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Peter T Chattaway

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Everything posted by Peter T Chattaway

  1. SDG wrote: : . . . considering how much I would love even to see the Pope, I can't : help resenting the fact that Gibson's turned down something like half a : dozen invitations for a personal meeting with the Holy Father. By "even to see", would that include standing in a stadium's nosebleed section and watching the Popemobile go by? Cuz I did that here in Vancouver, back in 1984. : Having said all that, I must now say that I find the some of this thread's : more cynical interpretations of his comments and motives . . . Skeptical, not cynical (in my case, anyway). There's a difference. : So Gibson said "The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, : and I was just directing traffic." Mother Theresa called herself a pencil in : the hand of God. Is that egomania? False humility? Quite possibly. I mean, we certainly couldn't rule that out. But I would have to see the context in which she made that remark. : Does it imply a preemption of criticism, a charism of infallibility? Well, that depends. How did Mother Theresa respond to criticism? Because yes, she WAS criticized. : The mere possibility of someone being cowed by Gibson's comments into : regarding the film as unassailable is hardly Gibson's fault. It is not Gibson's comments, per se, that bother me (though they certainly do remind me of all those crappy CCM singers who blame -- er, credit -- God for the songs they're singing), but the way he is fostering a climate whereby his film will be received uncritically and, indeed, criticism of his film will be discouraged. If he was bravely making these comments while appearing on the Larry King show or while debating Roger Ebert or something, well, that would be one thing; but making these comments to a core marketing demographic like Focus on the Family, which is not known for encouraging the life of the mind or a legitimate appreciation of the arts, just sounds like pandering to his audience. : To hold him responsible for hyperpious overinterpretation of his : comments seems unreasonable. He's a filmmaker, not a public speaker. He's still making a pitch, either way, and as such, he can't help overselling his product. : As for his comments about hoping that the film has the power to : evangelize and how agnostics and Muslims on the set were converting to : Christianity, or about having to be "squeaky clean just working on this" : -- I'm sorry, I utterly fail to see the problem here. Yeah, I don't have a problem with this, either.
  2. Nick Alexander wrote: : It doesn't show the upright "silent majority"--to do so would break the : tone of the film. It doesn't have to. But the silent majority is the hidden : backdrop of the film, coz somebody's gotta buy all those papers. Um, I agree that the nameless, faceless masses who buy the newspapers are the hidden backdrop of the film, but I don't see any evidence in the film that this "silent majority" is "upright". : It's not everyday a movie comes out and tells you, point blank, how less- : than admirable types have manipulated the media for their own gain. Eh? Didn't this thread begin with a discussion of the 1940s media satire His Girl Friday? Haven't SDG and I been discussing Lawrence of Arabia on another thread? Media manipulation is an old, old subject and there is hardly anything unique or groundbreaking about the way the theme is explored in Chicago. I remember, when the trailer for Chicago first came out and it included that sound clip of Richard Gere saying, "If they hang you, it would sell more papers," I rolled my eyes and hoped the rest of the film wouldn't be that clich
  3. stef wrote: : Did you review it, Peter? No, haven't seen it yet. It opens here on Friday, though.
  4. JPB wrote: : The main driving force in this undertaking appears to be Mel Gibson's : trancelike fascination with the plain pornographic details of nailing : somebody to a block of wood. Well put! stef wrote: : Gibson has nothing to gain in making this film, and he certainly, after the : last 20 years, has no real need to stroke his own ego. Unless, of course, his religion and his ego are tied together somehow, or his religion is really important to him and he won't feel fulfilled until he has expressed it on film in some way, etc. Really, stef, I wonder if this is kind of like saying "martyrs have nothing to gain by becoming martyrs" -- that's only true if you look at the martyrs through the eyes of the non-religious. The martyrs themselves would probably say they have quite a LOT to gain by dying for their cause. (For more on the rational, even egotistical, benefits of martyrdom, click here.) : With great power comes great responsibility, we've all quoted the Tobey : Maguire line a thousand times. Um, Spider-Man was saying that YEARS before Tobey Maguire was even BORN. : Why not cut the guy some slack? Um, because his past films haven't been all that good, and there is thus no reason to believe that this new film will be all that good, and therefore any attempt to make it sound holy and thus above criticism is bound to make serious filmgoers a little skeptical, maybe? : Why not also pick on Bono for his speeches around the world about AIDS : in Afirca? I really do not see the comparison between Mel Gibson's movie and Bono's charity work. : i also don't think that saying "the Holy Spirit was working thru me" is the : same thing as saying "This is a work of art inspired and God-breathed by : the Holy Spirit." Seems a rather big jump you're making up there, Peter. Did I say that Mel said "This is a work of art inspired and God-breathed by the Holy Spirit"? No, I did not. Seems a rather big jump you're making up there, stef. : If Mel feels that the Lord is directing him at this point in his career to : make a film about Jesus, who is to argue with that? Anybody who thinks the film that Mel made is artistically mediocre and/or theologically deficient, I guess. : I would think that it would make us happy that a real filmmaker was : finally doing a project like this. Why? What makes Mel a "real filmmaker"? The fact that he won an Oscar for a mediocre historical action movie? And what do you mean by "a project like this"? Are we Christians supposed to be happy and gleeful every time someone like Mel Gibson waves our flag? Isn't this what compelled a lot of Christians to say that Signs was a good film when, in fact, it was not?
  5. Anders wrote: : : Some of the performances in Episode VI, which was directed by the : : late Richard Marquand, are just plain lazy. And that includes Fisher. : : Thank you Peter. While I disagree with you on the new Star Wars films, : at least you have the honesty and integrity to admit that Return of the : Jedi was really no different rather than have a tainted view of the past. Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Episode VI was NO different from the prequels, but, whereas it once seemed like an unusually not-quite-up-to-snuff episode of the original trilogy, it now seems like the harbinger of mediocrities to come. I do know that, when the "special editions" of the original trilogy came out in 1997, I saw Episodes IV and V multiple times, but I had absolutely NO urge to see Episode VI more than once. So my view of that film was dimming well before the prequels had even gone into production (and some of the nonsense that Lucas injected into the "special editions" was further evidence that the prequels would probably stink). : The Star Wars films have never been full of brilliant performances : (excepting Sir Alec and Harrison Ford). Even Ford was one of the lazy ones in Episode VI, though. : The biggest problem is that people look at the past with rose-tinted : glasses, forever forgiving the past of its mistakes while refusing to see : the present for what it really is. That may be SOME people's problem, but it ain't mine, not in this case. : I am convinced that people who gripe about the Star Wars films being all : effects are fogetting that when the original films came out the effects : were groundbreaking and were the dominant thing that the films were : discussed for. Well, that and the re-introduction of "myth" into a film culture that had been quite opposed to the traditional myths for at least a decade. With these prequels, the alleged "myth" is turning into mere soap opera, and badly done, technobabblish soap opera at that. Rusell Lucas wrote: : And-- did I read this or just dream it?-- Kershner and Marquand were : hired in part because, being British, they weren't members of the DGA, : which had a dispute with Lucas over the director (and other) credits : coming last. As I recall, based on my long-ago reading of Tom Pollock's Lucas biography Skywalking, the dispute began with Episode V, actually, when Kershner's name didn't appear at the beginning of the film. Lucas had to pay a fine or something, which he regarded as ridiculous because there had NOT been a similar stink over the absence of his name at the front of Episode IV.
  6. Nick Alexander wrote: : You fail to mention that Chicago has many, many other characters : throughout that are decent. They are the "silent majority", if you will--the : folks that buy the newspapers, the members of the jury and the judge, : the audience in the club, the fellow musicians and the emcee. Huh? The members of the jury and the judge are just as easily deceived as Mister Cellophane was, and the film explicitly indicates that "the folks that buy the newspapers" are partly responsible for the fact that Velma and Roxie were able to turn their crimes into fame and fortune (remember how Roxie points at her audience, and thus at us, and says, "We couldn't have done it without you"?). We THINK we're decent, but the film tells us we're not -- and that is partly why I left the theatre feeling dirty.
  7. LoneTomato wrote: : If this movie plays in your area, sprint (don't run) to see it. Agreed! I saw this film last night and really, really liked it -- I would say it's a shoo-in for my end-of-the-year top-ten list. I really appreciated the subtlety, the low-key-ness of the film. And it was fascinating to see how the greediness of the banks was partly responsible for the fact that Mahowny went as far as he did in defrauding them and thus feeding his own gambling addiction. (That conversation in the elevator was very revealing, in particular.) I loved how Philip Seymour Hoffman was able to make this character very sympathetic, in the sense that you could identify with him and with the fact that he was in this really awkward position, while at the same time NEVER letting you forget that what the character was doing was wrong and, quite frankly, pathetic. Consider the scene where he meets the cook in the stairwell, and he laughs when he realizes what the cook is eating; or the scenes where people confront him about his addiction, even indirectly, and he suddenly loses his shy demeanour and becomes very, well, aggressive and sharp with them -- those are good examples of how very well-rounded Hoffman's performance is. I also liked some of the smaller touches, like when the cop grabs the donut and says "honey-dipped" and his colleague mutters "honey-glazed" -- it definitely had the feel of dull, nit-picky office banter to me. And the way John Hurt's face goes from irritation (because Hoffman went to another casino instead of the one that Hurt runs) to glee (because Hoffman is beginning to BEAT that other casino) was quite funny, too, again because of the way it felt, to me at least, like authentic professional rivalry. : This casino owner only sees one thing in Dan, money, but there's a : bookie through whom Dan places sports bets. This character is : interesting for the fact that he makes some effort to care for Mahowny. : There are a couple of times where he tries to cut him off but Dan finds a : way to get him to turn it on again. At one point, Dan isn't even concerned : with individual teams. He tells his bookie to give him all the home teams : in one division and all the visiting teams in another. The bookie feels : insulted by this, saying that he would feel better about taking his money : if he would at least try. Yes, a great character! (Played by the always-interesting Maury Chaykin.) SPOILER : Minnie Driver plays his girlfriend who works with him at the bank. She is : an enabler to be sure but she is also a woman who loves his man. Man, I sighed sadly when Mahowny was finally arrested and the cop took off the jacket she had given him ...
  8. trevor wrote: : check out THIS story!! Gibson and Focus on the Family! Yeah, saw it a week ago or so. So ... to quote what I wrote to the OnFilm list a short while back, what do we do when someone claims "the Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic"? Mel Gibson's remark to that effect here reminds me of how Bruce Marchiano claimed he was all but channeling Jesus in the Visual Bible's supposedly "authentic", word-for-word video adaptation of The Gospel According to Matthew. Are films like these suddenly above criticism because the filmmakers say it was God, and not they, who made them? Are we now obliged to look at these films in awe? Can we not evaluate them as works of art, for good or ill? Can we not take issue with the theology that is reflected in them? For that matter, can we not ask filmmakers to be more, I dunno, reserved or humble or cautious when they make such claims about their work? I don't want to come off like a cynic here, but Mel Gibson IS basically engaged in marketing this film to one of his core audiences here, just as Jeff Katzenberg courted the friendship and the opinions of all those evangelical heavyweights when he produced The Prince of Egypt. And whether or not Mel intends his claim to divine inspiration to have this effect, it WILL make his film impossible to critique, in the eyes of many.
  9. Front half of the theatre (because if I sit too far back, I begin to notice the audience), aisle seat (for the easy exist, and because my legs are too long -- but if the theatre's empty enough, middle is okay). Doesn't matter whether it's left or right side.
  10. AlanW wrote: : While we were watching, we particularly noticed that Carrie Fisher did : such a better job than Portman at delivering these sorts of lines Not sure how much of the credit for that should go to Fisher, though, and how much should go to director Irvin Kershner. Some of the performances in Episode VI, which was directed by the late Richard Marquand, are just plain lazy. And that includes Fisher.
  11. Hmm, is it just me, or do a lot of the "thank you" scenes we've come up with here come from movies about school and/or teachers?
  12. Peter T Chattaway

    Terminator 3

    LoneTomato wrote: : Claire Danes was in The Hours? She played Meryl Streep's daughter.
  13. Darrel Manson wrote: : Let's see if this clears things. The goal is not to make people lose their : prejudices and biases (although when that happens as a biproduct it is : worth celebrating). The goal is to find ways to make our culture : non-racist (using the bias+power understanding). But first you would have to convince me that "our culture" (as opposed to individuals or specific groups within the culture) IS "racist" (whatever that means). : But it is essentially unjust. To pick someone out of a line because they : are statistically (or presumed to be statistically) more likely to be be : guilty of something puts the onus of guilt on them because of race until : they prove themselves innocent. Whereas, I can go through life in this : culture with the presumption of innocence. Not quite. There is no "onus of guilt" on someone who is merely picked out of a line to be investigated, whether that person is you or someone else. It is presumed in BOTH cases that the person is innocent, until and unless the cops find evidence that might prove the person guilty. If cops engage in racial profiling, it is because they have good reason to believe that they are more likely to find such evidence on some people than on others. But until and unless they find that evidence, the person in question is presumed innocent. : Racial profiling is in essence saying that skin color is prima facie : evidence that warrants investigation. *shrug* All I know is that, when cops racially profile, the drug busts go up, and when they don't, the drug busts go down. Now, I think the war on drugs is a colossal waste of time and money and resources anyway, so perhaps it's okay to fight that particular war with one hand tied behind our backs. But in other areas, like terrorism and airplane security, it's just insane to pretend that everyone is equally likely to be one of the bad guys. Saving lives is more important than maintaining a shallow pretense of "fairness" that doesn't really convince anybody of anything. : One one level, probably so, but on the level of Jews being outsiders and : persecuted themselves in a variety of ways (which led many to go west : into this new industry) means that they really didn't have power. Exactly my point -- everyone can play the "I'm a victim" game if they just shift the perspectives around a bit. So I think it is very, very dangerous to say that "racism" ceases to be "racism" when the prejudice is held by a supposedly "powerless" person.
  14. SDG wrote: : But why is it greatly about these things? What is thoughtful and incisive : about its meditations on nationality and personality, power and identity, : destiny and free will, the illusion of power and the power of illusion? This is an off-the-cuff and highly subjective answer, but perhaps because I keep going back to this film? Both in the sense of watching it again and again, and in the sense of frequently finding opportunities to quote it? Admittedly, the time in my life when I first came across this film may be a factor. I was in my first year of university, and taking a special combined English-History-Philosophy course in "Force and Freedom", when the "director's cut" of Lawrence of Arabia came out some time around February 1989. It tapped into a lot of the themes we were dealing with in my course, and I saw it several times that year, and then several times again on video, and then several times again over the following years when second-run theatres brought it back. So it's had lots and lots of time to grow on me, but perhaps if I saw it for the first time now I would not be quite so impressed, I dunno. : . . . even some supporters of the film have still felt that it was confused, : or about something much less cerebral than the themes you mention. That's kinda funny, because the last time I saw the film, I began to wonder if maybe the film was TOO cerebral -- the film has spectacle and it has intelligence, but I'm not sure how much "heart" it has. : For example, Roger Ebert says that the story is "founded" on "David : Lean's ability to imagine what it would look like to see a speck appear on : the horizon of the desert, and slowly grow into a human being." More to the point, I think, Ebert also says this: I've noticed that when people remember "Lawrence of Arabia," they don't talk about the details of the plot. They get a certain look in their eye, as if they are remembering the whole experience, and have never quite been able to put it into words. Although it seems to be a traditional narrative film -- like "Bridge on the River Kwai," which Lean made just before it, or "Doctor Zhivago," which he made just after -- it actually has more in common with such essentially visual epics as Kubrick's "2001" or Eisenstein's "Alexander Nevsky." It is spectacle and experience, and its ideas are about things you can see or feel, not things you can say.I don't think I've ever seen Alexander Nevsky, but I have seen (and enjoyed) 2001, and I think that film is BOTH an essentially visual epic yet also a film that entertains some pretty cerebral ideas. So, as with that film, so with Lawrence, perhaps. : Desmond Howe (Washington Post) and Gary Kamiya (Salon.com) both : praise the film superlatively but also sound like they're making excuses for : it. Howe writes somewhat defensively, "Like 'Gone With the Wind' or 'Ben : Hur,' 'Lawrence' is too emotionally overpowering for critical reservations," : and spends more than a paragraph on all the things one needs to forgive : the film (though he says this forgiveness comes very easily). He also focuses on stuff that I assume would have seemed normal in 1962 but now seems a little dated, like Alec Guinness's mascara -- since he mentions feeling young again in the last paragraph, I think he's speaking more out of personal embarrassment than anything else, and I think he's being more apologetic than he needs to be. And why do we need to forgive David Lean "for taking his sweet time"? The pace of this film is one of the things that I (and Ebert's associates, it seems) like about it. : Kamiya says, "Some critics have assailed 'Lawrence' for being murky, : muddled, unsure of what it is saying. There is some justice to this : criticism. But this is that rare film whose weaknesses are not only : swallowed up by its vast, disturbing ambition, but somehow become part : of its strengths." He even says, "In one sense, then, 'Lawrence' is 'about' : nothing but the desert." But he then follows that sentence immediately with "But it is also about one of the most enigmatic figures in history..." and he concludes his article with: "Two mysteries collide in this film: The earth and the human soul. It doesn't resolve them. It couldn't. We can't. It is a telescope aimed at the unknown. It is a huge film." So whatever murkiness there might be in the film is ultimately, in some sense, a reflection of the murkiness of the human soul, as embodied by this Lawrence fellow. And the murkiness is, in turn, set within a vast desert that emphasizes, as Kamiya says, the fact that "we are all crawling around on a big ball of metal and gas hurtling through a void." (I believe Lawrence himself notes in Seven Pillars of Wisdom that the founders of all three great monotheisms got their start by spending time in the desert. To say that this film is, in some sense, "'about' nothing but the desert" does not mean that it is a science film or a nature film, necessarily, but that it is about the vastness of the universe and the quest for humanity's significance, if any, within it, or something like that.) : I'm not sure that one couldn't make a great film that was about nothing : but the desert; but I'm reasonably sure that Lawrence of Arabia is not in : fact that film. If it is great, and I think it is, its greatness must lie elsewhere. Agreed. SPOILERS : Very interesting analysis. Any further reflections on the significance of : this progression? Not at the moment -- except maybe to say that his smug, superior sense of himself at the beginning, which is basically just a fantasy that is ironically kept alive by his powerlessness among the British officers, is then given a taste of real superiority when he triumphs in the desert; but then, when he is captured and raped, he discovers that the "real" superiority, or the "real" power, was itself an illusion too, and he tries too hard to become just one of the guys ("Jolly good about the squash court"); and when that doesn't work, he allows himself to be pressured into using his illusion of power for one last push on Damascus ... and this time, he is let down not by his enemies, but by his, well, not friends exactly, but the people who were supposed to be under his authority in some way. Does that help any, or am I just repeating myself here? : No, no, I didn't mean it was thuddingly banal of the filmmakers. I just : meant, geez, what a letdown for Lawrence and those who believed in : him. I mean, here's a man who crosses uncrossable deserts, puts out : matches with his bare hands, faces gunfire with little more than detached : interest, takes a bullet without flinching, becomes a figure of near legend : in a matter of days, walks grandly and fearlessly amongst his enemies, : then actually gets caught and still manages to go undetected, and : eventually gets released -- yet the abuse he suffers at the last does what : nothing hitherto had suggested could be done -- breaks him. Lesser men : than he faced torture without breaking; if something were going to break : Lawrence, you would expect it to be, you know, something grandly : catastrophic. That it's mere capture and torture is, I'm sure, integral to : the film's portrait of the man, and not at all banal of the filmmakers. Ah. But I wonder if perhaps you're missing what's really going on in that scene by referring to it as "torture". The film hints very, very strongly that the beating is just a prelude to "rape", and I wonder if rape (being penetrated by a man, which may or may not have awakened something in Lawrence's own sexuality), rather than torture, might explain why Lawrence's experience with the Turks strikes so hard against his sense of identity. I'm sure you've heard the saying that if Peter O'Toole had looked any prettier in this film, they should have called it "Florence of Arabia". What I found striking, a few years ago, was when I saw the restored version of Doctor Zhivago, a film I had never really seen before, and realized that Julie Christie looked very much like a female O'Toole -- Lean photographs the stars of both films in pretty much the same way.
  15. But Jeffrey, whatever will you do with all that extra time? In related news, Studio Briefings reports today that the soundtrack to this film is being made available ONLY through the Apple Music Store web site, for Apple computer users; supposedly, there will not be a physical CD. However, this is not ENTIRELY true, since Varese Sarabande, the movie-soundtrack specialty label, IS producing a CD and distributing it through their web site; they just won't be releasing it to music stores in the United States. As a lifelong movie-soundtrack buff and a PC user, this is one trend I seriously hope does not catch on.
  16. Jeffrey Overstreet wrote: : Isn't the standing-on-the-desk thing at the end of Dead Poets Society a : sort of Thank You? Yes, that's why Darrel mentioned it in his initial post.
  17. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/07/opinion/07BYAT.html I especially like this one comment, though it may or may not be just a tad too dismissive: "Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, 'only personal.' Nobody is trying to save or destroy anything beyond Harry Potter and his friends and family."
  18. You've already got this? Were they selling copies at Cornerstone?
  19. Or you could drive a couple hours north and see the uncensored version with me.
  20. : Count me in on all three: a DVD, the Taylor show, and the OTR show. FWIW, I might be interested in the two shows too, though not if they're gonna cost all that much. (And hey, when do I get my DVD?)
  21. SDG, I've been meaning to get to this ever since I signed onto the new board a few days ago, but I thought I'd get the other, fluffier threads out of my system first. As you may know, Lawrence of Arabia is one of three films I used to tell people several years ago that they should see if they wanted to "get" me (the other two being The Purple Rose of Cairo and The Family Way); it has since become my official favorite of all time. FWIW, my only published comment on this film to date runs like so: "A grand, visual spectacle backed by Maurice Jarre's majestic music and supported by perhaps the greatest international cast ever assembled, yes, but also a thoughtful, incisive look at the tensions that exist between nationality and personality, power and identity, destiny and free will." In other conversations, I have sometimes said that the film is about "the illusion of power and the power of illusion." SDG wrote: : I've read a number of reviews, and discovered that the minority who : don't like it make this same point, while the majority who do sometimes : acknowledge the force of the objection but go on to explain why it is a : great movie even though it doesn't seem to know what it's about. I dunno, the fact that the main character is an enigma, even to himself, doesn't mean that the FILM doesn't know what it's about. SPOILERS : Lawrence seems to have a similar adamantine sense of his own self, but : it's an illusion, and crumbles like a house of cards. Exactly. There are hints that this illusion may stem from his own insecure identity as the bastard offspring of a man who left his wife for another woman but never officially divorced and remarried. He nurtures this illusory sense of his self as a British officer, as he indulges his ego by making a show of his superiority to the other British officers -- he knows Arab culture, he reads Arab newspapers, he can burn his fingers without minding that it hurts, etc. But his illusion is, ironically, kept alive by the fact that he is actually less powerful than the other British officers. At any rate, Prince Feisal plays on Lawrence's sense of his own self when he dismisses everyone from his tent EXCEPT for Lawrence, thus giving Lawrence a place of privilege above his superior officer. Lawrence then achieves the "miracle" that Feisal needed, and this fortifies his own illusory sense of his own power -- it gives him a truer air of superiority among his fellow British troops, and by this point, of course, Lawrence is also well on the way to feeling superior to his Arab comrades, too. But then he is brutally, shamefully reminded of his own frail humanity, and the person who once felt superior to both Arabs and Brits now feels inferior to both. After that, his one last stab at reclaiming his illusory sense of self, by playing on the power that his illusion held over other people, backfires profoundly when he gets carried away in the carnage that is essentially perpetrated by the people under him. : Could this be a way of approaching the film -- Lawrence as a man who : lacks a place to stand? I think so, yes. : Notice how Lawrence, early in the film, obliquely pits himself against, if : not God himself, at least pious Muslim fatalism, emphatically declaring : that "Nothing is written" and even making pronouncements about the : success of his ventures ("I shall be at Aqaba. That is written... in here"). : . . . But of course he gets a nasty shock when the man he rescued : against all odds is the man whom he later has to kill, and is hit again with : those implacable words "It was written," and this time has no answer. Just FYI, both the rescue and the execution are taken from Lawrence's autobiography Seven Pillars of Wisdom, though they did not involve the same man. : Yet when he conquers Aqaba his sense of his own destiny reaches : messianic proportions (he even walks on water), a delusion that persists : until the bubble is popped in the most thuddingly banal way possible, : capture and torture. Well, Lawrence's capture and rape by the Turks IS a matter of historical record (though some skeptics do question whether Lawrence just made it all up). : The ironic thing is, his claim of invisibility is in a way vindicated: He's : captured, questioned, stripped, tortured, and released, and the enemy : never has a clue who he was. Interesting point. : Does his messianism crack when he confronts the Turkish column that's : just massacred an Arab village, as the man for whom "mercy is a : passion" cries mercilessly "No prisoners" and shoots in cold blood a : uniformed soldier with his hands raised in surrender? This, too, comes from Lawrence's autobiography, though it was the source of some serious controversy -- as I recall, Lawrence's brothers objected to this part of the film, and Robert Bolt wrote them a long letter in reply, quoting those portions of the autobiography that supported the film's portrayal of that incident. : Or is this simply the culmination of his messiah complex -- is he now : beyond good and evil? I think the "crack" is definitely there when Lawrence looks in the mirror of his sword (echoing an earlier scene, when he was first given his Arab robes) and both he and the sword are caked in blood.
  22. To Sir with Love is the first thing that comes to my mind. And I really, really like the scene near the end of Jerry Maguire where Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise are pointing at each other after the climactic game; that might fit here.
  23. SDG wrote: : Their interaction is completely pragmatic, not personal. In The Four : Loves Lewis says that lovers look at one another, that is, in opposite : directions, while friends look in the same direction at a common interest. : Grant and Russell look in the same direction, not at one another. Ah, gotcha. : I prefer Bruce Almighty's picture of Jim Carrey finally reaching a level of : unselfish love where he really would rather see Jennifer Aniston happy : with someone else who could see her as he never did and give her what : he was never able to -- only then was he finally worthy of her himself. : This is the very attitude that Grant fakes, and, when it turns out to be a : fake, Russell is supposed to be touched. If I took these particular films more seriously, then yeah, I would agree with that. Speaking of Bruce Almighty (and the newshound aspect of it in particular), I came across this interesting review of the film by Mark Steyn yesterday -- he focuses far more on the newshound aspect of it than the God aspect of it (and in particular, he focuses on the real-life newshounds who may have inspired Jim Carrey), which I think is a refreshingly unusual perspective to be coming at it from: http://www.marksteyn.com/index2.cfm?edit_id=26
  24. Darrel Manson wrote: : Let me use as an example Driving Miss Daisy which I just roughted out : an example of a film study guide for the committee to look at. Early in : the film, when Hoke (the Freeman character) is first meeting Boolie : (Aykroyd) about the job, he says he prefers to work for Jews. "Lots of : people say their cheap, but don't be saying none of that around me" : [approximate quote]. Is the prejudice that Hoke has (or at least echoes) : racism if he has no power? It's racial profiling, but it's not necessarily racist; either way, though, the question of his power or lack thereof simply doesn't enter into it. : At a couple places, Daise says to Boolie that she isn't prejudice. This : may be open to debate, but could it be true and she still be racist : through her participation in he racist society of which she is a part? She : may not consciously be racist, but she has the advantages that come : from a racist system. Having the advantages doesn't make her a racist, though; for one thing, it is not she who gave herself those advantages, but someone else. One might ask whether Saint Paul was, I dunno, a racist or classist or culturist or something just because he made use of the privileges that came with his Roman citizenship every now and then. : Most white folk don't have any idea how often that happens for people of : color. I don't have to think about being white in this culture. Very true -- nor do I. : I never get pulled over by racial profiling. Which is not to say that racial profiling isn't justified or doesn't work. One could almost consider racial profiling a responsible use of one's resources, and thus a form of good stewardship. There is, after all, a huge difference between racial profiling, in which the cop is more likely to check one group of people for drugs and weapons than other groups of people because statistics have shown that the first group of people are more likely to have the drugs and weapons, and something truly unjust, like throwing people in jail just because of the colour of their skin. But having said all that, yes, I can definitely see how being a member of the profiled race would definitely be uncomfortable and upsetting. : Rather the focus is on the institutionalization of bias within the power : structure of society that maintains inequality. And I frankly have no idea what that means. There are a lot of Jews in Hollywood, and since it's who you know and not what you know that tends to get you work, I expect that Jews will continue to have a statistical advantage over non-Jews there. But since there is no rule requiring Hollywood executives to be Jewish, I do not see this as an "institutionalized bias" -- it's just the way the demographics have gone. : To some extent, I think this is the liberal guilt thing. I suspect so, yup. But I suspect there is also a certain liberal-moral-superiority thing involved in this too, and it has the odd effect whereby supposedly anti-racist white liberals start making basically racist arguments, like when Maureen Dowd recently got upset with Clarence Thomas for failing to support affirmative action. Dowd, being the liberal white woman she is, assumed that affirmative action had helped Clarence Thomas to get where he is, so how dare that black man be so ungrateful as to vote against affirmative action. The irony of this somehow never occurred to her -- to wit, so long as affirmative action exists, and so long as the accomplishments of black people are understood as a gift bestowed to them by white people and not as something that black people accomplish for themselves, white liberals like her will continue to assume that they can tell black people like Clarence Thomas what to do with themselves.
  25. Russell Lucas wrote: : Is there anything apart from garden variety circle of life stuff that would : make this an unwise decision on my part? By "garden variety circle of life stuff", you mean scenes of birds attacking and devouring insects and fish and frogs (and each other), and scenes of crabs and dogs and humans attacking and devouring birds? Nope, if your kid can handle that, then I don't think there is anything else that would make this an unwise decision on your part.
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