Friday, December 23, 2005

Bad Santa!

No pictures for this. Everyone knows what Santa looks like. The fact that St. Nicholas was the patron of thieves and outlaws is irrelevant...or maybe not.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Billy Bob Thornton. He's my kind of guy. Mostly angry and profane, he has his moments of what us movie critics would call tenderness. He is the most sublime actor since Tommy Lee Jones [Al Gore's college roommmate] chewed scenery in the '70s and '80s.

Billy Bob earned an Oscar nomination for "Monster's Ball". Halle Berry won the statue. The movie put me to sleep. Billy Bob pays his dues, and is the best character actor in Hollyweird. Maybe it's because I'm a redneck, but I always relate to whatever role Mr. Thornton choses. He is a much better David Crockett than John Wayne, although the historical end of "The Alamo" has me asking questions. (I am a descendant of Captain Dickenson, the artillery captain. I have to ask.)

The official critics blasted "Bad Santa". It's a story of redemption, in the revisionist Hollyweird style. I'll try not to do "spoilers", but a movie about a chain-smoking, profane, perpetually drunk Santa Claus thief can't be all bad. I have the maddening habit of speaking dialogue before it is pronounced on the screen. I am Scrooge; I know what the bad Santa is going to say, because I have mumbled it.

"Bad Santa" is becoming a holiday tradition in The Possum Den. The capers are cool, but the attitude towards children, and the redemption of Santa, and the human spirit, is much more transcendent than the critics perceived. The kids are grown, and won't scream when Santa calls a brat "a little *******", takes a drink from a short-dog, and lights another cigarette.

The folks at the Internet Movie Database [IMDB, for future reference] rate this movie a 7.62. I rate it higher, because I am a big fan of anything concerning redemption, no matter how formulaic and Hollyweird saccharine it might be. Billy Bob is perfect as a child-hater who makes W.C. Fields look like a piker. Yet there is redemption there.

Christmas is an edgy propsition. Jesus was born among farm animals. Mary's pregnancy was a scandal, and we killed her child. "Bad Santa" is the perfect anti-Christmas, for those moments when we grow tired of defending our traditions against those who claim to be "offended" by what they perceive as a perversion of the First Amendment. I am offended by those who take offense, but I don't run crying for a lawyer. Grow up!

News flash! The federal government does not exist to protect you from things that offend you! I see plenty from minoritities that offends me, but I don't call the ACLU. I ain't perfect. Get over it, and may Jesus shine His light in your life during the coming year. Otherwise, go your way, and may peace be with you. God bless all here.

Meanwhile, rent or buy "Bad Santa" as the perfect anti-Christmas. We cuss while assembling the presents under the tree. Billy Bob takes it to the limit. No one else could dare to do what he does. I love a traditional Chistmas; I was brought up on them. My grandfather used to masquerade as Santa. I knew it was him, but I played along because of the exchange of love.

"Bad Santa" is a great reminder of why we observe our holiday. As Aristotle mentioned, it's also good catharsis. Billy Bob says everything bad about Christmas, and children, so we don't have to. If you've ever raised kids of your own, you'll appreciate the reptilian honesty of character in this under-rated gem. I don't think a parent exists who hasn't paused at some point and said "**** this!."

I love Christmas, but live in the real world. The magic is lost, but not forgotten. Perhaps the the redemption of the "Bad Santa" is more important than the movie itself. When you arrive at the "Bah! Humbug!" moment, it's a life saver.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Good night, Tookie

I was so busy with muttering about movies today, I barely thought of the high-profile murderer who faces his end in a few hours.

I don't think my father was killed by a gang member. Evidence suggests he was a victim of a protected witness. This is someone who hides inside the federal "snitch" program, but ventures out to commit crimes when the urge strikes them. If the cops start closing in, the perpetrators holler to their handlers that they've been identified, and they get an immediate relocation and new identity.

My family is one of four who had to go through the ordeal of murder. That killer has never been captured; justice has not been done.

The execution of Tookie Williams is not a racial act; we are not hanging Negroes from the nearest pine tree in the South. If you look at the extant photographs of him, you see prison posturing. Tough guy, bodybuilder. He has steadfastly maintained his "innocence" in the face of overwhelming evidence. Prisons are filled with "innocent" people; you don't believe me, just go and ask them. He has had a quarter-century to prove his innocence. I don't see where his "good works" with young people have dissuaded a single child from joining a gang. He refuses to inform on the national organization he helped to found: The Crips gang.

I have no sympathy for murder. None whatsoever. Charles Manson, David Berkowitz, and that Chapman mook who killed John Lennon should not be alive today. They are flukes of law, and beneficiaries of nuanced arguments that I can't fathom. They are accompanied by a host of lesser-profile killers. My father's life, and the lives of three others, were traded off for a snitch's information on a burglary ring that was stealing firearms in Georgia and running them to New York.

Those who argue against the death penalty say it's barbaric. They say it somehow dehumanizes society to put people to death. They argue in nuanced, intellectual terms that there is no deterence value in killing our fellow human beings.

A killer who is executed is deterred. From what I have seen and heard of Tookie, he has nothing coming in the way of clemency or leniency. My hat is off to Governor Schwarzenegger for refusing political correctness in favor of justice. Yes, there is an element of bloodlust that associates with murder. I would never wish the ordeal on my worst enemy. My father was an old guy; 78 years old when he was gunned down. He might be dead of old age by now, but it was his right to live to the fullness of days that God awarded him. A man put himself between my father and his right to peacefully live his last days.

Tookie put himself in that same position. He stood between people and their lives, and stole their most valuable possession from them. He took everything they were, and everything they were going to be.

The money in a 7/11 cash register, the furnishings in a home, a car, and other acoutrements of life are stuff. They can be replaced. Once taken, a human life cannot be replaced.

Good night, Tookie. You bought the ticket in that instant you pulled the trigger. Now, take the ride, and be a stand-up guy about it until the last breath.

Zombies! Zounds!

Ringwraiths! Zombies! Goodness!

During my little weekend with the various producers in Hollyweird, I got treated to a Showtime "original production". This came under the heading of "Masters of Horror." Joe Dante, a director who certainly has a touch for werewolf movies, signed his name to this mess.

What I saw was an Ann Coulter clone, a "high-priced poltical consultant" who resembled George Stephanopoulous, and a gang of "the undead."

I like zombies as much as the next moviegoer. I don't want to see them stumbling around, being politicized. They make fine flesh-eating boogeymen. Ringwraiths make even better undead.

What I got treated to on "Masters of Horror" was a sick compilation of an Ann Coulter, and dead servicemen rising from the dead to vote against "the lie" of the war they'd died in. The Coulter clone is murdered in the first part of the show. The zombies are walking around in their Class-As, voting and dropping over as soon as the deed is done.

There is something screamingly funny that the Democrats have the graveyard vote sewed up. This whole notion that people will rise from the grave to vote against "the lie" was disturbing. The portrayal of a blonde woman as an opportunistic slut was also insulting. I suppose Mr. Dante fulfilled his role as a director; he aroused angry emotions and caused me to think outside the envelope as a conservative. As a movie fan, I am not happy with what I saw.

As a "Master of Horror", I suppose the gentleman is fulfilled. I was horrified, but not not for the purile reasons he envisioned. If you haven't seen this piece of trash, brace yourself. I think Mr. Dante should stick to werewolf movies, but...that's just me.

The Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Movie Critic.

December is a hard month. This year is the 20th anniversary of my father's murder. My health isn't all that good these days.

I started a post yesterday, and got two comments before I'd said anything. Thank you, my constant readers!

My satellite provider gave me an "all-access" weekend, on and around the third of December, which is when my Pa was killed. Since I'm a chronic insomniac, I dutifully sat up for 72 hours straight, watching movies, comedy specials, and shows about sexuality that alarmed even a sleaze fan like my jaded self.

Where to begin? I like a good dirty joke. I suffer from potty mouth, and enjoy bathroom humor as much as Howard Stern. I also raised two girls who turned out pretty well despite their old man. I am much alarmed that HBO and Showtime offer unlimited access to what I saw during my little weekend marathon. Cable and satellite providers brag that they offer "lockout" services on their adults-only channels. If you have the password entered, they won't even deliver a program description.

What parent locks out HBO or Showtime? They have a clever mix of family-friendly programming. One of the movies that had me chuckling was "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead." A Disney offering, I got a hoot out of it as an adult. I had to check the rating a couple of times to verify that it's PG-13. Scanning the schedule, I saw some old Looney Tunes, and a new one. Showtime is a CBS franchise, and that speaks for itself. How many homes have HBO, though? The normalization of abberrant sexuality had me wincing. I know what kids do when their parents aren't watching.

Robert Klein and George Carlin are funny guys. They both hate George Bush. There was an undertone of nastiness in some of their remarks about Christianity. I promise you, guys, we aren't out to run anything.

The BBC had a good little flick about a dirty bomb detonating over London. It's titled "Dirty War", and is well worth a look. The BBC has more prejudice in their remote control finger than I can dream of for my whole body, but they were sensible in the production of this little piece.

I had three posts originally for my ravings. One was "original productions", one was the sexual nature of contemporary programming on the major cable channels, and one was straight up movie reviews. It took me a week to sleep off the binge of "entertainment". I'll try to combine them here; it's all TV, after all.

"The Manchurian Candidate" had to be the striking movie of the week. Anti-capitalism, big-time conspiracy theory, very scary. It wastes one of my favorite stars, Denzel Washington. I had the privilege of working with him on "Glory." Denzel is a good guy; he stands out among the Hollywierd elite. Meryl Streep is much more captivating; she is a perfect Hillary clone.

More than the implants, the suggestion of sinister vice-presidents out to dominate the world, and the overall "I hate America" rubbish, Ms. Streep hands us Hillary on a platter. I am alarmed that people are going to see this movie, and vote for her.

"The Alamo" is also good. Billy Bob Thornton is a better Davy Crockett than John Wayne. I think most of us know what happened there.

The high point of the weekend had to be the zombies, though. Democrat zombies.

I see a new post coming up on this subject.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hello! The movie critic is back!