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2022 Movies Discussion Thread (v.2.0)


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Yep.  More.  More movies, more reviews, more you not caring.  More B.S., one might even say.  It's Day 424 (and counting) of...this, whatever this is, MORBIN'~! TIME~! EDITION~!

Your Baby's Dirty Diaper

Morbius - I give this pi out of 10 stars, plenty of morbing all over things but a decided lack of Morbin' Time.

No, but seriously, yeah, this is terrible, but it's relatively garden-variety terrible than "noteworthy for its shittiness" awful.  There's one stretch early on where Matt Smith & Jared Leto have one good scene of banter, and they also do a nice nod to Nosferatu with the ghost ship drifting off the coast that's called the Murnau, and if the rest of the movie had been as good as those two bits, this wouldn't have sucked.  But no, everything else is straight trash: the CGI looks bad, the plot is all kinds of dumb and lazy and badly-written, and there's not really anyone to root for here, since Leto's romantic lead is clearly about 15 years too old for him.  If anything draws particular scorn for its lack of quality, it's the action scenes, where they do stuff best reserved for a Superman vs. Shazam-level fight with a couple of C-list Marvel characters who shouldn't be damn near unkillable.  I hope Sony lost their shirt.

Every Thing Will Be Fine - Don't ask me why the title's written that way, just like you shouldn't ask me why anything else in this movie happened, like why Wim Wenders thought directing it this way would work, or why Rachel McAdams' accent is there for half the movie and gone for the rest.  The interesting bits are over in the first ten minutes, and then you still have to sit through almost two more hours with an unlikable character portrayed by an unlikable actor with a director who insists on doing everything in his power to remind you that, yes, this is a movie and so, apparently, the camera should be the thing that moves, even when that constantly disrupts the flow of what's happening.  Other movies have done the "Consequences of a Dead Kid" thing better, and this is almost an anti-Manchester by the Sea, where, instead of kids being sacrificed on the altar of advancing someone's character arc, the characters we meet here are so thoroughly uninteresting that there has to be a dead kid for anyone to give a rat's ass about them.  Well, not me, I still don't care.

Unforgivable Instance of Film Malpractice, Worst of the Nineties-Style

Double Team - Oh man.  Oh my FUCKING GOD.  I really thought with all the garbage I've seen in the last year-plus that I couldn't be surprised anymore, but then I watched this infamous turkey.  Now, don't get me wrong: this is *still* not as bad as The Crow: Wicked Prayer, because this movie manages to do exactly one thing well, and that's to make you sympathize with Mickey Rourke's character.  If anyone knows how to elevate schlock, it's that guy, and for maybe 3 minutes or so, that's exactly what he does.  But, every. single. other. thing. about. this. movie. is. putrid.  Van Damme and Rodman seemingly had a bet going as to who could stink up a scene worse - and Van Damme usually won, strangely enough.  The plot might be the worst, most idiotic, written-by-a-5-year-old-after-a-psilocybin-induced-fever-dream bunch of shit possible.  And of course, you're not *supposed* to sympathize with Mickey Rourke, because he's the Big Bad!   The stunts are some of the stupidest things possible (especially that fucking ending, what in the cream cheese fuck!?!?), the movie looks bad, it sounds bad, it just seems hell-bent on taking every possible stupid fucking decision it made and then trying to one-up it with the next one.  If there was a worse movie released in theaters in the 1990s, I would love to know what it was.  I haven't seen Ready to Rumble, but even that couldn't have been as bad as this.  Welcome to Mount Flushmore, JCVD.

AXE Body Spray Instead of Shower

Out of the Fog - The recent Criterion showcase of James Wong Howe got my attention, since I've mentioned a few times that Hud is one of my favorite movies, and there's no doubt his cinematography is a big reason why I feel that way about it; it's a beautiful film and you should watch it yesterday.  But this movie?  Not quite so much.  This was based on a play and allegedly is supposed to be about fascism, but I don't think that the material translates well, and I certainly don't think films of this style have aged worth a damn.  It's got that stereotypical rapid-fire line delivery junk that went on in some movies of the era, and its depiction of women is, shall we say, hazardous at best.  But there are a lot of familiar faces here, like Ida Lupino and Eddie Albert and Thomas Mitchell, and if nothing else, there are a handful of interesting motion shots - especially in the first few minutes - where you can see that Howe was doing some cool stuff even in films that were otherwise ham-fisted.  Unfortunately, once you've seen the decent bits of visual style, you've run out of reasons to watch this.

That'll Do, Pig

Shining Victory - Another 1941 movie that Howe shot, one that's pretty different from Out of the Fog, and I would daresay less visually appealing, but a better film overall.  I hadn't seen the lead guy in anything else, and if I ever do again, it'll be too soon, since he has the charisma of a can of pepper spray.  The story is the real highlight if anything, since it's fairly different from most movies you'd see today, and it's willing to go there with something of a downer ending, because it's authentic about the characters and their relationship to each other as well as their work (and so you don't have to look it up yourself, 'dementia praecox' is an archaic term for schizophrenia).  Maybe I liked this more than some people would because I'm a scientist, but it was also more than a little cringe-inducing, too, since they did everything without gloves and no protection for storing flammable liquids, which, hey, that's how you get the finish you got here.  But, as I said, there's something about the film that just rings true pretty much the whole time, from the professional jealousy/plagiarism set-up to the fat useless asshole who spends all his time running his mouth: every lab's got stuff like that either going on or at its periphery.

Justine - This feels a little like The Fundamentals of Caring if it were completely unfunny and filtered through an attempt at doing a Dardennes movie.  That may not be much of an endorsement on the face of it, but it ends up working well enough here because the relationships at play seem real enough.  If there's anything hard to believe, it's that the military wife was super-faithful and that her kids are so well-adjusted; that certainly sounds like a fantasy.  But the relationship between the title character and her caretaker is solid and well-done, and Glynn Turman holds a lot of this stuff together with a lot of quiet tolerance of the awful grief that the protagonist is carrying with her.  There are a few other familiar faces, too; guess what kind of character Josh Stamberg plays?

The Free World - Easily the best thing I watched last week, although it feels like it had something to say and didn't go far enough with it.  It's almost like the white-people version of If Beale Street Could Talk, where bad things don't automatically happen, but since the cops here are still massive pieces of shit, they happen eventually, and with far less serious consequences.  But it's still pretty openly critical of our disgusting carceral system and how capitalism not only creates the conditions for poverty but criminalizes them, so if you're looking for a film that's off the beaten path with respect to how it approaches American life, this is one of those movies.  And even though I kind of hate Elisabeth Moss, it's yet another movie where you have to just tip your hat to her for being really fucking good at her job; same for Boyd Holbrook here, although he's quite a bit more likable in general.  But, I would have gone in for something that was even more willing to condemn the political and social structures that make a story like this believable.

Edited by Contentious C
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hahahahaha, Double Team!

i was in high school or jr. high when this came out. a friend was a HUGE fan of Rodman and bought a whole bunch of us tickets to see this in theater. i don't remember hating it, but i also watched A LOT of bad movies around this time.

Revisited it around 7-8 years ago. it is every bit as bad as you say. i still hold a soft spot for it for some reason tho.

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I was daydreaming a bit at work earlier and realized there was one bona fide contender for Worst of the 90s that I have seen previously: Highlander II.  But I haven't watched that in close to 20 years.  I have a feeling that, if/when I revisit that, it still won't be as bad as this was, though.

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On 9/13/2022 at 6:01 PM, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I'm not going to lie. Clerks 3 made me cry. 

Practically every comment about the movie I've seen has said the exact same thing and now I'm trying to media-blind myself from finding out anymore before I get the chance to go see it.  

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so i watched Clerks 3 tonight...

Spoiler

was it solely Kevin Smith fellating his own movie? yes, yes it was.

like, i thought it was cool that they brought back so many of the original people to reprise their roles, but it just wasn't a good movie. 

my wife's review: "it had some funny parts, but i think it leaned too heavy on nostalgia."  you think?!? he entirety of the film is Smith making references to his other movies. i love a good easter egg as much as the next fellow, but that can't be the extent of your movie. 

every one of the actors looked ancient and not good. the soundtrack was complete shit (did we really need 3 songs about how great New Jersey is?) and mixed louder than the dialogue. 

tl;dr  this movie doesn't need to exist. and that hurts to say, because i love Clerks and the View Askewniverse flicks overall.

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I use my Xbox for streaming and the app had been stable for quite a while, but over the past three days it's gotten to where it loses the stream and you get the ellipses at the bottom of the screen that means it's buffering. No biggie, I just quit the app and restart it. On the second restart it performed like I'd expect it to(i.e. not crashing). I definitely enjoyed the movie. Keep up the great work with the podcast.

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I can't wait to not watch Clerks 3 at all and completely avoid sharing my opinions on Kevin Smith.  Until then, it's Day 431 (and counting) of Some Stuff, Someday I Will Watch Good Movies Again But Not This Week Edition.

Your Baby's Dirty Diaper

Tramps - Boring stories do not become less boring just because they happen to impossibly pretty people.  After watching Nine Perfect Strangers, I thought I'd be able to watch Grace Van Patten read the phone book, but this snoozefest really put that to the test.  The direction is pretty dull, the writing is not compelling, the acting is usually worse, and nothing really happens; of course, by the time you find out what this is actually all about, it's such a total lark of an idea that it starts to make sense that the Menacing Wannabe-Noir Heavies are anything but menacing most of the time.  This is one truly redeemable piece of this, though, and it's a scene where Van Patten's character says a guy is an asshole.  "How do you know?" "He's driving an SUV."  I feel heard and appreciated.

The Take - Your mileage may vary on this one, but for having Idris Elba and Richard Madden, you'd hope they aimed a little higher than "bad Die Hard/CIA movie mash-up".  These two would probably make a good show of something else, but this is not the script for them, clearly.  What it does have, oddly enough, is some fairly credible-looking violence, where (at least until the ending, anyway) people don't just pop up and keep going after falling down stairs or getting slugged in the face.  A movie in 2016 about cops behaving like fascists and blaming immigrants for a crime seems like a solid idea in hindsight, but the execution isn't really there on this.  It doesn't look bad, but...well, it's not any good, either.

AXE Body Spray Instead of Shower

American Ultra - OK, maybe the world didn't need more Kristen Stewart/Jessie Eisenberg pairings after Adventureland.  This has even more CIA cliches than The Take did, but it also has even more believable violence, and there's a certain Burn After Reading veneer to the whole thing, where it seems like everyone has risen as far as the Peter Principle will take them and where they can waste the most money possible by being completely inept, so from a comedy perspective, that almost, maybe, sorta-kinda works.  But most of the movie is the two leads hashing out their problems, and it turns out the slow burn they had in Adventureland towards getting together was more interesting than the actual being-together bit here. 

Piercing - This was based on a Japanese novel, apparently, and I have the feeling this would have been considerably better had it been filmed there, instead of moving generically over to Some American Metropolis (not that we ever really know where, because all the "outdoor" shots are badly-done CGI, of all things).  And if there's one true drag on this, it's that the lead actor has ZERO fucking charisma.  He doesn't even have "go away" heat; he's a sinkhole of your attention span.  It's baffling he was even cast.  Mia Wasikowska, on the other hand, is practically typecast at this point in decidedly weird movies like this, but you can't help but wonder how much weirder (and likely better) it would have been if it were set in Japan.  Plus, most of the film can't decide what it is; the first 20 minutes are wannabe-Tarantino nonsense, and then with about 20 minutes left, it veers HARD into squicky, trigger/content warning-level uncomfortable craziness, which is about the only reason I'm putting it here instead of lower.  This had some good moments and good ideas, but it needed a steadier hand and should have cast someone with actual acting talent at the center of it all.

That'll Do, Pig

A Futile and Stupid Gesture - I never knew who Doug Kenney was, so this was a bit of an eye-opener.  It is, considering the source material, riotously funny at times, but even with the movie calling out Will Forte in a fourth-wall break, I just can't buy him as a guy I give a shit about.   Nor do I actually think he's that funny.  I feel like 25 other people could have been in this and done it just as funny as he did.  But aside from the Lampoon/SNL-related things, this is mostly going for a vibe somewhere between an issue of What If and the film version of American Splendor, which sometimes works, and if you don't know anything about Doug Kenney either, I recommend you just watch the movie and find out, because this goes to some weird places.  Also, why the Hell was Joel McHale this buff if he's playing Chevy Chase during the full-on coke days?  Get real.

Nobody Knows I'm Here - If you've been wondering what some of the Lost cast members have been up to, here's Jorge Garcia in a pretty solid foreign indie.  This reminded me just a little bit of Heavy, James Mangold's first movie, but it takes several pretty dark turns throughout as it very slowly - but effectively and satisfyingly - unwinds its story about professional jealousy and invasion of privacy and childhood traumas.  It seems a little strange at first that the movie is supposed to revolve around music, when the clips of Garcia singing aren't that impressive, but it does a nice job of saving that for a punchy ending, where the song at the center of everything takes the stage figuratively and literally, and Garcia does a solid job with it.  It's strange, though; it seemed like he was lip syncing during that section, which is just a little too ironic, considering everything else about the movie.  But this is pretty well-done and looks great at times, so it's worth seeing.

Yeah, But...

The Discovery - I'd put off watching this for a long time, because I thought it would be too far up its own ass, considering the premise of the film, but it probably has its head up its ass more or less the right amount.  Rooney Mara is another woman who feels as typecast as Wasikowska, because what movie is she in where she doesn't seem like she's on the verge of committing suicide?  At times this gets a little too bogged down in Interstellar Land, saying its themes out loud instead of showing them, but it manages to pull all those things together with an ending that would probably seem a little too precious for some but I found to be rather thought-provoking.  The bulk of the film is solid and appropriately eerie (though not without its share of levity and absurdity), and it gives you a lot to chew on without necessarily veering entirely into woo-woo land, which is a pleasant surprise, considering the subject matter. 

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On 7/28/2022 at 8:59 PM, Contentious C said:

One Maple-Frosted Donut

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - Kind of a rewatch, kind of a restart.  I watched the first 20 minutes for the 2010s project and this just didn't quite grab me.  Clearly I should have given it another 5 minutes.  This is easily the most Tarantino-esque movie that he didn't actually make; in fact, this has got the kind of style oozing out of it all the time that Robert Rodriguez probably wishes he could have had in the vastly overrated Sin City (the name of the town here is even "Bad City").  It also felt like the kind of film that drew a direct line to Julia Hart's Fast Color, which had almost exactly the same sensibilities when it came to music.  There's such a clear understanding here from Amirpour that the right emotional cue can take something plain and make it electric, or take the electric and make it unforgettable, such as the moment when our twisted couple first falls for each other, which is played with such simplicity and such intensity that the soundtrack just elevates it perfectly.  I think the David Lynch comparisons are a little overblown, because this is not dedicated enough to The Weird to really tap into that place, but it's definitely askew in its own way, and it's a way that works for the story being told.  I'm not sure this would have cracked my top 100 list, but it's definitely an NCAA tournament-ish, "last 4 in/first 4 out" type of movie.  Great stuff.

i watched this last week and it bored me to tears. i had your review in mind while it was playing. A comparison to the styles of Sin City could be apt, although i would not view it favorably as it relates to this movie. I honestly don't understand why it has a high rating and reviews.

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7 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

So you're telling me the guy that played this guy

See the source image

won a martial arts tournament? 

Color me unsurprised

And he played this guy too.

Bane_animated.jpg

 

Edited by odessasteps
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7 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

So you're telling me the guy that played this guy

See the source image

won a martial arts tournament? 

Color me unsurprised

 

7 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Note: I put a photo of Hardy Bronson there instead of Bronson Bronson because the latter said they were indistinguishable. Which says a lot. 

  Reveal hidden contents

See the source image

 

Great film. Tom Hardy's best performance.

6 hours ago, Execproducer said:

Slightly more relevant.

1*k7kt93oymgwQMds66NulSg.jpeg

Need to get round to seeing Warrior as an MMA fan since 2002 and properly getting into it in January 2005.

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Yep.  Here we are.  It's Day 439 (and counting) of Whatever This Is, Angri"er" Protagonist Edition.

Your Baby's Dirty Diaper

The Hotel New Hampshire - Jesus what a stupid fucking movie.  I don't think I've seen a story that was weirder more just for the sake of being weird than this; I'm sure the book does a better job of fleshing out its themes, such as they are, but this lame attempt at presenting a family full of "Gatsbys", as they refer to a couple of themselves at one point, doesn't work on really any level whatsoever.  A huge chunk of the plot is gross and full of squick (not to mention that it's yet another example of dudes who didn't write women worth a flying fuck); Rob Lowe is the central character and apparently no one had figured out in 1984 how hopeless he was at carrying things; and its mish-mash of various 50s & 60s stereotypes while also trotting out "Freud" as a character (never mind he'd been dead 25 years by the time the "events" would have been taking place) are just disorienting and lame.   Actually, I take it back; I can't imagine that the book pulls together any semblance of a worthy narrative, either, since it's not like any of these characters are people you want to know.  They feel more like trite collages of people that John Irving must have known in his own family or met in school, and all I can say is, I'm glad I'm not John Irving, because I wouldn't want to be known for helping barf up this pile of crap.  It's like Dead Poets Society where none of the characters are Kurtwood Smith or Robin Williams or Ethan Hawke and all of them are Josh Charles.

That'll Do, Pig

Hail, Caesar! - This, in its best moments, feels like if you made Inherent Vice for the Hays Code crowd.  It leans heavy on nostalgia, but it pulls off the nostalgia with real skill and style and of course is happy to subvert it with the many behind-the-scenes moments where we see how the on-screen idols are mirages of one kind or another.  Of course, if there's anyone out there working against their own success, it's the Coens, and this pales in comparison to the subtler absurdity and biting wit of Inside Llewyn Davis, let alone earlier work.  But it's far more consistent than Buster Scruggs was, and the choreographed bits really are a charm, especially Channing Tatum's.  If there's anything that doesn't work, it's the strange framing device centered around Josh Brolin that the entire film could have done without.  But, that's true of a lot of framing devices anyway.

Bad Words - Here, on the other hand, is a framing device that ends up kinda working, as we get snippets of a letter throughout that culminate in an ending where the main character (I hesitate to say protagonist, since really Jason Bateman's character is the most antagonistic asshole this side of Tony Soprano or Rick Sanchez) finally unburdens himself effectively.  In the meantime, there's a fair amount of uproarious humor but an equal dose of vaguely racist and sexist stuff, a bit like a Bill Barr routine that maybe gets out of hand.  I think your tolerance for this movie might be dependent on your tolerance for a tone that would have played better in the 80s than it does now, and maybe whether you were ever a spelling bee participant.  But, I liked this well enough.

Black Widow (1954) - Seems like every 33 years a movie with this title gets made (remember the pandemic bumped the MCU one).  This isn't the best of them - that's clearly the '87 model - but I'm not sure it's the worst, either.  If there's something that aged incredibly poorly about this, it's how badly and dimly it portrays women throughout, but that's the sort of detail you can't really be surprised by when it comes to an American film in the 50s.  Nevertheless, when I wasn't trying to keep from vomiting my dinner at how dreadful all these "neurotic" women were, it's got its share of zingers and clever dialogue that keep it moving from time to time.  I'm not and never have been a fan of the sort of acting here, and I think this helps crystallize the reason for that: the murder victim (who looked a fair bit like a light-haired Anna Paquin, strangely enough) is just incongruous, as we're supposed to reconcile the 'nice' girl we see with the machinations that are revealed later, and I'm not sure her performance - or anyone else's around her - makes it that believable.  But yeah, the script is all right, and even though Criterion has it listed in their "Color Noir" section, it's got a lot more Hitchcock in it than noir, if you ask me, and that's probably a good thing.  You could see someone remaking this into something more effective and less offensive today with, say, Jon Hamm in the lead and dropping the title and introduction, which also make the 'whodunit' aspects totally predictable.

Hesher - I'd heard a lot about this movie and didn't quite know I'd be getting what amounts to a mash-up of Rosetta with Rushmore.  It's not as good as either of those films, as it careens back and forth between uncomfortable, angry events and ludicrous nonsense that makes you question whether the Kuleshov Effect should apply to it, so much so that it's easy to interpret this as a case where "Hesher" isn't a real character at all.  But it's interesting at times, if still mostly by comparison - to Rosetta, specifically, not just in the Dardenne-copycat sense but also with respect to the question of gender.  Rosetta is so much more restrained than this is, not because of budget or scope, but because it focuses on a 'she'.  Here, we follow a little boy every bit as confused and angry as Rosetta, but somehow it's supposed to understandable, if not outright acceptable, that he commits blatantly insane acts of violence on the regular in this movie and isn't even the craziest dude in the film.  It says more about us as an audience and a society than it does about the character that teenage boys are treated that way.

Yeah, But...

Then Barbara Met Alan - Sometimes you just need a bit of a palate cleanser, and here was another one.  This is very short and veers almost into 'dramatized documentary' territory, and it's not always that well put-together.  But the beating heart of this are the relationships among the characters, all of whom are disabled and all of whom spend a not-insignificant part of their days fighting to just be allowed to exist.  This is a compelling and gut-wrenching collection of stories about what their fight has been like, and while I watched "better" movies lately, I don't know how many I've seen this year that would be more important than something like this.  I count myself among the many out there who are 'silently' disabled, and this was a good reminder that my precious little life isn't so stupid and useless.

Look Back in Anger - Hmmm.  Tony Richardson.  I guess my first exposure to him was actually having watched Tom Jones some years ago, and I have to say...I couldn't fucking stand that movie any further than I could throw it back then.  It was yet another one of those films where I was baffled that it had won Best Picture; maybe in my old age, I might think differently of it, but now that I've seen this, it's hard to imagine that being the case.  Because I don't often like New Wave stuff, but this was a bit more up my alley: grimy and nasty and crazy, but with just enough interesting direction and cinematography to remind you of what the French were doing and to nod towards guys like Terence Davies down the road.  That said, the real draw here is the script, which is just punchy as Hell, and Richard Burton acts the everloving shit out of it, even if he is at least 10 years too old to be in the movie at all.  If there's a real drawback to this, it's just that it doesn't keep swinging for the fences throughout; about halfway through, it starts running out of steam and never regains that intensity of the first half.  It would probably remind a lot of people of A Streetcar Named Desire, but I think this is a little more authentic and a little less melodramatic in a lot of ways, not the least of which being how it's filmed.  And, oddly enough, Richardson *also* directed The Hotel New Hampshire, which just makes it all the more surprising he ever made that goofy-ass piece of shit.

Why They Make 'Em, Why We Watch 'Em

Walker - I really didn't think it would be possible for Alex Cox to have topped Repo Man (and if quotability is one of your requirements for a film to be great, then hey, he didn't), but I think he did top it, somehow, with this remarkable fucking fever dream of a...a thing.  It's barely a film; it's more like if he and Rudy Wurlitzer did all the coke in Central America while reading Howard Zinn, stayed up every night watching Werner Herzog or Peckinpah or Terry Gilliam interspersed with the Iran-Contra scandal, and baked it all into this.  There's a little bit of so many different films here - Daisies, Aguirre: the Wrath of God, The Wild Bunch - and all of them just swirl around a series of events that are so insane it's hard to believe they happened, but by and large, they probably did.  Every film takes liberties, and this one is no different, but even then, Cox manages to be a fucking genius.  There are anachronisms that start flying in hard and hot about halfway through, and they come in greater and more ridiculous numbers as the film shambles to a close, but their function is clear and highly effective: what does it say about you that you object to an issue of Time Magazine being shown in a period piece but not to the horrors of how people lived and died and were treated - enslaved, manipulated, ruined - by those in power?  And by contrasting today's consumer bullshit with yesterday's imperialism, he invites everyone to examine whether the events of the day aren't really all the same as the events of yesteryear (pro-tip: they were).  Anyone whose politics veer towards a willingness to openly suck off capitalism on a regular basis is sure to think this movie is awful or stupid somehow, but if you're really paying attention...well, so was Alex Cox.

Edited by Contentious C
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