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Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News who whores for the movie adaptation of her own book (yeah, now that's an impartial opinion):

"A brilliant film that I didn't dream could be made. What I saw delighted me - the virtuoso acting, intelligent attention to detail, and the powerful Newfoundland landscape - it was all there. Funny, beautiful, witty and moving!"

Barry Gifford -
Out of the Past: Adventures in Film Noir


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This week:

Blackhawk Down

Filthy says:
"War porn!"

We need a bunch of our generations bad-skinned folk singers to get famous for pissing and moaning about war, or for Britney Spears to make a hit about how fucking awful it is to get your legs blown off by a land mine. We need some new songs for the current wave of war movies or else America will forever be fighting the enemy with the latest technology and the stalest golden oldies. Holy shit, those billion-dollar baby boomers in Hollywood need to go out and buy some new records. I don't mean re-mastered copies of the world's most overrated band the Doors for their Bang & Olufsen's. I mean new music. Let's see some shrapnel wounds to the New Bomb Turks' "Professional Againster" or a peaceful village wiped out to Smog's "Bloodflow." Anything to free us from the ghetto of music-we've-already-heard, like Elvis's "Suspicious Minds."

Blackhawk Down is the latest example of "Fighting to the Oldies." This one's half stuck in the protest '60s, pretending to say "war is bad" and half in the let's-make-some-fucking-money 2000s. Money buries message under its rubble. This is, after all, the 2000s, and we Americans fucking love war and hate having to question our actions. We're the nation that acts like the asshole on the highway who cuts you off, and then gives you the finger when you honk rather than acknowledge he was wrong. We're the country in the Camaro.

Blackhawk Down is based loosely on an actual event in 1993 when two American helicopters were shot down during a failed assault on warlords Mogadishu, Somalia. I use the word "loosely," and I mean loose like the bowels of a 42-year-old star of anal-action movies. The truth, like the star's asshole, is stretched, torn and flipped by violent men pounding and pounding, only interested in the ultimate money shot. Bruckheimer and Scott use an incident where American arrogance and poor planning resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Somalians and about twenty Americans. And those twenty deaths were part of the reason we pulled out of the U.N.'s peacekeeping efforts and let thousands more Somalians die at the hands of warlords.

It's a pretty fucking sad story, really, but not in the hands of Bruckheimer and Scott. In their hands, it's a relentless porno about guns and bombs. Watch the movie, and ignore the thirty seconds of text at the end, and you think we won. Of course, when I saw the movie, most people ran for the exits like the theater caught fire as soon as any text popped up. Words means the sexy bombing are over. Scott and Bruckheimer don't care about the message, though or else they would have actually interrupted their blood orgy occasionally to say something. They're too in love with bursting arteries, torn limbs and exploding helicopters. Hell, they probably diddle their dicks nightly thinking about how real it looks when one guy's thumb gets blown off.

I'm sure at some point, someone wanted to make a point with this movie. Otherwise, why choose this event? Why not make up something like that horseshit Behind Enemy Lines? Somewhere between good intentions and the screening room, however, $90 million got in the way. And when those grassfuckers in Hollywood put that much dough into something, you can bet your ass they aren't going to challenge the audience. Hell, if Scott and Bruckheimer really were only interested in making a political statement, they could help me stick it to the Arvada City Council warlords for a fraction of the cost. And that's money well spent since I've been banned from the meetings.

Blackhawk Down starts with a slow introduction to the characters, the Delta Rangers, who "are undisciplined cowboys." I swear to God, a character says that tired-ass line, just so we know these guys are like every other American movie war hero. There are some vague references to the fighting in Somalia, to actual events, and some uncertainty among the soldiers about our presence. But, no point is ever made strongly, because to take a stand is to alienate some segment of the ticket buyers. The soldiers are straight out of central casting; we know the guy who talks about his wife and kids is going to die, and the goofy guy (Ewan McGregor) who wants to prove himself will do just that.

Then comes the dense bulk of the movie: 90-fucking minutes of explosions. It looks great, real, bloody, violent and chaotic. In fact, Blackhawk Down does an amazing job of showing that war is all chaos and new decisions that must be made every minute. It's never cartoonish. In fact, Scott loves to make it as gritty and bloody as possible. He makes sure we understand that the American fighters are in a lot of pain; screaming, squirting blood and slowly passing away. By contrast, the Somalians drop like flies. Every single one of them dies an instant and painless death. But the Americans suffer through torn limbs, ripped arteries and deafness. A half-hour of this would be fine, but ninety minutes is relentless. It goes past the point where I thought "Wow, war is a mess," to "okay, I get the point," to "fuck, I hope Rubio's is still open when this is done."

Bruckheimer and Scott are like the priests who tell you how destructive pornography is, then tell you what kinds of pornography are worst, describe the most vile acts you can find in pornography and then pull out examples from their dog-eared private stash. They don't really think war is bad. They fetishize it, caress it, and even shoot the last scenes in sun-drenched slo-mo, as though they're already nostalgic for carnage of the last hour. That sort of spoils the message, as did the Air Force recruiters waiting in the theater lobby with their latest toys and brochures, luring young men while their testosterone is still boiling over from the movie. "Yes, war is bad, here's where you can get some!"

Two Fingers for the war porn of Blackhawk Down.

Voting for the Filthies is suspended until my ISP sorts out some technical difficulties. Check back in a day. and thank you to the 1600 who have already voted. Good shit.

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