Politics and Economics Aren’t Everything

January 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s Sunday, and I think every blog should have a good ‘weekly recap’ feature, but I don’t feel like recapping news every week, so I’m doing movies.  I watch a lot of films because I have Netflix, and it’s winter time, so I don’t really have anything else to do.  I know, it makes no sense and the feature doesn’t fit with the overall theme of this blog…but I don’t get paid for this, so I may as well do as I please.

Anyway — following are the films that I’ve watched this week, and how I feel about them:

  1. Devil in a Blue Dress:  This is a 1995 murder mystery film set in 1948 Los Angeles, starring Denzel Washington.  Anything with Denzel is bound to be at least watchable, and this film was just that.  I didn’t really care about the characters, and the racial themes of the film feel tired, even for a 15 year old film.  During the more boring parts of the film (there were lots), I mentally compared this film with another mid-90s films about blacks in L. A., “Boyz in the Hood”.  The blacks in Devil in a Blue Dress were middle class, comfortable (even if oppressed), and the final scenes of the film invoke a sense of hope for the future of the black community in the booming West.  When compared to the poverty and violence that the black community in L. A. was suffering by the mid-90s, as depicted in “Boyz in the Hood”, one wonders how things got so bad in just one generation.  That was the most interesting thing I thought about during the film, which probably doesn’t say much for its entertainment qualities.
  2. The Parking Lot Movie:  This 201o documentary chronicles a three year period in the ‘life’ of a parking lot, with a focus on the rag-tag group of current and former employees.  The employees were primarily graduate and PHD students at the local university, drawn heavily from the philosophy, religion, and sociology departments, and so they had some really interesting takes on their customers.  The documentary basically comes on in phases, with the first phase about the operation itself, and how the employees came to work there, the second focused on how the employees feel about the customers, and the third about the burnout that such menial work leads to.  My favorite parts were when the employees shared their indignation at people in $50,000 cars who would try to skip out on $1.00 parking fees, and what that had to say about the general sense of entitlement in this country.  The most telling parts where in the documentation of the employees into petty tyrants who treated the parking lot like a chance to make the elite kneel down to the weak, $0.75 at a time.  This was a totally awesome documentary.
  3. Unthinkable:  This 2010 straight to DVD release staring Samuel L. Jackson asks us to consider how far we are willing to take our moral opposition to torture when faced with the possibility of numerous nuclear weapons hidden out in major American cities, a single terrorist in custody, and a time limit to save millions of lives.  It’s a set-up that forces you to pay attention, and it’s mostly well executed, but the ending is absolute crap.  I gave it a three star rating on Netflix, mostly on the strength of Jackson’s performance.
  4. Frozen:  Another 2010 straight to DVD release.  Absolute crap.  It’s about three friends who get stuck on a ski lift.  It’s cold, they’re miserable, and the resort is closed for a week.  Someone gets eaten by wolves.  Seriously, this film is an abortion.  If you sometimes like to play Mystery Science Theater 3000 with your friends, this is a great movie to do it with — my wife, the kids, and I had a lot of laughs at this movie’s expense.
  5. Exam:  2008 UK film that didn’t have anybody I had ever heard of in it.  Eight job candidates go to an interview, they have 80 minutes to answer one question, the question is unknown to the candidates.  The candidates break down amazingly quickly — murder ensues.  Go figure.  Crap.

That’s it for this week.  If there’s some movie out there you’d like me to watch for you and let you know if it’s any good, go ahead and throw the request in the comments.  I ran out of movies I had heard of to watch so long ago, that I’ll watch pretty much anything these days (hence, Frozen and Exam).

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