Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Borat- Cultural Learnings of America to Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Yeah, I'm a hype-whore, so of course I went to see Borat- Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Actually, I remember seeing a preview months ago, before I knew anything about it, and thinking I'd see it just for the title (it's perfect, isn't it?) That and the thong.

The movie was really fun. Squeamy, uncomfortable fun. I felt, while watching it, much the way I feel when I'm in Vegas and I see people way more drunk than I am. You know, like suddenly someone is naked peeing on the carpet or something, and you laugh cuz that shit is FUNNY, but it also makes you feel kinda bad. Like, you KNOW some poor maid is gonna have to clean up the piss later, and SHE won't think it's anything to smile about.

But anyway, I guess now that some of the people in the movie are embarrassed or suing or whatever, I can kinda feel for them. They're not movie stars or anything, and I'm sure whatever they signed off on wasn't like the reality show people's contracts. They're the maids that have to clean up the piss. Not exactly a cool position to be in. And all because they didn't know how to deal with a caricature. Know what I mean?

I guess my take on the movie is how odd manners are, and how polite Americans are, for the most part. I think one of the major reasons the people in that movie come off so strange is that they're trying, you know, TO BE NICE. In our crazy multi-cultural society, we're all taught to not judge other cultures. So OK, yeah, the people in the movie come off as pretty stupid for actually thinking that someone like Borat would be acceptible in some other country. Condescending, even. I can see that. But I still felt kinda good about that chick that tried to teach him how to use the toilet. I don't know, I just did. And I had to grin when I saw the car salesman brush off the "how many gypsies can I kill with this car?" type questions. I mean, we've all been in sales, at one time or another. We've all pretended to smile at some jerk's lame "jokes" just to make a sale.
Come on, man, we're capitalists. You don't have to agree with someone, let alone like someone, to do business with them. It's why we all get to live together the way we do. Otherwise, we'd be back to "Whites Only" or "No Girls Allowed!" or some other crap like that. If anything, I think the movie proved Americans are pretty tolerant, overall. Most of them, anyway.
But I'm getting too political, and that wasn't my point. What I thought was interesting was the whole manners deal. I mean, really, what would YOU do if you had to deal with someone like Borat, like at work or something? I must sheepishly admit I'd probably just nod half-assed to whatever he was saying and then get the hell away, like much of the people in the movie. And yeah, if I was on the subway and he tried to kiss me on the cheek, I'd probably push him away and run off too.

Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Now, as you know, I'm totally into 70's movies. So in a way, it's like this movie cheated by looking EXACTLY like all the movies I love.

It was pretty uncanny. The film got the feel and the mood DOWN. I mean they even got the lighting and the colors right. And the long, dragging moments when nothing seems to happen except this general blah sort of deal. And not to be all un-PC or whatever, but I like the fact that it was all sort of sexist, without any major female characters or women with any kind of authority walking around the office. I don't know, it just seems like movies now a days go out of their way to make things all PC regardless of the time or event the movie is supposed to be covering, and it sort of makes everything fake (I mean, did you notice how in Pearl Harbor no one was smoking? What the fuck? Have you SEEN movies of that time? Or rather, could you even see anything through that thick cloud of smoke? Give me a BREAK...) Bottom line, a major female character would have added all that romantic tension crap, and sometimes that's just not where you want to go.

(On that note, though, Chloe was amazing. In one little move of her eyebrow, that girl said all that needed to be said on how the females in that story were feeling. So there!)

But anyway, back to the review. In a way, I thought this was a true horror film. There's this shady monster that you never quite see, and he does these unspeakably evil things (the stabbing scene, there in broad daylight without the camera once moving away was one of the ugliest, if not THE ugliest murder scene I've ever had to sit through) and he never gets caught. And it was also a classic vampire movie, because Zodiac manages to suck the life out of all the major characters.

I really wish more directors approached horror in this angle. I mean, in literature, it's done all the time. If you read short horror stories, you'll notice what's scary about them is what you'd least expect. I mean, "scary" doesn't have to be some hairy monster running around amidst out of tune violin scratches. Sometimes the scariest thing could be something as simple as looking in the mirror and not recognizing the thing that's staring back at you.

I think that was the point of Zodiac. Not bad, all in all.