Archives for posts with tag: drugs

booksmart

Booksmart is, on the one hand, an involving study of two brainy teenage girls’ unique friendship, and, on the other, a comedy death-fart that did not make me laugh even once. Directed by Olivia Wilde and penned by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman – it apparently takes the combined creative resources of four women to put together a screenplay this unfunny – Booksmart is nothing if not a hoarse and harrowing howl of girl-power intransigence into the maelstrom of Trumpian apocalypse. Unsmiling lesbian Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and smug, RBG-venerating Jewish fatty Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are academic all-stars who reach the end of their senior year with a sudden sense of regret at not having done any partying like their cooler peers during their time in high school. With one last night in which to revel before their graduation, Amy and Molly determine to cut loose and go buck wild whatever the cost. No one can fault the ensemble cast for the energetic, fully invested maniac performances on display; one only wishes the script had given the actors something a little more dignified to do with their talents. Booksmart is fast-paced and never exactly boring, but the accidental-finger-up-the-butt hijinks, microphone fellation, and scoldings about the difference between sexual orientation and “gender performance”, etc., failed to turn the engine in my inner gay pride parade float. This is a movie that does not so much attempt to tickle audiences’ funny bone as thrust its hand down its pants Don Lemon style before rubbing its malodorous fingers under the viewer’s nose in a botched, mentally ill attempt at seduction.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Booksmart is:

Multicultural and pro-miscegenation. The almost uniformly brilliant student body of the girls’ Los Angeles high school seems to be comprised entirely of homosexuals and diversity. Molly’s secret crush, as it turns out, is mystery meat jock Nick (Mason Gooding). Hip black teacher Miss Fine (Jessica Williams), meanwhile, has an end-of-year fling with a Mexican student.

Anti-white. “Straight white man, your time is [over],” proclaims a graduation speaker. In one of the more grotesque expressions of the dumb blonde archetype ever to hit the screen, an athletic but spastic girl named Ryan (Victoria Ruesga) appears to be borderline retarded.

Anti-Trump. The girls’ car displays “Resist” and “Warren 2020” stickers. So brave!

Pro-drug. A dose of psychedelic strawberries has the girls hallucinating and finding themselves in the bodies of Barbie-like dolls, precipitating the obligatory exploration of the objectification of women. Talk to the hand, W.C. Fields. This feminist comedy steamroller can’t be stopped!

Gay. “Amy, do you know how many girls are gonna be up your vagina at Columbia next year? Are you aware of it? ‘Cause I’m aware of it,” the heterosexual Molly assures her best friend. “Every time I come to visit you, you’re just gonna be scissoring a different girl.” Putting in what I suppose is intended as an endorsement of gender-neutral bathrooms, male and female students converge on the same facilities where they gossip, draw dicks, and write obscene messages on the walls. In addition, Booksmart truly puts the Globo in Globohomo by giving a shout-out to increasingly gay-friendly Botswana even as Amy laments the fact that she would be murdered in heterofascist Uganda.

Feminist. Molly aspires to be the next Ruth Bader Ginsberg, while Amy rejects male value altogether. “My Body My Choice,” booms a poster on her wall. “Honestly, ‘pushy’ is a compliment,” Molly observes. “You know who else was pushy? Diane Sawyer. Joan of Arc. Queen Noor of Jordan.” Tediously, one of the movie’s running gags is that Molly and Amy will periodically pause to give each other sassy pep talks and tell each other how hot, fabulous, and empowered they are – almost as if neither one is convinced.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism.

 

under

A reader suggested that I review this oddity, so it’s with a tinge of sadness that I report that I don’t like it very much. This hodgepodge of conspiracy theories, urban legends, magical realism, cult consumerism, and synchronicity is essentially a hipster version of The X-Files with a self-consciously quirky and ironic millennial spin. Ne’er-do-well protagonist Sam (Andrew Garfield) becomes obsessed with secret messages in popular culture after reading a cheesy zine called Under the Silver Lake. Strange occurrences start to haunt the befuddled hero as he combs Los Angeles hunting for clues, seeking the ultimate profundity of it all, and also tries to track down elusive inamorata Sarah (Riley Keough), who is apparently supposed to be some kind of fascinating woman of mystery but just seems like a dumb and gross pothead to me. Amplifying my annoyance with this movie is that, at 139 minutes, it’s so goddamned long and just keeps getting less and less interesting as it progresses. Maybe it’s only that I’ve become a middle-aged fogey, but fuck this movie, altogether a disappointing non-delivery on the promise of writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s previous effort, the superior horror outing It Follows (2014).

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Under the Silver Lake is:

Pro-drug. Sam and Sarah bond over weed and a movie after a meet-cute occasioned by dog poop.

Anti-Alt-Media. As much as Under the Silver Lake might like to market itself as an homage to conspiracy lore and to find an audience among extremely online devotees of hidden history and various autistica, the filmmakers’ condescension is plainly in evidence. The characterization of the pop music industry as an establishment contrivance, of course, has some validity; but, mixed as it is with whimsy about underground tunnels decorated with Egyptian ephemera and guarded by hobo initiates, the brief whiff of truth here and there in this movie is most often overpowered by the stench of bullshit. Sam – whom production designer Michael Perry describes in the DVD extras as a “conspiracy nut” – is a kidult who still plays video games and seems incapable of managing his life. Unconcerned that his rent and car payments are overdue, he instead spends his money in a bookstore or a bar or orders a pizza, the responsibilities of life apparently being beneath him. This representative conspiracy researcher is also a dope smoker for whom, in Perry’s words, “everything’s connected. So we have the Kennedy assassination, World War II, aliens” – dissident investigation of political murders or the facts of the Second World War apparently being on par status-wise with UFOlogy. The writer behind the Under the Silver Lake zine, once Sam meets him, is a bugman whose home is filled with toys, comic books, and pornography – the preoccupations of an arrested development. Even when Sam’s investigations seem to validate his suspicion that surface reality conceals a world of secret meaning, his adventures can still be interpreted as a mere satirization of what goes on inside the heads of alternative media consumers. Under the Silver Lake is not an endorsement of the work of David McGowan, for example, but a cinematic snicker at the suckers who read him. Smug liberal consumers of corporate media will be able to view this film in the comfort of bias confirmation, their point of view personified in the screenplay by Sam’s friend played by Topher Grace. “I used to think that I was gonna be someone that, like, people cared about,” Sam complains. “Maybe do something important” – which his skeptical friend diagnoses as “narcissism and entitlement” – the qualities that presumably motivate rabbit-hole explorers and dissident researchers in the opinion of David Robert Mitchell. Sam’s friend, giving voice to the TV believers, internet conspiracy pooh-poohers, and pop psychologists in the audience, dismisses Sam’s feelings of being followed as “the modern persecution complex. Who needs witches and werewolves anymore, right? Now we have computers. I swear to God, at the very least, the entire population is suffering from mild paranoia. See, our little monkey brains, they’re not comfortable knowing that they’re all interlinked and routed together now in some kind of all-knowing, alien mind hive, and that shit is a straight-up cesspool for delusion, for fear …” In another scene – one that contributes nothing obvious to the advancement of the story – Sam catches some youngsters vandalizing cars and brutally beats them; and I can’t help but wonder if this moment, like the ones I recently spotlighted in Drunk Parents and The Prodigy, speaks to a tribal industry’s anger and anxiety about trollish young white men in the era of the Alt-Right and Trump.

Nihilistic and anti-human. One of the most off-putting things about Under the Silver Lake is that its characters are so unlikably casual and desensitized. Sam absently screws some floozie, for instance, as they watch a news broadcast, and he later turns an old man’s face into a crater, smashing his head repeatedly with a guitar – all of which the filmmakers thought I needed to see in graphic detail for some reason or other – I suppose because they think it’s funny. The casualness with which Sam and the women in his life approach their sexual relationships – the screenplay seems a bit confused as to whether the character is cool or a loser – makes his infatuation with Sarah a bit of an arbitrary head-scratcher given that there’s nothing particularly intriguing about her apart from her looks; and nightmare visions of Sarah and other women barking like dogs serve to reinforce an impression of general contempt for the trainable human animal. The revelation, too, that popular culture emanates not so much from the brilliance of revolutionary artists as from a hidden establishment with ulterior motives, contributes to a feeling of futility and despair as opposed to wonderment. Give up. You can’t win!

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism.

us

Jordan Peele’s follow-up to the 2017 horror hit Get Out, this surprisingly effective allegorical genre entry stars Lupita Nyong’o as a woman whose family vacation to Santa Cruz brings her into confrontation with a childhood trauma with ramifications for all of humanity. This is a difficult film to describe without giving away too much of the plot, but it revolves around the protagonist’s anxiety regarding the existence of a “shadow” or doppelganger and her experience of a series of evilly portending coincidences. Peele has a genuine knack for suspense, and the film has humorous moments, as well, thanks largely to the presence of Winston Duke, who appears as the hapless family patriarch.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Us is:

Drug-ambivalent. The family bonds over a dope-referencing rap tune, even as the father warns his children not to use drugs.

Conspiracist. The movie opens with an intriguing blurb about networks of ominous tunnels running underneath the expanse of the US, and the mystery at the heart of the story is revealed to have something to do with a mind control experiment gone awry. Early on, in something of a foreshadowing, the protagonist’s daughter (Shahadi Wright Joseph) poses: “Did you know that there’s fluoride in the water that the government uses to control our minds?” Of course, all of this could also be read as a satire of online conspiracy theories; but the movie on the whole seems to discourage the viewer from being dismissive of the existence of the otherworldly and outrageous.

Feminist. “You don’t get to make the decisions anymore,” Nyong’o informs her husband. Later, she is shown literally occupying the driver’s seat of their car and taking the initiative in confronting the “shadows”.

Anti-white. Though racial tensions are not the focus or principal subtextual relevance, scenes of interracial violence carry an undeniably racial charge, with audiences probably intended to feel a special satisfaction at the sight of a sassy black girl disposing of feral white girl doppelgangers. Likewise, the moment when a feral black girl doppelganger falls upon a grouchy white guy is probably supposed to convey a sense of justice or racial revenge. In one scene, white actor Tim Heidecker wears a shirt that says “Fragile”, which presumably is intended to endorse the concept of “white fragility”.

Egalitarian and globalist. In its revelation that, living undetected in tunnels under the United States is an underclass of uneducated, underprivileged, dysfunctional, and disgruntled doubles corresponding to more prosperous counterparts on the surface, Us invites interpretation as an expression of proletarian or lumpenproletarian angst and resentment toward upper-middle-class and wealthy Americans. In making the “shadows” physically identical to their class enemies and demonstrating that a specimen of the former set is able to pass as a member of the latter, Us plays with the theme of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. Environment, Peele suggests, is the difference between success and squalor, so that compassion for one’s less fortunate fellows is in order if cataclysmic retaliation is to be averted. The ambiguous “us” of the title lends itself to different interpretations, one of which is that it refers to blacks specifically and arguably the discomfort of the “talented tenth” with their own teeming and rather frighteningly criminal coethnics. The protagonist and her family, who enjoy an upper-middle-class lifestyle on par with that of successful whites, are horrified when they are confronted with their own “shadows” – violent, primitive versions of themselves in convict-style red jumpsuits. It is a “there, but for the grace of God, go I” moment, but also an indication of elitist disgust at the cultural gulf that the protagonists perceive between themselves and their social inferiors. The revelation that the protagonist herself, however, is actually the “shadow” and that her savage assailant is the one who was born topside indicates that this condescension is misplaced, undermining the “Us vs. Them” dichotomy implied by the title. Beyond this, Peele also mentions in one of the DVD extras that he believes the people of the United States as a whole to be the beneficiaries of a “collective privilege”, the solution presumably entailing some form of global reparations.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the book Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism.

Drunk Parents

Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek, once they send their daughter (Michelle Veintimilla) off to college, struggle with making ends meet and hiding their poverty after being well-to-do and suddenly finding themselves in dire financial straits. Tasked with housesitting for out-of-the-country neighbor Nigel (Aasif Mandvi), the couple instead gets drunk and places a Craigslist ad to rent out the house, precipitating a wacky succession of misunderstandings and chaotic hijinks – all of it furnishing a serviceable showcase for the stars, with Baldwin doing his usual thing and Hayek totally over-the-top as she rants about hippies in a supermarket, spastically writhes as CGI spiders crawl over her face and body and bite her, and finds herself in various other zany situations. Colin Quinn and Will Ferrell, meanwhile, have amusing cameos as hobos.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Drunk Parents is:

6. Anti-white. Baldwin and Hayek are the comedy’s obligatory positive depiction of an interracial couple. Like The Prodigy, Drunk Parents reflects Hollywood’s discomfort with politically rebellious young white men and includes two bratty kids, Trey (Jeremy Shinder) and Tristan (Eddie Schweighardt), who have hacked a neighbor’s baby monitor and are teaching the infant to say “the N word”. The name Tristan, which this character shares with a Wagnerian protagonist, may be indicative of the fear of rising identitarianism among intellectually inclined and irreverent white youth.

5. Pedo-sympathetic. New neighbor Carl (Jim Gaffigan), a convicted sex offender, is revealed to be a basically harmless eccentric whose attempt to save some children from a shark was misunderstood as predation. Reinforcing the theme of sympathy for accused sex predators, Baldwin and Hayek are abducted by vigilantes who have mistaken them for pedophiles. Again, as in The Prodigy, a racist white boy – in this case, Tristan – falsely accuses Baldwin and Hayek of sexual molestation. The industry would seem to be circling the wagons in response to growing public awareness and hostility toward Hollywood degeneracy.

4. Consumerism-critical. “Why did we get all this stuff?” Hayek frets after coming to ruin and finding herself in debt.

3. Media-monopolist. Alternative media – which is to say, the democratization of the means of disseminating information – makes the world of Drunk Parents a more dangerous place. This is demonstrated when the anti-pedo vigilantes upload a video of Baldwin and Hayek to the internet and turn them into a viral sensation.

2. Drug-ambivalent. Drunkenness makes Hayek accident-prone and gets her and Baldwin into some trouble, but the movie’s attitude toward alcohol is ultimately rather Taoist, with everything working out alright in the end. “A drunk man’s actions are a sober man’s thoughts,” narration explains. Trafficking drugs lands a trucker in prison, but the man is not depicted as fundamentally a bad person, and the fact that his daughter is left without a provider is intended to evoke sympathy and possibly militate against the regime of prohibition. Ferrell demonstrates that smoking is dangerous, however, when he sets himself ablaze while siphoning gas. Cocaine is also mentioned as a nutritional supplement utilized by ancient warriors.

1.Class-conscious. Ferrell’s character, a once-wealthy man reduced to homelessness, explains that the rich will “prey on you” – and the film’s representatives of “Wall Street” and “family money” are of course white men. Respectability or criminality, in the world of Drunk Parents, are situational products of environment and the vicissitudes of fortune. Rather like Trading Places, this is a story about a man discovering how his social inferiors live. Suddenly an entitled Baldwin finds himself thieving a bottle of pricy wine and only meeting with job offers he once would have considered undignified. One of Hayek’s gripes is that, “You have to be rich to be skinny. All the cheap foods are the ones that pork you up. The sugars, the carbs, the corn syrup.” Now that they are struggling, “people look away. They avert their eyes. Especially our friends.” They are ultimately happy to have lost the “stuck-up, useless friends” of their former social milieu.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

can you ever

Melissa McCarthy, in what must be her least repugnant role to date, plays the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed misanthrope and literary forger Lee Israel in this amusing movie for booklovers. After publishing biographies of Tallulah Bankhead, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Estée Lauder, Israel fell on hard times and, in order to make ends meet and keep her cat alive, took to forging and selling letters that purported to have been written by the likes of Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward. McCarthy, who is fatter but still way more attractive than the actual Lee Israel, manages to make an almost lovable character out of “a 51-year-old woman who likes cats better than people.” Suspenseful, involving, and often funny, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is forgivably watchable if you don’t have to pay for it.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Can You Ever Forgive Me? is:

4. Pro-gay. Israel is a lonely lesbian and her partner in crime is a charming British homosexual, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant), who tragically comes down with a case of the AIDS at the end of the movie after “fucking [his] way through Manhattan.” Hock appears with a bloody face in one scene as a reminder of the perils of being a fruity fop in a cold and insensitive world. Israel’s forging of letters by Noel Coward, too, furnishes a pretext for a history lesson about how, during the benighted first half of the twentieth century, gays still had to hide their orientations and carry out their forbidden amours in secret.

3. Anti-drug. Israel’s drinking is a barrier to healthy relationships. Cocaine, meanwhile, is associated with homosexual excess and irresponsibility. After going away and leaving Hock alone to look after her apartment and cat, Israel returns to find that her friend went on a coke-and-sodomy spree and that the cat has died. It is unclear, however, whether the cat has actually died because of neglect or simply succumbed to old age, considering that it was already sickly. In any case, Hock’s life of doping and diddling eventually leads to his demise.

2. Anti-family. “Maybe she didn’t die,” Hock reflects, trying to recall what became of a mutual acquaintance. “Maybe she just moved back to the suburbs. I always confuse those two. No, that’s right. She got married and had twins.” “Better to have died,” quips Israel, who has no interest in family life.

1.Philo-Semitic and anti-white. Can You Ever Forgive Me? takes place in a New York of the imagination in which plucky underdog Jews struggle to make it in a WASP-dominated world. “Did you hear,” bookseller Anna (Dolly Wells) asks, “that Tom Clancy is getting paid $3,000,000 to write more right-wing macho bullshit?” “Are you kidding me?” Israel objects. “That blowhard’s gettin’ $3,000,000? Oh, to be a white male that doesn’t even know he’s full of crap, right?” To her credit, Israel’s literary agent Marjorie (Jane Curtin) advises her to become “a nicer person” because “you can’t be such a bitch” and make it in the publishing world. Israel, however, accuses Marjorie of benefiting from (an implicitly WASPish) privilege and wealth. (Deleted scenes include a vignette in which Israel takes a job as an assistant to a rich blonde lady with the nakedly symbolic surname Whitman. The viewer, of course, is encouraged to find Israel more likable, cleverer, and more deserving of comfort and success in life than the prim and tedious Whitman.) Probably to counter the bad-optics spectacle of a slovenly character named Israel engaging in theft and fraud and generally being antisocial, screenwriters Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty throw in references to Adolf Hitler and “terrible old fart the tyranny addict Joe Kennedy” to remind viewers of Jewish suffering during the Second World War. In truth, however, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is, all things considered, a celebration of balls-out chutzpah and Jewish talent at snookering the gullible goyim.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

Monsters and Men

If someone knew nothing about life on earth, and gleaned all they knew about the New York Police Department from watching Reinaldo Marcus Green’s bitch-burn-downer Monsters and Men – or, as I am dubbing it, Dindus and Dems – that viewer could hardly be blamed for believing that the NYPD exists primarily for the purpose of persecuting innocent people of color. The film is a bit reminiscent of Paul Haggis’s Crash (2004), but updated for the angrier decade of hands-up-don’t-shoot hoaxery. In a story inspired by the death of Eric Garner, a racist white police officer shoots a po innocent brotha jus tryna sell some loosies on the corner – and witness Manny (Anthony Ramos) must now decide whether to keep his head down to protect his family or release his camera phone footage to the internet and risk the repercussions. In another of its threads, Dindus and Dems traces the turmoil experienced by aspiring baseball star Zyrick (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) who, after experiencing police harassment, finds himself attracted to a troublemaking BLM-style organization despite the expectations of his more conservative father. Thirdly, Dindus and Dems follows black police officer Dennis (John David Washington, who has inherited father Denzel’s voice), who finds himself torn between his loyalty toward the force, his firsthand knowledge of discriminatory policing, and his fellow blacks’ perception of him as a race traitor. It’s worthwhile to watch trash like this once in a while, if only to see just how far removed from reality liberals’ understandings of race relations are to the extent that they take their cues from corporate media messaging – and, as Dindus and Dems makes abundantly clear, we appear to be inhabiting entirely different planets.

2 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Dindus and Dems is:

5. Anti-drug. After being stopped and searched by police officers, Zyrick goes home and flushes a packet of weed down the toilet, presumably because he realizes the trouble he would have been in had the police found the pretext to arrest him. Drug use is also mentioned as a potential barrier to professional athletic success.

4. Pro-AIDS. The community organizing horde that Zyrick joins focuses on black grievances but also advocates for “trans women”.

3. Pro-family. Dindus and Dems presents more than one example of caring fathers. As Zyrick’s trajectory illustrates, however, fathers do not possess ultimate moral authority and are subject to rebellion.

2. Anti-capitalistic – but only disingenuously so. “Look around. Just turn on the TV,” insists a black street corner poetess. “KKK walkin’ ‘round here free. No white sheets. White shirts and ties, all lies. Wall Street lookin’ far too familiar like the cotton fields of Virginia,” she conjures, equating the world of finance with southern plantation culture – rather than, say, kibbutzim. Wall Street would look “far too familiar” to writer-director Reinaldo Marcus Green, who, according to Filmmaker Magazine, slaved “for five years as a director of talent acquisitions in diversity on Wall Street.”

1.Woke. Dindus and Dems is set in the “tight-knit” Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, which also served as the setting for Spike Lee’s similarly provocative but rather more honest Do the Right Thing (1989). Ironically, this is also the neighborhood where police officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos were murdered “execution-style” in their patrol car by angry black psycho Ismaayil Brinsley in 2014. As Dindus and Dems would have it, though, it is innocent black men just trying to get home from baseball practice or cruise around listening to Al Green who are hunted by Nazi cops with impunity. “You got a hoodie on, for chrissake,” Zyrick’s father objects before his son heads downtown to participate in a protest – the implication being that this increases the chances that some white person will shoot him a la Trayvon Martin. Inspiringly, the end of the film presents sportsball as a safe and productive means through which blacks can voice their gripes.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

public

Try as it might to seem hip and relevant, Emilio Estevez’s hero-librarians vanity project The Public never manages to shake a vague feeling of being something slightly quaint left over from the 1990s. Estevez, in a role perhaps intended to reference the actor’s iconic turn as a cool school library detainee in The Breakfast Club, appears as an idealistic but hardship-weathered employee of the Cincinnati Public Library whose personal and professional ethics are tested when a mob of crazy homeless men occupies the facility and demands to be allowed to use the library as an overnight shelter on a bitterly cold evening. Curiously, writer-director-producer Estevez appears to cling to the outmoded liberal convention of the white savior coming to the aid of downtrodden blacks and browns – in 2019. Star-power casting, with Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin also appearing, make the movie more watchable than it probably deserves to be.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Public is:

5. Green. Annoying but well-meaning millennial chick Jena Malone rides the bus to work to reduce her carbon footprint, and the presence of a taxidermied polar bear (“Beary White”) in the library serves to remind the viewer of wildlife impacted by melting ice caps.

4. Anti-drug. One subplot involves the search for a missing opioid addict (Nik Pajic). Estevez’s character is also revealed to be a recovered alcoholic who once lived on the streets.

3. Media-critical. A self-promoting local reporter (Gabrielle Union) intentionally misrepresents the protagonist’s stance of solidarity with the homeless, leaving viewers with the impression that he is a madman holding hostages inside the library. Her cameraman (Ki Hong Lee) objects, but is ultimately complicit in the duplicity. Provocatively, the term “fake news” is applied to the mainstream media rather than to independent commentators.

2. Communist. “To each, according to his needs” is very much the moral of the film.

1.Racially confused. The Public represents a partially naïve effort at postracialism while also including distinctively anti-white elements. Against expectation, the film casts black actress Gabrielle Union as the unlikable reporter – showing that blacks can also be bad – but other blacks in the movie appear well-intentioned or victimized, with some depicted as harmlessly insane. Jeffrey Wright, however, appears as a polished and capable black library director. Christian Slater plays a slickly dressed law-and-order prosecutor and mayoral candidate who, though his political party is never mentioned, represents a heartless all-white Republicanism that must eventually give way to a more inclusive vision represented by his compassionate black political opponent.

Oddly, the movie opens with an angry black rapper shouting “Burn the books!” and ranting about tearing down monuments as various unfortunate street people appear queuing up to get into the library and out of the cold. The rap’s apocalyptic vision forecasts what is presumably the fate awaiting reactionary whites who fail to get “woke” and join the fight against inequality. European-American literary heritage in The Public is a universal legacy and an inspiration for all of “the people”, but Europe’s classical civilization is also insulted. The setting of Cincinnati invokes Cincinnatus, the exemplar of selfless public service, but the name “Athena” – evoking the Greek goddess of wisdom – is given to an eccentric old anti-Semite (Dale Hodges) who suspects those around her of belonging to “the Tribe”, while another of the vagrants (Patrick Hume) is nicknamed “Caesar”, with antiquity symbolically displaced, homeless, and reduced to pitiable madness in the context of multicultural modernity. A library book defaced with a swastika, meanwhile, reminds viewers of the persistent threat of white bigotry.

More interesting is the treatment of the preserved polar bear, “Beary White”, which – whether intentionally or otherwise – evokes “polar bear hunting” or the anti-white “knockout game” in a ghettoized urban setting in addition to bolstering the global warming messaging. The film concludes with a shot of the towering, fierce, and triumphant-looking polar bear, which is perhaps intended to symbolize the moral victory of white-liberal-savior-with-soul Emilio Estevez, who redeems himself and his race and hopefully avoids the hunt by self-sacrificingly taking up the cause of impoverished minorities. The irony of such an interpretation is that the life-like bear is merely a feat of accomplished taxidermy and that the once-majestic creature is already dead inside.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Dragged Across Concrete

S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk) is back with a solid and satisfyingly rough follow-up to the jaw-dropping Brawl in Cell Block 99, reuniting with Vince Vaughn and teaming him up with Mel Gibson in a literally gut-ripping, downbeat buddy cop brutalizer. Seasoned detective Brett Ridgeman (Gibson) and partner Anthony Lurasetti (Vaughn) are caught on video using excessive force in the apprehension of a Hispanic drug dealer, creating a scandal for their police department, and get suspended without pay by their superior (Don Johnson). Both men need money – Lurasetti because he plans to propose marriage to his girlfriend, and Ridgeman because his daughter is no longer safe in their ghettoized neighborhood and the family needs to get out. At the extent of his tether, Ridgeman hatches a half-baked plan to rip off a heroin dealer that winds up with him and his partner pitted against a gang of formidable paramilitary bank heisters. A career highlight for Gibson equal to his over-the-hill hero roles in Edge of Darkness and Blood Father, and yet another impressive entry in Vaughn’s growing résumé of scary tough guy characters after True Detective and Brawl in Cell Block 99.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Dragged Across Concrete is:

8. Anti-drug. Tory Kittles plays ex-con Henry Johns, whose stint in prison illustrates a very possible outcome for a dealer. His mother, a heroin addict, has turned to prostitution. It is also mentioned that the dealer Ridgeman mistreats has been selling drugs to children, undermining any potential audience sympathy for the criminal.

7. Ableist! Lurasetti compares a hearing-impaired woman’s speech to a dolphin’s.

6. Anti-Semitic! Writer-director Zahler, as Soiled Sinema’s Ty E. puts it, is an artist who seems to have “transcended his Jewishness”, which may account for the brief and harmless but stereotype-oozing portrayal of the friendly jeweler Feinbaum, who says his wife has two brothers who are therapists and three sisters who are lawyers.

feinbaum

5. Homophobic! Henry dismisses his “cocksuckin’ father” as “a yesterday who ain’t worth words.” Disapprovingly, Ridgeman fails to see “much of a difference these days” between men and women, and also mocks Lurasetti’s “gay hair shit” disguise.

4. Media-critical. Chief Lieutenant Calvert (Johnson) derides the anti-police bias of “the entertainment industry formally known as ‘the news’”, which “needs villains” and fabricates them if necessary.

3. Natalist, i.e., sexist! Unexpectedly, the movie features a tender (albeit offbeat) portrait of a new mother, Kelly Summer (Jennifer Carpenter), desperately trying to avoid going back to work after using up her maternity leave. The necessity of keeping a job seems cruel and absurd now that she has a baby. Her proper place, she realizes, is at home with her child, and her boss, Mr. Edmington (Fred Melamed) describes her as a “radiant vision of maternity”. The section of Dragged Across Concrete that follows Kelly is even more affecting on a second viewing.

2. Class-conscious. “My job [in a bank] is so stupid,” Kelly laments. “I go there and I sell chunks of my life for a paycheck so that rich people I’ve never even met can put money in places I’ve never even seen.” Henry’s little brother Ethan, meanwhile, sees big game hunting as “rich white people shit”. There is also the suggestion that those with wealth have the means to elude the law, as Ridgeman at some point in the past allowed the son of businessman Friedrich (Udo Kier) to escape punishment for an unnamed crime in exchange for a future favor from the well-connected father. Ridgeman no longer believes in a meritocratic American dream. “I don’t politick and I don’t change with the times and turns that that shit’s more important than good, honest work,” he tells his partner, determining: “We have the skills and the right to acquire proper compensation” for thankless years of public service.

1.Race-realist – with exceptions. “They’re so cute before they get big,” says Ridgeman’s daughter Sara (Jordyn Ashley Olson) – ostensibly with reference to lion cubs, but subtextually referring to the black boys who harass her when she walks home from school. “This fucking neighborhood, it just keeps getting worse and worse,” frets Mrs. Ridgeman (Laurie Holden). “You know I never thought I was a racist before living in this area. I’m about as liberal as any ex-cop could ever be, but now,” she demands, “we really need to move” or else, “someday, you and me,” she tells her husband, “we are in a hospital room with our daughter talking to a rape counselor.”

Ridgeman and his partner are both depicted as casual racists. “I’m not racist,” Lurasetti jokes: “Every Martin Luther King Day I order a cup of dark roast.” In a twenty-first century world in which “digital eyes are everywhere”, however, old-school law-and-order enforcers like Ridgeman and Lurasetti are living on borrowed time. “Like cell phones, and just as annoying, politics are everywhere,” Calvert observes. “Being branded a racist in today’s public forum is like being accused of communism in the fifties. Whether it’s a possibly offensive remark made in a private phone call or the indelicate treatment of a minority who sells drugs to children […] It’s bullshit – but it’s reality.”

Softening Dragged Across Concrete’s racial edge is the presence of Henry, the conspicuous specimen of Africanus cinematicus played by Tory Kittles. This ghetto thug with the soul of a poet is given to saying things like, “Before I consider that kind of vocation, I need to get myself acclimated” and is at all times depicted as being more astute than those around him. His little brother Ethan, too, is portrayed as an underprivileged but bright lad of great potential. The case can be made that Dragged Across Concrete makes examples of its most prominent bigots by punishing them while rewarding Henry in the end. Ridgeman, who has refused to change with the times, is taught the important lesson that he “should have trusted a nigger.”

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Sollers Point

American Honey’s McCaul Lombardi stars as Keith, a directionless Baltimore wigger and drug dealer just released from prison and attempting to find his place in the world. At stake in the formless, meandering story is whether the poorly behaved and inarticulate protagonist will settle into the family pattern of working-class tedium and community coexistence or fall back in with the white nationalist gang with which he became affiliated while incarcerated. Keith bowls from one unnecessarily unpleasant situation into another, getting into fights, making a little money, and chasing after various specimens of ghetto tail. Lombardi is an intense performer, and Jim Belushi is likable as his boring but well-meaning dad. What at first appears to be a downbeat and largely pointless character study, however, is revealed to be an accidental comedy once the filmmaker’s ridiculous intentions are taken into consideration.

4 out of 5 stars – in part for the unintentional humor furnished by the director in the DVD extra features. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Sollers Point is:

3. Anti-drug. Diminishing marijuana’s glamor, a thug mentions that his stash had recently been stuffed up his ass. The film also offers a putrid portrait of an aging, heroin-addicted whore hawking her unappetizing wiles on a roadside.

2. Pro-family. Keith’s father does what he can to protect and provide for his wayward son, and other family members are also helpful and affectionate. Keith seems to be troubled by his absence from his niece’s life.

1.Multiculturalist, pro-miscegenation, and anti-white. Baltimore appears in the film as a more or less functional chocolate city marred only by the presence of reckless and immature young white men and trashy white women. Keith’s father, at least, seems to be a good man as evidenced by the fact that he hangs out and plays cards with blacks – so not all white people in the movie are criminals or addicted to dope. “I was really interested in reflecting the diversity of this neighborhood in southeast Baltimore,” soyboy writer-director Matt Porterfield explains in an interview included on the Sollers Point DVD, “but I wanted to sort of focus on the ways in which they shared space rather than the divisions, you know?” The way in which Keith shares space with his black neighbors, however, seems to entail an inferior and deferential role. When Keith’s wigger nationalist acquaintances roll up with hostile intentions, Keith’s black thug neighbors come to his aid by throwing liquor bottles at the white gang’s van; but then they expect him to pick up the broken glass littering the street – which he obediently does. Keith, Porterfield says, has to “figure out who his people are”, and as Porterfield concludes, “his people in the film are white and black” – which may go a long way toward explaining why the character is so lost. Interestingly, the writer-director describes his movie as “a portrayal of a white male in society trying to find his place,” adding that Keith is “not being given any traditional rites of passage.” I burst out laughing, however, when he added that the protagonist is “representative of, you know, a large portion of the population that put our current president in office. […] It’s tapping into a cultural energy that we all kind of want to understand, that put Trump in office.” Which, of course, is 2016 in a nutshell. The Dems should never have underestimated Trump’s appeal to the wigger jungle fever ex-con MAGA drug dealer demographic!

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

fta

“The show the Pentagon couldn’t stop!” Sure …

I have previously discussed the dubious “anti-war” credentials of countercultural figures Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda, who played the part of rebellious hippies within the Hollywood elite. No film better encapsulates their fraud or the fabricated nature of the corporate counterculture than Francine Schoenholtz’s ridiculous 1972 documentary FTA, which stands for “Fuck the Army”. The film follows Fonda, Sutherland, and other performers as they tour Japan and the Philippines, performing unfunny comedy routines and hokey protest songs for American servicemen. Schoenholtz’s previous work included a 1966 series of one-hour plays for PBS called Jews and History – and FTA itself and the culture creation it represents comprise a singular Jewish contribution to American military and pop-cultural history.

The film is as much a promotion of subversion as it is a polemic against the war in Vietnam. The poster, boasting its image of a stoned Donald Sutherland, is an undisguised attempt to associate anti-war activism with drug culture, and much of FTA is devoted to glorifying communism, feminism, vulgarity, bad grooming, and loutish black militancy, with the U.S. characterized as a racist society perpetrating genocide against both the Vietnamese and American blacks. FTA’s pose of revolutionism notwithstanding, is the audience really expected to believe that this troupe of anti-American undesirables would have been allowed anywhere near U.S. military bases overseas unless the production had at least the tacit approval of powerful persons within the American government? Would U.S. Army and Navy personnel be permitted to participate in the production of a film if it authentically sought, as FTA pretends, to goad soldiers into turning their guns against their leaders? It was during the week of the film’s premiere in July of 1972 that Fonda, just to present the anti-war movement in the worst possible light, notoriously visited Hanoi and posed for a photo with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.

Producing and completing post-production on FTA was Igo Kantor, who tells the story of his involvement in the project in an interview he granted for the DVD release of the stupid woman vigilante movie Alley Cat (1984). He remembers that “Technicolor came to me and they said they would like to do a show on Jane Fonda going with a group of people, the FTA group, musical group, all over the Pacific Rim, all of Vietnam, all those countries, and do a show about the counter [to] the Bob Hope Christmas shows,” which were being produced by NBC, then owned by the defense contractor RCA. “The Bob Hope Christmas shows were dignifying the war movement because he was performing for the troops all over, every Christmas he’d go to one of these towns where the war took place and he would have shows – and I was the editor on the Bob Hope Christmas shows for six years. […] But then Technicolor said Jane Fonda would like to do a show to counteract that. Instead of heroining the war, let’s be pro-peace,” Kantor recounts, smiling sardonically.

That RCA would produce television programming “dignifying the war movement” is hardly surprising; but that Technicolor, a subsidiary of the defense contractor Thomson-CSF, would approach Kantor to produce a radical “pro-peace” hippie extravaganza, even hiring the same editor, is more interesting. “So she [i.e., Jane Fonda] went [to Vietnam] and the amazing thing is, here I was working in this building on Highland Avenue [in Los Angeles] and Jane Fonda, I gave her an office upstairs, and she and Don Sutherland were together at that time […] and Bob Hope had an office downstairs, and Bob Hope knew about this and he says, ‘Igo, what’s going on here, what, you’re working on my show, which is pro-war, and you’re working another show that’s anti-war?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, I will not mix the footages. They’ll not be the same show, don’t worry about it.’ And sometimes,” Kantor remembers, bemused, “they used to go up and down the stairs and throw darts at each other. Bob Hope and Jane Fonda were, my God, crazy.” So, by Kantor’s own admission, the entertainment industry’s representative pro-war and anti-war exemplars were literally working out of the same building and frolicking on the stairs and enjoying hijinks – but that was surely just a coincidence – right?

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

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