Showing posts with label revenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label revenge. Show all posts

Sunday, December 3, 2017

spike heels trump feet of clay

Watching 1970s TV for my series on Pop Matters, it felt vaguely like walking the site of a war crime.  As a film buff I'd heard the stories, perhaps most memorable was Christine Lahti's, of a proposition rebuffed when she was young and struggling.  The showbiz sleaze told her, "You'd better do something, you're not that pretty."

The misogyny of Hollywood leaves traces, if needing translation (the examples remembered offhand): Joan Crawford and Bette Davis were each subject of an accusatory book by an adult daughter.  Veronica Lake was America's object of desire in the mid-1940s; in the early '60s she worked as a cocktail waitress.  Rita Hayworth and Grace Kelly fled to marry Arab princes.  With Three's Company on top, Suzanne Somers wanted a raise: she was fired and blackballed.

In 1966, Grace Lee Whitney played Yeoman Janice Rand on Star Trek even as she spiraled into alcoholism and prostitution.  She later found religion, becoming a substance abuse counselor (Trekkies always treated her as regular cast, though she appeared in only a few episodes).  In her candid autobiography (The Longest Trek, 1998), Whitney elaborated on her early exit from the Enterprise, alleging a sexual assault by an executive.  She took that man's name to her grave, presumably to protect a franchise loved by millions.

The recent revelation that disappoints me is Quentin Tarantino, though his sins are (apparently) of omission.  I couldn't help thinking of Kill Bill, his least assured film: hypocrisy takes a toll.

Some say we're in a witch hunt -- they're right.  Without due process, there's a vigilante aspect, and there will be unintended consequences, and regret.  (We can only wonder what would've happened, had Hillary Clinton been elected president: hell has no fury like millions of women scorned.)

Some say The Sopranos (for example) trades in the noble outlaw, but we buy the myth because nobility is lacking in other quarters.  In the U.S., we punish the guilty with the acuity of a darts game before last call.  As the law quails before money and power, the capitalist badlands (sometimes) have room for frontier justice.  Hang 'em high.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Blue Ruin (2013) 3 of 4

In my review of A Horrible Way to Die, I suggested that movie may actually be about the death of a culture.  The same is true of Blue Ruin, another violent film about dysfunction, grief, and death.  Blue Ruin is a crime drama, not a horror film, but the films are cousins.

Speaking of cousins, Blue Ruin is another film about hillbillies.  I suspect that such films are part of our attempt to come to grips that white people have their cultures, too, and we tend to cling to them with the same morbid pride as anyone else.  The title presumably refers to the main character's car, but it also describes the man, and maybe the Blue Ridge Mountains, at or near where the movie was filmed.
I haven't seen The World Made Straight, which is set in an Appalachian town still haunted by a Civil War massacre, nor Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, a horror-comedy that reverses stereotypes.  For a history lesson, there's the modest but sincere Chris Cooper film Pharaoh's Army, set in Civil War-era Kentucky.  Blue Ruin is probably a notch down from the high-water Winter's Bone, but it's still a good film. 
** moderate spoilers ahead **
The protagonist is Dwight, whose parents were killed when he was a kid.  He's never recovered.  At one point, his sister says that she could forgive him if he were sick, "but you're not sick, you're weak."  If you discuss the film after, you'll be discussing whether you agree with her or not. 
Like The Brave One, Blue Ruin attempts to show us what Batman would be like if he were a real person: he'd be a mess, even more of a mess than Nolan's Dark Knight.   

EDIT, 21 March 2016: I eventually realized, the film can also be compared to Hamlet.  Further, the word "hamlet" can refer to a small settlement of under 100 people, and is sometimes used of the Appalachians.  The common factor: modernity is leagues away.