Archives for posts with tag: The Breakfast Club

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!

Bitch Perfect might have been a more appropriate title, given the character of the womanhood on display and the number of times the word “bitch” gets lobbed back and forth.  This is the tale of the Barden Bellas, an all-girl collegiate a cappella group looking to come back and win the championship after an unfortunate vomiting incident at last year’s big competition.  Helping them loosen up and diversify their repertoire is “alt girl” and aspiring deejay Beca (commandingly photogenic Anna Kendrick), whose hip-hop affinities and outside-the-box thinking clash with punctilious group leader Aubrey (Anna Camp), who staunchly resists any change of routine and declares, “We don’t stray from tradition.”

If Pitch Perfect has a single antagonist of note, it is not so much the arrogant but likable boy-bandish rival team the Troublemakers as the notion of uniformity.  The movie, like Beca, is at war with convention, tradition, and sameness.  Aubrey’s polite arrangement of Ace of Base’s “The Sign”, though perhaps the prettiest song as performed in the film, is derided as boring and pedestrian.  More promising, Pitch Perfect suggests, is a groan-inducing hip-hop medley mutation of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”.

As such atrocity amply demonstrates, Pitch Perfect‘s game never rises above spunky, outrageous cuteness for its own sake and that of the silly girls who will no doubt adore it.  For a film devoted to tawdry, innocuous shock value, however, Pitch Perfect still manages to be surprisingly disgusting in places.  The viewer is, for instance, treated not only to more than one instance of projectile vomiting, but the sight of a girl lying in a voluminous puddle of it and contentedly moving her arms and legs in snow-angel fashion.

Those who enjoyed the trailer – which, along with the trailers for Magic Mike and Katy Perry: Part of Me, was one of the bothersome banes of this past summer’s moviegoing experience – will probably be satisfied with Pitch Perfect.  In these clutches, however, it warrants only 2.5 of 5 possible stars, largely for the commitment of its commendable cast.  Anna Camp is a standout, as is lead Kendrick in her musical moments, particularly her take on Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”.  Even the somewhat revolting Rebel Wilson, who plays Fat Amy, is extremely memorable in her way.  These and other actors and actresses imbue this crude film with a vitality without which it would probably be unwatchable.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Pitch Perfect is:

11. Anti-marriage.  Beca’s parents are divorced, with the result that her father has married a “step-monster”.

10. Pro-miscegenation.  Multiple but unobtrusive instances.  A white girl recalls Prince’s buttocks being small enough to fit into one of her hands.

9. Anti-Christian.  Allusions to faith are mocking or trifling, such as a sign at a competition that reads, “A Cappella Is My Co-Pilot”.  Beca’s only invocation of God comes as she is crying after having finished the apparently religious experience of watching The Breakfast Club for the first time.

8. Obesity-ambivalent.  Pitch Perfect tries to have its cake and eat it, too, mocking the fat while also presenting what is presumably intended to be an attractively charismatic and (vaguely) sexually desirable slob in Fat Amy.

7. Drug-ambivalent.  Fat Amy says she sometimes thinks she might try crystal meth, but on further reflection, decides, “Nah.”  Liquor is acceptable chemical recreation and cause for humor.  “I’m not drunk at all.  You’re just blurry.”  Smoking, however, is discouraged: “You sound like you smoke three packs a day.”

6. Pro-gay.  Pitch Perfect endorses the relative normalness of homosexuality.  “So there’s like ten of us,” Fat Amy reflects; “that means one of us is probably a lesbian.”  Bellas member Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) is, as it (unsurprisingly) turns out, a lesbian.  “These girls could turn me,” a female emcee says suggestively on being impressed with their performance.

5. Diversity-skeptical.  Beca’s Asian roommate is aloof and unfriendly.  Once, returning with other Asian friends and seeing Beca with her boyfriend, the roommate expresses disappoinment that, “The white girl is back.”  She prefers to be with her own kind and joins the Korean Student Organization.  A rival a cappella group is composed overwhelmingly of blacks, so that Pitch Perfect, while seeming to celebrate multiculturalism, also acknowledges the reality that “birds of a feather flock together.”

4. Multiculturalist.  Beca’s project to deprogram and refashion the Bellas is an attempt to make them less rigid, less traditional, and less disciplined – less white, essentially.  Notwithstanding no. 5 above, the new and improved Bellas are proof of a motley crew’s ability to come together and pool their strengths in novel and profitable ways.  Included are racial minorities, gays, the plump, a nymphomaniac, and a vomit freak.  White artists’ songs need to be remixed to be competitively relevant, i.e., less white.

3. Feminist.  Women assert themselves throughout and in particular defiance of the opinion expressed by one sexist emcee that, “Women are about as good at a cappella as they are at being doctors.”  “If we let them penetrate us, we are giving them our power,” Aubrey explains to her troops.  Beca is presented with a “rape whistle” on arriving at Barden University and instructed, “Don’t use it unless it’s actually happening.”  There is no suggestion at any point in the film, however, that such a whistle is actually necessary or that men really are violently beastly toward women.  Still, “You are a misogynist at heart,” a female emcee says to her male cohost at the a cappella finals.

2. Pro-castration.  “Nothing makes a woman feel more like a girl than a man who sings like a boy.”  In Pitch Perfect‘s most bizarre and superfluous scene, a man begs Fat Amy to kick him in his testicles.  Then she grabs a trophy to ram into his anus.  “Cherry on top,” he enthuses, offering her his buttocks.

1. Pro-slut.  “He’s a hunter,” one young woman says, pointing to her vagina.  Fat Amy also enjoys pointing to her vagina, ripping open her blouse, and displaying her overgrown charms in other ways.  Gyration and shameless public grinding occur througout.

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