Political Content in this week’s new movies: Green Zone, She’s Out of My League, Remember Me, Our Family Wedding
1. Green Zone [Rated R for violence and language]
summary from imdb.com:
Discovering covert and faulty intelligence causes a U.S. Army officer to go rogue as he hunts for Weapons of Mass Destruction in an unstable region.
directed by Paul Greengrass
starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan
Poli-Bits: manufactured intelligence, hooded prisoners tortured by U.S., Bush lied us into war, no WMDs
“Green Zone,” opening Friday, is a $100 million slime job that conjures up a fantastically distorted leftist version of the war and wraps it around a frantic but preposterous action picture./”Green Zone” isn’t cinema. It’s slander. It will go down in history as one of the most egregiously anti-American movies ever released by a major studio.
be sure to read all of Kyle Smith’s review here
But there has to be bad guys, so Greengrass chooses the American Special Forces and turns them into a brutal team of ruthless killers working for Poundstone. By the time the third act arrives, all of unholy Hollywood is hoping we’ll cheer as Saddam’s former henchmen, the monsters behind those mass graves, shoot down a helicopter full of American servicemen./I just felt sick./In Matt Damon’s Iraq there are no mass graves and there are certainly no terrorists, only dark, brutal nightmarish prisons manned by American soldiers. Outside our men terrify helpless Iraqi prisoners with German Shephards. Inside they’re choked, bruised, bloodied and kept in black hoods. There’s also no New York Times. Even though the Lawrie Dayne character is obviously based on Judith Miller and her reporting in the liberal Times, the newspaper Dayne works for is the conservative Wall Street Journal. The L.A. Times’ Chief Water Carrier tried to explain this obvious bias away by informing us that the studio was worried about a lawsuit — as though no one thought to consider a fictional newspaper name.
But Green Zone is at its worst as it spells out its already obvious political agenda. Greengrass and Helgeland are in lecture mode, scolding the Bush Administration for disingenuousness, lamenting the USA’s presumed loss of moral standing internationally, and objecting to a nation-building strategy that fails to account for the needs and strongly held beliefs of a multifaceted citizenry. At least on the left, these are not controversial talking points, which leaves the film largely spinning its wheels.
Inconsistencies abound. Miller, who is initially defined as a straight arrow demanding clear answers from a world of murk, violates his oath of service so liberally he could easily be court-martialed five times over. He lies to his superiors. He withholds evidence snatched off a captured Iraqi. He fabricates authority to gain access to a high profile prisoner. He even guns down a fellow soldier—one the movie has defined as an ideological bad guy, so that’s supposed to make it okay. Military viewers will be horrified./Freddy, the Shi’ite informer who serves as Miller’s translator, is the kind of quivering font of outraged dignity screenwriters frequently resort to when depicting ethnic groups they don’t understand.
2. She’s Out of My League [Rated R for language and sexual content]
summary from imdb.com:
An average Joe meets the perfect woman, but his lack of confidence and the influence of his friends and family begin to pick away at the relationship.
starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, Mike Vogel, Debra Jo Rupp, Krysten Ritter,
Poli-Bits: a quick non-preachy reference to global warming and the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”… plus a reference to homeland security and Guantanamo…
3. Remember Me [Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and smoking]
summary from imdb.com:
A romantic drama set in New York City during the summer of 2001, where Tyler (Pattinson), a rebellious young man, meets Ally (de Ravin) through a twist of fate. Her spirit helps him heal after a family tragedy, though soon the circumstances that brought them together threaten to tear them apart.
starring: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Lena Olin, Chris Cooper,
Poli-Bits: just a few little things:
1. a large Amnesty International poster hangs in the apartment of Robert Pattinson’s character…
2. Emilie de Ravin’s character wants to be a social worker… in the world of criminal justice, to be exact…
3. Robert and Emilie’s characters are in a global politics class together and they listen to the beginning of a discussion about the root cause of terrorism… but it gets cut off quickly and nothing annoying is said…
4. Pattinson makes a remark about his civil liberties being trampled…
5. Bush can be heard for a few seconds in the background mentioning embryonic stem cell research…
6. Emilie orders dessert before her meal and Robert jokingly asks: “Is that a political statement or a medical condition?”
7. Pierce Brosnan’s character, the corporate titan, is of course, cold and distant…
4. Our Family Wedding [Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief strong language]
summary from imdb.com:
The weeks leading up to a young couple’s wedding is comic and stressful, especially as their respective fathers (Whitaker and Mencia) try to lay to rest their feud.
starring: Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Regina King, Taye Diggs, Fred Armisen, Carlos Mencia, Anna Maria Horsford,
Poli-Bits: racism, culture clash
“Romeo and Juliet” played out between Mexican Capulets and African American Montagues, families who reflexively despise each other and don’t do much to keep us guests from agreeing with both of them./she a recent law-school dropout, he a doctor heading off to join Doctors Without Borders in Laos/Whatever they will face in Southeast Asia, it’s nothing compared with the challenge of breaking the news to their respective families that Lucia, who is Hispanic, is marrying Marcus, who is black. Not that anyone’s a bigot of course, it’s just that — well, it simply isn’t done./For all the contrived situations, flaccid jokes and exhausted conventions, “Our Family Wedding” is an interesting example of how the issue of ethnicity is addressed in pop culture. Some black/white/brown movies try to ignore it; some pretend it’s not the central issue when it is. “Our Family Wedding” throws the race card right on the table, but also provides an early clash between the movie’s twin goofball patriarchs, so they’re established as natural antagonists without being — necessarily — natural racists.
1. the bride dropped out of law school to either volunteer or work at a charter school for immigrants… the groom will soon be flying off to Laos to work with Doctors Without Borders…
2. someone makes a reference to “marital Guantanamo”
3. the groom comments about how he knows that health care in America sucks for the poor… and the bride’s father mentions something about the health coverage at his business…
4. the grandmother of the bride calls the groom a heathen for not being into organized religion…
5. the sister of the bride mentions not wanting to be trapped in a marriage, being forced to cook for a husband…