Before I get started, I have to confess that before I watched this movie, I was prepared to hate it. The reviews that I was aware of were brutal and punishing, and knowing the treatment that many DC characters had gotten on the big screen, it wasn’t difficult to believe that once again, the Hollywood treatment had messed up yet another in the comic company’s vast pantheon of heroes. I forgot that critics make their bones not by fair reviews, but by bruising ones. Jonah Hex isn’t The Dark Knight, but it isn’t Green Lantern, either. First, let me say that I was surprised at who was in this movie. I recall that when it came out, much was made of the inclusion of Megan Fox in the cast. I’ve never been impressed with her acting skills, or the unscripted words to tumble from her lips, but neither one of those things is why she is cast in movies, and she appears to have been cast in this film for precisely the same reason. John Malkovich plays the villain, a Confederate general who decided in the late days of the war that civilians were legitimate targets, and who killed Hex’s family in front of him after Hex disobeyed Malkovich’s order to blow up a hospital, and killed Malkovich’s son, who was also his best friend, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, after he drew on him. Other familiar faces in the cast include Will Arnett, Michael Fasbender, and Adian Quinn. The movie opens with Hex, played by Josh Brolin, explaining how he found himself to be better at waging war than he had expected, until he’d made a decision to abide by his conscience, and what that decision had cost him. That decision also left him with one foot still stuck in the afterlife, and the ability to talk to the dead…a skill that comes in handy in his post-war career as shadowy bounty hunter with a price on his own head. We soon learn why his own head carries a price, as his aimless existence once again becomes focused when he learns from agents of the US government that the man who took everything from him, played by Malkovich, wasn’t dead after all, and with the aid of a doomsday weapon never built by the Federal government, means to finish the war with the destruction of Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July. The film proceeds to from confrontation to confrontation until Hex finally gets it right, and rids himself, and the world, of his old commanding officer, earning himself a pardon, and an interesting job offer, from the President, played by Aidan Quinn. I enjoyed Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Hex, a disfigured man shaped by the brutality of war and the loss of his family, who seems at peace with the unusual ability to talk to the dead, and his quick and sometimes humorous responses to the dead, and to the living who are about to join them. I am aware that this film is sometimes compared to the truly awful big screen adaptation of Wild, Wild West, which I can only assume is because of the doomsday weapon Malkovich intends to use against Washington D.C. I understand the comparison, but it isn’t a fair one. The acting is better, the script is more coherent, and Jonah Hex is paced much better than Wild, Wild West. In closing, this is not an edifying film. You will not become a better person because you watched this movie. It is not uplifting, although the ending makes clear that Hex understands that he has been given a second chance. It won’t change your life, and you won’t rave to your friends about how great it is. But it is a fun movie to watch while eating popcorn, and not taking it, or yourself, too seriously.
Archive for May, 2014
Posted in 'dialogues' with the left, accountability, Another Honest Conversation Eric Holder Won't Support, Barack Hussein Obama, Faux Intellectualism, Hypocrisy, Miles Across and Inches Deep, Politics, Priorities, Spoiled Hollyweird Children, The Politics of Lowered Expectations™, Unfunded Mandates, What Really Matters, Why the Internet Is Fun and Informative, WordPress Political Blogs, tagged Dangerous, Embarrasing, Hashtag Diplomacy, Michelle Obama on May 9, 2014| 4 Comments »
When I was still a mushy-headed youngster working on my B.A. in Political Science at the University of Michigan, the department’s resident Communist got to assign a bunch of reading to me (I’ve forgotten more about the history of the Soviet Union then I ever wanted to know) but she also had to get her licks in with works that were also critical of the US. One of those books was The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, by William Appleton Williams. I won’t bore you with a synopsis of what it was about. Rather I’ll simply admit that I modified the title for this post.
I wrote a while back about how society has been seduced by a show of emotion, rather than actual action, and the sacrifice that it requires. In that piece, I was pointing out how it had become in vogue to demonstrate the nouveau “moral” superiority, which doesn’t require the courage that characterizes actual morals. But, as we are wont to do, we have upped our game. How? Hashtag diplomacy.
It started a few weeks ago, with people from the State Department tweeting messages about Ukraine with hashtags intended to be catchy. Sure, it was ridiculous, and stupid, but I guess the relative lack of change to Russia’s intentions and actions in the wake of yet another speech from President Wonderful caused some desperation at Foggy Bottom. And as every highly trained and experienced diplomat knows, aggression and indifference to once-great powers will ALWAYS be stopped dead in its tracks by a really smart person tweeting a bon mot coupled with a super-serious hashtag.
But this weeks round of hashtags in response to the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria by members of Boko Harem (a terrorist group that another super smart diplomat named Hillary Rodham Clinton refused to classify as a terrorist group when she headed the State Department) were both irritating and infuriating.
It started with the First Lady making a duckface frown and holding a sign with a #BringOurGirlsBack. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The idea that people who kidnap girls, slaughter entire villages, and engage in slavery will somehow be swayed by such a moronic photograph led me to wonder…is she really so arrogant to think that this will change ANYTHING, or is this just more posturing…showing just what a great person you are and how much more YOU care, because you sacrificed a moment of your precious time being a scold to us to take a picture with a sign? But when the celebutarded got in on the act, it was unmistakably clear how they took the message.
The worst part of this isn’t the arrogance of a First Lady who fancies herself to be the second coming of Evita Peron. It isn’t professional diplomats who act like they’re twentysomethings who like fresh out of community college and stuff. It isn’t celebrities making useless and empty gestures that make me want to punch them in their smarmy little faces. It’s the fact that bothering to say anything at all when you clearly aren’t willing to DO anything about it, and take the risk that come with really making a stand tells the rest of the world that we’re a nation of weak and ineffectual navel gazers, which is really only true of our cultural and political elites who congregate on either coast, but in so doing, they invite attacks, which will sooner or later, require the rest of us to put our lives on hold to fight the threats that this shallowness invites. And it is the fact that such nonsense will require an even greater sacrifice from those who don’t engage in it that is the real tragedy of hashtag diplomacy.