Hey, whore, how's
the whoring? This week, the honor goes to:
Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News
who whores for the movie adaptation of her own book (yeah, now
that's an impartial opinion):
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!"
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
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
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
Two Fingers for the war porn of Blackhawk Down.
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