Saturday, February 22, 2014

Abandon Ship

Here's a fairly uninteresting piece in the New Republic.  Isaac Chotiner interviews Mark Harris (who wrote the fine book Pictures At A Revolution) about politics in movies.

They discuss the leftist critique of films like The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyer’s Club and Captain Phillips:

Mark Harris: When I look at a movie like Captain Phillips, I see an implicit critique of the imbalance of power between the US and Africa kind of built into the story, but I would also defend the right of a director like Paul Greengrass or a director like Kathryn Bigelow to be primarily interested in depicting how something works—an operation or a mission, you know. There is a growing critique that says, “No, you can’t—it’s not enough to create this sort of ‘you are there’ sensory, visceral experience without a movie also addressing the ‘you are there’ question and why are you there, what got us there, what are the ramifications of us being there." I find myself being in different positions depending on the movie, but I think it’s an interesting fight and a fight worth having.

Nah, I don't think it's an interesting fight or a fight worth having. It's mostly annoying people saying annoying thinks and generally missing the point. 

Here's what Chotiner says next:

Isaac Chotiner:  When America fights a war now, it’s not unquestionably thought of as a good thing, which is great. At the same time, I wonder if you should be able to make a movie like Captain Phillips without going into the history of the United States and Africa and colonialism and power imbalances.

Now don't get me wrong, it might be fun to make a film about the history of the U.S. and Africa that would challenge Chotner's preconceptions, perhaps even teaching him some things he believes are unquestionably good, aren't.  But such a film is not Captain Phillips.  And, to be honest, most such films are even more boring than the leftist critiques they provoke.

PS.  In the Weekly Standard Jon Podhoretz has a piece on The Lego Movie, which he claims uses tired anti-capitalist cliches to sell Lego.  His rant is extravagant in two directions at once.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is still a New Republic?

6:25 AM, February 22, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some rich kid bought it as his plaything, since Silicon Valley billionaires are unhappy their dewy-eyed, half-baked leftist political beliefs haven't taken over the world like Facebook and Twitter have.

11:20 AM, February 22, 2014  

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