Thursday, December 07, 2006

Unhappy Bleat

I know most of bloggerdom has been consumed with dissecting the report from the Iraq Study Group every way over Sunday (I plan to have a little more to say soon, actually) and trying to size up the fact that, as one of its last acts (mercifully), the departing Repug congress completely rolled over on the Robert Gates confirmation.

I mean, I expected him to get in also, but 95-2? Gee, what happened to “advise and consent,” ladies and gentlemen?

Well, something has been bugging me for the last few days, and it is this comically idiotic review of the new kids’ movie “Happy Feet” by right-wing shill Michael Medved, and I have to say something about it. I will admit at the outset that I haven’t seen the movie. However, Joel Wendland did, and he posted about it here; as you can see, his review departs so drastically from Medved’s that it’s clear to me that this is a lot more than artistic disagreement.

Actually, I think this Media Matters link explains what’s going on here; Medved’s fit of pique was merely intended as the opening shot in a new battle joined by other right-wing media knuckle draggers. I guess the thinking is that Medved has a smidgeon of credibility on this because he’s railed about movies in the past that seem to come too close to exceeding his narrow parameters of freeper acceptability.

Medved is a particularly odious character as far as I’m concerned because he pretends to be looking out for the best interest of kids in the guise of propagating right-wing dogma (Michael Berube makes an interesting observation, I think, here about what Medved may have really had in mind when he thought Mumbles the penguin was being “tortured” – and yes, Berube saw the film).

And by the way, as long as I’m mentioning Medved, I want to point out his criticism of the movie “Million Dollar Baby,” which cleaned up at the Oscars in 2005; Medved and others of his ilk utterly damned the movie over the euthanasia sequence at the end.

I saw this movie on a plane about a year and a half ago, so I have a bit more of a frame of reference on this one.

It would have been nice if Medved had bothered to mention the fact that Eastwood’s character, boxing manager and “cut man” Frank Dunn, had agonized over his decision to do that to Maggie (the boxer played by Oscar-winner Hilary Swank) in accordance with her pleas to him, with Dunn even going to his parish priest for guidance; Dunn had had a strained relationship with the church for years. Also, there are many dark moments in the movie that lead up to this. However, first and foremost, this is a well-told story with very-well-defined characters and great performances. And it is highly representative of real life, despite some obvious Hollywood touches, so I can see why an ideologue like Medved would feel uncomfortable.

I don’t know why Eastwood and screenwriter Paul Haggis felt it was necessary to include the whole euthanasia thing at the end either, but it does make sense a bit when you consider the behavior and attitudes of the characters in the movie (it’s called “context,” Medved!).

So it sounds like Medved has issues with movies for both children AND adults. With that in mind, I think he should let the kids write the reviews for their movies next time and stick to fear-mongering and construction of emotionally satisfying straw men for some of the “grownups” instead.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I wish Medved were only a hack, but with so many people reading his written turds each week, he's much more dangerous than that .. as for Unaccompanied Minors, I was hoping against hope that Paul Feig would turn out a winner, but I have my doubts