Archives for posts with tag: Stacy Keach

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY THIRTEEN

If I Stay

Concocted as catnip for teenage girls, If I Stay is likely to please that audience with its story of sweet and insecure high school cellist Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her cute rocker boyfriend Adam (Jamie Blackley). The title refers to the limbo in which Mia finds herself when she has an out-of-body experience following a car accident. As a bald black woman (Aisha Hinds) does what she can to revive her, Mia revisits her memories of the events leading up to the tragedy. Mostly pretty sappy stuff, If I Stay does contain a powerful breakup scene and manages in a few moments to be genuinely touching. The great Stacy Keach gets an innocuous supporting role as Mia’s devoted grandfather.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that If I Stay is:

5. Christ-ambivalent. A priest consoles Mia’s grandmother (Gabrielle Rose), but the movie’s Christian credentials are undermined by Mia’s irreverent suggestion that “Christmas threw up” to produce a mug of chai.

4. Pro-gay. “Go, Astrid,” Mia cheerleads on seeing two girls kiss.

3. Pro-slut. “I didn’t think you had it in you,” Adam says approvingly when he sees Mia dressed up like a rocker chick – which is to say, like a hooker. (see also no. 2)

2. Pro-drug. “I’m feelin’ good, I’m feelin’ high,” Adam sings in one of his songs. Mia’s hip parents and their friends drink beer and joke about drugs around their children. Mia drinks a shot at a rock concert on the night she tenderly loses her virginity. To deprive Mia of her caffeine, meanwhile, would constitute “child abuse”.

1. Pro-family. Mia’s father (Joshua Leonard) gave up a burgeoning rock band career to devote himself to his family, while Mia’s mother (Mireille Enos) is a “full-time supermom”. The clan demonstrates high levels of affection and mutual reinforcement throughout, and Adam admires the fact that Mia has “a real family”. “This is exactly why I could never procreate,” says Willow (Lauren Lee Smith), who, however, goes back on her word.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Charles Band’s latest foray into his favorite horror subgenre, the miniature plastic macabre, has exactly two things going for it: supporing players Stacy Keach and Karen Black, both of whom ought to be embarrassed for their participation in this backward-minded, meanspirited, wilful negation of racial realities aimed at all two angry young black men who wait with bated breath for every new Full Moon release.  “Beyond Django” is the film’s tag line, but “Beyond Gonzo” might be more appropriate.  Ooga Booga, a slapdash horror hash of make-believe relevance, is the sort of idiotic movie in which characters make such witty observations as, “If this thing electrocutes me, I’m gonna be pissed.”

Devin (Wade Forrest Wilson), a hardworking black medical student, is unluckily gunned down by a racist cop (Gregory Niebel), appropriately named Officer White, after being mistaken for the culprit in a convenience store robbery and murder – the 1960s Deep South of liberal mythology apparently having merged and melded with modern Los Angeles in Ooga Booga‘s bizarro world – only to be reincarnated as a revenge-seeking stereotypical bone-in-the-nose African warrior doll.  No racist is safe from the bug-eyed, reefer-puffing wrath of this spear-chucking pigmy!

The concept might have been worth a few chuckles if, like Chucky or that pesky Leprechaun, Ooga Booga had been endowed with the power to spout corny one-liners as he dispatches his quarry; but until the doll inexplicably acquires the power of speech in the final scene, he carries out his simplistic regimen of vengeance (which more than once includes the extraction of eyeballs) with an unimaginative reticence, communicating with his girlfriend (Ciarra Carter) only by nodding or gesturing with his spear.  The scene in which Karen Black – cast as an ode to her role in Dan Curtis’s excellent Trilogy of Terror, in which she also finds herself pitted against an angry doll – is boringly pursued by Ooga Booga through her trailer is only an unintentionally poignant reminder of how far this film falls short of its forebear.

2.5 out of 5 possible stars.  ICA’s advice: see Trilogy of Terror instead.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Ooga Booga is:

8. Anti-slut.  A prostitute’s rash illustrates the wages of sin.

7. Anti-Christian.  Tacky trailer park manager Karen Black has a kitschy picture of Jesus on her wall.  “Jesus H. fuckin’ Christ,” Officer White exclaims angrily in another scene.  Judge Marks (Keach) refers to “puttin’ nigras in the hole” as being “God’s work”.

6. Un-p.c.  Despite its anti-racist social (i.e., socialist) message, Ooga Booga would like to have its crap and eat it, too, engaging in racial stereotype-based humor under the flimsy pretext of satirizing it, but succeeding only in confusing its tone and intentions from one scene to the next.  Hambo (Chance A. Rearden), a Krusty-like, hog-nosed, haggard, and sordid children’s show host, displays an Asian hooker doll and gives it voice: “I’ll suckie-suckie for crackie-crackie.”  Devin is annoyed by the poor taste of Hambo’s jokes, which, however, are presumably supposed to be funny for viewers.  Likewise, an unappealing gang rape scene’s seriousness of purpose is rendered suspect when it is immediately followed by a superfluous scene of the victim complacently showering with her breasts exposed to the camera while Ooga Booga watches and masturbates.

5. Pro-miscegenation.  The doll and his moll decide not to kill White’s wimpy partner (Corey MacIntosh) after seeing a photograph of his black wife and kids.

4. Drug-ambivalent.  The gang of losers working for White represents the drug trade and drug use poorly, but Ooga Booga appears to suffer no consequences from his frequent marijuana smoking.

3. Anti-police.  Cops are corrupt racketeers, racists, and lusty killers.

2. Anti-white.  Ooga Booga is one of those sad, tired exercises in flagrant fraudulence in which white bums beg blacks for handouts, packs of vicious whites rape black women, and whites as a race are generally stupid, mean, dishonest, criminal, and violent drug dealers, users, and pimps who inconvenience the law-abiding minorities.  The LAPD might as well be the KKK, and White’s non-racist partner, though he objects to the bigot’s recklessness and killing of innocents, is too wimpy ever to intervene.  A Confederate flag on the drug gang’s wall reminds viewers of the hackneyed formula according to which states’ rights and secession equal racism and sexism, which, of course, equal mental retardation, rape, and murder.

1. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn).  A specter is haunting America: the specter of racism!  Nearly every racial smear applicable to blacks is included at some point.  Even Devin’s landlord is a bigot and in one scene barges into his apartment to complain about noise and calls his tenants jungle bunnies.  “I want you to remove that stain from my world,” Judge Marks says, exposing the genocidal flame that burns in every white man’s heart.  Ooga Booga personifies hate and stereotyping reappropriated as deadly emancipatory weaponry leveled against their masters and originators.

Reuniting Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel with Meryl Streep, whose performance here is equally good but occupies the opposite end of the female assertiveness scale, Hope Springs is a quality custom vehicle for two veteran actors, the other being a convincingly cynical, pestered, and sour-pussed Tommy Lee Jones as her husband of 31 years.  Can counseling sessions with sensitivity maven Steve Carell put the spice back into what’s left of their dwindling lives?

The trailer is definitely lighter in tone than the actual experience of watching Hope Springs, with many moments of marital mediocrity and sexual despair being genuinely painful to endure.  What’s most remarkable about Hope Springs, though, is that Streep and Jones come through it all with so much dignity intact.  Even as the two are prodded into revealing their intimate foibles and failings and are directed to engage in sexual experimentation by a Daily Show alumnus wearing a series of odd tie choices, they never lose the respect or the intense interest of the viewer.  Commendably, in view of the fact that this is primarily a women’s film, both husband and wife are allowed an equal humanity, and the screenplay, which takes unexpected turns more than once, is as judiciously neutral as can be expected.

Chick flick rules, however, are in effect, which means that men less secure in their masculinity than your reviewer will be embarrassed to enter and exit theaters exhibiting Hope Springs.  Chick flick conventions also dictate occasionally reprehensible music, with the most wince-inducing sequence probably being a montage in which Streep and Jones, having returned from counseling with lingering uncertainties, separately ruminate over whether to give their marriage another chance – a montage, mind you, set to Annie Lennox’s “Why”, which is there to let the women in the audience know that this is serious.

Meryl Streep, even at 63, is an amazingly gorgeous old lady, and her costuming here always captures her at her best, even when she’s supposed to look frumpy and humble.  The bulldog features of Jones, meanwhile, only serve to underscore the depth of Streep’s character’s undying love for her husband, as little else would explain her lust for such a phlegmatic bore.  All that remains to be asked is, now that she’s tamed Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones, which geriatric stud is next on her hit list?  Maybe next time she can reach Stacy Keach or break through Chuck Norris’s emotional blockage and get him to talk and not just kick about his feelings.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Hope Springs is:

3. Pro-gay.  Streep consults a sex manual written by a gay man for straight women – gay men naturally knowing more than women about how to please straight men.

2. Moderately pro-castration.  It’s not enough for men to be men anymore.  They have to go to counseling to discuss intimacy, etc.  The effeminized, empathetic Steve Carell character represents sex role buddhahood in the Hope Springs universe.

1. Pro-marriage, though not without unsettling caveats.

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