Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Shooter

I just watched the DVD. When I saw trailers for this I wanted to see it. It's the sort of movie that I usually enjoy.

It wasn't bad. In fact it was pretty good in some ways and the annoying bits weren't too hard to ignore.

The end was sort of bad. Not the choices that I'd make. It took conspiracy a bit too far, away from conspiracy to "this is the way the world works." It *should* have been enough to expose the Senator and his fellows. Where was the press in this?

The idea wasn't too bad. The speech his spotter's widow gave about her dead husband's choices was good. (Though why she'd go back to using her maiden name I can't imagine.) Among all those willing to look the other way were several people who were... righteous.

But overall it wasn't a "conspiracy" movie. There wasn't a "conspiracy" there was only finding out the "truth" of reality. In this world president Bush really could have blown up the world trade center buildings, the pentagon, and disappeared four aircraft full of people. It made me wonder if the writers and producers are Truthers. They even (cleverly) tied the story into real world events to support the story-reality by mentioning WMD and Abu Ghraib.

Why does Hollywood do this? Why does it give us movies that will appeal to people who like "special forces soldier as hero" movies and who want to see Truth, Justice, and Heroism win out over evil, and then put in this nihilistic sub-text and Truther reality?

Because it's just going to piss off the audience. The result is a movie that appeals to neither group of people. And it tanks.

Surprise!

14 Comments:

Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I have several books I need to review. Since essentially novels are the only place I can find real quality heroes and heroines (although Hazel would be pissed at that misnomer for her).

Some PC games have ascended to similar levels, but in a different sort of way.

Making hard choices should be well.... hard. The temptation to go the easy road and abandon your beliefs, your duty, or your honor should actually be rather tempting. Come on, surprise the audience once in a while. Give them a situation in which they naturally expect the hero to cave or to be defeated/punished/etc, and then surprise the audience by having the hero break through his or her limitations; and more than anything else, winning against great odds. Both 300 and Matrix 1 had that, and that is where essentially, their popularity, lies.

There are other reasons, as for much of the human condition called motivation and entertainment, but everyone likes a surprise and everyone understands that to go from the lowest depths of despair to the highest ranks of joy incarnate is one of the most fullfilling human experiences in existence.

It is a simple thing for movies to characterize a fictional President as a Dark Lord of the Sith, only to find out in the end that the President is the only good guy amongst his entire government, that only by working with him and using his powers (powers that once were used to hunt and kill you and yours) could the hero triumph.

The real world is almost never exactly as we see it, and there are always surprises in store for us. You even see it in Iraq, Synova. Enemies become friends, friends become enemies, everything and anything can change given human existence. The unpredictability of life is inherent even in our genes, yet Hollywood movies are so predictable it becomes soul boring.

One of the best moments of Firefly was when the chief villain gets surprised. Since it makes them more real. Real heroes, real villains, not caricatures reading from a script. Treat your audience with a bit of respect, I say, try to expect them to rise to the occasion and figure out secrets within secrets.

I may not have the skills of a story writer or a movie director or a script writer, but I know essentially more or less what interests human beings on a psychological and emotional level.

We all do, because we are all human, and while using ourselves as templates is a basic restriction, it ceases to be after a couple of levels of advancement.

I am only surprised that Hollywood doesn't seem to realize what stokes the human heart and drives our ambitions, both good and evil. Take the Dungeons and Dragon movie. There was so much glory and destruction you could have had, but it ended up as a cheap sideshow to Star Wars The Clone Wars.

Van Diesel did an interesting job with Riddick, that infamous anti-hero. Another characterization style missing from almost all recent Hollywood stuff. Mal in fact is also an anti-hero, although a more complex one. Heroes should not be cookie cutter layouts that you just pour an actor's face, gestures, and voice into. They should get more respect than that, at least.

I like Truthers actually. Because everytime I hear or see one of them, I visualize a movie in which they are transplanted via time and space, to the land of the Draka, in which an American superpower truly is as evil as they say it is. Then we the audience gets to see what the Truther does in such a situation. Now that's a movie I'd like to see.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree Hollyweird with all of the secular jews and homsexuals makes me sick to my stomach.

I won't watch any movies any more because they end up being too liberal and because Hollywood hates George Bush.

It is so unfair too because he is such an incredible president. It is Hollyweirds' loss though.

Do what I do and just don't watch any of their liberal movies.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

I'm sorry that ignoring that as I should might be seen as acceptance of antisemitism or homophobia.

I don't tolerate either.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

Firefly and Serenity are wonderful, of course. And Riddick was very good.

Hollywood *can* do a good job. There's a tremendous amount of talent producing movies and television these days.

Maybe part of the problem with the movies that aren't good is that when I say, "I want heroism and a happy ending" what is heard is that I want something morally simplistic... and that's not true.

Riddick is interesting for a reason and heroic *because* he's a bad person. Why do so many people love Jayne? I mean, Mal is great and the fact that he's come to a place beyond his former morality... or at least he thinks so... makes him interesting, but Jayne really *is* amoral. And people just love Jayne's character. And Snape!

On the other hand, I tried to watch "Three Kings"... Blech!

Shooter had some interesting complexities and some good parts. It was almost like there were several writers involved or maybe someone "fixed" it.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

I think I lost my train of thought somewhere...

Back to the morally simplistic... I think that some of this stuff (the weird sticking of Truther or anti-military tropes into action movies with military members as heroes) happens because the writers think that people want the simplistic and add that other stuff for "depth" without realizing that the place they've made the mistake is in understanding what people mean when they say they want heroism.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Jayne wasn't all that funny in the movie, he acted like he needed a good dropkick out the nearest airlock. But Jayne's Town, with the 3 peeps looking at the statue, now that was rip roaring.

Also, that one incident where Mal was getting his arse beat and Jayne was in bed , is another one. I got the expectation that Jayne was bad arse and would go help Mal and do the stomping, with all the noise, and when Jayne pulled off the cover where all the weapons where at, I was getting ready to see some big gun shooting.

the weird sticking of Truther or anti-military tropes into action movies with military members as heroes

One of the early episodes of Over There involved a SF sergeant doing an interrogation of a terrorist, trying to get info on the weapons dump. What I focused on was his explanation for his methods, methods that instilled fear into the terrorist and used stress positions. HIs explanation was valid, even if his methods were a bit too crude and outrageous for SF guys, assuming they would ever interrogate a captive rather than have Army Intel do it. He said that essentially you had to get into their head and use their cultural values against them, to make them believe that you are going to do what you tell them. As a tool of interrogation and police work, that is quite valid in a sense, although I prefer making promises, not bluffs. There are plenty of terrorists you can make examples of, to convince High Value Targets that you mean what you say, without necessarily compromising your values, killing an innocent, or harming the subject.

The "Truther" moments however, were very weird. In the sense that they showed the terrorist being very resistant and proud as he held the stress positoins and even tried to fight back against the burly SF sergeant guy.

The last Truther moment was at the very end, when the captive broke down and told the SF guy the location of a weapons cache. Then we saw a bomb, birds eye, going right into a small farm house with pigs, goats, and a woman/family.

I found it amusing that these people keep trying to play with my head. In point of fact, the writers might wish to get their heads checked out. They were obviously going for the shock value and got some things right that Bush never touched. Yet Hollywood still infected them in most, if not all, levels. It's hard to say without knowing the people involved in the production of each episode.

Did you ever watch Aeon Flux, Synova? That was a movie that I thought was quite well down on a plot level, even if at the end certain things went a bit incoherent and inconsistent due to the mystery theme.

It had a lot of political twists and intrigue, which as a person interested in the Feudal Age is something I am well familiar with.

It is essentially a science fiction dys-utopia film that I only knew of because of a scifi channel advertisement. Well it was either that or another fiction orientated website.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I completely agree Hollyweird with all of the secular jews and homsexuals makes me sick to my stomach.

Look, the BNP in Britain wishes to recruit folks like you away from the Muslim camps, but you got to realize something. The day of hating Jews and Homosexuals are going to be over. And they will be over eventually because America will one time or another, transcend its fear of smashing the chains that bind both Jews to the Democrats and homosexuals to the Left. For its own good and survival, if nothing else.

Those with power and confidence have no need to despise jews or homosexuals. They are as humanely flawed as anyone else. The jews have a problem of never hurting their enemies enough to make them go away permanently. The homosexuals wish the acceptance of society but are too proud to admit their dependence upon belief circles.

You however, have no discipline. Not enough to even bother typing in a cognomen instead of just leaving it on Anonymous.

And those without discipline will never last through the fires of our world. Even if what they say were what they truly believed.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Hollywood *can* do a good job. There's a tremendous amount of talent producing movies and television these days.

Indeed. Such things as Babylon 5 and 300, but still, they are not big name authors nor backed by Hollywood internal politics or gurus or the established directors.

They are rogues, people who are true artists. Folks with integrity, at least more than the Hollywood volks.

Hollywood is of course a pretty feudal society, in the sense that it is run from the top down as with aristocracy. You have the actors and directors with big names and even bigger bank accounts, at the top and in the lead, society wise and economically wise through movie connections. Then you have the lower classes, which compose of the agents, and movie background workers and so forth. Which seem to be more conservative, due to the prejudice against Republicans and conservatism in Hollywood.

You know as well as I do, that when you have such a structured, stagnant, and slow system, true creativity does not have the room to breathe and reproduce.

Even Battlestar Galactica, a real experiment in plot and characterization based upon an old sci fi show, created by a Star Trek writer, was only accepted by Sci-Fi. Sci-Fi, which specializes in taking chances on such shows, shows that don't have higher Holly class backing.

Sopranos certainly seems to be popular and so was Band of Brothers, and perhaps many other sitcoms or Desperate Housewives type material; but I don't watch the latter and the former is only something I've barely watched.

The daily or weekly series format seems to me to have different characterizations than say, a movie format. Firefly was both. So was Babylon 5. Ossification is the bane of growth, everywhere, as I see it.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Synova said...

Eureka, Dresden Files, Dead Like Me. (Dead Like Me isn't my sort of thing but I have watched it and the writing is excellent.)

I wanted to like The Unit. I watched only one episode. I think it's an excellent example of a show that did its best to alienate its primary audience.

I think I saw only one episode of Over There. Same thing.

And it wasn't the attempt at showing moral complexity (badly) it was putting the stupid soap opera stuff in a show about military action.

Lifetime meets Spike TV.

I don't watch Lifetime because I don't like it! Bleh!

So is someone somewhere tut-tutting about how military shows don't get good audience ratings?

I wonder how Army Wives will do. Lifetime without Spike TV... it at least ought to work for the Lifetime audience.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The only military show that would achieve quality and high acclaim would be Horatio Hornblower and Honor Harrington.

The telling of one man or woman rising from the lowly ranks to world shattering levels of power and responsibility, is a story that would take as many years to tell as a man might need growing up.

Soap opera stuff amuses me to no end, for I know that they attempt to manipulate and tweak my emotions and such small techniques are just too obvious to anger me. At least when it concerns itself with trivialities of course.

It takes a lot of maturity and wisdom to be able to show folks at the lower level, in a way that makes them appeal to average folks, but also show the same folks transcending to a higher level, a level most of us will never reach only see.

Most often what I see is royalty and hollywood vs sitcoms and regular series shows about Bundies, The Tool Man and his family, or just regular family shenanigans.

They never intersect in a natural way. They are either at the top of glamour or at the bottom. Usually rags to riches stories are told in the movie format, where it is easy to gloss over the details and the real challenges facing those of a higher station.

A hierarchy based upon merit and the promotion of someone beyond his current station through merit rather than family connections or money, is something that resonates with Americans if not anyone else around.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry Synova I love your blog and generally agree with you conservative principles but I have to challenge you on who runs the media.

It is obvious that there is a large presence of homosexuals and secular jews in the media business from newspapers, hollyweird, and cable news.

I do not consider myself homophobic or antisemitic but a catholic who is a member of The Catholic League.

I believe because many homosexuals and secular jews do not have religion in their life they tend to write about accepting gay characters in order to indoctrinate the public into acceptance of homosexuality which the majority of the american population does not.

Bill Donahue, the Catholic League President, have been very specific regarding these groups of people. He is a man of integrity and knowledgeable about the ways of the media and how the homosexual agenda is being shoved down our throats.

Also, these individuals are rapid in their hatred of George Bush and republican/conservative principles in general and as a result they tend to belittle them and do their best to make conservatives look silly.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

The problem with that (one problem) is that the non-homosexual, non-Jewish liberals promote the same things. So what about them? While a majority of homosexuals (I really couldn't say about Jews) are liberal, did you know that about 25% voted for Bush last time? There are homosexual conservatives. There are homosexual *social* conservatives.

Stereotyping, as you've done, makes it that much harder for them. I've got a link in my list on the sidebar to GayPatriot.

The hosts there face hatred from the left. They don't need more.

In a whole lot of ways it doesn't matter what Hollywood does. If we're in a battle of ideas there is no reason to feel insecure. Just make sure your ideas are grounded in the truth of something and not in alliances such as political parties or people.

Even conservatism is a movable, mushy thing. Don't put your faith in it because that faith will be badly misplaced.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I really couldn't say about Jews

They pretty much vote Left, with the exception of say Lieberman and Bookworm. Tradition as they say. But the Jews have never been on a cultural revolution or propaganda forefront in their lives. They just like to balance the books and do well in their economic careers. They are very insular in this sense and it is why the Democrat party appeals to them.

The Democrats promise the Jews that they will not be hated if they buy onto the boat, just as they promise blacks to wipe out institutional racism. In both counts, the Democrat party is the source of the problem that they are promising to fix in the first place.

The point is that it isn't the homosexuals and jews that are leading the Democrat party, rather it is the other way around. And to place them into leadership positions ignores the greater threat of the masters.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As an aside, it makes practically zero difference what you believe, if your beliefs are the same as what your enemies believe. The Islamic Jihad believes there are Jewish Cabals running the world and such, so are they just right in such statements and wrong in their actions?

10:51 AM  

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