Sunday, January 25, 2015


The SAG Awards were tonight and Patricia Arquette rightly won.  Yea, Patricia.

I didn't think we'd be talking about movies but I was asked -- at the party I'm still at -- what I thought of Noam Chomsky's comments?


Noam's decided to weigh in on a film he hasn't seen: American Sniper.

Can we just stop commenting on art if we're not seeing it?

It's not just insulting to art itself -- all art -- it's really stupid.

He's quoted saying (by WGBH -- and there's video as well as text), "The more we can blame some crime on some enemy, the greater the outrage. The more we are responsible for it, and therefore can do something about it -- to end it -- the less the concern."

If I had time to stream the video -- and it wasn't so noisy here (I didn't bring ear buds) -- maybe that statement would make more sense.

But what stands out is that instead of talking about Barack asking Congress to allow to send US forces into on-the-ground combat in Iraq -- a request made last month, see  the December 9th Iraq snapshot, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Congress must pass an -- Noam's babbling on about a movie -- one he finds so stupid that he hasn't even seen.

Is the film stupid or is the intellectual?

WGBH notes:

Chomsky goes on with this point throughout the hour-long discussion, and refers to the attacks on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris this month to again illustrate that acts of violence don't come from nowhere. Our government's strategic choices seed more violence and our lack of will to stop it makes us all culpable. “[The terrorists in Paris] made it very clear that what incited them to jihadism were things like Abu Ghraib and the US attack on Iraq.”

Did they make that clear?

In an interview, Noam?

No, they never made that clear.

Someone took it upon themselves to speak for them to the press.

And to provide a pat and easy answer.

Pat and easy answers?  

Noam's usually the first to be skeptical of those.

Not this time.

He goes on to recommend Selma.

Selma is a hideous movie in too many ways to count.

But the fact that America is avoiding Oprah's latest nonsense is not a tragedy.

It's a pedestrian film, poorly directed, poorly written.

Glen Ford's already called that nonsense out (pay attention to how Oprah protects her friends).

The film was a joke and there was serious editing done on it just to get it released.

These are not secrets in the industry nor is the fact that director's cut was greeted with howls of laughter by studio suits.  

That's why they didn't go to all the trouble -- at Paramount -- to promote a boutique film from outside.

The film's historical problems didn't kill it at the box office -- the bad quality of the film, the failure to entertain -- which is the first goal of film -- killed it.  It's doubtful it will make 50 million.

It's a failure.

This heavily promoted film is a failure.

Over $20 million alone was spent promoting it.

It's all too bad because Selma, as a topic, could be a great film.

Just don't ever expect that to happen with Harpo -- Orpah's production company.

Selma isn't about a personality.  It's about a movement.

But Oprah's forever distracted and enthralled by personality.

So there was never any hope that she could produce a movie about Selma that (a) worked as a film or (b) honored the Civil Rights Movement.

That Noam can't see that may go to the fact that he hasn't seen Selma.  

Again, people need to stop 'reviewing' films they haven't seen.

And Oprah probably needs to grasp that she's not Robert Altman, she can't do big themes.  And reducing big themes to one personality dishonors the actual events her film allegedly wants to portray.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494.

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