So, yeah. It’s the weekend and I don’t have anything much to add for today, but I stumbled onto this little movie on Cracked and I thought it was interesting. Worth a watch.

I still like the movie but it always did seem strange to me that the bad guys, or at least some of them, did seem to be smarter and more civil-liberties-minded than the Fascist-esque government officials as championed by Malloy of the hilariously precious sports car. Only Larkin exists to offer a modern, human take on what it is to be an authority figure, and he ends up reaching a tentative sort of trust with Poe.

Still, seemed weird to me. Why were those particular traits selected to make these convicts “the worst of the worst”, and why was Poe made into the special case?

Of course Larkin’s line at the start of the movie, about looking at a society by examining its prisoners, was intended to drive this point home all along. I had always taken this “quote” as a sign of modern conservative culture letting these people down, though, and turning them into villains. It all gets rather confusing when they use the line to defend Poe’s convict status while at the same time the assorted other cultural tropes are left high and dry as clear bad guys.

And don’t get me wrong, Johnny-23 and Billy Bedlam and Garland Greene are all pretty clear-cut wackos, and Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom is clearly aiming for a Lecter-style blend of madness and charisma. But given the facets of modern Western culture they represent, their gratuitous destruction[1] at the hands of wholesome ex-military good ole boy Poe does start to seem … well, a little gratuitous.

[1] Except Garland. Bless.

I guess I was always left wondering whether they had been given facets of modern thinking and attitudes in order to make them more relatable and charming, just to make them into characters. And just what it meant for the viewers who did see those attitudes and think “yeah, The Virus really has a point there.”

But the idea that they had been created as anti-conservative tropes for the war hero to systematically destroy on his way back to Freedom and Family and Cherry Pie … yeah, that was interesting.

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5 Responses to Wooo-oo-oooo-ow

  1. JonathanBloom says:

    But each criminal showed that their whole spiel was nothing more than hot air throughout the movie. You had diamond dog trying to execute “pigs” for their wrong faith in the most old testamenty way possible, while Cyrus considered the killing of anyone with alternate opinions to his a completely valid tactic. The connection between Poe and Larkin was more of a old timey cowboy thing – you trust me, I trust you not because of anything political, but because you kept your word. It also helps that the screenwriter, Scott Rosenberg, later also wrote High Fidelity and Gone in 60 Seconds, both which dealt (to different degrees of success) with similar themes of masculinity. Politics, religion and all else fly out the window if you can’t be expected to hold down a simple promise – or in High Fidelity’s case, grow up and toss the dominating record collection to the side.

    Or it might be that I’m just averse to Cracked these days, after their mission statement a few years ago to make everything (even my once favorite show, After Hours) into a left vs. right argument.

  2. JonathanBloom says:

    *Note, this doesn’t explain Pain & Gain, which Rosenberg wrote last year. Though that could be because it got directed by Michael Bay, who on the other hand *is* extremely up front about his conservative values – even if they’re conservative in the way that everyone should be so lucky as to own a ranch lit by eternal Texas sunsets.

    • stchucky says:

      All good points, although I have not seen any of those movies. And I don’t know about Cracked, don’t read that much of it and only watched a few of their videos. I’ve never really noticed a political thing going on.

      • JonathanBloom says:

        Out of all of those, I can’t recommend High Fidelity enough. It’s a really fantastic film about what it’s like to be an awkward geek.

      • stchucky says:

        Cusack? Rings a bell, but I might still just be thinking of “Con Air” again.

        Speaking of Cracked, though, I did just read an article about parenting – http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-failed-parenting-strategies-that-assume-kids-get-irony_p2/ – and read too many of the comments. and now I think humanity is doomed.

        Cracked used to have guidelines about their writing, requiring the author to phrase things impersonally and in an opinionless, funny way. What’s with these super-opinionated me-me-me posts from the Cracked elite? They need to circulate more.

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