Hollywood no longer offers entertainment. Instead, activism has replaced acting, and sermons have supplanted stories. Instead of a good yarn, you get a yawn. To fully appreciate what afflicts Hollywood—and the presidency, the academy, and the media—watch “Idiocracy.” The film is a product of Mike Judge’s genius (Beavis and Butthead, anyone?), and was backed and then spiked by the idiots at 20th Century Fox. It is easily one of the smartest and darkest satires.
Luke Wilson plays Joe Bowers, frozen by the military in 2005, “who accidentally wakes up in 2505 to find a broken-down, thuggish America where language has become a patois of football chants, hip-hop slang and grunts denoting rage, pleasure and priapic longing, where citizens are obese, violent, ever-horny and narcotised by consumerism,” to quote the Guardian.
The “dumb-ass dystopia” depicted in “Idiocracy” has evolved because the robust retarded have out-bred the intelligent (yes, Judge openly references IQ as a measure of intelligence). Consequently, nothing gets fixed. There are garbage avalanches. A Gatorade-like drink has replaced water for irrigation, so nothing grows. The most watched show on the “Violence Channel” is “Ow, My Balls!” The “highest grossing movie of all time is called ‘Ass,’ and consists of 90 minutes of the same naked, hairy butt on screen.” All enterprises are sexualized; Starbucks offers a “full body latte.” Costco is an Ivy-League law school. If you’ve watched Ann Coulter trying to explain to Bill O’Reilly what a syllogism is, you’ll appreciate “Idiocracy” for the cultural barometer it is.
Audiences are beginning to avoid Angelina Jolie. Ever since she began to believe she was on earth to die for everyone else’s sins against the poor “brown babies” of the world (Ingrid Bergman’s coinage in “Murder on the Orient Express”), Angelina has lost whatever meager acting abilities she possessed. Instead of emoting, Jolie should take lessons from Jon Voight, her estranged father. Thus not even Matt Damon was able to rescue “The Good Sheppard.” Don’t touch it with a barge pole; it’s tedious and pretentious.
The prospect of a pregnant Angelina with an afro and an accent playing a self-styled saint is no fun either. So spare yourself too from Angelina’s “A Mighty Heart.” The film is Mariane Pearl’s attempts at self-beatification. Her husband, journalist Daniel Pearl, was beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who accused Pearl of being a spy and agent of the Mossad and made him recite a humiliating confession to that effect, before lopping his head off. The jihadis released a video of Pearl’s butchering titled, “The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl.”
Don’t expect the deeply silly Mariane, upon whose memoir the film is based, to have comprehended the role vintage, Islamic Jew hatred played in her husband’s “slaughtering.” At the time, she responded to the barbarism by declaring superciliously that “revenge would be easy, but it is far more valuable … to address this problem of terrorism with enough honesty to question our own responsibility as nations and as individuals for the rise of terrorism.”
So as to aggrandize themselves, Angelina and Mariane have diminished Daniel in the film. The dashing Daniel is played by the unknown Dan Futterman, whom Salon.com’s no-doubt feminist reviewer described approvingly as “grave and elfin.” That’s a good thing only if you are a garden gnome. Mariane does, however, have the mark of a member of the media: she celebrates both herself and the Islamic hajj.
Speaking of facing Mecca, keister to the sky, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has prohibited the mention of “Muslim” in tandem with “terrorism.” As this dhimmi prepared to move into Downing Street, the British people were celebrating the life of another dodo, Diana. The nation’s darling even in death was a manipulative neurotic, given to histrionics. But in “Cool Britannia,” and in Hollywood, is it the queen that is maligned.
“The Queen,” with Helen Mirren in the lead, is not about the monarch, but about Elizabeth II vis-à-vis Diana. It is shot through with smarmy contempt for tradition, duty, and the stiffer upper lip, embodied by the queen, and once identified with the British character. As for the incessant prattle about Diana’s very public charity work, the queen has been working quietly (and apparently thanklessly) for the English people for over half a century. According to Wikipedia, Elizabeth Windsor was 13 when World War II broke out, which is when she gave her first radio broadcast to console the children who had been evacuated. Still in her teens, Elizabeth II joined the military, “where she … trained as a driver, and drove a military truck while she served.” I could go on and on. In any event, if the Brits cared for substance, they’d stop slobbering over Diana.
From Australia comes a simply superb western, “The Proposition,” written by John Cave and directed by John Hillcoat. Arthur Burns and his feral family are murderers run amok in the Australian Outback, circa 1880. Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) is out to get them. He captures two of the brothers, Charlie and Mike. The arch-evil, and exquisitely educated, Arthur (Danny Huston) remains at large. Captain Stanley then makes a proposition to Charlie: he will spare his life and that of his young brother if he tracks down and terminates Arthur.
Pay attention to the achingly beautiful relationship between Captain Stanley and his wife Martha (Emily Watson). The two depend on one another for dear life. The civilizing English afternoon tea and the rose bushes in the desert cocoon the couple from the savagery of their surroundings. The legendary John Hurt of Midnight Express fame is marvelous, but he does not outperform Winstone or Huston. This is a remarkable film. Had it been a Hollywood production, you’d have been saddled with one of the industry’s androgynous “men” in the lead role. Picture Ryan Phillippe, puffy pout and soft doe eyes, struggling to break a few heads. You’d have also been treated to a plodding and preachy account of the crimes the colonists committed against the Australian aborigines.
©2007 By Ilana Mercer