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Guest Russell Lucas

Nice column, Jeffrey.

Wow, with regard to the bit where Michael Medved complains after taking his fourteen year-old daughter to see Chuck's Cherubs: Only Fools Have Wattles.

I wonder where in the film's release he subjected himself to it-- before the press (religious and not) weighed in, or after. Regardless, I really think that one had caveat emptor written all over it from even before the early negative reviews poured in. The teaser, the trailers, even the cardboard standees all make clear where this one is going to turn up the volume on the-- what was Allan Bloom's term?-- prepackaged masturbational fantasy. I'll admit-- my wife and I saw the first one and had a sort of goofy, "this is both preposterous and strangely entertaining" reaction to it, but I've always maintained that it was the sort of passing pleasure that should only exist once-- no repeat viewings, no sequels. There's no amount of self-referential, yes-we-know-sequels-are-lame winking that can excuse making a habit of this kind of disconnect from reality and aesthetics. This sequel couldn't possibly have been good, not in this world or any parallel world.

Medved's quandry, or as I might imagine it, evokes sympathy from me, though. Say his daughter really wants to see it and she's old enough to see it by MPAA standards. If you decide forbidding her from seeing it isn't the course of action to take (leaving that issue aside), I guess going with her is a defensible choice from the point of view of being able to talk it over, rip it apart and lend guidance, assuming one can refrain from the sort of condemnations that may, in response, inexplicably induce a teenager to hold what is otherwise clearly a piece of garbage in high esteem.

Now, my hope for my children with regard to the better angels of our culture has always been to lead, and teach and model and hope that they will develop a discerning sense of what constitutes art or entertainment worthy of their attention. I need to foresee, though, that things will happen that may make those hopes appear muddled for a time. Sometimes your fourteen year-old really wants to see the Angels in action. My own experience in life reminds me that the older people who were most effective in shaping my own cultural views were usually very thoughtful and subtle about promoting what they viewed as good.

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Dude, by which I mean Jeff, you gotta make your links more precise!

I mean, what if someone comes across this thread, or one of your David Poland links, a week or two after the fact? How are they going to find the article you raved about? How how how?

Russell Lucas wrote:

: This sequel couldn't possibly have been good, not in this world or any

: parallel world.

Ironically, I HATED the first film, but I liked the sequel. Go figure.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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