July 29, 2011

July 26, 2011

But Really, What Was I Expecting?

When the first line in a movie is a masturbation joke, I don't expect great cinema. But man, I at least expect it not to go downhill from there. Not so the [commence joke made by most reviewers] aptly named [end joke] Horrible Bosses, which manages to plumb grotesque new troughs of misogyny and homophobia in its remaining ninety minutes.

Please note: the problem here is not that I can't take a joke. I even kind of like the premise, ridiculous though it is. But people have funny boss stories — heck, I have funny boss stories — that can stand without the gratuitous caricatures and exaggerations that the HB writers rely on.

Yeah, Kevin Spacey playing a dick is pretty funny, and Colin Farrell playing a dick (there I go again) is also pretty funny. But this isn't an SNL skit and the "this person is a dick" gag has quickly diminishing returns; in a movie caricatures eventually need to find some depth.

In the good ones, anyway. In the bad ones the filmmakers panic and just start ratcheting up the exaggeration — until you have Jennifer Aniston fellating a hot dog and Jamie Foxx as a video pirate named "Motherfucker". (This isn't some highbrow/lowbrow snobbery, by the way: I enjoyed I Love You, Man, which was also based on a thin premise and hopelessly exaggerated caricatures. But — ah-ha! — those caricatures eventually started acting like real people.)

But back to the misogyny and homophobia. Here are some things I think, as a rule, just don't need to happen in any movie, ever:

• Two men having an argument over who would be "more rape-able" in prison, especially when...

• The only female characters in the movie are instantly sexually available to the male characters at any time — as long as the male characters tell them they're pretty first.

• Any male characters who don't want to have sex with the (irredeemably-slutty-because-they-DO-want-to-have-sex) women are openly and repeatedly called gays, faggots, or pussies.

• Etc. Did I mention Jennifer Aniston fellates a hot dog?

The sad thing is, a lot of the stars of the movie are legitimately talented actors or legitimately talented comedians (or both), and with so many of them working together it's hard not to, natch, legitimately enjoy a scene every now and then. There are some moments here that I found genuinely entertaining — and this was at the height of my feminist disgust. If only they could have replaced the rape jokes (and the product placement, sweet Jesus the product placement!) with some actual storytelling, I would have been all set.

July 22, 2011

July 15, 2011

July 14, 2011

Tell Me More

From the New York Times: Bernanke Warns of ‘Calamity’ if Debt Deal Is Not Reached

So, with the deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling fast approaching, negotiations are growing—if you can possibly believe this—even more stubborn and partisan and unyielding. And one Republican senator seems to have identified why:
"Our problem is, we made a big deal about this for three months," said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

"How many Republicans have been on TV saying, 'I am not going to raise the debt limit,' " said Mr. Graham, including himself in the mix of those who did so. "We have no one to blame but ourselves."
Wait, so you mean there's more to governance than just appearing on news channels all the fucking time and generating soundbites you can use in an election campaign? FASCINATING.

Anyway, having dug themselves into this stupid, dick-swinging hole, and riling up all the nutbag Tea Party freshmen in the House in the process, the senior Republican brass are, natch, beginning to realize that they are at the bottom of a stupid, dick-swinging hole. So rather than channelling their energy into a constructive solution to the budget negotiations, they are wasting it trying to find a face-saving handhold with which they can hoist themselves towards non-culpability and re-election. Here's what they came up with:
An elaborate process where Congress would vote to disapprove instead of approve a debt limit request. That would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling via a successful veto of the disapproval.
It's like Kabuki fucking theatre! If the Republicans think it's such a bad idea not to raise the debt ceiling, why not just raise the debt ceiling?
[Republican leader Mitch] McConnell said in an interview with the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham... "All of the sudden we have co-ownership of the economy. That is a very bad position going into the election."
I believe it might also have consequences FOR THE FUCKING ECONOMY!

I'll be honest, though: the thing that I find most distasteful about the whole situation is that, as usual, rather than calling out any of this bullshit, the Democrats are sitting quietly and in fact suggesting that such a time-wasting, ridiculous piece of political manoeuvring is a "real option."

NO! NO IT IS NOT! BAD DEMOCRATS! BAD REPUBLICANS! YOU SLEEP OUTSIDE NOW! Hasn't it occurred to anyone that if a group of people—Democrats and Republicans alike—have led the country to the point where Moody's wants to downgrade its credit rating, maybe they DON'T ACTUALLY DESERVE TO BE RE-ELECTED?


July 08, 2011

July 01, 2011