Archives for posts with tag: Decline of Western Civilization
Paul Morrissey

Paul Morrissey

Mention Paul Morrissey and movies about transvestites, heroin addicts, and other varieties of lowlife are likely to come to mind; but the director of such films as Flesh (1968) and Heat (1972) holds very different views than one might assume from a first impression of these films and from his professional association with Andy Warhol. “Staunchly conservative, Morrissey still frowns upon the moral and artistic state of America today,” writes Steve Ryfle, who interviewed the filmmaker in 2000. Rather, Morrissey’s vintage films reflect his view that “modern American life was going down the toilet.”1 David Bahr of The New York Times writes:

Paul Morrissey disdains rock music, abhors recreational drugs and thinks even less of liberal politics. When asked his views on sex, he pauses for a moment, looks his inquisitor in the eye and says: “I’m Catholic. I’m with Rome 100 percent.”

Such sentiments may seem surprising coming from a director whose films luxuriate in the libertine lives of heroin users, masturbating transvestites and polymorphous-perverse male prostitutes. Yet Mr. Morrissey – who from 1966 to 1972 directed more than half a dozen movies produced by Andy Warhol, discovered the avant-garde rock band the Velvet Underground and once saw a court label his work “obscene, vulgar and profane” – believes he’s misunderstood, to say nothing of misrepresented.2

Morrissey situates his work outside the counterculture and characterizes it instead as his disapproving reaction to the general collapse of morality as it occurred around him:

There’s something I realized years later, after I had made all the films, although I probably realized it at the time even though I wasn’t conscious of it. At that time, there was this idea that was just coming in – the media was just getting hold of it, and the music world was just screaming its lungs out about how great it was – saying you could do whatever you want. That was really idiotic, and stupid and foolish and silly, unbelievably stupid.

People, by the late sixties, were doing whatever they felt like, and nobody gave a damn.

“I understood that these people were good story material, good subjects to show where life had gotten to, and how pathetic it was,” Morrissey explains.3 Blood for Dracula (1974), for instance, imagines a future-shocked traditionalist vampire (Udo Kier) who despairs of finding virgin blood to drink in the sexually free and easy 1970s, while Trash (1970) depicts the boredom of heroin dependency. “So much of the culture glamorized drugs at the time,” remarks frequent Morrissey leading man Joe Dallesandro. “Paul wanted to show the seedier side, where it all led to.”4 Women in Revolt (1972), which utilizes a cast of transvestites for satirical purposes, mocks the increasingly noisy and confrontational feminist movement of the day. “I thought it would be funny if they were playing women who were converted to lesbianism by the women’s lib movement,” Morrissey says. “The whole women’s thing was so ridiculous. ‘We don’t need men,’ and all that.”5

The director envisioned his Madame Wang’s (1981) as a satire of nonexistent American values and the decline of Western Civilization:

The huge Masonic Temple was a Greek temple, it represented past culture, and it was abandoned and lived in by derelict female impersonators. That was my take on Americans, especially Southern California Americans. They couldn’t care less about anything, except maybe getting up in drag or doing a punk rock show and screaming and throwing themselves on the floor. And the poor Russian agent comes from East Germany and says, “I’ve got to meet Jane Fonda, we’re taking over this country one day, and we have to have all of our operatives in place and I’m one of them.” And everyone says, “great, so what?”6

Morrissey gives the following explication of his comedy flop Spike of Bensonhurst (1988), in which his “pain in the ass” protagonist (Sasha Mitchell) “treats everybody like dirt, and does whatever he wants”:

The little switcheroo, which I thought was the point of the story, was that finally when someone disciplines him it turns out to be the best thing that happens to him. The idea that there are some standards and a sense of order in the world somewhere […]7

Like so many avowed conservatives in American politics, however, Morrissey’s work reveals his complicity in the projects of the culture destroyers even as he professes traditionalism. The mundane drugs-and-drag depravity of his classic oeuvre, while successfully illustrating the emptiness of the revolutions in sexuality and consciousness that had been engineered during the 1960s, also serves to normalize the ascendant dysfunction.

“Life is so second rate now,” Morrissey assesses.

And that idea that life has degenerated to a second rate position was part of the story to all those movies. I still don’t see that as a story element in any other movies – the obvious fact that life today is so much poorer than it was before. And I don’t think you can tell that story unless you’re aware that there’s a difference now. Most people don’t even know there’s a difference between today and before.8

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Endnotes

  1. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 18.
  2. Bahr, David. “Conservative Bard of the Demimonde”. The New York Times (February 27, 2000): http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/movies/film-conservative-bard-of-the-demimonde.html?pagewanted=all
  3. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 18.
  4. Bahr, David. “Conservative Bard of the Demimonde”. The New York Times (February 27, 2000): http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/movies/film-conservative-bard-of-the-demimonde.html?pagewanted=all
  5. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 20.
  6. Ibid., p. 21.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid., p. 19.
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Beloved Sisters

This German film tells the presumably somewhat true story of two sisters, Charlotte (Henriette Confurius) and Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung) von Lengefeld, and their shared love for Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter), a charming poet of frail health and uncertain fortunes. The offbeat romantic scenario and the performances are intense and largely engrossing, the love scenes erotic without being obscene; but costume drama buffs expecting another Pride and Prejudice may be put off by the gradually darkening tone of the film, which takes on the character of a tragedy without ever becoming a tearjerker, however. Beautifully staged and photographed, with a few quirky stylistic choices such as having characters address the camera directly, Beloved Sisters is unique and never feels like a run-of-the-mill Austen-derivative programmer.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Beloved Sisters is:

6. Pro-choice. “Do you want to have the child? … Why?”

5. Anti-Christian. A mother whose bastard child is of an uncertain paternity is compared to the Virgin Mary. Schiller also recites from one of his writings dealing with the inhumanity of the Inquisition.

4. Feminist/pro-gay. The sisters, who share Schiller sexually, also dress as men in order to attend one of his boys-only lectures. Caroline longs to be “a free woman, a single woman.”

3. Anti-marriage. Beloved Sisters depicts multiple unhappy unions, with marriage described as “tragedy”. Caroline’s husband is an “evil elephant” who “wants a dozen children, but only because he won’t come into his father’s inheritance otherwise.” Consequently, he “keeps pestering” her. The sisters, says Wilhelm (Ronald Zehrfeld), sent Schiller “not to paradise, but to the solitary confinement of marriage.” An incident in which a woman who fakes her death to escape her boring husband and run away with her lover demonstrates “international flair”.

2. Reactionary! Initially, Schiller is a naïve radical fired by the ideals of the Enlightenment. “I think humanity will evolve through knowledge and the sight of true beauty,” he says. Later, in the bloody wake of the French Revolution, and after having heard the horror stories of his friend Wilhelm, who has witnessed the carnage of the Terror firsthand, Schiller has more sobering thoughts. “Shouldn’t we have known, Wilhelm?” he asks. “Yes,” his friend replies. “Everyone who rang the bell for renewal should have known.”

1. Racist! That a movie – a German movie, no less! – would have the nerve to present a primitive, pre-multiculturalist Europe as something other than a totalitarian nightmare, and a place, indeed, of great natural charm and civilizational order, is a crime that this critic cannot forgive. Internet bigots obsessed with those supposed Cologne “attacks” will no doubt find much to admire in this dainty, escapist portrait of a racially homogenous society.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Katy_Perry_Part_of_Me

MTV Films’ latest project in the controlled demolition of civilization follows popular candy-coated nut Katy Perry on her California Dreams Tour of 2011, “a year filled with tremendous success and personal heartbreak” for the twinkly star. Along with seemingly interminable adulation from friends and toadies, the viewer is treated to Perry’s bouts of depression as her long-distance relationship with Russell Brand disintegrates. Even so, to be granted entry into the world of Katy Perry is to be plunged into a dazzling phantasmagoria of lollipops, hearts, balloons, confetti, and sexy, garish costumes.

“I feel a real connection to fairy tales, and I think that in some ways I live in a fairytale,” the singer confides, and one quickly sees what she means when confronted with so many sissy prancers ducking, gliding, and kicking around the stage in their candy cane pants. Even freaky Russell Brand, when he meets his lady backstage, looks embarrassed to be seen mixing with this lot of dubious company. Too much hagiography begins to wear on the viewer’s patience, and Perry minus the whorish makeup and the wardrobe is actually rather an uninteresting individual; but Katy Perry: Part of Me does feature some impressive concert cinematography and grotesque visuals aplenty.

2 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Katy Perry: Part of Me is:

10. Pro-miscegenation. Interracial couplings can be glimpsed among her backup dancers.

9. Corporate. Brand sends Katy a text message with a picture of a McDonald’s restaurant and suggests they name their firstborn Ronald.

8. Anti-Christian. Katy’s conservative Pentecostal upbringing, which forbade her to watch The Smurfs or eat Lucky Charms, definitely started to cramp her style as she discovered her inner freak. “I felt like I was never even allowed to even think for myself, and having any kind of feminist live-on-your-own independent spirit is just, ugh, the devil!” (cf. no. 5) Today Perry’s beliefs appear to drift more toward permissive New Age nebulousness: “I really do believe in God[, even if I] probably don’t believe in all the same details that my mom believes, but I have a spiritual relationship with God, and it’s one-on-one, and it’s continually evolving.”

7. Pro-drug. Katy be “sippin’ on gin and juice”.

6. Family-ambivalent. Perry is close with her grandmother, and her parents are generally supportive despite not approving of all of their daughter’s output. She is unprepared, however, to have children of her own.

5. Underachievingly feminist. “I kinda want to be a leader, but, you know, then there’s all those responsibilities.” Still, California girls like Katy are naturally “fine”, “fresh”, and “fierce”.

4. Multiculturalist. The film goes to great lengths to portray Katymania as a messianic and postracial phenomenon and opens with a series of webcam effusions from teen admirers of various races and orientations who say that Perry has shown them that “being weird is okay.”

3. Pro-gay. Perry’s breakout hit, “I Kissed a Girl”, occasions a lesbian smooch from View host Whoopi Goldberg. Among the fans who receive screen time are some Japanese drag queens.

2. Pro-wigger. One must, one supposes, muster something resembling admiration for a songwriter who rhymes “peacock” with “beyatch”. “West coast, represent!”

1. Pro-slut. In addition to her salacious booty-shakery onstage, Perry’s lyrics tend to be of the tawdry “let you put your hands on me in my skintight jeans” and “I wanna see your peacock” variety.

Lone_Survivor_poster

Zio-harpy Debbie Schlussel, who has charged that Hollywood Jews are moldering in a “pan-Islamic slumber“, and badgered Jason Alexander about what she alleged were his Islamo-Nazi terrorist connections, was understandably irate with director Peter Berg when he made The Kingdom (2007), a film which, while reinforcing aspects of the War on Terror, made an effort to humanize the typical Saudi citizen.

Half-Jewish Berg, perhaps stung by this questioning of his Zionist bona fides, went on to direct Battleship (2012), an unabashed advertisement for American military recruitment on behalf of the Jew World Order. So as to be absolutely clear as to where he stands geopolitically, Berg even gave an interview to an Israeli journalist to promote Battleship, during which he referred to the possibility of an Iran with nuclear weapons as the most pressing crisis presently facing the planet and called his interviewer a draft dodger for not joining the IDF.

Berg’s most recent contribution to post-9/11 cinema is Lone Survivor, an Afghanistan war horror hailed by Fox News as “a great service to this nation” in its celebration of the goy cannon fodder who put their lives on the line to, as Berg words it, “protect you, to protect me” against “legitimate evil”. The “evil” in the film is jihadist Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami), whom Lone Survivor explicitly dubs the “bad guy” for the benefit of the cognitively impaired in the audience. Operation Red Wings deploys Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his crack team of hardcore Navy SEALs to assassinate Shah, coddle the still-toddling Afghan “democracy”, and so secure the CIA’s investment in Afghanistan’s booming opium crop – though Lone Survivor, naturally, neglects to mention this last point.

Horribly boring exposition introduces viewers to a group of indistinguishable, unshaven, and dull-eyed muscleheads who lounge around and act like boastful frat boys between forays behind enemy lines. Israel’s errand boys, unfortunately, get into a kosher pickle when sent to execute Operation Red Wings. Shah’s Taliban army learns of the SEALs’ location, and when their Raytheon-enriching communications equipment goes on the blink, Marcus and crew are outnumbered and stranded, pinned to a hellish position on the side of a goat-infested mountain.

From this point on, Lone Survivor is almost entirely action, most of it unimaginatively realized, with shaky cam, speed-up/slow-down gimmickry, and first-person shooter POV shots with zombie-like Muslims in the cross-hairs. The characters are unlikable, their “fuck”-sprinkled dialogue doing little to humanize them, and their mission is frankly an unsupportable tyranny, so that one almost longs for the Taliban to win and kill off the American invaders. The film becomes more engrossing once Luttrell is left the last man of his team to continue to make his way to safety, as at this point Lone Survivor shifts from being a war adventure to a more archetypal struggle of one man to survive against hostile odds.

3 out of 5 possible stars. ICA’s advice: watch Rescue Dawn (2006) instead.

Rescue_Dawn_poster

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Lone Survivor is:

8. Pseudo-Christian. Navy SEAL Mike (Battleship‘s Taylor Kitsch) wears a cross tattoo on one of the arms he uses to kill on command.

7. Pro-miscegenation. End credits feature footage of a white soldier kissing his Asian bride.

6. Cronyist, putting in a good word for more military-industrial pork. “Limited resources, chief. There ain’t enough Apaches.”

5. Pro-drug. Several beers are mentioned as code names for nodes in Operation Red Wings. See, too, remark on opium above. Keep those cattle sappy and happy.

4. Anti-Muslim. Decapitation-happy “Tally” and mascara-wearing “bad guy” Ahmad Shah represents the Muslim menace ably.

3. Pro-military. An opening credits montage of Navy SEALs being trained, which is to say, tortured, to become thoughtless murder machines, essentially serves as a J.W.O. mercenary recruitment commercial. As with Berg’s toy-to-movie adaptation Battleship, the writer-director delights in the idea of plastic American soldiers for Jews to hold under their magnifying lens, watching them melt under foreign suns. A wimpy cover of David Bowie’s song “Heroes” stinks up the end credits photo montage of the men portrayed in the film.

2. Imperialist. The Taliban is a threat to world security, Lone Survivor would have viewers believe, because it promotes fundamentalist Islam, chops off a few heads, and forces its women not to dress like whores. The truth, however, is that many of these are just men trying to keep their country from going the way of the Jewnited States of Slum-merica, with whiny minorities running the show, social engineers and feminist riffraff ripping families apart, and Marxists undermining the cultural pillars supporting traditional ways of life. The neoconservative program, however, calls for Afghanistan to embrace diversity, drugs, pornography, sex reassignment surgery, Sarah Silverman, managerial government, and the drone-patrolled surveillance state – in short, Jewish World Imperium.

1. Zionist/anti-human. Disturbingly, Berg acknowledges that the strength of the book on which Lone Survivor is based is its divorcing of the Afghanistan war from politics, and its celebration of the alleged heroism of the band-of-brothers mentality that sustains its combatants. Lone Survivor, in other words, promotes the utmost nihilism, proposing that viewers should not concern themselves so much with why Taliban fighters must be killed, or why Afghanistan continues to be occupied, but rather with the relentless, Israel-licking devotion with which goy cattle “heroes” commit the mass murder. “You are never out of the fight,” Luttrell says at the end of the film, instilling in the audience the suggestion that America’s crusade against the evildoers, wherever they may dwell, will continue indefinitely.

 

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The long-awaited follow-up to The American Woman through the Years:

 

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future

Ideological Content Analysis requests that readers take a moment to vote in the following poll on American racial prospects. In addition to allowing users to express their sentiments to each other, this will hopefully give the reviewer some idea of the sort of traffic, politically speaking, that the site is getting. Foreign visitors who identify with or take an interest in America’s problems are also invited to participate.

Homosexuality has for a number of years been more or less accepted by the mainstream media – and, following them, the public – as an “alternative lifestyle”, its victory in the war for equal footing with heterosexuality so sure, such a fait accompli, that, had Oscar Wilde been caught with his velvet trousers down a mere number decades later, he would, rather than having entangled himself unnecessarily in a humiliating legal debacle and been branded with the mark of Victorian ignominy, have been lauded as a cultural hero and offered his own lightweight daytime talk show.

The ascendancy of the forces of sexual egalitarianism has been so crushingly complete, in fact, that, having overrun and occupied their enemies’ fortifications, they now seek not only an unconditional surrender on the part of the ex-establishment, but punitive reparations, permanent privileged status, and immediate implementation of an array of social experiments on the scale of collectivization under Stalin, calling for the totalitarian indoctrination and regimentation of future generations in the service of their cause.

It is not enough for homosexuality to be tolerated. It must be embraced and celebrated, endorsed in the public schools, be subsidized and pampered and have its leaky asshole licked. Gays, if a baker refuses their business when they want him to make them a wedding cake, no longer have to endure the harrowing inconvenience of locating another bakery, but immediately turn to the ACLU for social retribution. Fast food chains must champion sodomy or else face the wrath of the overlords of “progress” in markets like Chicago and Boston. Ideological Content Analysis has no moral objection to homosexuality in itself, but does demur when a movement pretending to advocate mere tolerance turns instead toward de facto coercion.

It is not sufficient for gays to be gay; everybody and everything must be gay in the new Socialist States of America. Statesmen and judges and fry cooks and basketball players must be homosexual allies, as must the Boy Scouts and even the clergy. In Europe, where cultural Marxism is even more firmly entrenched than in America, gay “rights” have already mutated into a means to authoritarianism, with priests in Denmark ordered by the government to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies on demand.

Now the pedophiles want their turn. NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, remains a largely reviled fringe lobbying group, though not without its shadowy following. In recent years, however, a movement toward compassion for those afflicted with the pederast’s compulsion is emergent. Not many years after molesting the young star of his horror film Clownhouse, director Victor Salva was welcomed back into the fold of the Hollywood mainstream and allowed to direct youth market films like Powder and Jeepers Creepers. A sympathetic 2004 film, The Woodsman, follows a child molester’s attempt at redemption after serving a prison sentence. More recently The Atlantic published a candid personal narrative by sexual degenerate David Goldberg, “I, Pedophile“, in which the author panhandles for sympathy on account of his I-can’t-help-it complicity as a patron in the child pornography industry.

These examples are arguably innocuous; but if the normalization of pedophilia that is plainly afoot follows the same trajectory as the now triumphant gay “rights” movement, then what, one wonders, does organized pedophilia have in store for western civilization? That open promotion of pedophilia may be the next major civil “rights” crusade is suggested by the most intensely repugnant trailer of this or any other year, that for Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa, the latest bid by MTV Films and Paramount Pictures for the imperiled soul of America: a naked campaign ad to pervert and subvert everything that tentatively remains decent in America.

The trailer, which features a little girl in a talent contest stripping off her costume to reveal adult lingerie underneath and who then performs a pole dance as the grandfather, with masturbatory enthusiasm, flings dollar bills at her, militates against the culprits, MTV Films and Paramount Pictures (assets of Zionist-run Viacom, Inc.), receiving any further business from moviegoers with any lingering sense of the good and traditional. Your humble reviewer, for one, certainly will not be patronizing their product, and a full-scale boycott of these corporations’ anti-American output may be in order if the scheduled release (as of a biological warfare agent) of Bad Grandpa proceeds as planned.

Macho girl Matt Damon stars as butch lesbian cyborg warrior Max Da Costa in one of this summer’s most notable movies, Neill Blomkamp’s science fiction adventure Elysium, which posits a future world in which only the teeming masses of the underprivileged are left to suffer through their miserable lives in the ruins of what once was the United States of America, while the super-rich, in the ultimate feat of white flight, have escaped to the veritable Heaven that is Elysium, basically a gigantic orbiting space station’s worth of Beverly Hills, where people are beautiful, lawns are green, and seemingly any sickness is instantly curable thanks to advanced technology. Max, a former career criminal dying from radiation poisoning, lends his services as a thief to a crew of Mexican gangsters for a shot at breaching the exclusive colony’s security system and saving not only his own life, but that of everybody on Earth.

Damon, always an unlikely star, is only tolerable in his heroic role as Max, as is Alice Braga as his attractive but uninteresting love interest. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, clearly has fun as the icy-hot Delacour, who heads Homeland Security for Elysium. Ironically, Delacour, who speaks French and was perhaps inspired by French nationalist politician Marine Le Pen, has as her job exactly the opposite of what occupies America’s Department of Homeland Security: namely, the preservation of a people, its ethnic integrity, economic well-being, and traditional way of life. And rounding out the cast is Wagner Moura, who (potentially unrecognizable to those who remember his gruff and brooding performance in the Brazilian fascist film Elite Squad) appears in a supporting role as colorful gangster, computer wizard, and space coyote service impresario Spider.

Easily the most charismatic character in Elysium, however, is the ruthless and erratic Boer mercenary Kruger, played with snarling, nasty manliness by Sharlto Copley (of Blomkamp’s District 9). The viewer can hardly help but cheer Kruger on as, after enthusiastically obliterating a target, he exults, “Thet’s wut om talkin abeut!” (Note to Hollywood: Make more movies about South African mercenaries!) Kruger’s return to the fray after what appears initially to be his demise is surely one of Elysium‘s most audience-friendly moments.

4.5 of 5 possible stars, with half a star deducted for the tasteless inclusion of hackneyed, ethereal new age moaning on the soundtrack. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Elysium is:

11. Green. Pollution is cited as one of the causes of American decline.

10. Anti-drone. Max finds himself hunted by the pesky things.

9. Anti-drug. Max refuses the pills offered by a robotic parole officer (see no. 6). Menacing Mexican thugs smoke what is presumably marijuana.

8. Ostensibly Christian, promoting more Hollywood liberation theology. Max has been raised by nuns and sacrifices himself in Christlike fashion (see also no. 4).

7. Feminist/pro-slut/pro-bastard/anti-marriage/anti-family. Frey (Alice Braga) represents the single mother with pride as a capable professional with no need for a man in her life (cf. no. 4).

6. Anti-corporatist/anti-capitalistic. The government, probably in collusion with pharmaceutical manufacturers, makes free drugs readily available to the public as a means of pacification. Max’s Hispanic neighbors mock him for being dumb enough to work for a living, and they are validated when Max’s callous boss forces him either to endanger his life or be terminated, with the result that Max receives lethal exposure to radiation. The CEO (William Fichtner) of the company is actually such a snob that he obliges his underlings to cover their mouths when speaking to him so as not to expose him to their breath. He conspires with Delacour to arrange a coup d’etat on Elysium.

5. NWO-alarmist/anti-state. The space colony Elysium, with its circled starfish design, approximates a pentagram and so points to possible Illuminati orchestration. (see also no. 6)

4. Pro-miscegenation. “Always wanted a wof,” Kruger reflects as he leers at Mexican cutie Frey, who is also the object of Max’s affections. Note that marriage is only the aspiration of the vile Boer and not of the progressive, Spanish-speaking, self-loathingly tattooed Caucasian, Max, who sacrifices himself and his forebears’ and fellow whites’ culture and safety for the benefit of the dusky masses. Max thus fits the sacrificial honky archetype.

3. Pro-immigration. Steve Sailer, calling it “one of the funnier pranks played on the American culturati’s hive mind in recent decades”, has attempted to out Elysium as a crypto-conservative and race-realist film, but Gregory Hood has convincingly refuted him in an excellently written review at Counter-Currents. What both men (along with Ram Z. Paul) accurately point out, however, is that Elysium, whatever its intentions, does illustrate in depressing vividness the cultural cataclysm awaiting America as it willingly works to dissolve its border with Mexico. The dangerous, ugly, graffiti-smeared, beggar-and-thug-infested slums of futuristic Los Angeles as depicted in Elysium hardly justify the celebratory tone of the climactic moment in which, through a bit of clever computer hackery, every disgusting slob on the planet is instantaneously turned into a “citizen” of Elysium and thereby made eligible for the wonders of its exclusive health care coverage.

2. Egalitarian. Elysium, even as it illustrates the dystopian horror of the future Socialist States of America, advocates socialized medicine as a panacea. The film is able to do this because the advanced medical science of the future, like Obamanomics, is magic, and capable of infinite, Santa-style miracles that transcend cost.

1. Pro-gay. Damon, as Max, does for the dyke what Robert Carradine did for the dweeb in Revenge of the Nerds.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988) *****  Heavy metal and film are a natural match, integral as visual self-definition and showmanship are to the various musical styles and ways of life that fall under that broad banner.  In 1987 and 1988, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris was granted priceless access both to the towering figures and to the nameless nobodies, musicians and fans alike, who constituted the heavy metal subculture at its crest, resulting in one of the greatest music documentaries ever made.

Interweaving performance with interviews and footage of fans, The Metal Years is not only a treasure trove of source material, but a triumph of creative, witty, and meaningfully critical editing.  Interviewees range from titans like Ozzy and Steven Tyler to would-be stars and shabby groupies in varying degrees of candidness and spontaneity.  Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are epigrammatic and more or less in character for the camera, while Bret Michaels and others are disarmingly chatty and almost come across as dweebs.  Others, particularly the members of Odin, merely come across as pitiably self-absorbed, delusional, mediocre, and doomed.  Also featured are peripheral figures like a sleazy old dance contest promoter and a judgmental “de-metaling” activist worried about the music’s insensitive attitude toward women.

Spheeris poses a number of interesting questions, both overtly and by implication over the course of the film.  For instance, what thought processes and meanings inform the songs?  Does rock godhood cause alcoholism?  Are rockers patronized by groupies afraid of catching AIDS?  Is rock the natural emanation of overpowering manhood, or are all of these guys just insecure?  Are they irritated or gratified when others take their ideas?  Is heavy metal as a profession a wise or even remotely plausible aspiration for all of the self-confident unknowns?  Are any of these people sane or healthy individuals?

On the latter score and with regard to alcoholism, Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. provides a fascinating case in point as Spheeris finds him lounging in his pool and drowning himself in liquor in front of his reticent mother.  Holmes at different points claims to be both happy and sad and calls himself “a piece of crap”.  Which is the truth?  Is Holmes putting on an act for the camera or is he really a tortured wreck?  Either way, his segment is one of the most memorable, and there’s something compellingly revolting or heroically abrasive about a man who calls himself a “motherfucker” in the presence of his own mother.

The tension between reality and rock phantasmagoria is sustained throughout The Metal Years.  How much of the story is theatre and how much is really lived – or do such distinctions exist for these people?  Almost omnipresent and acting as a theme or a character in The Metal Years is the smoke that filters the light in the bars, arenas, and dim rooms where these characters live their dreams and nightmares.  Is it stage fog, all just part of the show, or is everybody from Odin on up living in an illusory fug of their own unsavory exhalations?  Part of the joy of The Metal Years is its willingness to allow the viewer to draw for himself the necessary conclusions.

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