damnum absque injuria

December 31, 2005

Review of “Munich”

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 2:57 am

For those of you interested in such things, I have posted my thoughts on “Munich” over at my homeblog, Cardinal Martini.


“Munich” could have been a serious study of the most important political and moral issues of our time, but rather than actually confronting the subject-matter head-on, and thus making some kind of timeless point about humanity… Spielberg instead has opted for creating a forgettable and meaningless melodrama focused on one single, shallow character’s struggles with himself.

That criticism notwithstanding, “Munich” was both more watchable than I’d expected, and a far more pernicious piece of political propaganda than I’d expected. It’s this second point upon which I’d like to expound; Spielberg has crafted this movie in such a way that his Leftist political message against killing our enemies doesn’t become apparent until well past the halfway mark. The audience are frogs slowly boiling in his pot.

The rest is here.

December 30, 2005

Why are new movies almost all uniformly awful?

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 1:10 am

Last night, the girlfriend and I went to see “The Family Stone”. (I agreed to see it, despite having read Stephen Hunter’s evisceration of it in the Post, because I always do whatever my girlfriend tells me to — and because one of the “Stones”, Rachel McAdams, is really hot. [But not as good looking as you, honey.]) Sneaky marketing employed by the movie corporations had led us to believe that this was a “comedy”. So, in the least, I figured I’d get a good chuckle out of it. I did not. In fact, this movie was far worse than I could have possibly imagined.

The first hour was horrid. It wasn’t funny, and I hated all the characters. The setting resembled my own personal vision of Hell; imagine a fine house decorated in a respectable WASP-type fashion that is infested with two aging Bobo hipsters and a horde of their irritating hippie offspring; and they are all a**holes. The Diane Keaton character — the most loathsome of the lot — seemed to be battling a terminal disease; the prospect of witnessing this character’s death was almost tempting enough for us to remain in the theater until the credits. But, alas dear readers, we only stayed for the first hour.

(And then we sneaked into “Munich” (which I had previously vowed not to watch) because I figured Hollywood owed us after we forked over our dough for this “Stone” fiasco. Later today I may tell you what I think of “Munich” after I sort out all the things I disliked about it. [And if you are an agent of Universal Pictures, Dreamworks SKG, or AMC Theaters, I was joking about that “sneaked into” thing — naturally we paid full price to see your piece of structurally, intellectually, and morally confused garbage.])

December 24, 2005

By the bye

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 4:42 pm

For those of you on the edges of your seats, someone has gotten the correct answer in our latest NAME THAT MOVIE! trivia game thing over at Cardinal Martini.

December 23, 2005

On Munich

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 6:08 pm

I have written several times about Steven Spielberg’s new movie, Munich, without having actually seen it. But my little man (which is a reference to the film featured in our current NAME THAT MOVIE! competition) told me that this Munich would be a shallow morality play equating Israel’s security agency with Palestinian terrorists. And I think my little man is right.

Captain Ed has actually seen Munich and writes thusly:

After giving the matter quite a bit of thought, I finally decided to see Munich at the theaters in order to make up my own mind about the film and the controversy that surrounds it. The film, which informs the audience that it was “Inspired By True Events”, takes the bare bones of the Munich massacre and the Israeli intelligence operation which followed against the Black September organization which plotted it and turns it into … well, an interesting if ultimately bankrupt morality play.

By equating the two sides, Spielberg and the world gave the perpetrators of terrorism the same moral standing as its victims, especially when the victims sought to ensure that their enemies could not live long enough to plan more such attacks. It’s like saying that the perpetrators of Lidice were certainly naughty, but the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich was just as bad. It’s absurd, and the absence of any mention of this fundamental, yawning chasm between the Israelis and the PLO/Black September terrorists provide the only true allegory that Munich provides — the defeatism in which Avner and his compatriots indulge (in the film) matches perfectly with the Left’s moral equivalency of Islamist terrorists and their unwillingness to fight against their ascendancy.

I needn’t tell you what a propaganda victory this is for the other side. The Jew Spielberg agrees that Mossad is evil!

UPDATE: In the Comments to this post, Phil wrote,

The point of Munich is that when you set out to kill for moral reasons, you often end up creating a moral reason for someone else to kill. Which in turn creates a moral reason for you to kill … etc, etc.

“Moral equivalency” to me, is nothing more than that; recognizing that everyone, in every conflict, thinks their moral reasons for killing make perfect sense, and the other side’s reasons are insane.

So terrorists are horrible, evil, people, and we’re noble defenders of all that is good, blah blah blah. That’s such an old song. Thinking your enemies are brutal killers isn’t morality — it’s simply animal instinct, that’s all.

Moral relativism is deciding that the only real place to stop the cycle is with ourselves. I know, it’s not nearly as satisfying as killing those who disagree with you. The opposite of moral relativism is deciding to kill everyone on the other side (gosh, where’ve we heard that lately). And that is satisfying, if you succeed. But that’s not morality, it’s animal brutality.

To which I, Cardinal Martini, in a show of both my infinite wisdom and unmatched intelligence, have responded,

Phil, I have no doubt that our enemies think they are correct and we are wrong. But so what? They’re still trying to kill us. I find there are two types of people on the other side; the reasonable ones, and the unreasonable ones.

We should try to reason with the reasonable ones. And we should kill the unreasonable ones, the ones who are so fanatical in their hatred for us that only force can stop them. Killing in self-defense isn’t “animal brutality”, as you put it. On the contrary, if we believe our way is better than theirs then it is both moral and logical to defend ourselves and our society from their attempts at destroying us.

You and I apparently understand the term “moral equivalence” to mean different things. As I understand it it means that neither side is right or wrong in a conflict. I just don’t think that is the case. That’s the stuff of the animal world. A bear in the forest is neither more or less moral than the fish he eats. But we are clearly different than both bears and fish.

We are creatures capable of higher thought. And we need to start acting like it. We need to evaluate complex situations such as the fight in which we find ourselves, and determine which side is morally right and which is not. It is the case that only one side’s culture will prevail from this fight, and I think it should be ours. I believe America is right and good — not necessarily that our government is correct in everything it does, mind you. I believe that American values are worth fighting for and protecting. I think the exact opposite of the cultures from which our enemies have sprung.

It is clear to me that only a morally confused person can argue that Iran’s culture — oppressive, intolerant, misogynistic, brutal — for example, is morally equivalent to ours and other Western countries — which are open, tolerant, and democratic.

Plus, killing badguys is always satisfying.

What do all of you people think? Do you agree with me? Or does Phil — who has my respect for leaving an actual comment, unlike certain trolls who shall not be named that lurk around the interweb — have a point? I dare one of you to leave another comment.

More movie trivia

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 2:57 pm

Ben Pugh won the last movie trivia question thing on CardMart. There’s a new one up. Won’t YOU play NAME THAT MOVIE!?

To those unfamiliar with the movie in question, it may appear to hold homo-erotic undercurrents. If you would care to leave a comment to that effect over on Cardinal Martini, you may do so, but you will be mocked.

Also, your prize for correctly answering the new NAME THAT MOVIE! question will be gratuitous linkage to your blog, if you’ve got one.

King Kong

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 11:46 am

The girlfriend and I saw King Kong last night. Visually it was unbelievable. It was pretty well written, too, considering it held my attention for over three hours. (I only checked my watch once; and didn’t doze off like during Gladiator, or leave like during Crash.)

Jack Black is funny, but he can’t act. The big monkey was too sympathetic; the humans were not sympathetic enough. Stephen Hunter @ the Washington Post says this:

He [Jackson, the director] doesn’t impose any touchy-feely 2005 stuff on the events: It remains a parable of exploitation, cultural self-importance, the arrogance of the West, all issues that were obvious in the original but unexamined; they remain unexamined here, if more vivid. Thus the natives of Skull Island are still “primitive” and debauched, the death count is casually high, the tracer bullets that miss Kong atop the sky needle apparently sail on to pick off members of the Algonquin Round Table quipping over their martinis in the bar and nobody gives a damn or even thinks about it.

I’m not so sure that it is a parable of the arrogance of the West so much as it showcases the arrogance of the modern. In the movie, the New Yorkers are rightly more arrogant than the barbarians on Skull Island. Their arrogance is only implicitly questioned in the movie when most of them continually dismiss Kong’s basic, ah… humanity. He has feelings, and thoughts — he’s just a less evolved, less modern version of themselves.

Kong destroys the city of New York and so he has to be killed. But in so killing him, in their effort to protect 1933, the humans have also killed the only good one among them. Kong was the only character who wasn’t manipulative, that didn’t cheat or lie or steal. (Of course, he was also a giant monster wreaking havoc on an innocent populous, so I would have killed him too.)

Fun trivia not related in any way to Christmas

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 2:37 am

I have posted a series of trivia questions related to a single, easily identifiable movie quotation at my home blog, Cardinal Martini.

I am directing you to said trivia questions in a shameless attempt to pressure you to visit Cardinal Martini, to bookmark Cardinal Martini, and to return to Cardinal Martini often.

The Producers

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 1:12 am

I saw The Producers, starring Jason Alexander and someone else, a few years back in Hollywood. I didn’t really like it because the plot made no sense to me.

Can one of Xrlq’s readers explain it to me? How exactly were the two main characters planning on making money by producing a flop?

October 4, 2003

Total Recall

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:24 pm

Last night we watched Total Recall on DVD. Nice movie, with lots of extras.

June 27, 2003

Save Your Money

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 4:19 pm

Last night, during a business trip, two co-workers dragged me to see The Hulk. It had to be one of the most dreadful flicks I’ve ever seen. In fact, it was so bad that rather than recommend no one see it, I actually recommend that you do see it. Not in the theater, of course; wait till it comes out on DVD, then rent it for a weekend. It is the perfect film to watch at 2:30 a.m. with a group of friends who have consumed at least six beers each, and have gotten giddy from the combination of fatigue and inebriation. At that point, you will enjoy the movie, in a Mystery Science Theater kind of way.


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