There was me, that is Josh, and my droog cinematographer, that is Jay, and there we were, lying around trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do for the evening. Jay did slooshy that there was a real horrorshow at the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre (note the British spelling, it's so erudite!).
It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.
I had not watched A Clockwork Orange in a long time. The truth was, I sort of felt that, to a certain extent, I had outgrown it. Stanley Kubrick has made several of my favorite films (Dr. Strangelove, of course, being his magnum opus), but I felt that this one appealed primarily to the adolescent side of me that I have mostly put aside.
Yarbles! Great bolshy yarblockos.
The first part of the film is that which bothers people the most, but it is that part that also has a strange appeal to males... and it is that part of the film that is what it is. The rest of the film is much more interesting that I found it previously, particularly the middle third, which I had always felt dragged somewhat in the past. Michael Bates, however, delivers the film's second-best performance as the prison guard. It is this part of the film where the groundwork is really laid for the final third.
The satire is so spiky and harsh that it borders on absurdism. I do not say this as an insult, rather instead pointing out that the overbroad characters and situations take on an extremely sinister aspect when one looks at the world today.
Seeing the film on the big screen was an interesting experience. As I have written before in regards to Alien, there are some films that, while they work perfectly well on video, have a whole dimension to them when projected on the big screen.
I have never seen a 35 millimeter print of A Clockwork Orange before, and it is a huge difference. Kubrick's precise compositions and intense mise-en-scene are truly amazing to behold. Kubrick was a master of his form, and A Clockwork Orange was a perfect vehicle for his wide-angle lenses and slow tracking, Anthony Burgess' striking prose tumbling over one of the most appropriate musical collages ever assembled for a film.
The political machinations that become apparent at the end of the film are interesting in terms of how precient Kubrick was in 1971. Today we are seeing horrific things being done by the government in plain view of the public... who then cover their asses and blame the convenient scapegoats.
One more thing. The sequence in which Alex is tested, a topless model (Virgina Wetherell) comes out and stands above him... well, I've never really thought of mammary glands as being particularly oppressive until tonight...
Fahrenheit 9/11 isn't just the most powerful and complete indictment of the Bush administration that I've ever seen - it's one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's a knockout blow: a poignant, darkly funny film that deftly interweaves footage of the President, his allies, and the Americans his policies betrayed. As Fox News' reviewer put it, the movie "is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty - and at the same time an indictment of stupidity and avarice." (See here for the full review.)
Despite years of television coverage on Iraq and the war on terror, most of the movie consists of footage you'd never see on TV. There are heart-breaking interviews with troops in Iraq, chilling scenes of the civilian consequences of that war, and footage of Bush so candid and revealing that it's hard to imagine how Moore got his hands on it. In one unforgettable scene from the morning of September 11th, Bush blithely reads a children's book to a classroom of kids for seven long minutes after his chief of staff quietly informs him that the second plane has hit the World Trade Center and "we're under attack." The film is filled with this stuff, and it's hard to imagine seeing it and not being moved, shocked, and outraged.
Fahrenheit 9/11 opens with footage of Bush administration officials putting on their TV makeup. Paul Wolfowitz sticks his comb in his mouth, slathers it with spit, brushes it through his hair, and grins a toothy grin. Colin Powell eyes the camera nervously as a makeup artist dusts his face. And, moments before President Bush goes on TV to somberly announce the beginning of the Iraq war, we see him goofing around, making funny faces at the folks behind the camera.
These candid portraits encapsulate the genius of Moore's documentary. Compared to his other films, there's little pranking or moralizing. Moore basically stays out of the picture: he doesn't have to indict the Bush administration, because with powerful and indisputable video, Bush and the rest indict themselves.
As Moore unravels Bush's story, he joins it with the stories of the real Americans who have shouldered the burden of the post-9/11 war policy. In Flint, Michigan, we hear from a group of inner-city kids whose only option for education and a better life is to enlist in the Army - and then, in a scene that's both humorous and deeply creepy, join two Marine recruiters as they case a local mall for possible enlistees. We watch a California peace group that was infiltrated by the local police department under the Patriot Act. And, in the final heartbreaking scenes, we witness the pain of a mother who lost her son in Iraq.
In the hands of other directors, the content could easily feel exploitative. But Moore is grounded by a patriotism that rings through every frame of the film. Compassion and love of country give the film its striking authenticity: it's clear that what stings most about the President's behavior, for the subjects of the film, is Bush's betrayal of our country's soul.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a film with the power to change hearts and minds. It's brilliant, funny, moving, and authentic. And together, we can make it a huge success.
Watch the trailer and pledge to see the film opening night at:
Wednesday, June 16th
P.S. Fahrenheit 9/11 has already reaped widespread praise from critics. Here are just a few samples:
Roger Ebert, "Less is Moore in subdued, effective '9/11'," Chicago Sun Times, May 18, 2004
"Despite these dramatic moments, the most memorable footage for me involved President Bush on Sept. 11. [Ebert goes on to describe the scene.] The look on his face as he reads the book, knowing what he knows, is disquieting."
Mary Corliss, "A First Look at "Fahrenheit 9/11," Time Magazine Online, May 17, 2004
Corliss calls the film, "Moore’s own War on Error."
Frank Rich, "Beautiful Minds and Ugly Truths," International Herald Tribune, May 21, 2004
"'Fahrenheit 9/11' is not the movie Moore watchers, fans or foes, were expecting. (If it were, the foes would find it easier to ignore.)"
One can also find some interesting information here
What kind of disease are you?
Swashbuckler332 is caused by bad television.
Swashbuckler332 makes subjects desire sex. With lepers.
Swashbuckler332 is curable by singing Michal Jackson songs at the top of your lungs, forever. You can never speak again, or you will die.
Doobiedoob, a bit tired maybe, best not to say more. Bedways is rightways now, so best I go homeways and get a bit of spatchka.
So, until next time...
...viddy well, little brothers...