Friday, September 26, 2008

No Country for Mold Men

Try some real films!

I have seen films I despised before due to incompetence (Michael Clayton) or nihilistic idiocy (Fight Club) or just sheer pretentiousness (Harold and Maude). But never have I felt so shit on as I have after watching "No Country for Old Men". Filmmaking - like life - should be an act of love. This celluloid crime was an act of hatred. I will steal a line from an IMDB reviewer who sums it up perfectly: Despicable Snuff Film with Pseudo-Intellectual Pretensions. What this movie pretends to say is that there's no inherent defect in evil (the bad guy is "Steven Seagal in reverse - an infallible anti-hero" as one reviewer put it). I'll never watch another Coen brothers film again.

I understand about ugly truths. I revel in them and hunger for them because my own life is an ugly truth. But rarely, rarely do I ever see one. I did see one in "Shooter" when the crippled assassin assessed the situation that placed him in his predicament: "What it is, is human weakness. You can't kill that with a gun." I almost cheered when I heard that. But "ugly truth" is also a fake filmmaker's best friend when it comes to mindless acts of evil to "show how things really are" and all the teenage minds in the audience high five each other in awe. To them, the truth is pretentious and immaturity is "reality". To them, there is no such thing as truth, merely wishful thinking.

No society survives without a social fabric. In order for us to survive as a whole, we have to be able to trust one another. This has never been more true than now. Can you grow all your own food? Or make your own gas? Or provide your own electricity? The higher the living, the greater the interdependency. Each of us has an implied social contract with each other not to betray the trust that has been placed upon us. But we have a word for those who betray that contract: terrorists.

"No Country" is cinematic terrorism. It is the filmmaking equivalent of someone tapping you on the shoulder and then hocking a loogie on your face. But because we live in the age of terrorism (and it's supposed to be "daring" to say evil is winning. Ewwww, impressed!), many will hail this as an attribute because it reflects the times of rust we live in. "Man, this is no time to honor pussy ass social trust, there's unrepentant evil out there!" Truth is - and we know this already - that is exactly the time to most honor that trust. You will call me naive - I will call you uninformed.

Don't get me wrong. I have just as much impulse and desire to pull the chair out when someone tries to sit down as anyone. Probably much more so. It gives me a genuine sense of satisfaction to see their hate-filled face and to hear them cursing me. (If they say nothing and are adult about it, it kills me.) It's just that I don't see that as something to be celebrated. To celebrate this film is to celebrate being an asshole.

Eh, no wonder so many people like it.

P.S. Nash Bridges would have caught this guy EASY!

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