I'll take your word for it on a level of clarity, but keep in mind that you have been speaking Miggs on a regular basis for many years now. Positively or negatively, or both, it might just have affected your mind.
I love how a totally head-shaking comment like mine there could be followed so effortlessly by the real master of the comment head-shaker's comment. Although I do think that miggs' comment right there includes the least number of names he's ever used in a comment.
Typical of me and my ADD, I forgot the point of my last comment. I had written earlier that movies like Trainspotting still make heroine addicts want to do heroine. My point was that Dj didn't make me want to go out and pierce my ear again.
Having just seen Django I'm going to let it rip here. in coming back the blog, I was hoping that this comment stream had died out more so no one would read it and I would just be ranting into the void. The arrogance is going to flow. Don't read this if it bugs you. But here goes anyway. FIrst, props to CK for instinctual sussing out some important Hollywood commodifications. He didn't see Dj or 0D30 (me either) but he knew something was up. There is something up. Dj is a great movie. It is blacksploitation done so incredibly well I can't believe what I just saw. And I know I'm being objective because I know where he got the feel and structure of the scenes: the Sister's Brothers. That's a book that has nothing to do with slavery but trust me, from my days of being ripped off in Hollywood, combined with energetic sensitivity I know what material comes from what material if I'm at all familiar with the ripped off material and Mr. T ripped off Sister's Brothers. in fact, he couldn't help but out himself with a few riffs off brother names in Dj. But I don't care. The movie is still great. It's lucky I went because I don't think slavery should be turned into commodified entertainment. So I wasn't going to go see Dj. Then a close friend who I always agree with about movies told me it was "great." The fact that she's half African-American was important in this case. Given my feelings about Schindler's List I was expecting to have issues with making slavery entertaining. But I also knew that the humor would make a difference. It did. Wicked humor trumps everything else. It can't be critiqued. It can't really "collude with commodifying experience" the way drama does. Really smart humor is impossible to critique, which is why really smart critics hate it. And I don't know how, but Mr. T has gotten a whole lot smarter since R-dogs. He has climbed a ladder like the structure of Unforgiven. Italian Mr, T started out with the stupid racism of Italians, made his way up to Jewish racism, and finally made it to the top of the mountain (think Dr. King's mountain in a humorous way) where the good and evil wrench the wrenching of dealing with human empathy beyond anything anyone, including CK, will ever find fitting words for or about, and that is especially true in respect to the director's intensions. But I am not a critic, and I did get lucky here and understand Mr. T's intensions. Bigelow's intensions may come from trained conceptual art schooling, but Mr. T's are, I am sure, much more potent. It's simple. No critique will have the balls to state it, but Mr. T is so successfully black enough that he does the blackest thing I know that strong black men consistently do to each other: he presents a challenge with wicked humor. With this movie, he challenges people of African decent to stop fighting each other for sport--for entertainment. He challenges everyone not to be entertained by torture but by real intelligence and strength. And just in case you have your doubts (hopefully no one is reading this anyway) I will draw your imaginary attention to a scene so subtly art historical that my draw dropped. It was not by accident because Mr. T had already well established the German Romanticism aspect of the story and film. Dj's love interest is named "Broomhilda," and a German character tells the story of her romance. So I was impressed when Mr. T shot the dream scene between them ripping off a German Romantic named Freiderick or something. Icy and foggy and white just like his landscape paintings.
But the real genius in the movie goes beyond any critique or anything else even CK could think about it. Again, the humor trumps critique. That's what Schindler's List didn't have at all. Plus, the "torturifc" scenes that CK warned me about made me go personal. I won't use my personal torture story the way other folks besides CK on this blog use personal stories (to justify or condemn on a supposedly connected big issue) but I will go personal. When Dj is going to have his "nuts snipped" with a hot knife I couldn't help but go back to a surgery that was performed on me called a "testicular biopsy." Torturific. It was especially torturific because I was awake. The surgeon was exploring because...no...not that it was that big a deal, but maybe someone will read this. So, I will downgrade to the minor torture that took place during the movie. An overweight old white guy burping throughout the movie. Bad. Not as bad though as when I had my ear pierced in the most tender spot on the ear. Why would I do that? Because I wanted to prove something. The doctor who cut my nuts open had gotten me to do the surgery (which resulted in no new info) by telling me that it would be like an ear piercing. So I later did the most painful ear-piercing you can do just to prove a stupid point only to myself. Didn't change anything. Didn't change that right before the doctor snipped my nuts open (even though he had given me a local) had said, "You can scream all you want, just don't reach down here." And imagine what it would have felt like without the local. I couldn't walk for 4 days. He said I'd be fine in one. That was a long time ago but I still think about going back to LA and finding that doctor, especially since I have learned that testicular biopsies are never done with just a local. But he's probably dead. Anyway, seriously, I am teasing CK with all this. It's all true but it's meant to make things so twisted that CK can't enjoy the fact that I went to a snuff movie and enjoyed it. Mr. T got me. He probably knows he has to get it while the getting's good because as great as this movie is, it won't hold a candle to the movies people of African decent will make some day soon. Mr. T made a hugely challenging movie but he is like Pat Boone. He also did the right thing and pointed out that the ability to really love the way Dj does in the movie is the real reason African slaves may have appeared "submissive," but he's still just Pat Boone and I bet he knows it. Otherwise he couldn't be so funny (like the house n played by Samual Jackson) as ge rips off the genius floating off of black culture to do things that entertain us now, but someday, in a time that people look back and see even Spike Lee as a house...no I can't say that..horrible and unfair...there will be real movies made because the humor will be filled with real love, not just the Pat Boone kind.
I do remember. I also remember how well it went over at the high-holiday family table when I told Sid that I didn't think the holocaust was fit subject matter for entertainment. My ex-mother-in-law gave the book Schindler's List to Sid's wife and she gave it to SS and the rest is history--at least Hollywood's version.
I meant to beat you to the punch with the "every movie is a snuff movie" point but my ADD tripped me up.
The thing that had me shaking my head most about Jurassic Park was the scene with the grandfather eating ice cream as his grandchildren were somewhere being eaten by the Nazis. SS had and has a major father-complex and since he has no sense of it at all, there's all these super creepy father moments in his movies where the emotional intent behind the scene is more obscure than Bigelow's in 0D30. Really, I just wanted to write 0D30 myself.
The problem with making political statements--even supposedly non-political non-statement statements-- with movies is that the voyeur aspect can turn even the biggest turn off into at minimum an accidental turn on. Trainspotting had ex-heroine addicts running back to their needles despite the toilet bowl scenes. Schindler's List had to work as entertainment (and was being finished at the same time SS was making The Flinestones) and that is a grotesquery in and of itself. So if the movie shows a whole lot of torture, it may not matter what the director thinks she's doing. It's still a torture movie, which is to say it's a snuff movie. So if a potential viewer like me doesn't want to support snuff movies then I can't buy a ticket.