far short of course. The famous events in Derry on January 30, 1972, take place virtually every day in Palestine. Only thirteen people actually died in Bloody Sunday. I don't mean to belittle this, but the scenes of Derry Hospital's corridors stacked with corpses is standard stuff in Gaza. Bloody Sunday falls every week there. So where's the outrage? Where are the movies? Where's the U2 song? When will these murderous Ashkenazi motherfuckers, who make the English in Ireland look like hapless amateurs, be shamed in the eyes of the world?

No time soon - certainly not if they have anything to do with it. And they do have something to do with it. The media is theirs. It's a bloc-media under their control. The point I'm making here, about non-violence only working by means of its airing and public shaming, is one the ethnic cleansing Ashkenazis of the world understand utterly. They wrote the book on human perception. No one understands better the schism between reality and misrepresentation and the inhuman shit one can get away with when armed with this knowledge.

If you control the media, you control public perception. If you control public perception, you render non-violent opposition to yourself worthless. In fact it would pay you to promote non-violence since it's so much easier to kill people when they don't shoot back. Gee whiz, and how has non-violence been portrayed in the bloc-media? Think back now to all the discussions of the rightness of non-violence we've been party to, and try to think of any mention of the beyond-crucial aspect of its depiction and subsequent shaming of its perpetrators. Anything? No, me neither. There's been no such discussion because that would in no way suit the media and their support of Ashkenazi ethnic cleansing.

Ireland is another story. Those who own the bloc-media have no stake in Ireland that will be harmed by our outrage at yesteryear's oppression. Thus we are permitted to shake our collective fist at the English of decades ago.

In some ways I'm not so much reviewing this film as I am a film that doesn't exist. That it doesn't exist is no criticism of Bloody Sunday. It's a great film. But the past is history and what's happening today, right this very minute, is another story. And that story is a film that will never be made.


And soon enough we'll all have a taste of what the Irish copped and what the Palestinians still do. Will we choose violence or non-violence? Will we instil fear or shame? Like Bloody Sunday, I say there's a case to be made for both. But really there is no pat answer. But here's a thought to keep in mind (by way a bastardised zen koan) - If a monk burns in a plaza and no one sees, will it be of any use?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The Oxford Dictionary says that subversion is the undermining of the power and authority of a government or institution. Ayah! He's started his essay with a dictionary definition. How sophomoric. But don't worry, I only quote it here so that I can tear it to pieces. And that bloody Oxford Dictionary - what the hell would they know?

Better we dig down to the derivation. If we were to transliterate the Latin base of subversion we'd get 'to turn from below'. But if a government was of the people, by the people, for the people, how would it be subversive if it was directed not by the pointy end of the pyramid but by the broad base below? Don't the people decide the course of a democracy? Ha ha ha ha. Sorry, that was just me being comedic. Let's just say that this use of 'below' isn't very instructive. Best we take it to mean 'beneath the surface', which is to say 'not perceived', which is to say 'hidden'. Now we're getting somewhere.

And why does the thing being subverted need to be a pyramid structure with 'power and authority' at the pointy end? Might not a culture be subverted? A culture isn't led. It evolves. And yet it too can be steered in a hidden fashion. Here I could go off on a long rant about television and advertising. But to hell with that, I've got a film to tear apart. I'll leap into it and then somehow cleverly tie it all up at the end.

Shooter's claim to fame was that it was 'subversive'. When it first came out the net was buzzing with chat about the film's subversive anti-government statements, themes and plot elements. Right there! On the big screen! Well I hate to tell you, but that's not how subversion works. Not in Hollywood. The 'subversion' on the big screen is a cover for the real subversion - the subversion of Western acuity.

Our hero as loyal servant

We meet our hero, the ever reliable swinging dick Mark Wahlberg, perched on a cliff top with a sniper rifle as he and his spotter partner shoot black people. Where are they? Who are they shooting? Why are they shooting them? Who cares? Our shooters aren't German. There will be no Nuremberg trial for them. In this American film, the fact that they blindly obeyed orders reflects well upon them. God forbid they should be condemned for it.

Foolishly our hero's partner has fished out a photo of his girlfriend. We all roll our eyes - that's him fucked. In spite of the fact that, tactically, the extraction of our hero and his partner's body would have been the simplest thing in the world, those leading the operation shut it all down and leave Mr Wahlberg to his fate. And haven't we seen this plot device over and over again? Don't worry that it makes no sense. Cut to the next scene.

Our hero as sceptic

Wahlberg now lives as a pony-tailed rugged mountain man with only his dog for company. Can anyone guess the dog's fate? Never mind that, what's going on with the art direction? Red meat for conspiracy theorists! Inside his cabin, right there next to his internet computer, a prominently displayed copy of the 911 Commission Report! Wow. And what's that on his computer? Is that Wow again.

But wait a minute. What do we really have here? The 911 report was a pathetic whitewash. If Wahlberg's character was really a conspiracy guy wouldn't he have a copy of, I don't know, David Ray Griffin's New Pearl Harbour? If I was to say that the 911 report here is merely product placement for the government cover-up would I be wrong? And then there's I briefly subscribed to zmag before I figured out it was a useless blind alley. Zmag is about as kosher as it gets - you could read everything on it and learn nothing at all. No surprise that the 'z' people are now spamming my email address. And then there's Wahlberg's line, 'Let's see what lies they're trying to sell us today'. What a curious thing to say. Why would a contrarian say this about what's ostensibly an alternative site? He sounds more like some kind of Rush Limbaugh fan.

Why don't I rewrite the scene? Wahlberg sits down at his computer. Behind him is a poster of the twin towers with the words 'Inside Job' in big letters. On the computer screen we see a flashy corporate news website. 'Yeah, I've had my fill of bullshit already,' says Wahlberg as he clicks the tab and pops up. 'Now, let's have some truth,' he says. There, that wasn't too difficult was it? Ha! In my dreams! In a Hollywood movie, this scene is an abject impossibility.

Our hero as patsy

Despite his government having left him behind to become a naked corpse tied to a truck, our hero is still a patriot. Go figure. When some obvious bad-attitude spooks led by Danny Glover visit him (and menace him with guns no less) all it takes is Glover's Congressional Medal of Honour to make him all gooey. Glover has an important mission and Wahlberg is the only man for the job.

Says Glover, 'The president is going to be shot and we want you, a pissed off loner with three names and a house full of guns, to scout out locations and otherwise behave like an assassin.'
Wahlberg, ever distrustful, hangs tough, 'Do you promise not to photograph me, set me up as the lone gunman and then shoot me?'
'Yep, scout's congressional medal of honour', says Glover.
'Hmm... that sounds pretty good,' says Wahlberg clearly impressed.

Oh wait, that was me re-writing the script again. The actual script features some half-baked waffle about how if we don't stop the assassin, tyrants might run the country. Gosh! Anything but that!

I'm going to be charitable (above and beyond the call of duty) and say that this film is not completely crap on account of its message (unintentional sure) that reading zmag obviously rots your brain. Well, that's the only reason I can come up with to explain Wahlberg climbing back into bed with such obvious bullshit artists. If only he'd spent time on wrh he'd have known better. Perhaps I should provide some other useful tips for any other brain-rotted zmag readers who might be here taking a break from their Noam Chomsky 'Conspiracy? What conspiracy?' Diet -
-When the cop comes into the interrogation room, puts a gun (or any other thing) on the table and tells you to check it out, you politely decline.
-When Peter Power from Visor Consultants calls you about a training exercise for London Transport and he wants you and your three buddies to play the role of 'backpackers', you politely decline.
-And when the government tells you that there are foreigners who 'hate us for our freedom' and that you should go overseas and kill them, you politely decline.
Or you can just tell them to go fuck themselves if you prefer. I'm good either way.

Our hero as avenger

Now it's time to kick arse. Or 'ass', in this case. (Sure enough, non-Americans think 'ass' sounds exactly as stupid as Americans think 'arse' sounds - funny that). Anyway, heads explode, limbs fly off and people are burned alive with napalm. All good clean fun and all thanks to our hero. It's a good thing we don't do body counts anymore because, assertions of mass graves aside, our hero maybe kills fifty times as many people as the bad guys. In fact now that I think about it, we see the bad guys in this film kill precisely one person.

Perhaps I should mention the bad guys. According to this film, made by the co-religionists of the people who own the US Fed, it's the oil industry! It's a popular theme, this mad notion that the White House is full of oil men, isn't it? But it's bullshit. Neither Bush nor Cheney have anything much to do with oil. But the oil industry makes a good scapegoat doesn't it? And speaking of Dick Cheney...

The film arrives at its crunch point. Our hero has the villainous oil man senator, Ned Beatty (cast for his resemblance to the aforementioned veep) right where he wants him. Wahlberg has shot all the senator's gunmen, freed his ex-partner's bosomy gal (now his), and holds in his hand a recording detailing the senator's wickedness and proving Wahlberg's innocence. And as the FBI arrive (that he himself called) he takes the precious recording and burns it. Go figure that one out. Whatever way you look at it, it doesn't make a lick of sense. In Hollywood films very little makes sense but this would have to be in the top ten list of stupidest things ever.

Here's the actual dialogue -
'What are you doing?' says Wahlberg's FBI renegade buddy.
'Saving our lives.'
'But that proved you were innocent!'
'Nobody out here is innocent. This stuff's plutonium. Nobody can handle it without dying. You hand it over to the authorities, it's just going to disappear, along with us,' Wahlberg says, dropping to his knees so that the FBI can take him away for his death-penalty trial.

Thanks Hollywood. Now we know that there's nothing to be done. Your only option is to hand things over to the authorities, and they're just going to kill you anyway. You may as well turn yourself in and cop the death penalty. Curses! Is there nothing we can do? If only we had some means of putting evidence into the public domain beyond the control of the government or the media. Imagine if we could connect our computers to each other and send incriminating files to lots of people and ask them to put the evidence on some kind of cyber page thing where thousands more could read it and in turn send it to others. Then it could never be taken back and everyone would know. We could call this mad invention the 'Digital Underground Headquarters', or as I like to say, 'Duh'!

God forbid Hollywood would have anyone understand the power of the internet. Attention whistle-blowers - Get a clue! Whatever you've got, put it in public. Don't wait, and don't try to strike some kind of Deborah Jean Palfrey deal. Honestly what was she thinking? Speaking of which, what's Sibel Edmond's story? She has very very damning evidence but since none of the media will do her justice, she's not going to tell. God spare me, you'd think the internet had never been invented. Anyway, with all her dangerous information I expect the government will whack her too. Sooner or later. One of these days. Or maybe not. Maybe she's as real as this stupid movie.

Never mind that. It seems Wahlberg was right to hand himself over to the FBI. They listen closely and are very impressed that the gun used to frame him didn't have a functioning firing pin. Not only do they free him but they tell the uber-connected spook Glover to go fuck himself. Ha ha ha ha. What fine comedy. Both Lt. Col. Philip Zack and Stephen J Hatfill laughed their heads off. Never mind that the former is untouchable and the latter had his life destroyed. Both of them get the gag.


Here's how it works. If a democracy is what it says it is (ie. a rule of the people) then it follows that to openly lay bare falsehood and dispel ignorance amongst the people cannot be subversion. In truth it's a reinforcement, by way of knowledge, of the power and authority of those who rule. Us. Did you see the full stop (period) there? It's important.

Most certainly there is subversion out there. You can see it every time you turn on the TV. The bloc-media is, perpetually and without exception, subverting our ability to rule ourselves by keeping us in a state of ignorance. Without knowledge, such as the fact that the Reserve Banks of the world are privately owned, how can we have any sensible discussion about what's best for the people? Hollywood and the media (same same) exist to keep us in a state of ignorance so that democracy may be subverted and a tiny hidden elite may steer us as suits them and them alone.


For the sake of posterity, why don't I also rewrite Wahlberg's idiot speech to the senator?

'And you know what senator? This recording here that you were so keen to get your hands on? You're too late. I've already sent it to whatreallyhappened, uruknet, truthseeker and two hundred other websites. Hell, I even sent it to zmag! The whole thing took me five minutes and a buck fifty at an internet cafe. The mainstream media have it too, and with the push from the alternative sites, even they won't be able to ignore it. You're so fucked I ain't even going to bother shooting you.'

Cinema of nobody - the stuff that dreams are made of!