Mamo #392: Shots Fired

Mamo!

Well that came out of nowhere! Mamo looks at American Sniper‘s perfectly-fired magic bullet, which hit the Academy, the audience, and about a billion think-piece writers in a single shot. Afterwards, we delve into Supergirl, #XFiles2015, and the equally magic, equally bullet-shaped Joaquin Phoenix.

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Philip Poirot
Guest

Did you notice that EASTWOOD (American Sniper) did not let the hero kill the dog? He knew the audience would be “perfectly fine” with the hero shoving rifle in the head of an innocent brown child or killing other brown children but killing an American Dog… that would be crossing the line even if that serves the character and the story.

Andrew James
Admin

*SPOILER*

*SPOILER*

AMERICAN SNIPER

*SPOILER*

Well to be fair, the kid(s?) he kills in the movie aren’t exactly innocent. They’re carrying IEDs, grenades and rocket launchers designed to kill his friends – and the film makes it clear he really doesn’t want to have to kill them. Whereas with the dog, it would be a case of misunderstanding. And I don’t know, if I watched my father beat my dog to death with his belt buckle for simply rough housing with me when I was a child, that would seriously scar the shit out of me forever.

Gerry
Guest

Andrew, you should really read

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/20/american-sniper-political-rorschach-test.html

in particular please note ‘People will undoubtedly view American Sniper through various lenses. They’ll say Eastwood is a chair-talking Republican whose oeuvre is packed with right-wing revenge fantasies. They’ll quote questionable passages from Kyle’s book, e.g. “I only wish I had killed more,” or when he recounts that scene in the film where he shoots a woman wielding an anti-tank grenade (she was actually just cradling her son), saying, “My shots saved several Americans whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul.”’

Also check out

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/american-sniper-is-almost-too-dumb-to-criticize-20150121

in particular

(The most disturbing passage in the book to me was the one where Kyle talked about being competitive with other snipers, and how when one in particular began to threaten his “legendary” number, Kyle “all of the sudden” seemed to have “every stinkin’ bad guy in the city running across my scope.” As in, wink wink, my luck suddenly changed when the sniper-race got close, get it? It’s super-ugly stuff).

My point is don’t take what you see in the movie at face value.

Andrew James
Admin

I don’t have much interest in the real story or the book. I’m sure it’s some compelling reading from an outsider perspective, I just don’t have the time for it right now. And let me be very clear, anything I like or dislike about a movie is based on the movie, i.e. from a cinematic point of view (unless I specifically say otherwise, like my review of “The Road” for example). This was why I really had trouble with my Selma review – I think the movie is boring and the story is uninteresting. Again, from a cinematic pov. In reality, it’s compelling and grotesque and shocking and unbelievably moving and inspiring.

In regards to Sniper, I don’t believe Eastwood is an unapologetic Republic manservant at all. But I do think he has a “good ol’ boy” mentality and wants to make a movie that depicts that mentality. And since he’s not willing to do it in the old west anymore, he aims (haha get it? “aims” lol) for more relevant and current storytelling. And a lot of us just see it as schilling for a cause we’re not totally on board with. Especially if it takes liberties with character motivations and some bits of plot points (like the dog thing).

Gerry
Guest

Andrew, re – ‘And a lot of us just see it as schilling for a cause we’re not totally on board with.’

I worry that a lot of Americans who see it will see it as a cause they’re on board with.

Instead of seeing the invasion of Iraq as an invasion unrelated to 9/11 but claimed as a response to 9/11 (the 9/11 hijackers and their financiers were Saudi) and as a so ballsed up invasion that it partially laid the groundwork for IS’s actions today, those Americans, because of this film, will see it as noble Americans invading a country of evil and money grabbing people and will take Bradley Cooper killing a mother and child who were armed and trying to kill American soldiers as the gospel truth (irony intended), not realising that the woman was protecting her infant child.

Gerry
Guest

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/192-5397535-9052545?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=imperial+life+in+the+emerald+city+mp3

That’s a link for the MP3 audiobook of Imperial Life In The Emerald City Andrew. If you’re interested transfer it to your mobile device and listen to it on your commute.

It’s a speedy read / listen and reasonably episodic so you don’t need huge levels of concentration to keep up with it in your busy life.

Philip Poirot
Guest

**SPOILER**
AMERICAN SNIPER
**SPOILER**

The kid I was talking about got drilled through his head by the Butcher. That’s how Eastwood differentiates Hero vs Villain. The bad guys drill through the head of innocent children and good guys just point a rifle to their heads.

*SPOILER* BIG HERO 6 *SPOILER* HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

And the child with the dog has nothing to do with the narrative. If Chris Kyle (the character) was suffering from PTSD and he’s such a professional killer, there is no way his wife actually could stop him or even understand what he’s doing before Chris has already done with the dog. That’s the PG storytelling trick that Big Hero 6 used with Baymax. Baymax stops before killing a character. At least HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 went through with it.

LONE SURVIVOR and HURT LOCKER had one similar plot point that “the hero befriends a local boy”. In Lone Survivor the hero is saved by the Afghani boy and his father and they fight to keep him alive. Those storylines humanizes the local people. But in American Sniper all the Iraqis are just like CHITAURI (in Avengers) or ALIENS from INDEPENDENCE DAY. Shoot the bad guys and win the day.
I would say this is the reason the movie became a BLOCKBUSTER ACTION MOVIE.

The wider audience loves Black and White storytelling. Actually hundred years ago “Birth of a Nation”(1915) became the biggest Blockbuster.

Matt Gamble
Guest

At least with Lone Survivor that plot point is at least somewhat based in reality. Sniper just does away with anything close to real which might muck up Clint’s goal of making soldiers and the main character ultra sympathetic. And I don’t mind when a film tries to make the audience sympathize with a sociopath, but I do have a problem when they white wash anything that makes it a moral dilemma for the audience. At that point Sniper veers dangerously close to propaganda and nothing more.

As a side note, in BH6 didn’t Baymax attempt to kill someone, he just missed? Am I just remembering that wrong? Sniper doesn’t even offer something even that slightly complex. All the kills are made to be patently obvious that this person was doing something terrible, and vice versa.

kurt
Guest

Two comments:

IN THE LINE OF FIRE was directed by Wolfgang “DAS BOOT” Peterson.

and

More and more, the analogue for AMERICAN SNIPER (as both box office anomaly and quite possibly internal-thematically) is actually THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

kurt
Guest

Third comment:

Inherent Vice offers bountiful rewards on second viewing. The plot starts to become quite clear, almost CLEAN and INEVITABLE. And a fair bit of nuance in the relationships between various n’er do wells also begins to coalesce. I’m quite looking forward to seeing it a third time.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Christ, Halfyard got into the liquor cabinet again.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Must admit, Inherent Vice goes great with an aged scotch.

Jandy Hardesty
Guest

Kurt should really listen to the After the Hype episode on Cloud Atlas. Not only do we praise Cloud Atlas to the heavens, one host hated on Inherent Vice near the beginning of the show. Lots to argue with. 🙂

kurt
Guest

Ummm, fourth comment:

REDBELT superfans unite!

Andrew James
Admin

+1

kurt
Guest

It is my belief that the gremlins of the internet have something personal against REDBELT. Low Box-office, lack of cult status aside, the interwebs ate the R3view (remember when we used to do those ‘all writers on deck’ collaborative reviews?) of REDBELT without leaving so much as a crumb. To the best of my knowledge, that is the only Rowthree post in almost 10 years we’ve ever ‘lost.’