Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I've Lost My Respect For Liam Neeson

Can you hear me now? Good.

It always sucks when someone you previously admired and enjoyed the work of opens up their cake-hole and starts saying things so ludicrous that you lose respect for them, especially when it's pure hypocrisy. In my case, it usually comes when said person admits openly to being an Obama supporter or other sort of Leftist/Democrat/Liberal Buffoon.

Now, one would think that at my advanced age I would no longer admire celebrity types and and it should be of absolutely no surprise to me that a Hollywood icon sits in an Ivory Tower well to the Left of center. However, I'm simply flabbergasted at the idiocy and hypocrisy spewed forth this week from celebrated actor Liam Neeson.

I've always liked Liam Neeson's work. His performance in Schindler's List was worthy of an Oscar, not just a nomination. And Love Actually is pretty much my favorite film of all time. But I'm really reconsidering whether I'll ever spend another penny on his films after this week.

While attending a press conference in Dubai for the release of his latest film, Taken 3, Neeson was asked about his feelings on the attack on the offices of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. Being that Dubai is a city in a Muslim land, albeit in the civil, peaceful, prosperous, Westernized United Arab Emirates, I think he may have been being baited by the Dubai press in being asked about an attack by radical Muslims on a magazine that has in the past satirized the Islam and Mohammed. Really kind of underhanded to put a Westerner on the spot as a guest in a Muslim nation to speak on an attack where Muslims gunned down 23, killing 12 and wounding 11, followed the next day by a police officer being murdered and a city worker wounded in a routine traffic stop by a guy who the next day killed four and wounded another five in a kosher Jewish grocery store. Neeson didn't miss a beat.

“First off, my thoughts and prayers and my heart are with the deceased, and certainly with all of France, yesterday. I’ve got a lot of dear friends in Paris,” he said.
“There’s too many [expletive] guns out there,” he continued. “Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a [expletive] disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.’”

Way to deflect, dude. Switch the focus off the Muslim butchery (because every DAY we're picking up a newspaper and seeing "Yet another bunch of people have been killed by radical Islam.") and also ditch the fact that the attacks took place in France, a country rich in gun control like most Western socialist democratic republics, yet one in which gun laws were impotent to spoil the plans of dedicated and well-trained attackers.

This isn't the first time Neeson has popped off about guns in America.  Back in September he said much the same thing in an interview for The Independent, as another one of his movies was being released, bitching about American gun ownership and praising how England took away all their citizens' handguns after the Dunblane Massacre in 1996.

I hasten to point out to Liam that we actually have over 310 million guns here in America, a country you gladly gave up your Irish citizenship for five years ago when you became a US citizen. And while a 2013 Congressional Research Service report shows that “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” have plummeted as gun ownership increased, back in jolly olde England knives replaced guns and one can hardly read the British newspapers without hearing about rampant stabbings and knife crimes. and hey, taking away the citizens' rights to self defense and firearms ownership has worked out oh so well for Australia, hasn't it?

I just find it brazenly and blatantly hypocritical for Neeson to bitch about guns in America when he rakes in millions of dollars annually making movies where he carries and uses guns galore. The Taken franchise? The first movie grossed over $145 million. The sequel pulled in just shy of  $140 million. In less than 2 weeks the third installment has grossed over $45 million. That's over $320 million, a dollar for every person in the USA and more than the number of guns in America.

He was a gunslinger in A Million Ways To Die In The West ($43 million), carried a hunting rifle in The Grey ($51 million), brandished guns galore in The A-Team ($77 million), had a gun on a plane in Non-Stop ($92 million), and packed heat in A Walk Among The Tombstones ($26 million). While not every film project he was in was an action film, many were. His characters have wielded swords, captained nuclear missile submarines, commanded entire fleets, even carried a light saber. All to the tune of almost THREE BILLION DOLLARS in box office gross worldwide over the course of his career.

Damn...that's a lotta guns.

When asked about whether or not he felt the least bit duplicitous about being a sniveling anti-gun whiner while pretending to be all badass and gun-friendly for a paycheck, he said, "A character like Bryan Mills (in Taken) going out with guns and taking revenge: it’s fantasy. It’s in the movies, you know? I think it can give people a great release from stresses in life and all the rest of it, you know what I mean? It doesn’t mean [the viewers] are all going to go out and go, “Yeah, let’s get a gun!”."

Well, shitfire, Liam. I personally find target shooting very relaxing, a great release from stresses in life and all the rest of it. It doesn't mean I'm gonna go shoot up a mall. No one said we needed to ban skis after your wife's death, did we? As I write this, I have 2 handguns down the hall and one in arm's reach at my desk. I note that none of them have ever killed anyone.

Or are you going all Jihadi on us, Liam? After all, you did say you thought about converting to Islam a couple years back. Nothing is more dangerous than naturalized US citizens who are Muslim, unless it's natural-born US citizens who are Muslim converts.

Keep it up, Neeson. Keep biting the hands that feed you here in the Land of Milk and Honey (or it was before noted closet Muslim Barry Obeezy stopped wiping his ass with his hand in the Muslim fashion and started wiping it with the US Constitution.) Keep it up and the only way you'll get my ticket money is to pry it from my cold, dead hands much like you will my guns.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Defending Sixteen Candles

Okay…we all know I have a general disdain for The Huffington Post as left-leaning propaganda for liberals and buffoons, and by and large I refuse to read their articles on general principle. However, early last month an article at the HuffPo generated a veritable shitstorm amongst my peerage in the mid-40s age range when a near and dear part of our teenage years was crapped upon by a pretentious kid from upscale suburban New Jersey, 15 miles out of Manhattan.

The kid in question, Deryn Mierlak, is a junior at Montclair High School where she is co-editor of the art and literature magazine. Deryn writes fiction, poetry, and book and movie reviews. Now, when I was a kid we barely had a school newspaper, let alone an arts and literature magazine. Somehow she managed to get a piece published in the HuffPo that I will quote here, and submit my own commentary to. 

Hi, Deryn. I'm Steve. I wrote reviews and funny stuff for my school paper when I was a kid.. I was 15 when Sixteen Candles came out.

You see, it’s easy to go back and proselytize on a movie from a generation before yours but this is a movie that came out around the time I was your age. It was the product of a man who made the defining teen movies of my generation. You’ve trod upon sacred ground here, kid, and the natives are now restless.

Many people regard the 1984 flick Sixteen Candles as a John Hughes masterpiece and a classic portrayal of teen life in the '80s. Starring Molly Ringwald, the film follows sophomore Samantha Baker (Ringwald) on the day of her 16th birthday, which everyone in her family has forgotten due to her sister Ginny's impending marriage. Sam spends the day fighting off the attentions of the school nerd Ted and longing for the affection of senior hottie, Jake.

Well, I'm a teen experiencing the gritty reality of 2014, and as the thirtieth anniversary of the beloved movie draws nearer, I decided to watch Sixteen Candles to see how it measures up to today's standards. My results? Surprising.

Hey, Princess….in 1984 we thought our reality was gritty, too. Wait till you’re 45 and then look back at 2014 and realize how easy you had it, the same way I look back at 1984 and realize how easy I had it.

At first look, it was easy to love Sixteen Candles. The film retained a timeless appeal and wit that was completely charming. I loved the characters, from Jake's party-animal girlfriend Caroline to Sam's grumpy grandparents.

And yet, when you peel back a few layers of the movie, there were parts that seriously hindered my enjoying it at all. I've listed them here, so we can all reflect on how the times have changed since the idyllic '80s.
 Oh, yes, Professor Precocious. Let’s all reflect. Regale me with the wisdom of your decade and a half on this planet and the wealth of experience it has provided you.

Date rape

Maybe it wasn't called rape back then, but Sixteen Candles blatantly glamorizes non-consensual sex between a sober guy and a drunk girl. After a wild, raving party at Jake's house, his girlfriend Caroline is cripplingly drunk. Rather than drive her home himself, Jake hands Caroline off to Ted and tells his friend to "have fun with her." A close-up reveals that Caroline's dress has bunched around her thighs, leaving her underwear exposed. Later, we learn that Ted and Caroline have had sex, but Caroline doesn't remember much. Clearly, this is nonconsensual sex. Today, we would call that date rape.

You act like this small scene is the whole crux of the film instead of a kid lamenting her self-absorbed family forgetting her Sweet 16. This film was WAY more than this one scene.

A raving party? Raves hadn’t been invented yet in 84. They were still a good five years away from being spawned in Manchester, England instead of mythical Shermer, Illinois. Jake, disgusted with the way Caroline has trashed his home and acted like a twat, has Ted drive her home in return for keeping Sam’s borrowed underwear so that he can return them to her himself. He’s letting a nerdy underclassman drive home the most popular girl in school and originally offers to let him drive his Porsche. Unable to drive a stick, he instead ends up in Jake’s dad’s Rolls Royce. 

You’re mistaken on a couple things here that need to be corrected. Caroline’s dress crawled up as she was being placed in the car, not after the alleged rape as you seem to suggest. Rather than this being the go-ahead green light for Ted to verily sodomize her like a Jihadi on a goat, it’s more of a Holy Cow I Saw A Hot Girl’s Panties moment. And would a drunken lecherous rapist have the forethought to pull her britches back up for her after violating her? I kinda doubt it.

Jake does not just hand her over like a door prize and say “Have fun with her’”. He insists that Ted make sure she gets home safely and not just dump her somewhere. What Jake actually says is “Start the car and have fun”, by which he means enjoy driving the Rolls. 

Later we see Caroline and Ted trying to figure out if they had sex, and neither is really sure. Maybe, maybe not. Caroline is the one who suggests they did when Ted asks, and she insists that she’s okay with it, even saying she was pretty sure she enjoyed it. Now, Caroline is no pushover or wallflower. She’s a forceful, confident, controlled person and would brook no chicanery from a dorky freshman half her size. She ends up making out with Ted and even leaves Jake to date Ted. You may want to go watch that scene again, kiddo. I’ve seen the movie in excess of 200 times in 30 years and I assure you no one was date raped. 

Furthermore, Ted remembers damn near nothing of the events, yet you fail to mention that. You instead only mention Caroline’s lack of memory. This begs the question: when a man and a woman are both inebriated and they end up in bed, why is the man held responsible for his actions yet the woman is considered a victim instead of a drunkenly willing participant?
 Drugged up brides
Playing for the gag, Ginny is so overcome with menstrual cramps on her wedding day that she takes four muscle relaxers. Soon she's reluctantly stumbling down, incoherent. Nobody seems to mind that the bride is too out of it to meaningfully take her vows. Just like date rape, here we have another example of an incapacitated woman getting roped into something she's in no condition to undergo. Maybe it was supposed to be funny, but it was so overdone that it made me seriously uncomfortable.

Oh, sweet Jesus on a popsicle stick. Have the feminazis really indoctrinated you in the She-Ra Man Hater Club so early in life? Yeah, sure, all men are evil rapists seeking to enslave womankind. Get real. 

Ginny is a slag. She’s bitchy and snotty and self-centered and not even period cramps are gonna stop her from sinking her marital claws into her “oily bo-hunk”. Her character was written to be unlikeable, she’s played as unlikeable, and you’re supposed to laugh at her misfortune as her own shittyness ruins her wedding. It’s called Schadenfreude. You portray her like she was kidnapped by Boko Haram and married off to an Al Qaeda bomb maker in Helmand Province after being dosed with opiates.


Is drunk and sloppy really funny?
 Again, the differences between 1984 and today: is drunkenness actually funny? Sixteen Candles sports many scenes involving drunk driving, drunk partying and even drunken sex. But as a 16-year-old in 2014, the constant intoxication just doesn't embody comedy. In one scene, Ted and an inebriated Caroline pose for photos, Caroline's underwear exposed and bra out. As the camera flashes, she looks confused and distracted. Now, that would be considered a crime, and watching the scene just made me wince.

Sweety, your generation is OBSESSED with taking half-naked bathroom selfies as you squish your mouth into a duckface or filming your thong-clad asses twerking with your tongues out like tarted up stroke victims. My generation didn’t have cameras in our phones with auto flash, auto focus, and instant Photoshop filters and editing. We had crappy Polaroid Instamatics with flash cubes and if you moved or blinked or the flash didn’t go off, you were stuck with a shitty picture. 

Unconcious in a field of cups. Kinda screams BOOZE.

A fake ID to buy booze and this movie made millions.
 Drunkeness is obviously as funny today as it was in 1984, because two years ago the film Project X outdid anything its predecessor Superbad did in regards to drinking, doing drugs, getting laid, and breaking multiple other laws and commandments and moral codes. Damn near every movie centered around teens made in the past 30+ years has featured a huge party scene and underaged drinking, rampant drug use, and more sex than a dinner at Ron Jeremy’s house. (For the record, Superbad had 22 awards nominations and 9 wins, and grossed over $169 million worldwide. Project X may have been raunchier but only did $54 million and had 4 awards nominations)

I enjoyed Sixteen Candles as a teenager who doesn't latch on to any morals, but as a thinking individual, I had serious reservations.

You left out a ranting diatribe on racism towards Asians. You left out an accusation of stalking because Ted pursues Sam. He may have even murdered her and stolen those panties as a trophy, because men are evil.
 Not even a peep about how Sam’s grandparents creepily felt her tits to gauge her pubescence? Come on now. Do I have to do all the work for you?

Oh, Fred, she's gotten her boobies.....

Oh, your uber-liberal teachers must be so very proud of you. You claim to not latch onto morals yet sanctimoniously look down your upturned nose at evil rapey men-monsters who are guilty before ever committing a crime. Thinking individual? More like a wet behind the ears pup regurgitating whatever crap you heard on The View in order to get a HuffPo by-line on your college app to Wellesley or Berkeley.

In all fairness, it wasn't the grownup HuffPo, though. It was HuffPo Teen, because the Left needs to indoctrinate them young when their minds are still pliant. 

Sixteen Candles was a comedy. It was meant to exaggerate and poke fun. It showed teen fears and angst and adult bad behavior and self-absorption. It showed people behaving badly and crassly. And it showed misfits finding love.

It's a classic. Your generation could use a John Hughes or two. Trust me.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year, A New Blog

Yeah, I know. It's been a while.

I've been busy.

I'm back.

And my mission is still to point out the absurd and the inane and the blatantly stupid and call it for how I see it.

You've been warned.