Tag Archives: Osama Bin Laden death

oscar buzz: thoughts on zero dark thirty

Zero Dark Thirty is fucking terrible. Oh that felt incredible to say “out-loud.” Goddamn, I have literally never walked out of a movie, but Zero Dark Thirty almost pushed me over the edge. It is actually difficult to have a movie full to bursting with controversy that literally bored me to tears. But what’s worse than boredom? This movie is remarkably stupid and poorly written and acted with all the care and craft of a high-school musical.

The movie opens with some guy torturing some other guy. We’re supposed to think that it’s rough and edgy… because the doe-eyed white lady is clearly concerned. She reminds the suspect to “not be a naughty liar.” So she’s a softie, right? But literally 2 minutes later, scruff beard-man talks to a colleague and says “She’s a raw new recruit, someone to fear.”

Wait. What?

The confusion increases as she spends the rest of the movie bouncing between RoboCop and scared almost… damsel in distress. She’s one of the most inconsistent characters I’ve ever seen, literally no hyperbole here. In the middle of the movie, she’s devastated(?) by another character dying… a character that she’s had two interactions with, the first of which was being mocked by her. The second they’re best friends? Sort of? Then she dies as a result of a monumentally stupid decision that’s telegraphed from a mile away (pro-tip, maybe don’t let terrorists into your military base.) Then she gets blown up. And as an audience we’re sad because we’re told to be sad. Doe-eyed girl is sad, so we’re EXTRA sad. She even starts drinking. *Gasp*

Then, from her sadness comes a moment that was so stupid that I almost left the theater. James Gandolfini goes “WELL HOW TO WE KNOW HE’S IN THIS SUPER-HOUSE? I DON’T BELIEVE THIS!” And then she goes “WELL IN THE MOTHER FUCKER THAT FOUND THIS HOUSE.” I did not make up that line. Some of this review is schtick, because I hated every minute of it, but that line actually happened. Doe-eyed looks into the camera and says “I’M THE MOTHER FUCKER THAT FOUND THIS HOUSE!” The audience in my theater ERUPTED with laughter.

zero-dark-thirty-poster

This was the moment where I almost walked out of the theater. Once again, she shifts abruptly from soft to badass for no reason other than shitty writing and acting. It’s so bizarre, she doesn’t even change her tone. If she’d ended it with an innocent giggle and a “teehee!” it would not have seemed out of place. There’s a gigantic disconnect between her character and the events of the film. Saying someone is force to be reckoned with does not make them a force to be reckoned with.

As a brief aside, I brought this up following the viewing, and I was greeted with cat-calls and my friends calling me sexist. I’ll admit, this could sound sexist to an extent. In so many words, it sounds like I’m asserting that femininity is inherently weak. Not so, there are plenty of examples of femininity being strong, assertive, and a force to be reckoned with. Kill Bill is a terrific example of this. Beatrix is an unstoppable force, beautiful, yet vengeful. She’s doing everything she can to avenge her daughter’s supposed death, and yet at the end of the film, we see her as soft and loving.

And speaking of loving, there is literally no motivation for any character in the film. There’s not a personal relationship to speak of. People just act and we’re supposed to root for them because they’re white. Or monkeys. That’s not racist, that’s literally a plot-point in the film. We’re supposed to feel for monkeys who are killed off camera. Because they belong to beardy-guy. He actually says with his human mouth, “Goddamnit… they killed my monkeys…” BEAT. Like a human died. That’s how the scene plays out. Then later in the movie, doe-eyed girl is approached by a different younger, doe-eyeder girl, who then asks to have lunch with her. At which point she goes “I DON’T EAT OUT. TOO DANGEROUS.”

Why? She eats out several other times in the movie. Important plot points happen in restaurants. Like her character inexplicably being at the Marriot bombing in Pakistan. Bull shit. I do not believe that her character, who was supposedly based on a real “person” was there for a minute. It was so stupid and convenient. No, Kathryn Bigelow, you just wanted to blow up some brown people while we, as the audience, could watch doe-eyed girl react to the “horrors of war.”

Unlike The Hurt Locker, the cinematography is horrid. We just look at a thing, then look back at doe-eyed girl for how to feel. There’s not a single moment in the film where we, as an audience, are hit with anything remotely controversial. Is torture good? Just look at her face. Is bombing good? Just look at her face.

Which brings me to my largest point and biggest gripe. This movie is just fucking stupid, racist, and a chest-thumping. Yeah, we killed an 80 year-old man because he bombed us. We didn’t stop until that asshole was dead. Go us. Most pop culture that deals with this sort of thing is at least honest about it. It doesn’t purport to be anything more than a good-ol-fashioned “OOH-RAH!” This pretends to be art. At least Kid Rock has the good taste to just come out and say “Warrior” is a masturbatory exercise.

I elected not to use the names of the characters in this review because I didn’t need them. There are two characters that exist and the rest are wholly superfluous. We just look at the white girl and know she’s the good guy. It’s a thoughtless exercise filled with tedium and literally no tension.

The movie opens with the line “I own you.” And for most people watching and enjoying this film, that sentiment is spot-on.

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thoughts on the newsroom: 5/1

Previously on The Newsroom: Bullies

  • Charlie is contacted by an anonymous source that wishes to show his credibility by leaving an ominous message.
  • The Newsroom staff is celebrating their one year (and one month) anniversary at Will’s apartment.
  • Will explains to Neal and his girlfriend, Kaylee, why he needs medical marijuana and why his tolerance is above average. They tell him to be careful because the marijuana cookies are potent…Will doesn’t listen.
  • Charlie’s anonymous tip turns out to be a one of national security. He alerts the party and everyone heads to the newsroom to get to work.
  • Elliot, Sloan, and Don are stuck on airport runway with  a flight attendant that won’t let them off because of regulations.
  • Maggie finds out that Lisa told Jim that she loves him; Jim says he loved her too to be polite but he tells Maggie those aren’t his genuine feelings.
  • Will, under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs, leaves the car with Lonny to get to the newsroom by foot due to construction.
  • The consensus around the newsroom is that Osama bin Laden has been killed but they can’t run the story until they have two legitimate confirmation sources.
  • Maggie tells Jim he has to break up with Lisa but Lisa beats him to the punch because she thinks Maggie still has feelings for Jim.
  • Charlie tells Mac and Will that the President should be the one to deliver the news…until they tell Will to check his email. Joe Biden told Will about the news directly. Charlie changes his mind.

 

“Call me ‘Late for Dinner'” Doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Deep Throat” but it’ll have to suffice until now. Clearly this man wants to be more involved with the newsroom–or maybe just Charlie personally–because he says this is just the beginning for them. I’m hoping it has something to do with helping Charlie deal with the higher-ups at the network. He seemed to have validated himself as a credible source–at least for now–Charlie should still thread lightly though. He and his  doesn’t need anymore unwanted attention from Leona.

Contrary to Popular Demand: When the newsroom found out that the bin Laden was confirmed, there was jubilation, disbelief, and a collective (metaphorical) sigh of a burden being lifted. All except Kaylee. Her father was killed during the attacks on September 11th and she thought that she would get the same feeling as everyone else but to no avail. I think the majority of the nation and those affected by terrorism worldwide were just as elated as the members of the newsroom but killing bin Laden doesn’t bring back the losses that some of us lost. Kaylee’s reaction was a stark contrast to what I was use to seeing when hearing about his death but that made me appreciate it that much more.

Relationship Re-Do: After Jim is mercy dumped by Lisa he asks if they can try again. He admits that the first time around he was pressured by Maggie and that wasn’t the correct way he should went about it. I’m not sure if Jim really wants to try again with Lisa or if he just wants to continue being the “white knight” but I expect the end result to be explosive in any case. Poor Maggie/Lisa/Jim…if only this were Utah…

 

On the next episode of The Newsroom: The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn

Will is a (not so) recovering TV and movie addict and TVDM only helps in feeding his vices. TVDM is the best outlet for him to spread his disease–without the use of airborne pathogens...

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