Hollywood hokum conquers all


My movie buddy and I recently enjoyed three of the trashiest movies in recent memory. They bridged the gap between completely unbelievable and utter nonsense, but they did it with admirable verve and commitment.

Envelopes please.

In the category of slightly believable and somewhat interesting characters, "Savages" takes home the prize. It's about two ritzy drug dealers and their junkie girlfriend who are assailed by the even-worse Mexican mob. The blood, gore, and miscellaneous body fluids flow in quarts. As for the "The Dark Knight Rises" (Batman XVIII or so) and "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter," nobody could possibly care for any of their characters and wouldn't want to. Batman gets a little bit of gratuitous sex; in "Savages," they get a lot of it; Abraham doesn't get any, but makes up for it by making everything in the film gratuitous.

In the category of special effects, nothing since "Avatar" has measured up to "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." The great battle between the vampires and Honest Abe on top of a moving train, with 3-D sparks flying around them and into the audience, was, between yawns, completely breathtaking. Batman's computer generated pyrotechnics probably exceed the other dozen-or-so film versions, but it's nothing we haven't seen. Savages relies a lot more on its ridiculous plot and over-the-top sex and violence than anything as superficial as computer graphics.

Abraham Lincoln takes the golden statue, too, in the political significance category. The profoundness of "Savages" is that drug dealers are really heroic and people to envy. "Batman's" message tells us that the status quo is really oh so much better than monsters who empower the poor and put the masters of the power grid on trial. Actually, that's the only really unbearable aspect of any of these movies.

Batman's new nemesis, "Bane," is intent on destroying Gotham City and plants a nuclear bomb in it. But he goes way out of his way to pretend to be some kind of liberator, so the movie's clear intent is to make liberators look monstrous. Bruce Wayne is, after all, a billionaire industrialist, so the movie might have been subtitled, "Billionaires to the Rescue!" I had my movie buddy re-explain this crazy plot on the way home, and she reassured me that I hadn't misunderstood.

We liked the hoakie message in "Abraham Lincoln;" Lincoln started the Civil War on purpose because vampires were growing so strong by bloodsucking the slaves of the South that they might take over the entire country. During the war, and they actually portrayed this in the movie, President Jefferson Davis makes a handshake deal with the leader of the vampires to save the Confederacy! Lincoln has to rush special weaponry to Gettysburg to overcome the supernatural vampires in grey!

As southerners, we liked this version of the causes of the Civil War much better than the version imprinted on everybody's minds by the 1939 film, "Gone with the Wind" and all the subsequent movie glorifications of the slaveholders' cause. We had to wait 53 years, but we finally have a movie answer to those southern icons, Rhett Butler and Scarlet Ohara.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

105 min.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper

The Dark Knight Rises

164 min

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman



131 min

Directed by Oliver Stone

Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively

 Photo: Savages official website.

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  • thanks for the reviews.

    I think these films fit precisely into the corporate ruling class/right wing campaign to dumb down our nation. At a time when the actual lessons learned during the struggle to end slavery, as well as the role Lincoln played, how he grew ideologically, etc, are so, so important to this period, ruling class culture gives he 'Abe Lincoln-Super Hero!' Charactatures replace real history! Ignorance, even the boastful celebration of ignorance, is a positive virtue in corporate capitalist class culture today. The right, using religion, pushes ignorance of our nation's history, ignorance and denial in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming. Ignorance and bigotry are their programs on women's health, homophobia and racism.

    The ruling class wants Americans ignorant, unable to think cognitively. They cut school funding and attack teachers. In Texas they work to ban books that tell us about actual history.

    Knowledge, science, is power, and working people have the ability to learn, develop real culture of knowledge and learning available to all. Working class culture is the opposite of the ruling class culture of ignorance.

    Posted by bruce bostick, 07/27/2012 9:40pm (4 years ago)

  • I liked my homemade graphic better than the one substituted by the editors. Mine showed Rhett Butler holding back a passionate vampire Scarlet O'Hara.

    My graphic was completely hokie, but so were the 3 movies reviewed.

    Posted by jim lane, 07/25/2012 4:41pm (4 years ago)

  • Next up: JFK: Vampire Hunter, wherein the vampires in who control the CIA and the National Security State team up with the Mafia in order to...oh, wait. That's a good description of what really happened!

    Posted by John Whiskey, 07/24/2012 11:19pm (4 years ago)

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