Zach Miller (zarfmouse) wrote,
Zach Miller

Misc Thoughts

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 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 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.
Tags: history, movies, musings, politics
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