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Misc Thoughts - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jul. 11th, 2007

12:25 am - Misc Thoughts

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Misc Thoughts:

Every time a news story mentions that Fred Fielding is Bush's main lawyer in this whole subpoena fiasco I think of how ironic that would be if Fred Fielding were in fact Deep Throat. But sadly, he isn't.

The first Die Hard movie was really a very significantly deeper than I'd have guessed. It's got so much about the cultural shift from the cocaine-addled self-centered reagan 80s (as completely personified by the schmucky co-worker) to the progressive high tech globalized post-communist 90s (as exemplified by both the Japanese-owned corporation and the German criminals....man we were REALLY culturally obsessed with the Japanese and German economic threat in the late 80s).

The key metaphor of the movie seems to pit three forces against one another: 1) Bruce Willis, the intuitively brilliant luddite who wins because he's smart and independent enough to break/bend the rules the right way (but he's also not a maverick, he does a lot of stuff kinda by the book when it makes sense to do so, he's not really the kind of loose canon cop that Mel Gibson is in Lethal Weapon, he's a skilled cop in an incredibly abnormal situation) 2) Criminals, the methodically brilliant technologists who almost win because they're smart enough to game the rules, to understand the rules and break them to their advantage 3) Other cops who are completely incompetent because of their blind and ignorant adherence to systematization/rules. The other cops follow rules even when they don't understand what is happening. The movie is all about smart creative anarchy beating moribund bureaucracy and it is also about how globalization and technological revolution could bring great reward or great danger or both (depending on whether we're smart or complacent) but none of it will ever replace the importance of human creativity and individuality and soul (Bruce Willis, his wife, his cop buddy outside, the limo driver all have creative and compassionate soul in a way that the schmucky cokehead coworker, the inept cops/FBI, .the criminals, the corporation, the computer system do not).

Then there's the whole midlife crisis working class man estranged from his successful corporate executive wife angle. I'm still contemplating that one because the movie runs dangerously close to lame macho cliche but I think actually side steps or deconstructs or questions that quite a bit and gives us something different than the cliche. I'm still not sure I get the point though. It's especially interesting to watch their relationship "evolve" through the three movies, we only ever get bits and pieces of the story, we don't REALLY know why they're so estranged. The way they handle it in the third movie is I think actually very redeeming in that he isn't saving her, he's saving himself. It's clear that saving her twice hasn't helped their underlying issues, but maybe after saving himself they can work it out.

The second movie was pretty lame and I don't have much to say about it other than that it had good thematic followup of going from a movie about the transition from the 80s to the 90s to a movie about the 90s seeking its identity as a new decade. The reference to Grenada was nice for reminding us that the 90s came entirely out of the 80s. I also found it interesting that while he was basically completely on his game in the first movie, constantly improving his situation until he could make the big win....in the second movie he kept fucking up over and over again, trying to do the right thing but not really pulling through until the end.

The third movie was just a totally fun wild ride. So over the top that it was HILARIOUS (I love the comedy in all three movies). The passing reference to the 1993 WTC attack was pretty haunting. And the 5 gallon + 3 gallon, make 4 gallons puzzle put me right back in 4th grade when they gave us IQ tests.

I'd only ever seen the first one before this week.

I really want to go see the new 4th one now.

Current Mood: energeticenergetic

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:sarpo
Date:July 10th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
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Have you seen the 4 minute mashup which explains the plots of all 4 movies? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTyw6cq86kY

It may get stuck in your head, but I think it's pretty fun. (Apparently, it was first released to YouTube with only the first 3 movies covered, Fox made them pull it, then realized what *incredible* free publicity it was, and paid the group to put it back up, giving them clips from the 4th movie to use.)
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[User Picture]
From:kingvermin
Date:July 11th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
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I think the image of Alan Rickman clinging on to Holly's watch at the end signifies what the filmakers think of the woman's attempt at a career means to the audience. In #2, their relationship was "fine," and now...wasn't he an LA cop who was visiting their family in DC? So he must have moved to LA to be with her as she furthered her career...OR she was still working in LA and he was fine with that arrangement...?

I saw 1 & 2 back to back in 1991 at the request of my friend Mike, who said that they were the best movies ever. They were definitely the beginning of my exposure to mindless violent action movies. They're both solid lookin', the first one being more suspenseful and the 2nd being all out ridiculous and action packed. Ebert called Die Hard 2 one of the 10 best movies of the decade at the time...

Anyway,
-paul
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[User Picture]
From:ke_jia
Date:July 12th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
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So glad you saw Die Hard and enjoyed it; I love it dearly. The next two fall far short of the first, for me, mostly because they don't have anything in them that wasn't in the first; their sole reason for existing is to find new things to blow up.

Which doesn't mean I don't enjoy them, it just means that the first sets an impossible standard. Now, of course, I really want to go back and watch the first movie again, but instead I'm going to take a nap, and then work on a homework assignment for a while ...

The fourth movie sounds kind of interesting in that it appears to have a few of the people that designed and performed the stunts for District B13, my favorite actioner of the last few years. The recent Daniel Craig Bond movie, whose title escapes me (shows how memorable that was, eh?) also had some similar stuntwork in it, to pretty good effect ...

Because I'm too tired to start up an email session and write this in a real email, I'll just say it's darn good to hear from you (via lj), and I'm glad you're on a good path.
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