Movie: Limitless

Eddie Morra has the world by the balls, or at least he feels like it, save for those troubling side effects of NZT.  Having been treated to a depressing lunch by a condescendingly kind ex, and recognized wandering through the streets by his ex-brother-in-law living his unfocused, unmotivated, drug and alcohol addled life out of a fleabag in NY, he feels like there is nowhere to go but up. Then he discovers NZT ,which seems like almost a kind of meth* for rich people- and  he is suddenly endowed with what looks to be almost magical mental powers, he learns to speak any language, gets any chick, kicks anyone’s ass, out-thinks any situation, makes tons of money and does so in an aging-ex-druggie-loser-turned Equllibrium/Matrix-pretty-boy-Matthew McConaughey/Gavin Newsom hybrid with super-blue contact lenses  kinda way-even getting the better of De Niro. There’s a few plot flaws that are glaring enough for most to say ‘how could he have not thought of that?’ but those may have been intentional- which poses a challenge to the movie’s title, if it is indeed limitless after all-because magic pill or not, you are still you- even when you think you have overthought it all.

Ok, that said…  NZT seems to also create a Hollywood version of what is now called bi-polar disorder, previously called manic-depression. This film is disturbing – but not surprising-the striving  to make desirable ‘enhanced’ qualities one gets from drugs- and a state that  mimics what people feel like who have manic-depression, not super-ability- I prefer this to the ‘bi-polar’  as it seems more descriptive- as most of us go through highs and lows but we have some ability to regulate ourselves either by various means, external or internal- friends, sports,hobbies, volunteering, creative outlets…but the M/D people don’t seem to have that resource though they go to great lengths to hide it- when they can. 

Here the idea is reinforced that we need to be falsely ‘improved’ and that improvement is magical, pharmaceutical and extreme- real life is sucky, shyttty and generally demoralizing and humiliating  as well as the portrayal of yet another white male- gaining self-acceptance, success, attention while on said pharmaceutical/magic powers crap behaving as if he is manic much of the time yet perceiving that as having control and feeling great-it is to testosterone appeal what I suppose those ‘are you sad?’ zoloft-type ads are for women,where one minute you are in bed practically comatose and crying, or staring past your kids at some geraniums that are wilting before your eyes- the next you are dining on some tropical beach with a freakin’ silver fox. Right.

There is also a very sneaky meta-message…that a lot of guys are Eddie Morra before, and you , the viewer- are probably one of them. It is not the message of Bond or what I call action-d*ck -a/d films, where the viewer is in on the fun. It is meant for the viewer to identify with pre-NZT Eddie, the Eddie who has been twice-dumped, can’t work or pay his rent, and when the shit wears off, always has effed up hair and is somehow way less pretty than the ‘after’ Eddie. Thus it can’t be lumped in with white guy feel-good a/d films or even Mad Men-ish middle-agey, old-timey feel-good stuff.

Nope, none of those guys in those type shows started off as a loser than I remember. None of those guys got anything because of dope- Rx or otherwise. None of those guys had to morph into anything magically to be, do or get anything. Point being, the new Eddie- however pretty- is not really even cyborgishly hawt even fake improved-because At The End of The Day, Eddie is no more than a commercial for white guy bad self-esteem, and probably for that very reason, left me only wanting to sniff the scent of new car leather more than Ed’s nifty NZT sweat..Eddie, you are not The One.

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Addendum to the anon email> Yes, I have posted in the wee hours prob from too much coffee intake, but no, I don’t have m/d- my blood pressure is low, my heart rate is low. I don’t like planes or roller coasters, most of the time logy and calm to a fault, don’t think I could even fake manic.

 No, I am not making fun of the people that have ‘it’, meaning they don’t have terrific control of regulating their mental state and all the various minutiae of brain parts that usually do a lot of this on their own. Yes, I have made fun of the excessive use of  definitions in the DSM as they do seem overly applied to white people especially ( and especially those with generous insurance) and if you have a DSM you know how much is continally added to it and how much seems ridiculous – and yes I think people are over-diagnosed and Rx’d- but- if people really need it  I’m not against it at all and they should make whatever informed choice is best for them and not feel any kind of shame that would stop them from getting help or cause them to try to self-medicate , or  seek help for the self-medicating and not the real problem.

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*No, I don’t do or am on any drug(s), Rx or otherwise aside from the occasional ibuprofen, caffeine and nicotine and any cinnamon hot candies- and never tried meth, you can pee test me any time. If you have come this far I have a surprise in your cracker-jack box from stuff  I have been reading that is oh yeah so chock  full o’ corn-syrup-fueled hatery goodness (and scary pictures)…brought to you once more by Dino’s Deli, home of the Darth Evader 5 ft sub- come to the dark side, we have baklava!

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&sqi=2&ved=0CCcQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.illustratedinsectopedia.com%2FPC.pdf&ei=fPnvTeWhE4yusAPj97iiDg&usg=AFQjCNEbAYQdL7y-gjAJhjhCZq3t26OTyg&sig2=bv5PVUnPdGNcWSnvFtTNKA

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No Nazi Left Behind: jews unamused over Winslet’s Reader/Lives of Others

Winslet & Fiennes in The Reader

Winslet & Fiennes in The Reader

 Holocaust education groups are staging a last-ditch bid to stop Kate Winslet winning an Oscar for playing a Nazi concentration camp guard in The Reader. Mark Weitzman, head of Jewish human rights and Holocaust teaching organization The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has slammed the film for its “revisionism”. 

He said: “Essentially it takes a woman who serves in, is responsible for, is complicit in, you pick the words, in the deaths of at least 300 Jews – and her big secret shame is that she’s illiterate.” 

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/film/article2257810.ece

~Looks as if Winslet will not make ‘Oskar’s List’, but she did get an Oscar nomination for her role in The Reader, in which she plays an illiterate Nazi guard who takes up with a young man who reads to her. Reads to her because she can’t read. The jews are up in arms because they consider The Reader to be one among many recent films protraying Nazis as sympathetic- flawed, human- and having painful secrets that might trump the Only Acceptable and All-Important Main Theme: victim jews, evil Nazis and that Nazis may never Suffer . Ever. Incapable.

 They are always in the power position, never show weakness,  are always Evil and Cruel. Always One Dimensional.  Anything that gets away from that Approved Schematic is verboten , dangerous-maybe even a threat . This is only one article that echoes the sentiments of many others, the heresy of showing any vulnerability and what is probably perceived as Official Neglect for not covering the  WW2 event  in any way except the obligatory fashion. Winslet’s character has more than one thing going- or not going- for her- and that’s the problem. ~~~

Scene from The Lives of Others

Scene from The Lives of Others

Recently saw  The Lives of Others, a dystopian drama in German with subtitles, revolving around the lives of a  writer and his actress lover, ( Sebastian Koch and Martina Gedeck) who are being monitored by the Stasi . An interesting twist , which is related to the theme in The Reader  but takes it a step further- is that the man sent to live in the flat above them, to bug  their apartment, spend hours listening to them and follow their movements- becomes sympathetic to them, and possibly to their cause, thus prompting ever-more plot twists-  While it is not officially based on a true story, wiki states that

 At the same time the screenplay was published by Suhrkamp Verlag, Donnersmarck and Ulrich Mühe were successfully sued for libel for an interview in which Mühe asserted that his former wife informed on him while they were East German citizens through the six years of their marriage-

http://www.sonyclassics.com/thelivesofothers/swf/index.html

 

Another “feel-bad” movie: ‘The Woodsman’

Scene from  The Woodsman

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fIFa9RcCmI

Some movies not classfied as horror actually are. The Woodsman is one of these . The title apparently stems from the Little Red Riding Hood  tale, where the woodsman saves her from the big, bad wolf, but in this movie, they try to convince you the wolf can sometimes redeem himself and turn into the  good-guy woodsman- … uh yeaaahhhh.. right.

So-called scary movies often aren’t; they don’t have much effect on me. Fear is subjective. There are everyday fears, the unknown, the past, the future, crime, etc., but then there are the more subtle yet just as frightening kinds of fears. Sometimes being disgusted and repulsed is frightening- Watching this movie gives one a sense of unending , creeping dread, which is infinitely worse than the obligatory solo scream of the evil axe murderer.

Unless of course, the axe-murderer is Freddy Krueger  – if one is easily upset or one has personal experience with this, I would not recommend a viewing, as I have never experienced this particular form of abuse- not like portrayed in the movie anyway-but was brought to tears and mild nausea by this film. Bacon is almost too good-too real, and I hope I will not be forevermore creeped out by him in other roles. It’s kind of a hard role to live down, but, at least it’s just acting.

Kevin Bacon stars  as a working-class convicted child molester. It is clear that they are trying to make him a sympathetic character, yet I cannot manage to even catch a whiff . Pathos, perhaps. Revulsion, most definitely. Sympathy? No.

Not even when he beats the tar out of a fellow pervert he has been watching stalk the school kids across from his apartment -sorry, the ‘self-hating-reformed-molester-vigilante’  theme  just doesn’t work for me. Not when his sister won’t have him around her child after he does 12 years in prison. Not when he is outed at work. Not when his ( a former victim it is implied of abuse) probation officer visits him and is alternately cruel/reveals his own damage and pathos.

I especially don’t feel sorry for him as he follows what looks to be 7th graders through a mall, looking up their skirts on the escalator or when he actually starts to feel bad for a young girl he just asked to sit on his lap in a remote park, because as it turns out, she is already being molested by her own father – what a spew-worthy meme to promote , as if it is common that good old dad has beat the park pervert to it-or the unused version of this scene in which he tells the girl to tell her teacher in the deleted extra scenes on the DVD.

There are scenes in this movie that made me cry, but not for him. A  disturbing movie-  the  theme of Bacon’s character redeeming himself, while  battling his own demons of sicko-ness. Kyra Sedgewick plays his tough-chick co-worker with whom he becomes involved. It appears she -a former victim herself, has some kind of co-dependent sympathy/affection for him, the status of her own childhood past is not lost upon the viewer,   ‘she is with him and finds/likes him because she is also screwed up’. Oh yuck. Eww. I suppose they are supposed to be mutually pathetic, but I don’t feel bad for her either. Their chemistry sucks and is awkward but perhaps this is intentional.

There can be no moral to the story as it is built upon a false premise, one that is wrong prob 99.9% of the time, that being : Even molesters can redeem themselves. Molesters are people too, and you probably are working or living next to one, just like the White Serial Killer who is one door down from the molester.  He’s a perv, yeah, but he’s also just a guy, trying to make it, dealing with BS like the rest of us. Uh-huh.  Let’s hear it for John Cougar Kiddiepants, working-class hero, hangin’ out at the mall, following kids. But hey, he has to take out the garbage like the rest of us. That’s great. Dude, you just need to overlook the dudes rollin’ around with kids part. You’re so judgemental. He’s getting better, really. Yep. Uh-huh.

Celebrate perversity!

 We all know the ‘reformed molester’ deal  is so rare that it seems blasphemous to suggest. The other stuff about all the conflicted , angsty characters with their various dysfunctions is all well and good, but it doesn’t take away from the basic lie of the premise, that these guys turn themselves around, grow some kind of a normal conscience organ, and find redemption, forgiveness and yes, even love. Love and redemption, love and forgiveness, all the things that happen in cheesy lifetime movies about adults that like other adults. It just doesn’t go together. That’s like mixing syrup of epicac and pepto-bismol. Do you still not feel good but don’t actually hurl, or do you hurl up the pepto? Either way, you still feel gross.

The director blathering extras on the DVD – I only listened a couple minutes and gave up as it was mostly about tooting their own horn re how ‘edgy’ and what a controversial theme the movie had, and how wonderful everyone was, etc..

 this is the producer/director team, Daniels and Kassell. Feel free to leave a blog comment if you see this POS flick.

Daniels and kassel