Image: cityscape from Wong Kar Wai's beautiful 2046 (2004).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reasons I Wish I Was Teaching...

... an undergraduate class on Ideological Hollywood:

(It's only one reason, actually...)

Drillbit Taylor.

It amazes me that this film was released. (Why did I go see it, you ask? I was both desperate for something fluffily non-dissertation-related and wrongly sympathetic to the plight of poor, charming Owen Wilson. I figured that if his movie tanks, he might try to do himself injury again. Little did I realize that this movie has to have been why he tried to do himself injury in the first place.)

Drillbit Taylor...
... glorifies high-school violence and resolution of said violence through front-yard ultimate-fighting showdowns in which the morally just will no doubt prevail.
... makes a mockery of a very really problem of security in America's schools.
... allegorizes (in the least subtle way imaginable) a lovely, humble, nature-loving and fundamentally sweet American soldiery that is unwilling to commit or witness any violence whatsoever... until someone it loves gets hurt. Then it (Drillbit, natch) will destroy you with lethal force and the commendations of all, all while blithely laughing off the loss of a little finger. (In non-allegorical terms here, we are no doubt reckoning with the equation that reasonable losses are to be expected if peace and security are to be ensured.)

Have you seen this movie? Probably not. It's a disaster. Badly made, ideologically Frankensteinian and offensive to: teenagers, adults, twins, rappers, the homeless, Canadians, Americans, Asians (I could go on at length about the sub-plot regarding how the homicidal high-school bully is portrayed as a grossly affluent "emancipated minor" whose indifferent parents have shipped him to LA from Hong Kong), Owen Wilson, you, me and Dupree.

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