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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Should I See W In the Theaters?

Back in the 90s, when independent film exploded and well regarded classics and obscure cult films could be found in small hole in the wall stores, tucked in the oddest places, I caught up on a lot of flicks. From Hong Kong action flicks starring Jackie Chan and directed by John Woo, to French New Wave Cinema, I saw hundreds of films that the average American had never heard of.

One, that quite a few people probably already were aware of was Micheal Moore's Roger & Me. Maybe if I had rented it and watch it with my boys, who like me enjoyed the hunt for something different, I might have finished the film.

To this day, I just can't finish a Michael Moore film. I find him smug. His conclusions, derived from very few facts, annoy the hell out of me. And the fact that he sounds exactly like the folks he's denouncing, only proves to me how a like conservatives and liberals are. To be fair, the only Moore film I haven't given a chance is Bowling for Columbine.

For me, the best political films have always been like a Rorschach test. Liberal or conservative, you watch the film and fundamentally you agree with all the basic tenets in the film (freedom of the press, serving your country is patriotic and noble, etc.). However, once you start comparing that film to the world at large, it's where you find the antecedents that reflect what you believe.

It's that ability for a film to outlive the politics of its time to be applicable to any time period, any situation, that makes a film about politics great and intriguing.

This is probably why a film like A Man for All Seasons, after 40 years and set 600 years ago, is still such a powerful film. Thomas More standing against King Henry VII as the later rejects the Catholic church to meet his own needs could easily be Kennedy standing against his own Military during the Cuban Missile crisis. With all the conservatives backing Obama because of McCain's choice of running mate and how they've perceived his campaign, conservative intellectuals could easily be More and McCain could be King Henry VII. Even Hillary supporters who haven't come on board for Obama could be seen as been very More like. And yes Obama would be the King Henry in that sitch.

Everything I've seen of W. and read, says that the film isn't a blunt cinematic clubbing of our current President. Yet everything I've read also says that the film isn't all that insightful either. It sounds like that in 50 years, no one is going to be using W. as a Roscarch test to gage the political temperature of a room. Which is a shame. I may be a soft gooey liberal inside my heart, but my brain enjoys being challenged by ideas and concepts from all political spectrums.

While I'd like to avoid films like Michael Moore's, even though I probably agree with 90% of his conclusions, I'm even less likely to enjoy a film that seems to arouse no passions in me at all. So no, I guess I won't be seeing Oliver Stone's new flick. Too bad. The Angry Black Man in me hasn't been fed in a while and he's hungry for a good film.

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