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Friday, December 28, 2012

End of the Year email; on Tarantino, cultural signifiers and the slaughter of innocents

Technically, I'm on retreat. I've spent the past couple of days from the crack of dawn to ten at night in cultivating insight and hopefully inclining more toward enlightenment. That said, I took today off to check out "Django Unchained" and as happens, this provided the subject in part, of an email to my sister.

It may or may not be of any great insight or use, but I found ideas and words voicing themselves more than I intended.

To wit:

I took a break today to go see "Django", Tarantino's new one. It's really good. I think he still enjoys film-making and truthfully, the sucker can write. Plus: ace performances from Jamie Foxx, Christolph Waltz (dude's amazing), Dicaprio (having the time of his life!), and Samuel L. Jackson turning in what may be his best work ever (yes, even "Pulp Fiction" and his Spike Lee work.)

In addition to the performances, the other plus is that Tarantino has a better grasp of the material than he had in the grossly over-rated "Inglorious Basterds"; the minus side? It's not Tarantino-specific, but I'm tired of gun fights, explosions and the rest of it. There. I said it. *I*, of all people, said it. But I'm bored. I've seen people eviscerated, shot, blown up, tortured, eaten by zombies (and other people) and who knows what else and while I get the exploitation film-as-cultural signifier, etc., I'm bored with it all.

Honestly, it's become so commonplace I was so happy to see "Silver Linings Playbook" almost because no one was shot up, bludgeoned or otherwise assaulted. My god! Deniro wept instead of blowing someone's head off!

Interestingly, I watched "The Expendables 2" with Nick, "In Time" and Soderbergh's "Contagion" with [my nephew and his wonderful girl friend] Dan and Meghan. "Contagion" had no one getting shot, just people dying by the buttload from, well, a pandemic. Glad I saw it, it's one of Soderbergh's more thought provoking films, and may be one of his last (kick-ass performances by Damon, Paltrow, and a cast too great and numerous to list one by one), but still, I'm bored with people dying every time I walk in a theater or flip on a DVD. No one died in "Ted", but that was, well, it was okay. I laughed - I like Seth Rogen and Mark Wahlberg (and Mila Kunis acted circles around them with the thankless girlfriend-as-the-voice-of-reason role) - but I want a drama that doesn't involve gun play or explosions. For a couple of months... Heck, I don't even want to see "The Hobbit" because I'm bored with stabbings. And you know people are going to get stabbed in that.

Of course, I am also watching a Tarantino film on break from a meditation retreat so the argument could be made that I'm overly sensitive, but I don't think so. The past couple of weeks, I've wrestled with why it is that we care more for gunned down white children in Connecticut but don't particularly care about black kids who meet their demise every day in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York or kids who are blown to bits by our drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I feel terrible for putting it like that, but why is it our media doesn't report with the same degree of urgency the ongoing "slaughter of the innocents" (if we want to be melodramatic about it) that goes on minute by minute in this mad world?

And excuse me for saying this; but I'm really tired of the "God talk" that comes up in the reporting. Swear to...well, whatever, but if these people's God is so great, good, kind and loving, he's dropped the ball big time. So I'm kind of done with bang bang shoot 'em up stuff for a while.

Also, I've been more than a little concerned with the unfolding rape stories coming out of India. What madness is this? I swear, sis, there are days when heading for the most remote spot I can find looks really tempting. Anyway, I think there is much more at work than mere geopolitics and social malaise, but I'll refrain from waxing goofy.

In the meantime, there is the third season of "Portlandia" starting. Next time in Houston, I'll be happy to check it out...unless Fred Armisen goes mental and takes out a MacDonalds because its a symbol of capitalist oppression or Kyle MacLachlan thinks he's back working for David Lynch...

Give a howdy if/when you get a chance...I may use this for Facebook or a blog post....

Sent from my iPad



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