July 26, 2015
VIII The following are quick movie analyses of films that I’d be very unlikely to take the time to write full essays on – what with my full and busy schedule and all.
Vice: The first third or so is fairly good, but it quickly descends into bland and uninspired shit that I couldn’t pay attention to even with some effort to do so. However, it is at-first a mediocre examination of whether a machine has moral worth, for the residents can feel just as much as a human can (they even have organic tissue, much like the Terminators). Of course the answer is that they we must give them equal moral considerations in stark contrast to the Christian notion of humans having intrinsic worth only because they have a soul or ‘cause God says. But what is far-more interesting to me is the critique of the Freudian notion of catharsis. That if something is merel allowed to “get something out of their system” then they’ll be better people – The Purge does something very similar. In-essence, though Freud was a Materialist, this is a Materialist critique of him, essentially saying that if you do something, that thing molds your nature, or specifically the wiring of your brain because you acted on a certain impulse. Shitty film, but it does ask a question that I don’t think it or The Purge examines with the proper rigor and seriousness the question deserves. Should we deny our impulses, act on them, or through proper environment mold them into something creative and healthy (i.e. sublimation)?
Jurassic World: Is an interesting critique of modern consumerism and Capitalism. Making an explicit “meta” statement about how we the viewers are no longer satisfied with seeing dinosaurs on the screen. And how modern consumer existence has us always needing another shot of a larger dose, or always craving something new that’s in-essence the same – mindless entertainment. Also they highlight that some Capitalists might be light-hearted, compassionate and even Progressive on the surface, but whenever their money is at-risk they put at risk anything (including the lives and quality of life of billions around the globe) to preserve their precious profits. Seen in the replacement of Hammond who refuses to kill the dinosaur because of all the money the company invested in it.
Six Shooter: Is a film that highlights what psychological damage belief in God does. The main character is only in despair because he believed his wife would live on forever in some castle in the sky with a hippie Communist carpenter, but when he suffers a crisis of faith he cannot handle it. However, if he was raised honestly, away from Christian and other religious filth, and educated instead in the traditions of Cynicism, Stoicism, Epicureanism and some sects of the Eastern philosophies than this would be of no concern to him.
Being there and Buddhism: It’s strange that there is an explicit Christ analogy at the end, because I find far-more in the film to compare with Buddhism and Taoism. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A incredibly rich man whose ignorant of the outside world leaves his kingdom (Chancey was forced essentially; Buddha left of his own volition) and discovers life sucks for others. Only (main) differences are that the Buddha worked to Enlighten others when it could be argued Chancey is doing so unintentionally (or ingeniously intentionally but I’ll get to that soon) by having them not focus on their troubles and accept things simply as he does. Also Buddha worked with the suffering and wretched to Enlighten them, while Chancey goes from one Capitalist asshole’s palace to another – one with the last name “Rand” no less.
There’s also a connection with Taoism. What with “naturalness” simplicity, and “action without acting.” This is seen in Chancey’s demeanor and the theory that he could secretly be a Taoist-esque genius who speaks as a child and shows others the path through behaving as he does rather than philosophic explanation that would fall on deaf and dumb ears. By expressing a way of life free from the concerns of death or ideologies of religion or profit he is expressing “The true Tao which cannot be said.” He also exhibits the simpleness of a Pooh or Homer Simpson, who have been described as quasi-Taosist characters in other essays such as “the Tao of Pooh.”
THX 1138: Begins as an interesting film, particularly once you know George Lucas made it pre-Star Wars. But becomes very dull and long-winded (though the film is not long) somewhere between a third and half way in. It more-or-less is simply a poor man’s combination of Brave New World and 1984 with emphasis on the former. Frankly I found it sloppy and schizophrenic; uncertain of what exactly it wanted to say or be in-regards to political philosophy. There are at-least a handful of dystopias that are far-better than this one but this one isn’t terrible – once again, it just doesn’t say anything original and can’t say anything distinct – in merging the “soft authoritarianism” of consumerism with the totalitarianism of prison centers and harsh laws and sentences.
On Lawrence of Arabia: First, the film really should be two. I’m fine with long films; I loved Boyhood and Reds is one of my favorite movies, but it seems to have a “natural” dividing point for one to end and the other begin. Where they cross the dessert and conquer Aquaba (however you spell that). This is the point where the standard three-part structure of introducing Lawrence, having a conflict and resolving that conflict ends – it screams “movies over!” And though I didn’t like the rest of the film as much, it’s still wonderful and deserves to be shown – just as a sequel. In the sequel we see our beloved hero grow fatiqued, not physically, but psychologically or existentially. He exhibits a type of fear of self, or of independence perhaps, resenting his character, courage and moral fiber yearning the Arabs to be free. He feels pain through knowing that they deserve freedom but will very-likely not; so he attempts to kill his soul to kill his pain. May be more to say but haven’t seen film in some time.
On Silence of the Lambs: We are all lambs. The ones who will be heard scream (woman kidnapped by BB) the rest of us suffer in silence. The rest of us are identified as wolves (such as Hannibal Lector) when we are merely lambs that have internalized screams and instead become deformed sheep. The silent murder of innocence is the story of the world over. The silent unannounced unidentified slaughter of lambs, lambs that are either murdered or turned into beastly creatures by society.
The Lambs won’t save themselves because the ones that scream, that’re listened to are never clever enough to know who is slaughtering them and why. They are listened to by the butcher, so they believe that the butcher would never shear them. It is the sheep that are turned into something else that learn autonomy – that reclaim what was taken from them through deformity. They are closer to human than the sheep, but they are monstrous as well.
As someone who works a conventional job, she is tormented by the problems her profession and a job in a Liberal Democracy allows her to perform. Lambs screaming – the wrongs committed against them being recognized by society. But the wrongs done to HL (the ills of fate) are not recognized, so he is silent – and still a lamb.
To get HL who represents a Silent Lamb to cooperate she lies and promises decent living situations and some semblance of decency. Much like the lies politicians tell to have the Silent Lambs (the working class) participate in their elections. Wants him to answer questionnaire but really wants BB. Much like in elections are supposed to diagnose the people’s wills or essence, but really is constructed to help further policies to murder Silent Lambs through murdering their unique essence or by further ostracizing them.
And quickly, how does Buffalo Bill covet these women? Their beauty? Their slightly obese. Sexually? I thought he wanted to be a woman. This is something that I suppose is meant to sound intelligent and profound but really isn’t.
On the Outsiders: A film I really should go into much further analysis into. But here goes.
A truly wonderful film that analyzes and depicts both the injustices of life through the class system (the Socs being the spoiled rich kids of the Capitalist class and the Greasers being the damned offspring of the proletariat), and shows a “poetic” and philosophic solution through virtue and the appreciation of the finer things in life –the finest being virtue itself.
There’s an obvious Romeo and Juliet element that was executed wonderfully but doesn’t give much to talk about. Just worth mentioning.
The film also depicts that kindness and empathy are among the greatest forms of virtue a person can have. Or as Rousseau once said: Kindness is the greatest form of wisdom.
The Greaser’s may have won the fight but that doesn’t change anything (as one of the Socs pointed out in despair over the injustice of the social and economic system he’s born into that damns Greasers and rewards Socs simply by accident of birth) as the material conditions nor systems that manage the material conditions of humans have not been radically altered. This was a riot, not a revolutionary act. And riots (especially apolitical ones) very rarely bear fruit.
Dallas represents the crushed soul of the Egoist. The person who believes there can be no good things in life, and no virtuous or selfless actions where human beings genuinely are concerned for each other and are effective in their endeavors without ruin falling upon them – such as what happened to Johnny. He thinks the solution is to “give up” and no longer feel but this is akin to believing the answer to an intellectual question is not to think. Emotions (including rage and sadness) are natural and healthy reactions to the injustices of life that happen on a daily basis.
Best part of the film however is depicting the Buddhist sentiment of no good thing ever lasts. All things of value on this Earth are destined to die or be destroyed eons from now. In a sense, the only reliable thing in this life is virtue, for it is internal and creates all other meaningful or important goods in this life (or most, since I suppose there are some things Man can use which don’t require thought or effort – such as apples) and is the greatest reserve of strength and joy in itself. It is the “real gold” that we must all continually towards aspire towards embodying, knowing we will never so completely – as no one can.