Wednesday, August 19, 2009

“Hey you damn rotten kids, get off my lawn—and go see The Hurt Locker!”

There’s a tempest in a teapot going on in segments of Intertubesville:
A few critics are lamenting that “The Kids” are not going to see The Hurt Locker in the same droves that they’re going to see Transformers 2 or G.I. Joe.

Meanwhile, the inevitable gripes about the dumbing down of “Amurikah” are trotted out.


Whew! I’m glad that that world hunger problem has been licked.

Jeffrey Wells (who? Sorry, I guess I’m hardly in the loop as much as I thought I was) and Roger Ebert (I’ll cut The Great E. some slack: his good works outweigh his bad, and maybe his cancer meds are starting to get to him)
have both recently lamented the youngsters’ lack of interest in
a war movie that just might become these same kids’ reality if the economy keeps tanking and their job prospects dry up completely.

But y’know what?
Any critic who gave James Cameron’s execrable snoozefest Titanic a good review is not allowed to claim that audiences are getting stupider:
Your praising of mediocrity tarted up with expensive visual effects and cheap sentimentality helped create this situation, dude.

The awesome Glenn Kenny has some comments about this hoopla HERE.

So, what did The National Film Board of Ivanlandia think of The Hurt Locker?

What could have been a truly great study of men addicted to combat loses many points because of its hyperactive, obtrusive and frankly unnecessary shaky-cam.
A friend with a sensitive stomach said this movie made him nauseous, and I can see how.
Meanwhile, some potentially stirring moments are lost, I feel, because the camera can’t decide between the floor or the ceiling, left or right.

But even despite that, The Hurt Locker is an intense achievement, one that reminded me of some of my fave Sam Fuller war movies, like The Steel Helmet or Fixed Bayonets!

And like those movies, it’s part of that unique sub-genre of “pro-soldier/anti-war” flicks. The Hurt Locker doesn’t go political, but it’s honest and raw as the film sticks to the nitty-gritty of IED disposal in the mayhem of Iraq.

The entire cast (including some surprise cameos) is excellent, but Anthony Mackie really shines as the responsible sergeant disturbed by bomb expert Jeremy Renner’s suicidal cowboy attitude. Mackie’s character grounds the film and is the voice of military logic in a situation that has the potential to spin wildly out of control.
And even though the shaky-cam bugs me, I can’t wait to see this movie again.

And with all the whining and whinging about The Kids Today—and because I love 1970s flicks, let’s jump into the wayback machine!

From Noon Till Three (1976)

Released to DVD in May, From Noon Till Three deserves to be rediscovered.
It’s a Charles Bronson film that most Bronson fans are unaware of—probably because it’s Bronson’s only (obvious) comedy.

Playing with our expectations from the get-go, From Noon Till Three keeps getting smarter and smarter as it goes along. It’s a witty satire of westerns, romances and celebrity culture that’s almost exhilarating.

The writing and acting really elevate the movie, despite its lack of style: it’s shot in a flat manner akin to a lame TV show.
Bronson’s a sly and horny coward, and plays with his tough guy image well, seducing frigid widow Jill Ireland (often radiant and given equal screen time as Charlie), but who’s conning whom? The film is gently cynical: Both characters are opportunists but to what degree we only find out as the film unspools.
Of course, the couple’s scenes together feel genuine.

Meanwhile, The National Film Board of Ivanlandia also recently screened
the amazing
Joe (1970)

A nasty and nihilistic movie that’s pure deliciousness!
While critical of “The Silent Majority,” the film JOE has zero sympathy for the hippies and that’s to its credit:
Every hippy in this flick is either a parasitical scam artist or a clueless and sheltered space case, and they bring their own destruction on themselves.
(This is especially refreshing considering the Baby Boomer-controlled media is currently having a self-congratulatory wankfest over that abomination Woodstock:
Die, hippy, die!)

Meanwhile, it’s awesome to watch Peter Boyle’s absolutely politically incorrect rants and opinions.
His portrayal of the sly and angry Joe is perfect: a career pinnacle. This movie is highly recommended.
(And yow, was young Susan Sarandon hot!)

The Hurt Locker (2008)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by Mark Boal

From Noon Till Three (1976)
Written and directed by Frank D. Gilroy
Based on his novel

Joe (1970)
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Written by Norman Wexler

And before we finish, let us point you in the direction

of THIS—an amazing live-blogging of the brilliant, underestimated and underrated Looney Tunes: Back in Action, a fave of not only The United Provinces of Ivanlandia but of Otto Mannix as well. Read the article and it will make you want to see the film (again).

And if we’re talking about cartoons, let us check out Tex (GOD) Avery’s almost forgotten masterpiece Screwball Squirrel, a piece of animation that might as well have been specifically created to entertain the Ivanlandia high command. Go HERE.


  1. I tell ya, kids are getting more ass than we ever did.

  2. Sam:
    And THAT'S why I say "Bring back the draft!"