Archive for the ‘COMEDY’ Category
Just last week, Pew Research released the results of a big religion survey, which found, among other things, that non-religious people were more educated on matters of religion than actual believers. Now, given that the questions on the survey were insanely easy, I was not inclined to pat atheists and agnostics on the back for scoring 20/32 over believers’ 16/32. Religious literacy is a problem in this country! Here to illustrate the point for us is Big Hollywood‘s Leo Grin, whose “Catholic grade school” clearly failed him. Recently Grin went to see The Last Exorcism and Let Me In. To his, and no one else’s, surprise, they were terrible! But rather than write a review that was all, “Dudes, these movies were terrible. Don’t go see them,” Grin takes a classic Big Hollywood lateral approach and tries to make a big deal about how there’s not enough God and Jesus and crucifixes in horror movies. He starts with a long bit from Stoker:
“It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?”
Those are words spoken by a superstitious old woman to Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s novelDracula (1897). Fearing for the outsider’s safety, she gives him a crucifix. “I did not know what to do,” Harker writes, “for, as an English Churchman, I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such a state of mind.”
But later, overcome with terror in the bowels of the Count’s Transylvanian castle, he has reason to be most grateful:
Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help. Is it that there is something in the essence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangible help, in conveying memories of sympathy and comfort? Some time, if it may be, I must examine this matter and try to make up my mind about it. In the meantime I must find out all I can about Count Dracula. . . .
Now, as anyone with a passing familiarity with the history of Christianity in Europe knows, the reason Harker balks at accepting the crucifix is its status as a Catholic symbol, with England’s political and cultural three-way tug-of-war between Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Puritanism over the previous centuries enough to give any late-Victorian “English Churchman” (ie, Anglican) pause. In fact, a lot of Dracula is about the nearly-modern English identity struggling against its older, European roots: London on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution vs. rural Eastern Europe, no-nonsense Anglicanism vs. superstitious Catholicism, old European aristocracy vs. the new professional British middle-class, etc etc.
Grin’s takeaway from this passage, however, is that there aren’t enough crucifixes in tween Mormon vampire fiction:
Over a century later, Stephenie Meyer managed to write four bestselling books concerning vampires (later translated into a quartet of popular movies) without the word crucifix appearing even a single time in her hundreds of thousands of words.
Meyer is a Mormon! LDS doesn’t use crosses or crucifixes. And while Jesus himself never makes an appearance in the Twilight novels, it does not take a genius to catch the constant usage of Mormon imagery, and the relentless advocacy of Mormon values. Does Grin expect horror novels and films to be not only overtly Christian, but specifically Catholic? Zah?
August must be a slow month even for those brimming with manufactured outrage, because over at Big Hollywood today, the best James Hudnall can come up with is a dashed-off piece about how Jimmy Carter sucks and Sylvester Stallone rules. No, seriously.
After the moribund Carter years, the age of Reagan issued in a new era of American confidence. And with that confidence came a wave of films full of male bravado after a decade of paranoid, navel gazing films with negative endings.
I’m not going to quote the piece more extensively than that, since that’s basically his whole argument right there. The “New Hollywood” films of the 1970s were the perfect pseudo-intellectual, hollow, self-obsessed type of the Carter Administration, just as the hyper-masculine action hero pictures of the 1980s were perfect type of the Reagan-era’s Nietzschean vitality. While it’s worth nothing that Hudnall is not so enamored of Schwarzeneggerian masculinity as to hit the free weights and slug the whey protein himself, the idea of art-as-a-mirror is certainly a familiar and tempting one.
The problem, though is that he’s comparing the arthouse picture of one era with the summer blockbuster fare of the next. After all, the first Superman movie, Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and two Bond movies all grossed in the top 10 in the 1970s, and Platoon, The Killing Fields, and Ordinary People all won Oscars in the 1980s. And of “Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Gibson, Norris, Van Damme, Seagal,” only Stallone had a movie in the 1980s that out-grossed Platoon.
I’m not trying to make the point that the 70s were better than the 80s for film, or vice versa. We’re talking about fucking ten-year periods here; they both had a lot of movies, and when you try to generalize this broadly, you only open yourself up to death by a thousand counterexamples. For every Taxi Driver there’s also a Do the Right Thing, and for every Lethal Weapon 2 there’s a Smokey and the Bandit. But if this is the way Hudnall wants to kill some time in late August, I don’t really hold it against him; I just worry about the type of person who curses Jimmy Carter under his breath while watching The Graduate and gets a hard-on for the Great Communicator mid-way through Bloodsport.
I’ve generally given up posting about Greg Gutfeld’s (ugh) “Gregologues,” in part because they mostly conform to a link-oneliner-plug format that doesn’t leave a lot of room for discussion, and in part because he’s the one member of Big Hollywood‘s sub-Caroline-in-the-City comedy team who at least tries to crack jokes instead of acting like creepy, seething, passive-aggression is comedy. Maybe he’s only tolerable relative to the likes of Crowder, Jena, or Hudnall, but I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for the big lug.
It must also be said, in the interest of giving credit where credit’s due, that Gutfeld is generally judicious when singling out figures or initiatives or soundbites from the left that are worthy of mockery. My usual reaction to his column goes something like, “Wow, it’s a little sad that Greg is 35 and still pining for the ol’ frat days, but yeah, that was a silly thing Obama said, there.”
Today, though he’s getting his smirk on because there’s a harmless GOTV video where Obama doesn’t pander enough to “middle-aged white dudes”:
So, for this upcoming November election, here’s an idea to help restore American strength and prosperity. White middle-aged men must band together and throw the idiots out.
That’s all there is to it.
At least, if I follow President Obama’s lead. For, in his mind, his victory requires splitting the populace apart – and only these folks matter: young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women.
I like how Gutfeld acts like “white middle-aged men must band together and throw the idiots out” hasn’t been his employer’s plan since, oh, I don’t know, Tax Day ’09. But that shit aside, the video Gutfeld links to is completely harmless. Obama talks about engaging and energizing people who didn’t normally vote before 2008, who came out specifically for him, and who are now in danger of slipping back into apathy.
Yes, that largely means women, black, Latinos, and young people. Now, it may surprise Gutfeld to learn that women alone account for over 50% of the population. Shocking! I did a quick-and-dirty calculation based on census data, and those groups combined account for about 72% of the US population.
But Obama actually spent two minutes directly addressing the majority of Americans, while not addressing its most privileged sub-sub-sub-group, “middle-aged white dudes,” so clearly he’s a racist.
Acknowledging that people other than “middle-aged white dudes” exist is not the same as excluding them! Is Gutfeld so used to seeing “middle-aged white dudes” pandered to that he can’t see the difference? Guys, he works for Fox.
Steven Crowder is doing some quality trolling today with a headline like “Poor People Can Be Greedy Too”. Judging from the url, it looks like the Big Hollywood editorial staff wisely trimmed Crowder’s original title, “Poor People Can Be Greedy Scumbags Too.”
Ever notice that the chronically poor nearly always share one thing in common? They are some of the most greedy SOB’s on the planet. I know it seems sacrilegious to say so. You’re just not supposed to criticize the poor.
Yeah, they’re always trying to get “food” and “shelter.” Greedy fucks.
Now, I hate to throw a Proverb at you (particularly as it’s not of the trendy Chinese variety, but one of those scary Old Testament scribbles) but no matter what your faith, I would imagine that Proverbs 28: 22 would still have to be incredibly insightful.
A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.
See, God isn’t condemning rich people. He’s condemning actions followed by a solemn warning of where they would lead. God seems to think that actions are a reflection of your heart. He’s a freaky dude when it comes to that kind of thing. Yes, I said “dude.” Feminists, start sending your letters.
Now statistically, it’s true. Poor people (particularly liberals) donate a lower percentage of their income than middle and upper-class Americans. To be fair, they have less to give… But then I guess it becomes the whole “chicken or the egg” deal. Do they have less to give because they’re stingy/greedy, or are they greedy because they have less to give?
The poor don’t… give enough money to the poor? What? And what does that random Proverb have to do with a goddamn thing? Seems to me the Bible actually addresses the question of poverty and charity pretty directly:
He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood. (NAB, Mark 12:41-44)
I agree with Crowder, though, that actions can reflect the heart. So what does writing sarcastic blog posts attacking the least privileged members of society say about his? Oh wait, the Bible has something to say on that, too:
Amen, I say to you, whatever you did to one of these least brothers of mine, that you did unto me. (NAB, Matthew 25:40)