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Paging Dr.Octagon....
by Jeff Thiessen

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Sly knows American Dreams can have happy endings!

Sly knows American Dreams can have happy endings!
If you think it's presumptuous for a rednecked Canuck to stick his head into the already sky-high blather concerning the state of film, you're probably right. I never wanted to convey that I know more then I actually do, instead hoping my opinions are so bludgeon headed that you get to a point where you don't peer into the infinite chasm that contains all the film knowledge I have no clue about. I prefer to think of us all in one big mud pile, oblivious to everything around us except for the sludge projectiles hurling toward our faces. This column: an enchanting splatter on your mug, a reminder that what I'm saying may be dirty, and rotten, but it will always leave a mark, hopefully one that may wash away, but is never forgotten.

With that said, I truly think it's high time to check for flat-lines, you know, dig around and check for a pulse. Seriously folks, we gotta do this because there are some genres kicking around that are totally and utterly dead but acting otherwise. Now, these movies aren't as frequent as they used to be, but ever so often, with a defiant upward thrust of their decayed fists toward the high heavens, they break free of the bondage and attempt to roam around with the living. We cannot have that, not to say their lumbering asses really pose any serious threat, but we still got to see them kicking around, don't we? Maybe I have no regard for comebacks, maybe I'm just not as sentimental as I used to be, but at this point in my life I'm pretty certain the following genres need to be put to sleep, and hopefully without anymore 'convenient' resurrections.

AMERICAN DREAM AIN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE

This genre I actually really dig, cause some of the entries that have emerged from this category are included in my favorites. SCARFACE, BOOGIE NIGHTS, GOODFELLAS, BLOW.....all fanboyish, I know, but if you take a step back
Sly knows war can be a fun time!

Sly knows war can be a fun time!
and examine them all, they all range from damn good to fairly close to brilliance. Still though, I think we've had our dose, wouldn't you say? The whole rise and fall thing has been done to death, and while I like the yin/yang of that approach, I just don't see the point of reminding us yet again that "You know, if something is too good to be true, it probably is", or some other brutally patronizing cliché being rammed down our throats. A recent example of rags to riches and then back to rags but not before addling us with overblown after-school messages every chance it gets: TWO FOR THE MONEY. Not in the same class as the previously mentioned flicks, but my point is: we get it. Scroll to the bottom of the page, there's fine print, everything comes with a price, the higher you are the harder you fall, OK. Can we move on?

AHHHH THE HORROR

War movies are toast, done, finished, adios, goodbye, good riddance. Well they goddamn well should be. Here's why. Every war has been done to death. Now, I'm not counting pre-20th century wars because in these particular cases, the weapons suck and consist mostly of hand-to-hand combat, and recent bombs in the box office suggest that people no longer want to see these. So what we have left is World War I, II, Vietnam, and even The Gulf War. Here is a war that was so barren and abstract in nature, that a war movie following this 'battle' effectively becomes a fascinating character study into the nature of man when there's just nothing for them to do. Hey I loved JARHEAD, but if I see one more trailer with epic orchestral music, accompanied with dramatic taglines (ie: "Leave no men behind"), all surrounding some douchbag on the screen yelling "Don't you die on me!!", then I'm going to pull a Death Proof on Oliver Stone, because as far as I'm concerned, he's the one who started it all. No more war shit guys.
Sly knows how bad Judge Dredd would have been if it was PG-13!

Sly knows how bad Judge Dredd would have been if it was PG-13!
Whenever I want a reminder of the harsh realities of war, I'll just pop in FIRST BLOOD, don't worry, I got it covered.

AHHHH THE HORROR.....OF PG-13 HORRORS

Not too much to say here, because they shouldn't have existed in the first place. Do you know what horror really means? Well for starters, a horror movie implies that it will be 'horrific', which means it's "grossly offensive to decency or morality; causing horror; subjected to outrageous cruelty". Do you know how bloody difficult that is to accomplish when you're taking concentrated steps to ensure it achieves a rating that allows thirteen year old kids to attend without parents? The emergence of movies like HOSTEL and HAUTE TENSION have thankfully mostly put a halt to this disgusting trend, but ever so often there are movies like THE MESSENGERS that remind us of a more pathetic era, where it was ok to be scared by a cat jumping out from an attic. Look I'm not saying a horror rated R automatically makes it effective, but what I am saying, is that when given the choice between a bad R rated horror, and a bad PG-13 rated horror, it's no coin toss. Blood and entrails over lame ambience and moody tone any day.

Speaking of messengers, I'm just the messenger here, I'm not taking particular pleasure in describing the rigor mortis affecting all these genres, instead I'm just taking their coagulated, rigid arms and letting them descend without halt, so the deafening thud can serve as the inevitable reminder of death in all of its irreversible, sometimes beautiful finality. All of these genres had good runs (whether they deserved it or not is beside the point), I mean if I could buy them a beer, I would. The fact is though, while their demise was never formally announced, they certainly were understood. I respect the dead; I just wish we'd take them off life support.

Spurs for champions 07!

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Anti-Hero: Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life
Every other Wednesday

Raging Against the Machine: Film musings from a Canadian who can do a Rubik's cube much faster then you can.


Other Columns
Other columns by Jeff Thiessen:

Wednesday Wishful Thinking

Hell is Chrome

Searching With One Eye Closed

He's a Mighty Good Leader

Your Pretty Trilogy is Going Straight to Hell

All Columns


Jeff Thiessen
Jeff is a columnist who lives in Saskatchewan, and if you can't pronounce that properly, he'd prefer you not read anything he writes.


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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Jeff Thiessen by clicking here.


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