Charlie Wilson’s War is not just an entertaining story of an interesting character who did something most would have found impossible, it is also a story with a tragic postscript about unforseen consquences. As most moviegoers know the film is based on the real life exploits of a Texas Congressman/ party animal who uses his political and partying connections to get funds and guns for the Afghan rebels during the eighties occupation of their country by the Soviet army, and eventually allows them to force the invaders back to their own country. The after effect of this had two consequences, Soviet Russia went through a major regime change due in part to the costliness of the war, and the Taliban eventually gained control of a leaderless Afghanistan. It is that second part that will always be a sticking point for many people. Some critics have stated that if Wilson hadn’t done what he did, 911 would never have happened. Others point to the brutality of the Soviet army during the war and state Wilson was driven by humanitarian motives and was right to help a beleaguered people regardless of the fallout. A third contingent (of which Wilson himself is a part of) claim that it wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t left the Afghan people to fend for themselves after the war, but should have stayed and help rebuild their government. All very valid points, the problem being that eveyone is right to a certain extent. Wilson was right to help the rebels, his actions did lead to the rise of terrorism against us, we should have stayed and helped the people after the war. But on the other hand it’s not that simple. Would the Afghan people have welcomed us meddling in their governmental internal affairs? Would we have tried to force our way of government on them like the Soviets had just tried to do? Wouldn’t that have eventually led to the same outcome with Afghanistan? There are no clear cut anwsers here, the world unfortunately doesn’t work in simple black and white terms. My thoughts on the whole matter come down to a line from The Mermaid on The Chris Isaak Show, “It’s not wrong to hold out a helping hand, just don’t be surprised if it gets bitten.”
December 31, 2007
December 27, 2007
In a world full of cinematic dreck, where beloved film series after film series has been seduced by the quick buck to pump out lackluster sequel after sequel, comes one man and his faithful friends to give us hope, one riff at at time. Yup, just when you think Hollywood can get away with putting out a cinematic version of George Lucas’ laundry list, who should reappear on the pop cultural landscape but Mike Nelson and his compatriots Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, not to mention Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Jones Nelson. Yes the cast and writers from MST3K have returned online to put film makers in their place with Rifftrax, an awesome little website that allows you to download their commentary and then watch a big Hollywood opus while enjoying Mike and the Bots…I mean Mike and the guys ripping these overblown non-epics down to size. Best of all, since they aren’t altering the films in anyway (you the consumer must rent or buy the actual DVD yourself), they can create a rifftrack for the latest release to the retail market. My wife (ie The Patient One) and I rented all three of the prequel Star Wars films, which we both despise with a passion, and then got the rifftrax, synced them up and had a great Christmas Eve, as Mike and Kevin left no cheesey plot twist, bad performance, cartoony special effect, or contraditory explanation unriffed. By the end Jar Jar was nothing but a greasy stain on the surface of Baboo(?), no that’s not it…Naboo. Thanks Mike, we’ve missed you.
December 24, 2007
I just saw the godawful returns on Jessica Simpson’s new movie Blonde Ambition for it’s opening weekend. 48 people! That’s it. It has done the impossible, it has beaten the record set by Ishtar for nobody cares. With the exception of Simpson herself, is anyone really surprised? When she showed up at Cannes and couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to her, that was the first clue her new film was going to be a bigger bomb than Glitter and Showgirls combined. Based on the one TV ad I saw to promote the film it looks like a reworking of Legally Blonde set in the corporate world, right down to the “clever” title. Heck, it even has Luke Wilson as the love interest. What Simpson hasn’t figured out is that Witherspoon may have played dumb in her movie, but everyone knew she was actually intelligent in real life. Unfortunately her public persona is the stereotypical dumb blonde, which the people can get sick of pretty quick when the person is on their own. When she was with Nick Lachey we loved her, because Nick loved her in spite of her lack of smarts, sort of a modern day Burns and Allen, but without that balancing of personalities she goes from cute to annoying faster than milk can curdle. The final nail in the coffin maybe her next project Major Movie Star, which is not a remake of Private Benjamin (as she has said on more than one occasion for interviews), even though the trailor clearly shows it is. Of course that depends on if it even gets released after this debacle. Unlike Mariah Carey, I don’t think Jessica has the talent or fan base to be able to achieve a comeback after this failure