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This year in cinema really started off with a bang! The Rock is a Tooth Fairy, Jackie Chan is a super-spy who can’t make fucking breakfast for a child, and Denzel Washington is bringing the pain!
Without giving too much of the film away, let’s dive in to a synopsis, shall we? In the Hughes Brothers’ first film since 2001′s From Hell, Denzel Washington plays Eli (it’s true), a lone wanderer in post-apocalyptic America (or AmeriKKKa, as it has become–since everybody but Eli seems to be white). He is a take-no-bullshit traveler with a clear destination and mission that he believes was given to him by God. His mission: to transport what is possibly the last remaining Bible to a safe haven out West.
Gary Oldman’s character, the leader of a small post-apocalyptic town full of Raiders, drunks, and whores (obviously), is eager to get his hands on a copy of the Bible because, historically, whomever is in control of religion has unlimited power over the weak, poor, and desperate.
Mila Kunis plays a frumpy young waitress (who later turns out to be sexy…surprise!) in the town who every male but Eli seems to want to rape…and while I was apprehensive about her acting (in anything), she carried her role pretty well…and didn’t get raped.
Eli’s spiritual quest brings a lot of religious talk into the film, but it is never overwhelming. The religious overtones are well divided into different characters, leading to some mixed reviews.
Some viewed this movie as a spiritual journey of a kick-ass machete-wielding Denzel Washington, while others found that the film was decidedly anti-Christian. Interesting, right?
Washington’s character is on a mission from God, but he’s not supernatural, he is a man of conviction. Nearly every single person in this dystopia is uneducated, illiterate, and naïve–hence Gary Oldman’s wish to use religion to take advantage of them all.
It is briefly explained that a great war was fought–and that many blamed religion for it–go figure. After the war, holy books were burned and faith was abandoned and thought to be damaging to society–go figure.
30 years later, there are few left who have any knowledge of all that “god bullshit.”
There have been a dickload of apocalypse movies, but–despite its mediocre reviews–I would contend that The Book of Eli is among the best I’ve seen–I was pleasantly surprised. There is plenty of bloody violence to keep the idiots amused, but there is a lot more going on here. Many argue that the film’s execution lacked the substance of its message–but fuck those people.
This movie has all of the staples of the genre: raiders, cannibals, bartering, bad-asses, pimped-out car-tanks, survival, and then it peppers in some Denzel.
However, if you like your apocalyptic fiction like you enjoy playing Fallout 3 for hours and hours, you’ll have a great time with this film. It’s not for everyone, and some of the action is a little cliché, but it’s better than seeing fucking Avatar for the 10th fucking time.
Oh, and a word of warning: This movie stars Denzel motherfucking Washington. Get to the theater fashionably late and don’t sit in front of the row of middle-aged black women…
You can cry “racism” all you want…but you’ll thank me some day.
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Way back in 2007, I saw a Frank Oz film called Death at a Funeral, so imagine my surprise when I discovered a trailer for a new Neil LaBute film called Death at a Funeral. Should the “too soon” rule usually applied to tragic events also be applicable for remakes?
The original Death at a Funeral was a predominantly British comedy with a few American actors scattered in—but it was one thing that the new Death at a Funeral is not: a white movie.
Before watching the trailer, I actually expected this new Chris Rock vehicle to be a black comedy that just happened to have the same name. It wasn’t long before I discovered that not only is it an almost word-for-word remake, but they even used the same dwarf actor!
This film’s two-time dwarf actor (or maybe he’s a midget) is Peter Dinklage—he’s even got a funny little name to match.
While it is unquestionably shitty to remake a film within 3 years, it is—in this case—somewhat understandable. First, they are targeting the film toward a different (and probably much broader) audience. Second, it looks like a pretty funny movie. And third, nobody saw the original.
If I hadn’t seen the first version, I may be tempted to check out this new endeavor. Okay, that’s probably not true, but I may get it on Netflix when it comes out on DVD.
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Race has certainly become a hot-button issue once again. Along with stereotypes and common prejudices, there are many ways by which people of various races and creeds can be misunderstood and misconstrued. It is important to learn the facts about a background in order to better understand a people; however, history–like individuals–can often be severely misinterpreted. And this is why I bring you: Shit you didn’t know about the Slavery!
Let’s start at the very beginning…
1. Slavery is not reserved for blacks, nor was African American slavery anywhere near “the worst in history.” The origin of the word “slave” comes from “Slav,” as in, the Slavic people. The Vikings would kidnap Slavs and sell them as unpaid laborers to the Romans. The term “slave” only dates back to about 580 AD. Before which, the Latin word “servus” was used for servants or slaves. Slavs, who were essentially white people, were the primary source of slavery during the Middle Ages.
And for about 500 years, when the Moors ruled Spain, they would send white Christians to Egypt for slavery.
2. Is American Slavery solely the responsibility of white people and should they be held completely accountable? Actually, no. Slavery was officially established in America in 1654 by Anthony Johnson. What’s so special about Anthony Johnson? Well, he was a black paid servant in America who saved enough money to buy our his contract (along with his wife’s). And what was their logical next step? Own a slave, of course!
Johnson fought in Virginia court for his right to own a slave on his property and won! Thus, becoming the first legal slave owner in America. Johnson’s actions came back around to bite him in the ass when his land was taken away and given to a white man because “Negroes” were considered “aliens” and couldn’t own property.
At the peak of slavery’s popularity, only about 6% of Southern whites owned slaves. If you include the slaves in the North, only about 1.4% of white Americans ever owned slaves.
But what about freed blacks? In 1860, an estimated 3,000 freed slaves owned about 20,000 black slaves. This means that 28% of blacks coming from slavery owned slaves themselves.
3. A little bit about the Civil War: How many times have we been told that the Civil War was fought for the abolishment of slavery? Confederate General Robert E. Lee had released all of his slaves prior to the Civil War, and 5 years before the war started, he famously wrote that “slavery is a moral and political evil.” Union General Ulysses Grant, on the other hand, had famously stated that he would never fight to end slavery.
Grant, in fact, owned slaves throughout the war and continued to own slaves after the war. Due to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, slaves were outlawed in the South, but still legal in the North.
4. The horrors of the Cotton Gin. Although farm work, such as picking cotton, is relatively safe when compared to jobs such as lumberjack, commercial fisherman, and miner, it was still obviously unpleasant. In the late 18th century, slavery was starting to gradually die out. Slave owners began to free their slaves due to a decrease in manual farm labor.
Just then, in 1793, some fuckface named Eli Whitney came along with this cotton pickin’ machine called the Gin. Suddenly, cotton became a huge cash crop due to Whitney’s unknowing enabling. Suddenly, slavery sparked up again–cementing its place in history forever.
5. Slaves–Where are they now? Well, an estimated 50,000 humans are brought into this country every year in some form of forced labor or slavery. There is really no way to know how many slaves still exist worldwide. Experts estimate it could be anywhere from 27 million to 200 million, mostly in South America, South Asia, and Africa (these numbers don’t include those who are in some form of servitude that isn’t technically labeled as “slavery”).
This massive population of slaves–more than any other time in history–are cheaper and offer more extensive labor than ever before. Servants and sex slaves are sold anywhere from $90-$1000.
To put that in perspective, adjusting for inflation, an African slave in America would have cost about $40,000 in today’s dollars. Most surprising is that according to a study at Berkeley University, there are an estimated 10,000 slaves that still exist in the United States.
Slavery is a big part of our history. It’s an important part; and indeed it’s something to remember when you go throwing around nonsense about something being “like slavery” or “animals being the slaves of the 21st century.” If this sounds like you, you’re either batshit insane or pig-fucking-ignorant.
Slavery remains one of the largest and most significant human rights issues in the world…so let’s think about humans before we start to worry about how chicken feel about being in a cage.
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Dear Mr. President,
You probably don’t know me. I tried to attend one of your big speeches on your Philadelphia tour. I couldn’t get anywhere near you (or a speaker for that matter) and it took me about an hour to realize that the “line to get in” wasn’t moving.
I know you’re a busy man, so I won’t take up too much of your time. You have a plethora of significant decisions to make, but now that you’ve finally chosen a dog for your daughters, what’s left of the next four years should be a relative “Easy Street.”
It should not be shocking to you that your outgoing and courageous campaign had won over the masses like a Third Grader winning a class election by promising longer recesses, early dismissals, chocolate fountains, and more field trips. Those who actually decided to take you seriously during the campaigning process are now dazed and confused.
Didn’t someone tell me you were pro-gay marriage and probably an Atheist? I know you never said it…but someone sure as shit did.
Your stances on key issues triggered the part of my brain usually reserved for writing in a candidate on Election Day and drove me to cast my one and only vote in your favor. And so far, you’ve been behaving as if you are that Third Grader who bumblefucked his way into power.
You’ve taken very backward and hesitant stances, laughed in the face of your opposition (and supporters), and booked all of your favorite bands to put on private shows for you and your friends.
That’s fucking awesome. That’s what I would’ve done if I were president, for sure.
But I’m not president…and hopefully never will be. I’m not qualified to be president…and hopefully never will be.
While your opposition has repeatedly said that you are unqualified and inexperienced, I simply clapped my hands over my ears and yelled “lalalalala” until Sarah Palin disappeared back into obscurity.
While I make no observable attempts to prove my maturity, I can admit that I thought you would. Obviously, I can not expect every elected official to agree with anything I have to say. I’m politically and historically ignorant, and when compared to the experts you’ve hired to represent your ideals, legally retarded.
That being said, I ask that you rethink your stances on two key elements. Honestly! Only two! I know dick about the economy, so I probably shouldn’t comment. A National Taxless Year may increase spending and channel more into the economy, but I can’t prove that, so I’ll shut the fuck up.
Anyway, on to my two final points and then I’ll let you go. I promise.
Point 1: Gay Marriage–I mean, come on. We’ve dug this hole ourselves by making “Marriage” a legal institution, but for fuck’s sake…it’s time to take this issue and make it federal. I’m all for States Rights, but some things shouldn’t be left up to states…things like Slavery, Interracial Marriage, Religion, and Human Rights. These are people. These are adult people. If they can’t get “Married”, no one should be able to.
My idea: Take “Marriage” out of the law books. Not the practice, just the term. Marriage is a religious institution and that’s why these dickwads are preaching the “Marriage is between a Man and a Woman” nonsense. Let people get “Married” in Churches that accept those things and just call the legal documentation a “Civil Union”…for everyone. That way, everyone’s happy. Well, not everyone…but fuck everyone. Do you know how much extra tax money gay weddings could bring to States? I don’t!
But have you seen how much gays spend on ridiculous bullshit? That’s gotta translate into a pricey wedding. And probably an environmentally safe one as well.
Point 2: Drug Prohibition–Eliminate it. All of it. We don’t need new tax laws for it, or any new laws at all…just eliminate the drug prohibition and the failed War on Drugs and grant amnesty to non-violent drug criminals.
If you want, you can bring special laws to Marijuana (along the same lines as alcohol), but that’s not necessary unless you want to generate more tax revenue, which…it seems like everyone is against these days.
My idea: When you have a Q&A, allowing internet-users to submit their questions, don’t blow them off when they ask you about the legalization of marijuana. It’s a legitimate issue; and believe it or not, it doesn’t only appeal to potheads. It’s an issue that many people care about.
Especially those who believe in the kind of freedom that this country is supposed to represent.
If you could take these two things seriously, I think your presidency will be remembered for something more than your race, which, while it is significant, it is overlooked in a country that has had acceptance and political correctness forced down its throat.
Martin Luther King was remembered for the changes he made to this country. No one talks about the fact that he was black these days. It’s irrelevant.
If you, sir, are going to leave a standing legacy, you have to do more than just do something while being black. You need to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans…and make sure it stays that way.
I don’t expect a response. The only contribution I gave to your campaign was giving you my vote.
Please don’t make me sorry that I did.
But from what I understand, for the most part, marriage is the secular term already. matrimony is the Christian term (especially Catholic). So, again for the large part and not entirely, marriage is fine in my mind. But that’s just semantics, and there’s nothing less productive in politics than arguing semantics.
Better still, we should work on making that Super Sudes SuperConstitution, or Super Dudes Letter to the President and People. The Super Dudes Continental Congress. There we go.
Also, I disagree that no one cares that MLK Jr was black. I think that’s still a pretty damned big deal. And I still don’t really think that ALL drugs should be “legal” so much as that drug users shouldn’t be punished at all. And I’m totally in agreement that Barry needs to stop making fun of the people who are asking about it as a legitimate question. He has to remember that HE’S the one who decided on the policy shift about the dispensary raids. He must have had one of his friends remind him that marijuana policy it too controversial, and not “feel good” enough to follow through.
The abstract emptiness that I’m feeling may be somewhat caused by the abundance of lukewarm Coca Cola I’ve been drinking. Perhaps my inner sanctum is trying to deal with the tepid secret recipe…but it’s more than that.
Now, it’s not as if this website is viewed by thousands of people per day, however, to you, the one person (or more) who expected Video Monday to be…Video Monday, I’m sorry. I was working on other things. Big Things. Which brings me to my main topic:
Super Dudes Power Squad…yes, you’ve heard the name before…but imagine this: a Web Show! Comedy! Skits! Writing! My ultimate plan is to turn Super Dudes Power Squad into primarily a sketch show. We will have written segments and concept contributions from the entire staff as well as actors (essentially us) to fill the roles. Sound exciting? Christ, I hope so.
And now that I’ve given you the heads up on that, I expect something in return: your support and your help. We can’t do this without you. We need your feedback. We need your advice. And we need your ambition.
Whew…now I’ve been cutting back on my weekly Movie Trailer picks, so here’s a few that I found today. There really is nothing exciting on the cinematic horizonthat I haven’t mentioned already…but in the words of posthumous Golden Globe winner Heath Ledger as the Joker: “…and here…we…go.”
Enjoy those, and be sure to thank your local neighborhood Quicktime.com.
Until we meet again–
Also, today our country made history. If you’re not some troglodyte living in a glacier, you’d know by now that Barack Obama is officially our new President; and this country’s first obviously multi-racial one, too! Although, I’d imagine the significance lies more in his black half than his white…Congrats, Mr. President. Give ‘em hell.