Hello Friends. Thought I'd dust this blog off and talk movies today since I recently saw two of the three most talked about films and the third I absolutely will not shell money out for because while the overall message certainly has merit, the whole thing feels like a sleazy scheme to extort from the gullible.
I am referring to Barbie, Oppenheimer and Sound of Freedom.
I probably would not have gone to see Barbie at all had my wife Connie not wanted to go and I drag her to all kinds of concerts and events she isn't enamored with initially so I was happy to spend the time with her and go see something she was excited for.
Let's get the controversy over the movie out of the way first. It is rated PG-13 so when I see or read complaints from parent's who took younger kids I dismiss them right away. Absolutely no one is advocating for you to take your little girls that still play with Barbies to see this movie so going on about "Evil Hollywood" grooming your kid or ruining their childhood because Barbie says in the movie she doesn't have a vagina and Ken doesn't have a penis.
Guess what? Every kid who has ever played with a Barbie or GI Joe has at some point unpants the doll to see what was underneath so we all knew this fact long before Barbie dared utter it in dialogue.
This so-called controversy is just another example of people looking to be offended and we all know if you look for something hard enough you will damn sure find it. Get over yourself.
(Skip down below the picture now if you do not want a spoiler)
Seriously this is your chance ...
because if you do not skip ...
You will read about he ending of the Barbie movie.
Okay hopefully I gave enough of a buffer that only people who di not care about spoilers or have already seen the movie are still reading this paragraph. Barbie goes to see a gynecologist after choosing to live as human and judging by my twitter this seems to offend a lot of people and all I can say is there was nothing controversial here. Women need to take care of their health. Yes, this includes their reproductive health.
The filmmakers was clearly just establishing the fact hat Barbie had become human and therefore did now have genitalia and that requires checkups. There was no mention of birth control or abortion. She wasn't at Planned Parenthood. She wasn't making a political statement there at all. Perhaps the filmmaker wanted to suggest Barbie could now be a mother given the scenes that preceded the visit. But again, there was nothing controversial or political there and acting offended because a woman goes to see a gynecologist is absolute craziness. Again, get over yourself if this bothered you.
Spoiler averted. Read freely starting here ...
Moving beyond the much ado about nothing talk of invented controversies the movie was simply okay for me. I give it a 6 out of 10.
Now there is one big talking point of the movie that is pissing some people off. The movie unabashedly bashed the idea of Patriarchy. But let's face it the people angered by this are the very people benefitting from patriarchy.
Yes, society has evolved and will continue to do so, but no the patriarchy is not completely in our past. Men have had it far easier than women for ... well ever. Except maybe in Barbie land where Ken has always been an accessory rather than the focus. Because of that the movie was in a unique and great position to highlight both side of this and make some great valid points in a fun manner. And it did for the most part but I think the movie tried too hard especially toward the end.
Sometimes writers or creators have to get out of the way and trust their words or work to speak but when they reach for a hammer and try to beat the pint in they lose a bit of their meaning and power.
In this regard Barbie reminded me of Happy Feet, yes the animated penguin movie. Both movies did a good job of making their point but then added unnecessary montages at the end to hammer their point home and in doing so began to feel overtly preachy therefore hitting that "preaching to choir" vibe that never changes any minds.
Now that said I doubt anyone was going to see Barbie hoping to be educated or enlightened so probably the move was doomed to be preaching to the choir anyway. TI did enjoy the humor but felt like they left a lot of potential for more on the table.
On to Oppenheimer.
Great movie. 9 out of 10
Going in I expected a dark heavy movie that would leave me sullen afterward. I expected it to be about the problems and difficulties of turning science and theory into a devastating weapon of mass destruction with a side of guilt and regret and yes there was some of that, but the movie was so much more than problem solving and moral dilemmas.
For me the movie reflected today's politics as much as they did the pasts but not in an artificial or blatantly objective way. History aside, for me this film is about the depths one person will go to soothe their battered ego and climb to position of power they can use for their own benefit.
I won't claim to have the depth of knowledge or historical insight to say whether the movie is accurate in its depictions of events. I will say I thought it did a great job of striking balance between obligation of duty and hesitation of heart. There were times I wanted the movie to slow down and take a deeper dive but given the 3 hour run time and the amount of story to tell that was an impossible task.
The first hour of the film was a bit hectic and left me with thoughts of a story in a blender but the back two-thirds settle in for me and I eventually understood why we had to rush early on. The movie was reverent in tone even when the characters "celebrated' the achievement of their goal.
The imagery, the acting, the ending all were damn close to perfection. And no I did not leave the theatre feeling down or depressed but rather grateful and relieved.
Grateful that I had to opportunity to see the movie alongside my two sons and relived by the fact that at least how the movie portrayed these characters that greedy, pettiness, and diabolical scheming is borne out in the annuls of time.
I hope this is the case because I hate to think a man can go from being humiliated at a White House Correspondents' Dinner for asinine conspiracy theories, to using that shame as motivation for a political career and needlessly setting back our nation fifty years, just to prove his point and make a fast million or ten, while jeopardizing the health of nation and world and ultimately inciting insurrection to try and desperately hold onto power without history mocking him for it.
In this I found the movie Oppenheimer comparable to todays politics and yes the historical significance of the United States developing and deploying two devastating bombs is a somber lesson we all need reminded of nearly eighty years after the fact, but we also must be cautious of the divides we face today and who is exploiting those divides for gain.
This brings me to the other movie in the news.
Sound of Freedom
Haven't seen it. Won't pay to see it.
Before some QaNon 4 Chan zealot labels me one of the Liberal Elite Devil Worshiping writers of the word let me say I am fully aware that human trafficking exists on a large scale and is a terrible horrible thing that definitely needs more resources and awareness brought to the fight. I myself have an unfinished novel that I've spent countless hours over the years researching so I'd wager I know more about these atrocities than most of the public.
Do I think the Illuminati/New World Order/Devil Worshipping Democrats are masterminding and profiting from human trafficking on some global scale? NO!
I think the world has all kinds of evil people hellbent to make money anyway they can. Has there ever been a politician or respected leader involved? Almost definitely, because you can find warped and twisted people in any profession, economic sphere, or location.
This movie could have been powerful but chose to pander to the fear mongering and hateful rhetoric in order to crowdfund and get made. I don't know if they sold their soul to simply to get made or if that was part of the agenda all along, but I do know they have convinced wide swatch of people to buy tickets to multiple showings and that while many showing have sold out most of the seats have actually been empty.
Here are some links to read some of the reporting over the movie from a variety of outlets.
This gives me the impression that its all been a big marketing ploy. Fear mongering and political signal calling to send a message to "Evil Hollywood" who are allegedly part of this mass Illuminati/New World Order/Devil Worshipping pact of Democrats profiteering from child trafficking. Such utter bullshit ruined any credibility the film might have had for me.
Reading comments from people extolling the virtues of the film has also brough to light a glaring hypocrisy because while they offer loads of hypothetical sympathy for the Honduran father whose children are abducted, most of these same people are quick to scream GO HOME! to immigrants wishing to flee such danger and pursue a better life here in the United States.
The people spending money buying multiple tickets to multiple showings and urging others to do the same to send "Evil Hollywood" a message are also the ones angry that desperate families are gathered at the border trying to find a better life.
And I'm sure there are a select few just trying to support the movie hoping somehow some of the funds find their way to helping victims of child trafficking. TO that I say there are far better way than by supporting these radical conspiracy theorists and greedy profiteers raking in millions by exploiting a real problem.
Here are a few I found ...
You can report suspected human trafficking to federal law enforcement by calling 1-866-347-2423. You can get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Again I feel like the spirit of the movie and the man it was based are are legit and the cause is worthy of attention and resources but the way the film has been marketed and the asinine conspiracies tossed in without supporting evidence tainted what could have been a powerful, far reaching movie that transcended politics.