Political Content in this week’s new movies: The Crazies, Cop Out, The Yellow Handkerchief
1. The Crazies [Rated R for bloody violence and language.]
summary from imdb.com:
As a toxin begins to turn the residents of Ogden Marsh, Iowa into violent psychopaths, sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) tries to make sense of the situation while he, his wife (Mitchell), and two other unaffected townspeople band together in a fight for survival.
director: Michael Eisner’s son, Breck Eisner
starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker, Joe Anderson, Glenn “24” Morshower
Poli-Bits: eeevil murderous military mowing all people down, cattle cars and internment camps, atomic bomb, military torching innocent people with flame throwers, itchy trigger-fingered rednecks, social action campaign by “Participant Media”
The eeevil military has let a toxin loose in the town, one that turns law-abiding citizens into, well, crazies. And now the military is using all of its might to contain the problem./The film’s promised social commentary never brings the narrative to a halt. Those who distrust the military and/or the government can read into this worst case scenario all they wish. The rest of us will be giddy with a roller coaster of a horror film.
Could have done without its “US Government wants to kill innocent people” theme/our heroes trying to escape the zombies and the soldiers the government sends in to “take care” of the matter.
For Those That Like Their Horror Socially-Minded: What’s admirable about The Crazies is that you can either watch it as an entertaining series of surprising bursts of violence (Olyphant vs. the possessed buzz saw from Hell), or you can dig deeper. The screenplay by Ray Wright (Pulse, Case 39) and Scott Kosar (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, The Machinist) translates the anti-Vietnam message of Romero’s original film into a parable about the United States’ current military agenda, most apparent in a scene where a remorseful soldier insists he “didn’t sign up to shoot unarmed civilians.” The Crazies also references the internment camps and atom bomb attacks employed by the American military in World War II, suggesting that the natural next step of a heartless government cleaning up a mess of its own creation is the mass extermination of innocent human beings. But if all that’s too heavy for you, you can choose to ignore it and instead read The Crazies as a survival guide to what to do when the zombie outbreak hits. (Hint: don’t drink the tap water. Invest in Evian!)
which gives way to imagery and notions that are much more horrifying that the usual zombie stuff. I’m talking chainlink fences and people in cattle cars and U.S. troops rounding up U.S. citizens — real black-helicopter, FEMA-is-not-your-friend stuff. It’s scarily plausible/can there really be any doubt that niceties such as civil liberties would go by the wayside in the event of an outbreak
More interesting than the feeble plot, however, is the fact that this picture was produced by Participant Media, the same company that made Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. As the New York Times reported earlier this week, Participant is hoping that audiences will pick up on some of the “progressive” themes of the film:
“Obviously, the documentaries we’ve made deal with some very serious issues,” said Participant’s president, Ricky Strauss, referring to this year’s Oscar-nominated “Food Inc.,” as well as the recent Sundance entries “Countdown to Zero,” about nuclear proliferation; “Waiting for Superman,” about American education; and the 3-D, quasi-comedic “Cane Toads: The Conquest,” about lumpy-green vermin invading Australia’s ecosystem. “But our movies also need to be entertaining, so as many people as possible are inspired by the issues and themes, and they can go out and make a difference.”
While I have a general rule against viewing films through the lens of partisan politics, I’ll make an exception forThe Crazies since they so dearly want to “make a difference.” So what do liberals really think? (Some spoilers are ahead, so if you’re dying to see The Crazies this weekend, you should probably stop reading now.)
Well, for starters, progressives want us to know that the military is comprised of genocidal maniacs. As the virus starts to spread, citizens are rounded up into trucks that are reminiscent of the cattle cars used to transport victims in the Holocaust; later, the people in those trucks are gunned down and torched with flamethrowers by the Army.
Way to support the troops, fellas. I’m sure they love being cast as the Einsatzgruppen reborn.
Then there’s the depiction of a trio of rednecks as maniacal hunters who turn their guns on the townspeople after the virus hits, loading their trophy carcasses into the bed of their beat up truck. Oh, sure, they’re “infected,” but I think we all know the real point progressives are making here: Rednecks are just itching for a chance to go nuts and start shooting up the place. More gun control, please!
And let’s not forget the deployment of a nuclear weapon on a United States city – that’s right: when containment fails, reach for the nukes — which I guess has something to do with the progressive desire for unilateral disarmament? Can’t vaporize Ogden Marsh if you don’t have a nuclear stockpile, now can you?
I could go on, but hopefully you get my point. One can’t help but wonder if this is the face that progressives really want to put forward.
If you’re interested in joining with your progressive brethren in support of Social Justice, you might want to check out Participant Media’s handy list of 5 things that you can do to make a difference after watching The Crazies!
2. Cop Out [Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality.]
summary from imdb.com:
A comedy about a veteran NYPD cop whose rare baseball card is stolen. Since it’s his only hope to pay for his daughter’s upcoming wedding, he recruits his partner to track down the thief, a memorabilia-obsessed gangster.
director: Kevin Smith
starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Seann William Scott, Adam Brody, Kevin Pollak, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jason Lee
Poli-Bits: nothing political detected
3. The Yellow Handkerchief [Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some violence, language and thematic elements.]
summary from imdb.com:
A road trip through Louisiana transforms three strangers who were originally brought together by their respective feelings of loneliness.
Starring: William Hurt, Maria Bello, Eddie Redmayne, Kristen Stewart
Poli-Bits: haven’t seen it, but I detected nothing political from reading a bunch of reviews
Another Batch of Miscellaneous Extraneousness from Across the Web:
1. Recent Israeli films are less political
2. Hailee Steinfeld Lands a Role in the Coen Brother’s True Grit
“They’ve already cast Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin in the film, but Joel and Ethan have also been looking for someone to play the female lead.
The Charles Portis novel that this was originally based on is entirely in the voice of Mattie Ross, which is why she’s such an important character in this. When talking about this project last year, the Coens said that it would be “a lot tougher and more violent than the [original] movie” but also made it sound like they would still retain some of the humor from the book. Paramount has already set a December 25th, 2010 release for True Grit.”
3. Quentin Tarantino wants to make “a western with racial themes” which he refers to as “a Southern”
4. “Do audiences want socially conscious horror movies?” by Christian Toto
6. Sarah Palin takes on Hollywood
Fans of the politician are flocking to Sandra Bullock’s homespun film The Blind Side, and it’s heading for Oscar success
7. Christian Toto on “Operation: Take a Soldier to the Movies”
8. aintitcool.com has aSpoiler for AVATAR 2?
9. aintitcool.com says: Brian De Palma To Direct PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2