sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (keep calm and shoot them in the head)
Previously on American Sniper:

americansnipersummary
Foreign and domestic strife, also a bit from Blackadder )

Hope you enjoyed this review in inverse proportion to how much I liked the movie!

Today's quote is:

skeletor_fabulous
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (keep calm and shoot them in the head)
Previously on American Sniper, nothing fucking happened. Okay, that's not fair. Our hero shot a woman and a kid, and since that's the opposite of what heroes are generally supposed to do in Hollywood movies, you have to give Eastwood points for originality.

A point.

Okay. Half a point.

This is where things get fun, though, with a new addition to the THE LEGEND family.

Plastic babies, power drills, and patriotism! )

Stay tuned for:
1. Another shore leave.
2. Another plastic baby that's even more plastic.
3. The death of almost every named character in the movie.


Today's quote is:
anigif_enhanced-buzz-16668-1348151362-7
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (keep calm and shoot them in the head)
HOLD ON TO YOUR COWBOY HATS AND AMERICAN FLAGS. LADIES, GENTLEMEN, THOSE OUTSIDE THE GENDER BINARY, AND AMORPHOUS GAS ENTITIES…

I announce the triumphant return of the CHEATSHEET OF FREEDOM. And it’s the EXTRA FREEDOM EDITION.

america_001
(For those of you who aren’t familiar with this—er—feature of my little blog, it’s where I watch bad movies—and occasionally good ones—so you don’t have to.)

Our featured movie is American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood. Now, when this movie was released, I had zero interest in seeing it because everything, from the casting to the posters to the title itself, sounded dead boring. (Spoiler: I was right.) However, since noted film critic Sarah Palin and her army of cinematic connoisseurs started shitting up the internet with the assertion that if you didn’t like this movie, the terrorists win, my curiosity was piqued and I had to know what the fuss was about. So I downloaded an illegal torrent (obviously, I am not going to pay money to see this) and invited a few folks over to suffer with me.

Seth Rogen infamously compared this movie to Stolz der Nation, the fake propaganda film featured in Tarantino’s masterpiece Inglourious Basterds. (Then had to double back on his statement and praise the film, because freedom of speech.) This is an unfair comparison. Stolz der Nation, from what we see of it, looks like the kind of film someone might actually want to watch. American Sniper is not.

Folks, there is absolutely nothing good about this movie. Nothing. It has no redeeming value. I have had students in my class shit out better movies than this. I’m not saying that it’s a bad movie because it’s politically abhorrent, though it is. It is politically bad. But this is tangential to the point. It’s a bad movie on every possible level and Eastwood should know better.

But before I get into why, let’s have a brief digression into common tropes and audience expectations in war movies. To get this out of the way, war movies are not my favourite thing. I have issues around telling similar-looking people apart, so if all of your characters are crew-cut, young white men in uniforms, I’m immediately going to hit an obstacle. (In this movie, for example, I was unclear as to the names of any of the characters and had to look them up on IMDb, and asked my friends several times which crew-cut white guy was which.) This said, there are a lot of good war movies, most of which I’ve watched, so I do know what I’m talking about here.

Nor does every war movie need to be Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket. (But if a movie is nominated for an Oscar, I’m going to hold it to somewhere around that standard.) Still, this doesn’t even hold up to the standard of regular, run-of-the-mill war movies, and here’s why:

There is a certain pattern we expect from an average, Hollywood, disposable war movie. Hero gets recruited or drafted into a war. There’s a training montage, wherein he is shit and treated like shit by his CO. Hero bonds with his unit. Hero has some sort of skill (like having hunted as a kid so he’s a good shot) that makes him valuable. Hero goes off to war, and it’s not what he expected. Hero’s sidekick looks at a picture of his wife or girlfriend back in Iowa and remarks that he gets to see her in three weeks. Hero’s sidekick dies. Hero either survives or everyone dies and it’s a commentary on the pointlessness of war. This movie, technically speaking, has some of these notes, but manages to strike them in precisely the wrong way.

The scene with the picture of the wife/girlfriend is cliché and heavy-handed, but it exists for a reason. We know what’s going to happen to that guy. It’s there for audience identification, to remind us of the humanity of the guys in uniform. Same with the training montage and the hero being told he’s shit; we require these low points in order to build sympathy and dramatic interest. Even though the hero is running around killing people in an exotic locale, he dreams of a simple life and in his heart he is a regular dude just like us.

American Sniper takes a very different approach. Eastwood does not want you to identify with the protagonist or any of the secondary characters. In the ideology of this film, soldiers are not, in fact, just like us. They are literally a different breed of humanity, and you cannot understand them because you are not currently at war. You are a sheep, not a sheepdog. At least 75% of the movie is other characters telling Chris Kyle that he is awesome and not to blame for anything bad that happens. 1% of the movie is people underestimating him or telling him that he’s shit. He does not fuck up (except a bit at the end, but we’ll get to this). He needs no character arc, because he is not a character. It’s kind of an interesting take in that it flies in the face of every convention of Western cinema to the point that the movie is almost unrecognizable as a movie, but unfortunately it does not work as an entertaining movie-going experience.

But on with the review. I couldn’t watch this alone, so I invited some friends over. They insisted on pseudonyms because they know I have a pseudonym, so meet Fistula Dulles, Merrick A. Hater, and Ginger Baker. Not their real names. We ordered a massive quantity of Hakka food and I’d stocked the fridge with Innis and Gunn*. Merrick doesn’t drink so he had to watch the whole thing sober. Anyway, with the constitution of true heroes and suitable libations at hand, we sat down and watched American Sniper so that you don’t have to.

Spoilers for the entire movie. Not like you should watch this movie.

Part 1: The Sniper's Journey )

Stay tuned for more desaturated visuals so that you know that this is an adult movie about serious things!

Quote of the day:
2vR9Axj

* Good news! The special edition Irish whisky Innis and Gunn is out! It’s 7.2% and still failed to make me like this movie.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (war is fun)
American troops kill a bunch of insurgents with AK-47s.

And by "insurgents," we mean "Reuters journalists." And by "AK-47s," we mean "cameras." But they're still totally dangerous to the war effort, so much so that the Americans felt the need to lie about it afterwards.

After they were done blasting the hell out of a group of clearly unarmed people, they shoot up a few Good Samaritans trying to evacuate one of the wounded journalists. Oh yeah, and two kids. Then they congratulate themselves on some good shootin'.

You can read about it and watch the video of the murders here.

Hat tip: [livejournal.com profile] kynn.

Related: Collateral damage in Afghanistan.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
American troops kill a bunch of insurgents with AK-47s.

And by "insurgents," we mean "Reuters journalists." And by "AK-47s," we mean "cameras." But they're still totally dangerous to the war effort, so much so that the Americans felt the need to lie about it afterwards.

After they were done blasting the hell out of a group of clearly unarmed people, they shoot up a few Good Samaritans trying to evacuate one of the wounded journalists. Oh yeah, and two kids. Then they congratulate themselves on some good shootin'.

You can read about it and watch the video of the murders here.

Hat tip: [livejournal.com profile] kynn.

Related: Collateral damage in Afghanistan.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (war is fun)
Obama Godwinned.

Oh well. The Nobel Peace Prize? Kind of irrelevant, really.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Obama Godwinned.

Oh well. The Nobel Peace Prize? Kind of irrelevant, really.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (war is fun)
This is inevitable but no less funny for being inevitable:


Hat tip: [livejournal.com profile] numb3r_5ev3n.

P.S. Toronto people: Shoe protest at the American Consulate at 2 pm today. Be there for me as I'm unlikely to make it.

Oh hey, it's my lucky video day. This one is courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] suburbannoir, who seems to feel the same way about Christmas carols, kittens, and Communism as I do:

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
This is inevitable but no less funny for being inevitable:


Hat tip: [livejournal.com profile] numb3r_5ev3n.

P.S. Toronto people: Shoe protest at the American Consulate at 2 pm today. Be there for me as I'm unlikely to make it.

Oh hey, it's my lucky video day. This one is courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] suburbannoir, who seems to feel the same way about Christmas carols, kittens, and Communism as I do:

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat flaming death)
When I was in high school, one of my teachers showed us this amazing documentary about how the media (and specifically CNN) portrayed the first Gulf War. It had a lot of cuts from news graphics to video games. I think it might have been banned in Canada; I remember him saying something about how he'd gotten it elsewhere.

Anyway, I can't remember what it was called. I'd like to watch it again, but now that the Gulf War is ancient history what happened to old people, the internets are of no help to me. Can anyone remember seeing a movie like this?

(I just watched Outfoxed, which is what made me think of it.)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
When I was in high school, one of my teachers showed us this amazing documentary about how the media (and specifically CNN) portrayed the first Gulf War. It had a lot of cuts from news graphics to video games. I think it might have been banned in Canada; I remember him saying something about how he'd gotten it elsewhere.

Anyway, I can't remember what it was called. I'd like to watch it again, but now that the Gulf War is ancient history what happened to old people, the internets are of no help to me. Can anyone remember seeing a movie like this?

(I just watched Outfoxed, which is what made me think of it.)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Jew jokes)
[Poll #1157076]


Also, I finally saw Three Kings last night (it seemed appropriate, given the anniversary) because a whole bunch of people told me that it was good. It was, for about the first half. Is it me, or does it feel like they had to splice a different movie in there so that American audiences wouldn't feel that bad about themselves?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[Poll #1157076]


Also, I finally saw Three Kings last night (it seemed appropriate, given the anniversary) because a whole bunch of people told me that it was good. It was, for about the first half. Is it me, or does it feel like they had to splice a different movie in there so that American audiences wouldn't feel that bad about themselves?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat flaming death)
Photobucket

I haven't been posting about the ongoing crisis in Gaza, mostly because I've been too much in my own little world to add commentary more in depth than, "Man, that's awful."

I don't think that this is awful, though. I think it's a sign that human beings can't be kept in cages, be they the size of a prison cell or the size of a bantustan. It's a sign that no one will tolerate being deprived of the necessities of life—by their own pseudo-government or an occupying power—forever. It's going to end badly, of course. It always does.


I've also been reading Maclean's more than I usually do, owing to an eye doctor appointment and a dentist appointment. Hence, I have learned some interesting "facts": The UN made up statistics on Canadian child poverty because, I suppose, it doesn't like Canada; the occupation of Afghanistan is going swell*; European textbooks are a communist plot for stating, among other things, that most start-up businesses are doomed to failure; you too can get rich off global warming; fibromyalgia patients are faking it; and giving Ritalin to kids increases their academic prowess in a way similar to how steroids improve athletic ability.

The latter two tidbits were from the same Barbara Amiel column. (She's also written some hilarious woe is me columns lately.) Can someone tell me why this woman is still allowed to write—or more to the point, why anyone still bothers to publish her incoherent ramblings? Unfortunately, the deeply offensive article where she shat all over people with chronic pain disorders for no apparent reason isn't online, but trust me, it's horrible. Of course, the only letters that get published in Maclean's nowadays are "your coverage of the occupation war Holy Mission in Afghanistan isn't positive enough!" and "OUR COPS ARE TOPS!" Sickening.


In other news, the bear's preferred environment for defecating is a forested area.


Vindication re: my reasons for being vegetarian.


Evo-Psych finally investigates something useful.


Have they actually admitted that we're in a recession now?


* It isn't.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Photobucket

I haven't been posting about the ongoing crisis in Gaza, mostly because I've been too much in my own little world to add commentary more in depth than, "Man, that's awful."

I don't think that this is awful, though. I think it's a sign that human beings can't be kept in cages, be they the size of a prison cell or the size of a bantustan. It's a sign that no one will tolerate being deprived of the necessities of life—by their own pseudo-government or an occupying power—forever. It's going to end badly, of course. It always does.


I've also been reading Maclean's more than I usually do, owing to an eye doctor appointment and a dentist appointment. Hence, I have learned some interesting "facts": The UN made up statistics on Canadian child poverty because, I suppose, it doesn't like Canada; the occupation of Afghanistan is going swell*; European textbooks are a communist plot for stating, among other things, that most start-up businesses are doomed to failure; you too can get rich off global warming; fibromyalgia patients are faking it; and giving Ritalin to kids increases their academic prowess in a way similar to how steroids improve athletic ability.

The latter two tidbits were from the same Barbara Amiel column. (She's also written some hilarious woe is me columns lately.) Can someone tell me why this woman is still allowed to write—or more to the point, why anyone still bothers to publish her incoherent ramblings? Unfortunately, the deeply offensive article where she shat all over people with chronic pain disorders for no apparent reason isn't online, but trust me, it's horrible. Of course, the only letters that get published in Maclean's nowadays are "your coverage of the occupation war Holy Mission in Afghanistan isn't positive enough!" and "OUR COPS ARE TOPS!" Sickening.


In other news, the bear's preferred environment for defecating is a forested area.


Vindication re: my reasons for being vegetarian.


Evo-Psych finally investigates something useful.


Have they actually admitted that we're in a recession now?


* It isn't.

Bedfellows

Oct. 17th, 2007 07:23 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (moloch)
Oh hey, are we supposed to be pro-Kurd or anti-Kurd now? Or are the ones in Iraq good Kurds but the ones in Turkey bad Kurds?

I thought an awkward situation like this might come up eventually.

Bedfellows

Oct. 17th, 2007 07:23 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Oh hey, are we supposed to be pro-Kurd or anti-Kurd now? Or are the ones in Iraq good Kurds but the ones in Turkey bad Kurds?

I thought an awkward situation like this might come up eventually.

War porn!

Sep. 22nd, 2007 11:25 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fuck patriarchy)
This has to be one of the creepier photoshoots I've seen in the history of creepy photoshoots. (Warning: Nudity, implied rape, glorification of war, utter not-safe-for-workitude.) Jill at Feministe says ugh, but a lot of people commenting disagree, saying that only a few photos are questionable, and even that some are subversive because they show women intruding on a traditionally male space.

Maybe it's those pesky ideological blinders, but given the epidemic of rape against both women in the occupying army and Iraqi women and men, I don't see any way this shoot can be interpreted besides a glorification of sexual violence in wartime. There's also an added racial dynamic, the twisted white American male fantasy of the Big Black Cock.

I honestly don't get people who show up on a feminist blog to say, "well, just one of the photos might imply rape, so the shoot isn't that bad, really." I mean, I get them, but I hope I never encounter them in real life.

P.S. My other post about how Iraqis are getting raped—in this case, by neoliberalism as well as by neoconservatism, is here. I guess it's the oh-so-depressing blog theme of the day.

War porn!

Sep. 22nd, 2007 11:25 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
This has to be one of the creepier photoshoots I've seen in the history of creepy photoshoots. (Warning: Nudity, implied rape, glorification of war, utter not-safe-for-workitude.) Jill at Feministe says ugh, but a lot of people commenting disagree, saying that only a few photos are questionable, and even that some are subversive because they show women intruding on a traditionally male space.

Maybe it's those pesky ideological blinders, but given the epidemic of rape against both women in the occupying army and Iraqi women and men, I don't see any way this shoot can be interpreted besides a glorification of sexual violence in wartime. There's also an added racial dynamic, the twisted white American male fantasy of the Big Black Cock.

I honestly don't get people who show up on a feminist blog to say, "well, just one of the photos might imply rape, so the shoot isn't that bad, really." I mean, I get them, but I hope I never encounter them in real life.

P.S. My other post about how Iraqis are getting raped—in this case, by neoliberalism as well as by neoconservatism, is here. I guess it's the oh-so-depressing blog theme of the day.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (war is fun)
"They have, like, a kitchen and then they have a storage shed-type deal. And we're approaching, and they had a family dog. And it was barking ferociously, 'cause it's doing its job. And my squad leader, just out of nowhere, just shoots it. And he didn't--mother­fucker--he shot it and it went in the jaw and exited out. So I see this dog--I'm a huge animal lover; I love animals--and this dog has, like, these eyes on it and he's running around spraying blood all over the place. And like, you know, What the hell is going on? The family is sitting right there, with three little children and a mom and a dad, horrified. And I'm at a loss for words. And so, I yell at him. I'm, like, What the fuck are you doing? And so the dog's yelping. It's crying out without a jaw. And I'm looking at the family, and they're just, you know, dead scared. And so I told them, I was like, Fucking shoot it, you know? At least kill it, because that can't be fixed....

And--I actually get tears from just saying this right now, but--and I had tears then, too--and I'm looking at the kids and they are so scared. So I got the interpreter over with me and, you know, I get my wallet out and I gave them twenty bucks, because that's what I had. And, you know, I had him give it to them and told them that I'm so sorry that asshole did that."

Read the whole thing.

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