A Higher Form of Heresy

noah_posterI’m not religious. Well, not religious in the sense that I don’t believe in a God or some other deity that made the world or is watching over us. So, if there’s a film that has even a passing resemblance to what is written in scripture, it has no impact on me as a piece of religion. I only see it as a work of art, first and foremost. The controversy surrounding Noah has, unfortunately, been unprecedented, with a seemingly legion amount of detractors calling it sacrilege and that writer/director Darren Aronofsky and star Russell Crowe are going to burn in hell for this. Or something. It’s unfortunate because it is selling short a fascinating movie. Noah is imperfect, but it is such a imaginative, majestic, heartfelt rendition of Old Testament text that it’s hard to not find something to admire. It’s a film that swings a lot of punches, and while not all of them land, at least it has the balls to clench its fists in the first place.

Noah is a descendent in the direct line of Seth, the third child of Adam and Eve. The children of Seth live in harmony with the world, working and nourishing the land to grow crops and live peaceful lives. However, Noah, and the children of Seth by extension, are something of an endangered species, as the children of Cain, Adam and Eve’s first son, have spread across the world. The children of Cain are industrial behemoths, abusing the Creator’s gifts and exploiting the planet, leaving desolation in their wake. They also may or may not be cannibals. When this planetary devastation reaches its zenith, the Creator sends Noah a vision. He is primed to wipe out humanity in an immense flood and tasks Noah with saving Earth’s innocent wildlife. To do this, Noah and his family set about building a massive ark to shelter all the creatures of the world and themselves when the storm comes. Such a task is impossible to keep hidden, and Noah’s venture soon catches the attention of Tubal-Cain, a direct descendent of Cain, and his army of savage men who, desperate to survive the coming apocalypse, take up arms against Noah and his cause.

That Noah plays fast and loose with “facts” of the story goes without saying. Bible movies these days worship the text of the book, often to the detriment of the film itself. Noah isn’t a bible movie. Here we have a glorious return to the days of Cecil B DeMille’s The Ten Comandments, only with 100% less childish melodrama and 100% more rock monsters. Noah is, above all things, a sweeping fantasy epic, with grand spectacles of catastrophic destruction, titanic battles, and creatures both familiar and alien. It succeeds mightily in this. Aronofsky hasn’t really done a film on this scale before, but he shows a deft hand with everything he’s given to work with. Noah is an imposing figure, but he might as well be an ant compared to the things that Aronofsky throws at the screen.

There’s an action beat at the cataclysmic peak of the film that is, from a pure epic perspective, above and beyond anything that has come out in recent years, from 300: Rise of an Empire to Game of Thrones. It’s an incredible sequence that makes us privy to all the juicy money shots, but keeps up a strong sense of spacial relationship and danger. It’s also surprisingly brutal, and that goes for the movie in general. The Old Testament, for all the bible thumper’s claims, is a messed up piece of text, and the movie doesn’t shy away from showing the gory details. It’s PG-13, but it pushes it.

The scope for this kind of movie has never been bigger. You have to keep constantly reminding yourself that Aronofsky actually built the arc to scale for shooting. That kind of commitment hasn’t been seen since James Cameron sailed about in his own boat, and Aronofsky outdoes even him.

Thankfully though, the human element of the story is not forgotten. What is most remarkable about Noah is the respect that Aronofsky shows to both sides of the argument. This is perfectly exemplified in a sequence that sees Noah recounting the creation of the universe to his family. The words are from the old testament, with all the “Let there be light” that the purists could ask for. But the images are of evolution and ecology hard at work. The world is formed from fiery matter being mashed together and humans are shown evolving from monkeys from fish. It’s an astounding sequence that beautifully demonstrates complete harmony, the scientific and the religious co-existing without a single doubt.


The characters’ faith is also approached in remarkable ways. Tubal-Cain is a total bastard, yes, but he is presented as one who once had faith but has since lost it due to the Creator seemingly turning a blind eye to him. In a way, he’s just a kid craving the love of his father. He even, at one point, refers to all of mankind as nothing more than a pack of orphans. Noah as well is handled in ways you wouldn’t expect. For the first half of the movie, he’s presented as the classic soldier of the Divine, devout and true in staying the course. But then the film pulls an about face and uses him as a tool to examine pure, unwavering fanaticism. So convinced is Noah of the Creator’s will that he becomes as much a threat to his family as Tubal-Cain. It’s a ballsy move on the movie’s part to turn its hero into the villain in the third act, but it rings absolutely true and provokes plenty of thought on the actions that men take in the name of their Lord, from back then all the way up to today.

Russell Crowe and Ray Winstone both portray these men like the veterans they are. It’s easily the best work Crowe has done since A Beautiful Mind and just might be one of Winstone’s best performances ever. Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson provide the grace and Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth provide the voices of reason. Everyone works together harmoniously here. It’s a nice to Aronofsky return to a more ensemble driven film after his work in single character examinations.

The most recent pop culture touchstone that I find myself comparing Noah to is The Book of Mormon. That show is a scathing critique of Mormonism and religion in general, but it’s also a celebration of it. So much crap goes on today in the name of religion, from discrimination to straight up destruction. But religion can be a wonderful thing to have. Faith can save people, giving them the means to find in themselves the strength to overcome and rise above. Noah is a movie that criticizes the things people do in the name of religion, but it also has an undying respect for faith as a whole. The word God is never mentioned, and that’s because Noah isn’t about Christianity. It’s about all religions in general and how, in the midst of all the atrocities and bullshit, there is still beauty and wonder to be found.

Noah, the character, is portrayed here as well meaning but certainly more than a little nuts. The same can be said of Aronofsky. He’s insane to take a story like this and turn it into an epic spectacle whilst still retaining all the meaning that drew people to the story in the first place. And that’s a good thing. Only someone completely batshit could make a movie this ballsy and pull it off. Noah is flawed, yes. The overt message of environmentalism is heavy handed, and I didn’t buy some of the character beats, particularly anything that Lerman’s character did. But the films defies all expectations and delivers the message of the story in a profound and exciting way, while still being an incredible piece of fantasy escapism. Sometimes deviating from the source material is the best way to reveal what it’s all about in the first place.



The Black Hole Presents: Top 15 of 2013

Hi. It’s me. Don’t lets make a big deal out of this. Senior year has been demanding even more time from me.

2013 was sort of all over the place. Granted, my experience is influenced by the fact that I was in London for the first few months of the year, and was privy to some movies that weren’t gonna make it stateside quite yet. I’m pretty sure I saw Trance well before all of y’all. That being said, it wasn’t that strong. And then the summer sucked! For every Iron Man 3 or The Worlds End, we got 3 Hangover Part IIIs, Grown Ups 2s, or The Purges. It all picked up in the end though, and the slew of awards films ended up being one of the strongest in recent memory. So strong that it is pretty difficult to say which film is the frontrunner for Best Picture.

I know I missed the train for all the year end lists, but I managed to catch a cab, and then a jet ski, and then a stage coach, and I might have been parachuting as well, and I made it to the party just in time for the Oscars tonight (which I won’t be watching, cuz senior year). The point is, here are The Black Hole’s picks for the best movies of 2013.

RUNNERS UP: SPRING BREAKERS (For… reasons), STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS (For that Sherlock guy), ELYSIUM (For Neil Blomkamp on a big budget), TRANCE (For Danny Boyle’s infectious style and its twisty, twisty plot), THE GREAT GATSBY (For the lesser half of Leo’s banner year), ONLY GOD FORGIVES (For that fist fight and those colors), THE COUNSELOR (For it’s rejection of mainstream cinematic tropes and McCarthy’s sensationally lurid script)

15. THIS IS THE END: While not the best or funniest end of the world comedy to come out in 2013, This is the End coasted high on the chemistry of it’s cast and it’s enjoyably meta nature. It’s always fun to see A listers take the piss out of each other. It’s all fun to see them die.

14. MAN OF STEEL: Yeah, Man of Steel had problems. Tons. It’s completely humorless, unnecessarily violent, and maybe it shits all over the source material. I don’t know. But the good of Man of Steel far outweighed the bad. I still appreciate how it treated Superman’s origin as a sci-fi movie rather than a superhero movie. I love how it spent a hefty amount of time on Clark’s struggle to reconcile the lessons of his two fathers. And Michael Shannon is incredible in it.

13. PRISONERS: In what was maybe the best performance of the year, Hugh Jackman was utterly convincing as a father willing to do unspeakable things to locate his kidnapped child. It would have been so easy to turn his character into a heartless villain or a cliche, all American hero, but Jackman’s talent, along with a brilliant screen play, smartly capitalized on the relatable nature of his actions turning him to a sympathetic monster and providing him a hell of an arc.

12. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE: Damn it, Jennifer! Just damn it! Why do you have to be so good in everything that do you? Catching Fire wisely jumped on what was good about the first Hunger Games and did away with a lot of its problems. No shaky cam bullshit here. No dodgy CGI. The script, direction, acting, and world building are all much more confident, further drawing us into this violent landscape.

11. THE WORLD’S END: The superior of the two end of the world comedies, the final installment in the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy tackled Invasion of the Body Snatchers action and suspense, while taking the opportunity to provide Simon Pegg with what is arguably the best character of his career. Hilarious, exciting, and surprisingly thought provoking and touching, The World’s End brings this odd trilogy to a close with flying colors.

10. IRON MAN 3: Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black should just make every movie together from now on. Iron Man 3 is the best Iron Man movie, and the best Marvel movie that isn’t The Avengers. Everything in it works wonderfully.

9. AMERICAN HUSTLE: DAMN IT, JENNIFER!!! Maybe David O Russell is losing his touch, what with him making a movie every year now, but damn if he still can’t rivet a viewer with his brutally straightforward dialogue, his great direction of actors, and his slick sense of style. But seriously, DAMN IT, JENNIFER!!!

8. STOKER: You know it’s a strong year where this ends up in the back half of my top 10. Park Chan Wook’s first foray into the English language was a delicious slice of Hitchkockian bravura, teeming with menace and full of secrets just waiting to be dug up. Hell of a soundtrack as well.

7. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: It’s Joss Whedon. It’s Joss Whedon’s friends. It’s one of Shakespeare’s most enjoyably daffy comedies. How could this possibly not be an absolute riot?

6. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Paul Greengrass sure knows how to make a convincing thriller. With a revelatory performance by newcomer Barkhad Abdi and the always great Tom Hanks in the title role, Captain Phillips side steps its obvious pitfalls and becomes a well balanced tale of survival on both sides. Great stuff.

5. FROZEN: I feel like the current hysteria around Frozen only has to do with it’s popularity as a good time at the movies right now. Once it inevitably wins its Oscars and fades from the public’s immediate consciousness, only then will we really be able to grasp how good this movie really was. Taking the Disney princess formula huge leaps and bounds forward with its imperfect heroines, modern day approach to romance, and powerful message of self acceptance over conformity, it heralds in what is hopefully a new era of dominance from the house of mouse. And yeah, “Let It Go” is a bonafide showstopper.

4. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET: It has never, I repeat, never been so enjoyable to spend three hours watching good actors behaving so incredibly bad. In the first hour, Leonardo DiCaprio and friends do more depraved, fucked up shit than in most movies altogether. A flat out hilarious comedy, a biting commentary on the stock trade and Wall Street in general, it’s one of Martin Scorcese’s boldest, wildest films. It’s also one of his very best!

3. 12 YEARS A SLAVE: It’s impossible to deny the raw power of this movie. Like Schindler’s List, it impeccably captures a dark time in history and doesn’t shy away from showing us the brutal details. Masterfully acted and beautifully shot, it’s an effecting piece of film the likes of which hasn’t come out in some time.

2. PACIFIC RIM: Hell yes, Pacific Rim is in my top three. No other movie this year was as unapologetically enjoyable in its quest to deliver on exactly what it promised, in this case, giant robots vs. giant monsters. Anyone could have made this movie cool, but throw in a filmmaker like Guillermo del Toro with a real love for fantasy and science fiction, and what you’ll get is positively revolutionary, an action movie for the growing global complex, where the heroes are multi national, where the setting isn’t in America, and where people of all creeds and dispositions are given a chance at heroism. On top of this, it never forgets why the audience is there, and heaps on the awesome moments one after the other. A movie where using an oil tanker as a baseball bat isn’t the coolest moment is a movie worth celebrating.

1. GRAVITY: But yeah, Gravity gets my top vote, for more or less the same reason Avatar did a few years ago. Were there, objectively, better movies in 2013? Most definitely? But did any of the people who made those movies invent a whole new way to make movies? No. They did not. Visually, Gravity is one of the most jaw dropping experiences I’m likely ever to have in a theater. The first time I saw it in theaters, every muscle in my body was tensed up, so utterly absorbing and believable was Alfonso Cuaron’s filmmaking. And while the gripes about the story are true to an extent, it is still told with grace and is still possessed of a soul. In a year full of memorable (for better or worse) movies, Gravity managed to out do them all in its first 15 minutes. The rest of its run could have just been a coast. And it wasn’t.  



So, Nick over at The Cinematic Donkeysex Katzenjammer had this bright idea for a blogothon. Like Secret Santa, everyone would throw in a movie and once a big pool of films had been collected, we would all be assigned one at random just like, you know, Secret Santa. It’s a really cool little thing, and has already gotten a lot of traction. Check it out here.

Now, I was assigned a film that I really should have seen many years ago. For some reason, I never did. It goes without saying that it is a wonderful film, so writing a review just seemed kinda pointless to me. So I decided for something a bit more fun and improvisational. So, without further ado, here are the 14 Things That I Thought Whilst Watching What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.


14. I’m picking up the tear soaked towels I preemptively put on the ground. Should I watch movies like this with girls I like? Will that make me come off as sensitive?

13: Life Lessons Courtesy of Foodland: Consumerism Will Ruin All Our Lives

12. Burger Barn! There’s real milk in there.

11. John C. Riley! Don’t ever change.

10. I feel like I should think this movie is a lot funnier than I do.

9. I really wish Johnny Depp didn’t get famous. He used to be sooooooo good.

8. I’m really happy Leonardo DiCaprio did get famous. He just got better.

7. What the hell happened to Juliette Lewis?

6. It must be hard to do mentally challenged really well on film, cuz this is probably the best I’ve seen.

5. Yeah, haha, people of Endora, Iowa. Fat people are funny. You know what else is funny? Murder. That shit is hilaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarious!

4. Speaking of which, good on the movie for not treating Bonnie as either comic or villain. She’s super sympathetic, and I loved that.

3. That moment where Becky’s car starts and she and Gilbert think they are gonna say goodbye but then it breaks down again and they are so happy? That was lovely!

2. You know what is great? Brothers! We got each other’s backs on all things.

1. You know what else is great? This movie!

Is your mind blown?


Going Big

pacific_rim_posterI’ll just get it out of the way right now! Go! See! Pacific Rim! No, don’t go see it because it is a wholly original work in a season made solely of franchise reboots, sequels, and reimaginings. Don’t go see it because it is made by one of the true visionaries in fantasy and science fiction working today. Go see it because it is amazing, a exhilarating, majestic, imaginative, and flat out AWESOME action movie, packed to the gills with one scene after another that will leave you beaming from ear to ear. Pacific Rim is like something out of the past, caring nothing for serious moral introspection or a deconstruction of the nature of heroism or villainy. All it cares about it delivering on one thing, giant robots fighting giant monsters, and boy does it ever deliver. Throw in fully realized, if archetypical, characters, a healthy dose of humor, jaw dropping effects, a badass score, and a clear respect and love for the films and stories that inspired it, and Pacific Rim might just be the best time I’ve had at the movies this year. Actually, scratch that. In many years!

Some time in the near future, a trans-dimensional portal opens deep in the Pacific Ocean, and out come the Kaiju, giant, lizard like monsters with a serious hankering to destroy our cities and devastate our population. Normal military tactics prove ineffective, so to combat this new threat, the world’s nations put aside their differences and put all their stock into one program, Jaegers. Giant, heavily armed mecha piloted by two individuals who are mentally linked, these war machines manage to hold the Kaiju back for a time. Fast forward five years later, and the Kaiju are on the brink of victory. In a last ditch effort to win the day, what remains of the Jaeger program goes on a full offensive, led by a veteran pilot and his rookie partner, driving a famous, but outdated Jaeger. It’s pedal to the metal from then on out.

What is refreshing about Pacific Rim is its simplicity. You can explain the premise to your friend in one sentence: “Pacific Rim is about giant, human piloted mech suits fighting giant monsters.” “That’s it?” “Pretty much.” It’s true though. Where most blockbuster action films these days get away from why people go to these movies anyway in an effort to tap into the vein of anything Christopher Nolan has made, Pacific Rim and director Guillermo del Toro couldn’t be bothered. What character development there is is only in the service of the giant robots punching the crap out of the giant monsters. That may sound like a criticism, but it’s not. All character development here is in service of the story. Since all pilots are neurally linked while driving their Jaeger, they are fully in tune with each other’s emotions, thoughts, and memories. Absolute trust and compatibility are required to drive a Jaeger. It’s not something that comes easy, and there’s your character development right there. These men and women need to overcome their emotional baggage and discover their own strength, not because it makes for a good story, or because they owe it to their brothers in arms. No, it’s because doing so will make them more effective when it comes time to beat up some Kaiju. And, I don’t know about you, but that’s brilliant.

Pacific Rim, like The Avengers and like Independence Day realizes that simple doesn’t for a second mean stupid. Is Pacific Rim a dumb movie? Oh, god yes! It has no pretensions to be anything more than what it is, pure, unadulterated filmmaking with the intention to make every single person in the audience feel like a little kid again. The world is at stake here, but the whole carries a very light feel. You can’t not beam as these forces collide, because it’s presented with so much conviction and love. Despite its apocalyptic subject matter, Pacific Rim is actually a very optimistic and hopeful movie. I mean, any film that depicts a multi national effort to save the world, where every country from Russia, to China, Japan, and Australia is represented, and America isn’t the one big hero, is about as radical as anything we’re gonna get these days!


Everyone involved in every stage of the production contributed to that love. Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi make a sympathetic and cheer worthy team of Jaeger pilots, even though they are basically playing cartoons. Charlie Day is an absolute riot as a frantic scientist obsessed with understanding the Kaiju. Ron Perlman is Ron Perlman doing his Ron Perlman thing to the max, and I’ve said before, if anyone can do Ron Perlman’s thing, it’s Ron Perlman! And Idris Elba… well, you no doubt heard his speech a thousand times in every trailer, so to say that he runs away with the movie is just air wasted!

The creature and robot designs are inspired. The Kaiju look exactly what the classic monsters from all those Godzilla movies would look like if WETA Digital got their hands on them. The creatures are so influenced by those films, that each and every Kaiju looks like it could very well be a suit with a guy inside it. And the Jaegers all look like they marched out of an anime fanatic’s sketchbook. The effects are astounding, doing away with muddy browns and grays and instead catering in vibrant blues, oranges, and neon.

And the action is awesome. Jaegers are really cool inventions, packed to the brim with awesome shit. But, del Toro has a keen sense of what is necessary for the film to be as fun as it could be. He’s setting out to indulge the fantasies of every kid who every dreamed of this kind of thing. So, yes, it would be more practical for hero Jaeger Gipsy Danger to use its arm swords all the time. Think of the number of Kaiju it could kill with those. Why doesn’t it? Because using those swords is not nearly as bad ass as picking up an oil tanker and wielding it like a baseball bat! Everything here is in favor of the experience. The action is framed confidently and with a clearly defined sense of space and momentum. We are always privy to the juiciest shot. The music, composed by Ramin Djawadi, is your usual blockbuster score, that is until the action picks up. Then it turns into a head banging, hard rock symphony with all the crunchy guitars and pounding bass you could want.

Pacific Rim is that rare breed of movie where it delivers in shining spades exactly what was promised. Almost every movie these days, regardless of overall quality, falls short of this. Not Pacific Rim. You go in expecting balls to the wall robot on monster action and that is exactly what you get. As an action movie, it humbles every other movie from this summer and many others, from Transformers to Man of Steel. As a work of imaginative science fiction, it stands right up there with District 9Independence Day, and The Matrix as something truly different and exciting. Everyone involved brings serious conviction and adoration to the project, and that commitment to the material shines bright! Is it, on an objective level, a good movie? God no! The script isn’t gonna be winning any awards. Ditto for the acting. It’s a big, goofy, childlike ball. And you know what? Del Toro told us, from the very beginning, that it was going to be just that. Well done sir! Well done indeed!




Battle of the Copycats: Olympus Has Fallen vs. White House Down


So, here I was. Sitting at my desk. Bottle of scotch in one hand. Cuban cigar in the other. Life was on its way toward a glorious train wreck of something, when the whole operation was derailed even further. Through the door burst two burly men, one in black collar and flak jacket, the other in white beater and flak jacket. Both carried large guns, both were bloodied and covered in dirt, and both had fire in their eyes. I immediately paged my assistant. “Cancel all my appointments. This is gonna take awhile.”

These two folks were Mike Banning and John Cale. I could tell that there was a disagreement between these two manly chaps, given the dirty looks they were throwing each other and the fact that Banning kept trying to knife Cale (He was very fond of the knife.). They wanted me to settle it, cuz I was ca-learly the authority in this. What follows is the transcript.











SG: Ok, why don’t you just calm down and take a seat. No, uh- Mike? Is that your name? Ok, Mike! Put the knife away. And, uh, John, is it? Why don’t you set that belt of grenades off to the side. Just for now. You are both men of action, I can tell, but why don’t we take a break and try diplomacy for a change. What do you say?

MB: Ok.

JC: Yeah, fine. One thing though. Don’t refer to me as John. Refer to me as the party I represent.

SG: Uh, what?

JC: White House Down. Call me White House Down. 

MB: While you’re at it, call me Olympus Has Fallen. 

SG: Uh, ok. Whatever you want. So, let’s hash this out. Um, Olympus. Let’s start with you.

OHF: Well, I’m a badass action movie in which a lone wolf secret service agent fights to retake the White House from a group of Korean terrorists that have taken over the building and have captured the President. I have bone crunching action, stalwart patriotism, a serious mindset, and blood. And this prick stole my concept and took a giant shit all over it!

SG: Alright. Sounds fearsome. Uh, White House Down. What say you?

WHD: Well, I’m a badass action movie where a lone wolf DC cop who wants to be secret service fights against a group of paramilitary americans who have taken over the White House in an effort to stop the president’s peace acts which would render their corporation’s military assets inert. I got bone crunching action, stalwart patriotism, humor, and a actual character development. And this asshole is pissed because I did what he couldn’t.

OHF: Prick!

WHD: Bitch!

SG: Gentlemen! Please. Name calling with get us nowhere. Now, I can see the problem. You are both action movies that deal in the same concept that came out within a few months of each other. Well, not to worry boys. I dealt with this a few years ago when Armageddon and Deep Impact had the same problem.

OHF: Oh yeah. Morgan said something about that.

SG: Yeah. He and I have done lots of business together. You should have seen him after Shawshank. Anyway. The clear problem is which of you stands tall over the other. White House, make your case.

WHD: Gladly. Well, first of all, I have at the helm the guy who made blowing up the White House cool!

SG: Tim Burton?

WHD: Are you high? Roland Emmerich, dumbass.

SG: Sorry.

WHD: Emmerich knows how to make action. He knows how to stage it so that it is coherent but chaotic, tense but thrilling. And I am one of the best examples of his abilities. He’s not destroying cities here. No, now he’s dealing with man on man action, guns and grenades and… ok, there is still a ton of property damage, but who cares! It’s stupid fun.

SG: Stupid? Are you sure that’s how you want to be selling your party?

WHD: I mean, the mother fucking White House is taken over by a bunch of pissed off Yankees, who proceed to get their asses handed to them by one guy who just happened to be there. I am Die Hard in the White House perfected. The premise is absurd. Emmerich realizes this, and decides to have some fun with it. Does Olympus Has Fallen have an action as unapologetically entertaining as the scene where Cale and President Sawyer burn rubber around the White House lawn in the president’s bulletproof motorcade? I think not!


SG: A point well made. Olympus? 

OHF: Well, first, I’d just like to call out this bozo here on his blatant abhorrence of the American ideal! The White House is the center of our government, a grilled cheese and Budweiser filled symbol of hope to all the people around the world. The concept of it getting taken over is chilling stuff. This guy would have you believe that it’s all one big joke! HAHAHAHA! I’m made of more patriotic stuff. I treat the premise the way it should be treated, totally serious, with not an ounce of humor at all. My director isn’t known for action, but he is known for handling drama and characters well, certainly more than that weird german with a fetish for worldwide destruction.

SG: Fair enough, but, how can you possibly expect the audience to have any fun if you don’t have any humor about it?

OHF: Well, my violence is harder hitting, more intense, and waaaaaaaaay bloodier. Movie audiences like blood, right?

SG: Sometimes.

OHF: Well, I got lots. And a bigger threat to America itself. The bad guys here are attacking our country. I can’t believe this guy over here would believe that any serious American would think of attacking the White House.

WHD: Willem Dafoe did it!

OHF: Shut up!

SG: Ok. Fair enough. Who are your villains again?

OHF: Koreans.

SG: Ok, why?

OHF: Cuz Koreans are evil. And Arabs had been done to death!

SG: That’s… kinda racist!

OHF: No it’s not. Is it racism if you speak the truth. Korea is the enemy, along with Iran, China, and Russia. Any of those would be viable threats. Certainly not America.

SG: I… White House Down?

WHD: First off, yeah. It totally is racist! And second of all, I agree it is totally nuts that Americans would attack the White House. Then again, it is totally nuts that anything would attack the White House. Have you seen the defenses around that thing? That place is equipped to survive all the friggin’ terrorists or zombies or whatever you could throw at it. I get that. So I’m using the whole absuridity of the situation to actually say something about the state of the world right now?

SG: Really?

WHD: Well, not much. I am a badass action movie made in the 21st century, remember? But yeah. Look, the president in my movie represents everything that a certain wing of Americans believe is the way back to prosperity. Peace, dealing with poverty, the environment, blah blah blah. The guys attacking the White House represent corporations and special interests groups that the president threatens with his plans. I mean, given that corporations probably have a hand in congress, influencing votes and whatnot, in real life, it’s a blunt but compelling statement. Certainly more so than having the bad guys be a nation we aren’t on the best of speaking terms with.


OHF: Jerk!

WHD: Slag!

SG: Guys! Olympus, he makes good points. Countless movies have Arabs or Koreans as bad guys. Very few have the stones to make the enemy come from within. What’s your comeback?

OHF: Look. At times like these we need to stand together. We can’t be divided, like this one would have us be. We need to unite against a common foe as a whole nation. The threat of nuclear annihilation certainly helps us. I mean, we can all get behind a bunch of white extremists who want to blow up the middle east!

SG: Wow, you are really racist!

WHD: Seriously!

SG: Ok. I’ve heard enough. Look, Olympus. You take your premise seriously, and don’t wink at all in the process. And I respect that. Not enough action movies these days do this. And yes, the blood is a nice touch that adds a bout of realism to the whole thing. But, come on. You have to admit that any movie dealing with the scenario is going to play more like a comedy than anything else. White House Down, you get that. You have fun with the whole thing. And you manage to say something a bit different than the whole “America is awesome, Other nations aren’t” schtick. So… actually, real quick. Olympus, who plays your hero?

OHF: Gerard Butler.

SG: And you gave White House Down shit about being unpatriotic when you cast a scotsman in your film? Get out of my office!