Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Channeling Bristol

Today's little rant

I know it’s too easy, and probably unfair – but it’s also Sarah Palin’s fault. After all, she’s the one who brought up the “family values” stuff that makes her such a model mom to the religious right (as distinct from the right religious). It was all about teaching only abstinence, and putting up some sort of iron chastity curtain to block out many of the realities of life in 21st Century America.

Haven’t heard much about daughter Bristol lately. She’s off the front pages, not even evident in the inside pages, and her Hockey Mom hasn’t been saying much about the 17-year-old’s pregnancy situation since that storm blew over.

And whatever happened to the foul-minded goalie boyfriend who slipped a got-lucky shot past the family values defender and scored. Last I saw him, he was up there on the stage in St. Paul, Minn., sharing the climactic moment of the Republican National Convention with the McCain team, dressed up in his Sunday best and furiously chewing a wad of gum; then there was the little matter of his ugly but disappearing presence on the Internet.

The point is that Sarah Palin would like to see her spin on family values imposed across America, when they didn’t even work inside her own little igloo. And it’s about how big a lie you can spin to make teen sex OK in the eyes of do-no-wrong Republicans because, after all, her daughter’s going to keep the baby and marry her self-described “fu**in’ redneck” boyfriend, almost as if it were planned.

It’s just good old Republican retroactive hypocrisy. Paint it in the bold colors of “we’re doing it right, even when we did wrong, by golly.” Now everybody applaud.

But I can’t applaud. I feel sorry for Bristol, who at worst is an ordinary teenage girl with an all-too-common problem, revulsion for her caricature jock boyfriend, and scorn for the mother who shamelessly thrust them into the national spotlight.

Any bets out there on the long-term prospects for this teen romance? You can have two guesses – one predicated on a Republican win in November, the other on a loss that sends Sarah Palin home to carry her current job to term, assuming she’s even on the ticket come Election Day.

Now that I’ve gotten it out of my system, at least for today, we move along to a new feature of this almost-as-new blog:

Movie Reviews!

I’ve gotten into a serious movie habit lately, thanks to a membership benefit of Friends of the Maryland Film Festival, and a Web-based network called Gofobo: Free movies, usually before they’ve officially opened. There’s a row or three set aside for movie reviewers, not that the Baltimore area has actually got three rows worth of reviewers, and most of the other rows are filled with festival members and invited guests.

I confess I’m not a movie expert. My wife Bonnie and I attended a recent screening of “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys,” and I had no clue about who is Tyler Perry. But I found out, because the African-American actor-producer-director personally showed up to introduce his film to the predominately black audience at what was said to be its first public screening.

It’s been open now a couple of weeks, and done fairly well at the box office. We enjoyed it – particularly the acting of stars Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates, which largely made up for the film’s soapy plot.

Last week, I saw “The Lucky Ones,” courtesy of the Friends group, and was awed by the performances of co-stars Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Pena as three wounded soldiers returning from the Iraq war – the former presumably ending his service, the others on 30-day leaves. It’s a buddy movie, and they embark on a cross-country road trip that at times channels “The Wizard of Oz,” complete with a tornado and a dog. Not sure who the wizard was, but “Oz” was portrayed by Las Vegas. Great casting of that, too.

Eloquent in its empathy for the American soldier, the film did not fall at all into the trap of being antiwar. It was, if anything, pro-humanity and inspiring.

The next night, I lucked into gofobo tickets for an advance screening of “Eagle Eye,” being shown all of four hours before its midnight opening at a suburban IMAX-equipped theater. It relies on nonstop action and spectacle as two ordinary people (played by Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan) get snatched up as pawns in a runaway computer’s effort to bring down the American government for being what it viewed as unAmerican. Runaway computers, now there’s an original idea. (American government acting unAmerican, now there’s another original idea.)

Did I mention, it was shown in IMAX? Two hours of big, loud, explosive, car-crashing IMAX?

The IMAX was terrific.

1 comment:

khatru1339 said...

Avedon pointed me here; I can see I'll be checking in frequently.

We attended two of the same screenings last week. The Lucky Ones was a real treat; the characters were easy to believe in and easy to like, even when they weren't at their best. And I really liked how a fourth soldier, Randy, became a major character even though he was dead and never appeared, not even in flashbacks. (Sort of like Rebecca.)

And we went to Eagle Eye, too. Didn't love it, didn't hate it, but it was okay, and hey!, it was IMAX!

We also went to Towelhead, which I thought was very good but my wife found all but unwatchable. Too much sexual mistreatment of a 13-year-old for her.

This week's offerings of Religulous and The Duchess were tempting, but after three last week we decided to take a break. We have found, though, that this is the best way for us to get to movies. If something we're interested in is in theaters, we never get around to going. But if we have to go to one particular showing, we're more likely to make the effort.