Monday, December 18, 2006

Post Millennial Backwash

Not only am I back. I'm actually going to start a Blog post like Andy Rooney would. God help us all...


Do you remember when movies used to be ABOUT something? Especially political movies. I love political movies. Two of my all time favourite movies are directly political, and they are both about something tangible. The Manchurian Candidate is about McCarthyism and though it deals with subject matter in the abstract, the parallels are fairly clear and fairly undeniable. Bob Roberts is about the branding of Patriotism and a Concept of America by the conservative Right Wing, Explicitly. It was maybe even ahead of its time, but it pulled no punches and went after its prey with a bloodthirsty single-mindedness which is still stunning to watch 14 years after it was made.

It was the Feud between comics writer Alan Moore who had created the source material V for Vendetta and its film makers with DC Comics which got me thinking. One of the things Moore was mad about was how the American Film Makers had changed his dystopic SciFi Future London (a reaction to Thatcher's 80's) into a dystopic SciFi Future American London (presumably a reaction to Bush's 00's)thereby changing it such that he wanted no part of it. I had heard his views before I saw the film, and couldn't help but reflect on them before and after. My overall feeling on actually watching the movie was about how remarkably bland the politicking had gotten. The Evil Establishment essentially boiled down to Nazis who worked for an Evil Corporation. This was SUCH a profound difference from Moore's V, one of the primary themes of which happened to be the banality of evil, that it made me think about other recent depictions of Evil.

A week later I saw that on the TV show Prison Break the mysterious evil entity which framed our beloved heroes was also an Evil Corporation. The same is true in the neutered remake of The Manchurian Candidate. It started to dawn on me that what I was seeing was the convergence of two distinct and disturbing media trends. The first and more obvious is that of the All Knowing All Evil Corporation. This is a well worn theme which comes back from time to time. Helped along by Standard Oil, Microsoft, Meat Packers or Halliburton, its return in American media life is as predictable as the tides.

The second trend is that of adapting politically volatile material composed some time ago into a modern piece which lacks any real political bite. But while on another blog I had something of a revelation. This cultural sanitation through regurgitation isn't exclusive to the political movie, there seems to be an AWFUL lot of media being created by people who have only, ever, been exposed to media. I'm not saying that all Homages/Remixes/what-have-you are worthless. But, rather, that there needs to be more of a point behind such things than mere love and fidelity to the source material. It would have been OK for V to have been about The Bush Administration but to allude to Halliburton (hidden behind Nazi's) is just a cop-out. To Remake the Manchurian Candidate and put yourself in the position to be critical of Oil Wars and in the end just be about... Halliburton (Nazis there somewhere) is a total cop-out. Not only are these cop-outs but they actively dilute (with urine) the originals as public recollection grows into a hazy mixture between the once relevant political statement and the broad-strokes of the remakes.

This is twice removed meta-navel-gazing. Talking about our impressions of watching a war on TV. I guess it's fitting that such things should become the most prominent theme Du Jour in a world where blogs like this exist. I find it vaguely depressing, that in a culture where most people have SO much contact with Filmed Entertainment that it squanders its chances to be half as meaningful as that which it has been SCAN/CUT/PASTED from. I'm thinking that this is just temporary. Call me an optimist but I firmly believe that real meaning (rather than vague allegory, demagogary or partisan shots) will reassert itself. Like Dylan or the Ramones or Nirvana or French New Wave. . . SOMETHING genuine will come along and shove all these empty, though lovingly made and beautiful, whitewashed copies to the side. We will look back at it all, professors will teach it... perhaps it will start with the Beverly Hillbilly's movie, or LA Confidential's Oscar Wins, but we will be able to contextualize these sanitized remakes. When that happens, the period/movement will need a name, I nominate "Post Millennial Backwash."

48 comments:

Geoff Klock said...

Hey. Is Civil War and the Ultimates Post Millennial backwash? I feel like they are (though I still like the Ultimates and am mildly amused by CW).

Ping33 said...

Civil War may be. I feel like we've gotten this plot multiple times.
Ultimates is weird though... to tell two stories with almost identical resolution. I wonder if Millar isn't calling out all of Superhero comics as a dead-end genre.

GiantKillerMantis said...

I haven't seen the movies you mention in this post (tho i saw the original Manchurian Candidate), but i have noticed the Evil Corporation theme many times. As bad as a bad corporation can be--sending your job overseas, stiffing you on a raise while giving the CEO millions in bonus money, stifling competition and innovation--it's still the government that holds the most destructive powers. It's the government that is empowered to confiscate your property, imprison you, send you to war, violate your privacy, and execute you. If filmmakers want to talk about threats to society, they shouldn't ignore the ones that come from corporations and terrorists and the like, but they should always keep in mind the most powerful and pervasive one.

Stephen Reid said...

Half the time I don't know what the &*%^! you're talking about...But I love it anyways!

Your friendly neighborhood Flint!

adam brown said...

hello, i emailed you but got an error. anyway here's the reg cleaner i uses, this shit is good, don't stay without protection!

Geoff Jolliff said...

I think this speaks to not only film but society in general. No one is allowed is disagree anymore. No one is allowed to express their point of view without getting jumped on. Trivial mistakes are blown out of proprtion to fill the infotainment news cycle. No wonder we can't get a political movie with bite. Everyone is still too afraid to have an opinion. The movies you listed are simply reflections of our society right now. Sheep!

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毛衣 said...

睇完之後覺得有d頓悟..感謝大大分享..˙ 3˙........................................

陽明山花季 said...

I do like ur article~!!! ........................................

俊達 said...

haha~ funny! thank you for your share~ ........................................

mackt_gattis1115 said...

how do u do?................................................................

童紫勳 said...

Variety is the very spice of life.......................................................

毅綠 said...

Use a book as a bee does flowers.......................................................

MichellSommerville0202 said...

Hello~Nice to meet you~..................................................

Phuong said...

若對自己誠實,日積月累,就無法對別人不忠了。........................................

和中如勇 said...

thanks................................................

文君 said...

Actions speak louder than words. ........................................

文迪 said...

Hard day......................................................................

韋于倫成 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」.........................

韋于倫成 said...

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LorenE_Mese鈺雯 said...

成功的第一要素是珍惜自己 ............................................................

又陽 said...

Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume...................................................

石薇 said...

Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion...................................................

建宏建宏 said...

It takes all kinds to make a world.................................................................

建霖建霖 said...

I guess I will need a lot.................................................................

AlaynaGainer1姿吟 said...

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奕生 said...

Poverty is stranger to industry.....................................................................

明霖明霖 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼............................................................

宜FH定博林P'韓T彥 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

黃怡 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

Seeing is believing.百聞不如一見............................................................

雅莊王edgd春2蕙婷余惠其 said...

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SarahD_Mon淑盛 said...

享受你自己的生活,不要與他人相比。............................................................

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原秋原秋 said...

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琬安琬安 said...

Necessity is the mother of invention..................................................................

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良言一句三冬暖,惡語傷人六月寒。......................................................................

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值得一看再看的格子,多謝分享.................................................................

凱v胡倫 said...

Learn wisdom by the follies of others.............................................................

建邱勳 said...

Learning makes life sweet.......................................................................

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