Sorry, but it’s never right. Ever.

Seeing ads pop up everywhere for the Oscars reminded me of the night Lisa and I watched “Get Out”, the movie that was popular a few months back and will hopefully slide into well-deserved obscurity.

I have not seen such an appallingly and blatantly bigoted, racist movie in I don’t know how long.  Let’s take a moment to recap the themes of this piece of trash:  White people are evil and not to be trusted.  You will very likely have to kill them.  They (whites, and especially rich whites) only want to use blacks for their (far superior) physical abilities and talent.  Women are similarly not to be trusted; they will probably sell you into slavery.  Black people are weak minded and easily manipulated, especially if you dangle a white chick.

I could go on, but if you’ve seen the movie you had to have gotten the point.  It was like something out of Germany in the 30s colorized a little differently.

People like to harp on the violence and glorification of drug culture in rap (or R&B or whatever it’s called this year) music.  It’s certainly not my style, I don’t listen to it — ever — and so could not tell you just how prevalent the themes are.  About as polar opposite as you can get, though, is the current crop of country stars.  Of course in country music it’s OK to murder your husband, at least according to Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.  And drug use is OK, according to — well, just about every country singer.  Just imagine, though, Luke Bryan or Blake Shelton singing about beating or murdering their girlfriend or wife.

So why do some people seem to think it’s OK to be bigoted and racist — as long as you’re not white?  Or it’s fine to talk about shooting or poisoning your abusive spouse — as long as you’re a woman?  Rioting and destruction is fine — as long as you’re a minority?  And drug use is OK, no matter who you are?

We can and should be better than this.  Murder, destruction, racism, bigotry, drug abuse — it doesn’t matter who you are.  It’s not OK.


Gran Torino

We saw Gran Torino and loved it.  I was prepared for a completely different kind of movie, but Eastwood shows some pretty good character development as the story develops.

We begin by seeing Eastwood’s character at his worst, and pretty much expect to see that played throughout the movie.  We have a few surprises, however, as he gradually warms to his Hmong neighbors — and they to him.  The way the ending works out is unexpected and quite well done.  I highly recommend seeing this movie, soon and maybe more than once.  I give this a solid four stars.


We saw Valkyrie a week or so ago at the Village Pointe theater.  As we had heard, the movie was pretty good — it would have been better were it not for Tom Cruise.  The guy wasn’t terribly convincing, and the character development was somewhat lacking.  Still, it’s worth seeing the movie.  I can’t get too much more enthusiastic about it, much as I would like to.

Cruise does a pretty good job of playing Tom Cruise.  Sadly, I think Risky Business was pretty much this guy’s peak performance.  OK, maybe that’s unkind.  While checking out his other performances for those I may have forgotten, I was reminded of Collateral.  It’s perhaps the one role in which he really surprised me.  The Mission:Impossible movies were OK — as usual with a franchise like that one, it was all down hill after the first — but still, it was Tom Cruise playing a Tom Cruise-y character.

Of course it may be that I am just having more and more trouble looking past the wacko Scientology thing.  I mean, seriously.  The movie with a different lead would have been worth three and a half or four stars.  With Cruise, two and a half.  Sorry, it’s the best I can manage.

Review: American Gangster

Wow, what more could you ask? The kid from a poor family makes it big, family values prevail (at least until everyone goes to prison), a brother stands up to The Man, good guys win in the end.

OK, I liked the movie. I really did. The only thing that kept running through my mind, though, was part of an interview with the real Frank Lucas, in which he said that most of the movie was complete fabrication. Oh well. Still a good cops-and-drug dealers movie, not too violent but not for the kiddies either. Solid 3, maybe 3-1/2 on a 1 to 5 scale.

Review: Michael Clayton

We rented Michael Clayton the week before we left on vacation. This movie is a little tough to categorize; it’s somewhere between “drama” and “thriller”. If you’re looking for a lot of action, this movie probably isn’t for you. There’s only one explosion, little or no fighting and no big car chase scenes. On the other hand, it’s not exactly courtroom drama, either. If you tend to believe that there is a seamy, grungy underbelly to corporate law, you’ll love this flick. Continue reading “Review: Michael Clayton”