January 22, 2009

"Boohoo, I Bonked an Illiterate Nazi."

Dana Stevens retitles "The Reader" in her comments on the Oscar nominations.

On "Slumdog Millionaire":
Slumdog Millionaire... seems positioned to Hoover up every award in sight by virtue of being the cute, inoffensive crowd pleaser that no one hates (me included—I walked out with a warm glow that only gradually congealed into faint annoyance). Slumdog, and I mean this kindly, is the grandma movie in the lineup, and a lot of Academy members vote the grandma ticket.
This is a movie that begins with a graphic torture scene and contains a plunge into a shit pool and various gruesome maimings and murders. This is what passes for feelgood these days somehow.

26 comments:

tim maguire said...

I haven't seen The Reader, but as I understand the plot, shouldn't it be called "Boohoo, I Boinked an Illiterate Nazi"?

It's that other Daniel Craig, non-James Bond movie...Defiance...that should be called "I bonked a Nazi."

traditionalguy said...

Au contrair, the Nazi's are literate in the extreme. They just read and publish only their own point of view no matter how screwed up it is. Now I'll have to go see this Film, and take someone who can explain it to me later.

tim maguire said...

I think "illiterate" refers to one specific Nazi, not all of them.

Original George said...

If I understand you, 'Slumdog' was last year's 'My Bloody Valentine 3D'?

MovieLawyer said...

It is surprising that such a violent movie passes as feelgood, but I can see why it has that effect on people. Once the final Bollywood-style dance scene passed from the screen, I had forgotten all the violence and gruesomeness and retained only the exuberance of a Chai-Wallah winning $1 Million and the girl of his dreams.

Ron said...

This is a movie that begins with a graphic torture scene and contains a plunge into a shit pool and various gruesome maimings and murders. This is what passes for feelgood these days somehow

Mark my words -- Oh, say, Wannsee! The Holocaust Musical -- Best Picture, 2015.

Franco said...

The torture scenes were ok because Americans weren't doing it - although the character was vaguely Muslim.

I hear there are objections from Mumbai over the term "slumdog", while no millionaires have complained yet - you'd think the Bernie Madoff investors might be a tad more sensitive these days.

Matt Eckert said...

Wait, who is having sex with Cedarford?

blake said...

You know, I liked The Reader okay. But I had the same problem reviewing it. I couldn't stop snarking.

Sure, Nazis are bad. But is it okay to sleep with them if they're really hot?

That's the challenging question the new Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) Oscar-baiting movie asks.


And it just goes downhill from there. I'm so ashamed, I might as well have sex with Kate Winslet.

blake said...

N.B. Michael is well messed up before finding out Hanna is a Nazi.

The Nazi thing can't have helped matters, I guess--I mean, except in some particular fetish cases--but it should be pointed out.

Daniel said...

I haven't seen "Slumdog," but I thought newsy.com's perspective on it, comparing it to the actual culture was enlightening.

Holly said...

The hub and I saw slumdog on a whim - we went to the movies to eat dinner and pick a movie at random; I was under the impression (this was right after its release) that it was more of a comedy, so I was surprised, but I ending up loving it. Yes, it has some gut wrenching scenes, but the story overall is sweet and yes, uplifting. And the dance scene at the end is great. The hub is unfamiliar with Bollywood conventions, so I had to explain it to him.

Revenant said...

I think the only new release I saw in 2008 was "Cloverfield". Which I liked a lot, although the obvious 9/11 parallel offended some people.

Johnny B. D. said...

Althouse is feeling good because she got to say shit house!

I'm surprised you didn't use your "excrement" label, too.

More hits, more attention, more Althouse shit!!!

Eli Blake said...

I believe the Oscar should go to:

The Cuban Government. For their masterful portrayal of how El Presidente is alive (and therefore kept his vow to outlast the Bush administration), with no one even questioning this, when in fact it is plainly obvious that he's been dead since not long after his 2006 operation.

amba said...

Sooner or later in Slumdog the artifice of the plot and the bright, hand-colored-looking candy colors take the sting out of the realism, and draw the horrors up into the conventions of melodrama where we can't evaluate how realistic they are.

Balfegor said...

"Boohoo, I Bo[i]nked an Illiterate Nazi."

This would probably have gone better in your actual Reader thread, but isn't it kind of cop-out to make the Nazi illiterate, and try to spin some meaning out of that? True, the Nazis were a middle to lower-class party full of autodidacts, rubes, and half-educated college dropouts. But they took power in the most highly educated population in the world at the time. Reframing the Nazis as "illiterate" is a means of distancing them from modern man, esp. modern educated man. Creates a pleasing, self-satisfied fiction that educated types wouldn't fall for that kind of thing. Sorry, but they did. En masse.

Balfegor said...

Sooner or later in Slumdog the artifice of the plot and the bright, hand-colored-looking candy colors take the sting out of the realism, and draw the horrors up into the conventions of melodrama where we can't evaluate how realistic they are.

Well, the horrors aren't that horrific, given that 90% of the plot is spoiled in the first frames of the movie. And the rest is spoiled by the fact that everyone calls it a "feel good" movie. You know there's not going to be some horrifying reversal in the last ten minutes.

Not that I have a problem with spoilers, mind. It's just that they take the horror out of other-wise horrific things. It's like watching James Bond get strapped to a torture device: you know he's going to get out. And if it's the new James Bond, that he's going to engage in a bit of the old ultraviolence shortly.

Darcy said...

Revenant said...
I think the only new release I saw in 2008 was "Cloverfield". Which I liked a lot, although the obvious 9/11 parallel offended some people.


You did like it? I have to admit, I like it more with some distance. I'd like to try to watch it again because the way it was filmed made me dizzy and I missed some of it laying across the theater seats for a bit. I wonder if I could tolerate it better at home.

On the topic of the Oscars...I have been disillusioned with them since Robert Duvall didn't win for The Apostle. The Oscars are just somewhat entertaining to me.

XWL said...

I still say Adam Ant best expressed thoughts regarding the ethical quandry and fetishistic possibilities of relations with a Deutscher Girl in his song of the same name.

(and if Blake is bad, how bad am I for offering second order snark based on the snarky review of a film I haven't and probably won't see?)

(and the film could only have been improved if they had used Adam Ant's song over the end credits, possibly doing a big Slumdog style dance number summing up the film)

(new rule: all films must have a summarizing dance number as the end credits play)

blake said...

Ah, but it's good snark, XWL.

I'm still chuckling.


Darcy: As far as Cloverfield or any movie with the shaky-cam, yeah, those are generally much less affecting on the small screen.

The Boy barely even sees the shake, as I think is common for his generation.

Revenant said...

The Boy barely even sees the shake, as I think is common for his generation.

It didn't bother me at all, but nothing has ever given me motion sickness. People who are vulnerable to it might not enjoy the movie too much.

I would also like to say that it was nice to see a movie -- and a horror/monster movie at that -- in which the US Armed Forces are (a) unequivocally the good guys and (b) not by-the-numbers robots. I went into the film half expecting the big monster to be an escaped government bioweapon or something.

blake said...

Yeah, it doesn't bother me, either, Rev. But I've noticed it tends to bother older folks more than younger folks.

And fair point about the military/origin of the beast. I made a similar comment inspired in part by Cloverfield and by The Mist, in which the problems are in fact all caused by a military experiment gone awry.

Darcy said...

Hey! I'm "older folks" now? Not good. :)

But thanks blake. I'm going to try watching it again at home. My kid loved it and would also love for me to watch it again and give it another try.

blake said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Darcy, but you're older than your child. Most people are.

Though as Hector pointed out, some folks are their own grampa.

srfwotb said...

Finally saw it. Loved it. I loved it for the same reason it passes as a feelgood movie. You know why? Just like an old time fairy tale when you were a child and knew good from evil, the young lovers end up with each other and the old rich guy who buys women is portrayed as evil instead of the pimp. It's exactly the movie I need to see tonight.

Today Hollywood is the evil old rich man pimping the young women. It probably was always that, but it's forgotten to tell the fairy tale in its product - it even hooks the young women up with the rich old guys there - like its normal - like that's the fairytale.

Bzzt. Wrong. Answer.