Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tea Party = GOP (Now with 2x the crazy!)

First there was Sarah Palin. The architect of downright dipshit candidates that the Tea Party now promote. We all remember her list of maladies: she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was, she couldn't tell you what newspapers she liked to read, winks numerous times in a vice-presidential debate, she supported hunting wolves from an airplane, she used to ban books while mayor of Wasilla, and once received protection against witchcraft from a witch doctor.

Then there was Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate that won her Republican Primary and is now locked in a fierce race in Nevada to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Her claim to fame? She used to be apart of Nevada's Independent Party back in the 90's. The party she supported through the 90's (up until she left in 1997) were strongly homophobic.

Next came Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Ron Paul is one of the few Republicans in politics I have respect for. His son, on the other hand, is a real piece of work. We all remember Paul Jr. being interview by Rachel Maddown and how he would tackle the Civil Rights Act of 1964...or his lack of action. Dr. Paul stated that he believes that institutionalized racism is wrong and abhorent, but it's not the place of the federal government to demand that private businesses sy that they cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orentation, and disability. Nevermind that private and public ownership of busses, diners, and other areas that blacks were discriminated against played a huge part in why Dr. King marched on Washington D.C. on August 22, 1963, or why African-Americans in Montgomery, Alabama boycottted public transportiation.

And now we have Christine O' Donnell, the Republican nominee from Delaware. Of all the things i've listed about the batshit candidates, she takes the cake. Not only is she another overzealous Jesus freak and a Palin-clone(i.e. the good ol', plain-speaking girl next door routine, looks and speaks just like your mother or family elder), she also believes that masturbation is a sin against the Almighty himself.

“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can’t masturbate without lust. The reason that you don’t tell [people] that masturbation is the answer to AIDS and all these other problems that come with sex outside of marriage is because again it is not addressing the issue. You’re just gonna create somebody who is, I was gonna say, toying with his sexuality. Pardon the pun.”
No words can describe just how ridiculous that statement is. Did I also forget to mention that she used to "dabble in witchcraft?"

These are the members of the Tea Party, the group not created from Dick Armney's "Freedom Works" think-tank and from irrational fears that the President is a black radical hell-bent on taking away the white man's guns, and his daughter's virginity founded on freedom, on reducing the size of government, on getting a foothold of the out-of-control deficit, on shouting from Arizona to the footsteps of Capitol Hill, "Read our lips: No new ta..." Wait a minute...these guys sound like what former Republican Presidents have been spouting off for the last 20 years!

The Tea Party is really nothing new = it's the GOP, but in a shiny new wrapper, only now they come with frothing-at-the-mouth racial insensitivity towards gays, blacks, and latinos! The sad part in all of this is that the Republicans foolishly thoguth they would be able to control these in this election cycle, the puppetmaster has become the puppet, and if Obama and the Democrats can't get their act together and sell the slow progress they have been legislating, the last 8 years of the Bush Administration wouldn't look so bad after a few rounds with these reactionary lunatics.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ones That Mattered: The 10 Best Movies of the Last Decade

Sure, this comes month late, but I want to honor the best 10 movies that came from the previous decade; the ones that stayed with me, even today. These are the best of what film making offered us, the ones that mattered.

twbb Pictures, Images and Photos 1. There Will Be Blood - The first 15 minutes of this explosive and chilling meditation on family, faith, and greed, we see Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis in a performance for the ages) risking life and limb for silver in a mine shaft out in the West. He finds what his heart seeks, but not before busting his leg, leaving him a limp for life. As the saying goes, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," and in Plainview's case, it only intensifies his lust for power, and the depths he is prepared to go to achieve his ends. His need for power is matched buy three obstacles: his 10 year-old adopted son, H.W. (an excellent Dillon Freasier), a charismatic, fundamentalist preacher, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano matching beat for beat with Day-Lewis), and his own hatred of humanity. In the film's breathtaking and bold 30 minutes, he has his vengeance on all three. Anderson, with his uncompromising vision of America at the turn of the century, has crafted a modern epic that meditates on the dark side of strike-it-rich capitalists, or - if you want to extend the metaphor - the true face of it.

2. Spirited Away - Even the wizards at Pixar Animation Studios call director-writer Hayao Miayzaki the true master of animation. One look at his visually stunning and bittersweet tale of growing up, masked in an re-telling of Alice In Wonderland, will have you in agreement. Of all the animated movies to come around, Spirited Away is the one that stuck with me most, and made me truly fall in love with the power of film-making. 9 year-old Chirio becomes trapped in the spirit world after her parents take a detour en route to their new home, and turn into pigs after mom and dad obliviously eat from the food of the spirits. Her only hope of returning home and rescuing her parents is to do hard labor for Yubaba, the owner of the bathhouse for the weary spirits. The use of hand-drawn animation (with splashes of computer animation thrown in) and composer Joe Hisashi's luscious and haunting score are mated in a graceful and beautiful waltz, each serving to flawless storytelling and Miayzaki's world of pure imagination.

3. Babel - Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu shot this ensemble drama in various locations across the globe: from the deserts of Morocco, to the San Diego-Tijuana border, to the metropolis of neon that is Tokyo, Japan; in five different languages (including sign language); all covered in a the modern-day age of social networking and terrorism, to showcase humanity's failure to communicate with one another. Explaining the plot and the characters are too complex and complicated to explain, and that's what Inarritu is going for: he wants the audience to look past the story and begin to listen to what's going on underneath the surface. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchette, and Adriana Barraza are all top-notch, but the film's grieving heart is centered in Rinko Kikuichi, a deaf Japanese teenager who uses sex to bury the pain of losing her mother who committed suicide. Watching her, naked on the balcony of her house was she stares down the busy neon lights of the city, is quietly devastating.

4. Children Of Men - Alfonso Cuaron's sequence in the car where Theo (a career-best by Clive Owen), a disillusioned theocrat helps smuggle a young African refugee (Claire-Hope Ashiety) out of the decaying United Kingdom with help from his separated wife, Julia (the great Julianne Moore), only to be ambushed by an angry mob, is a breathtaking sequence, which sets the tone for this bleak and hopeful dystopian sci-fi thriller that seems a little too close to the present day: its 2027, women have been infertile for almost 18 years, and almost all of civilization across the world has fallen into chaos. It's a hopeless future, with different clashes of ethnic, religious, and political groups fight for what's left of a crumbling world, and Cuaron works miracles to shine a dim light on a future that's lost all hope to save themselves.

5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - If it's cheating that i'm combining The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, then so be it. Yes, they are three separate movies, but if you add all three masterpieces together, you have one 9 1/2 hour story that redefines what an epic can - and should - be. Credit director/co-producer and screenwriter Peter Jackson for bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels vividly to life, combining explosive and visually arresting storytelling and textbook themes of paralleled bravery, unimaginable sacrifice, and the deepest bonds of friendship and compassion in the face of an unspeakable evil in the dark lord Sauron, attempting to capture the One Ring and, with it, destroy the world of Middle-Earth, and actors Elija Wood as Frodo Baggins, Sean Astin as Samwise Gamtree, Frodo's loyal companion, Viggo Mortenson and Aragorn, the heir to the King of Gondor, and Sir Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf.

6. The Departed - Sure, the action isn't in the mean streets of New York City, but Martin Scorsese still brilliantly uses crime, corruption and social decay as a torch way to the soul. His viceral tale of crime and consequences is a remake from the Hong Kong masterpiece Infernal Affairs, this time set in Boston. Collin Sullivan is a rat implanted in the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) unit to keep Irish mob boss, Frank Costello (a wicked and electrifying Jack Nickelson) from being turned in to Capt. Queenan (the always reliable Martin Sheen) and Staff Sgt. Dignam (an excellent Mark Walberg). Meanwhile, rookie cop Billy Costigan (the ever-brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio) is picked by Queenan and Dignam to act as a mole in order to gain Costello's trust and take him down. How the rest of this thrilling crime drama shakes down, I won't reveal. But it's what Scorsese brings out in DiCaprio and Damon's characters - two men struggling to out the other without compromising their identities, and wrestle with their own dilemmas; Sullivan wants to break free from Frank and start a new life with Madoyln (Vera Farminga); Billy wants out of his mission of trying to nail Costello after a year of doing his dirty work - that makes The Departed unforgettable and unmissable.

7. The Incredibles - Pixar is to animation, as Radiohead is to rock music - neither group can do wrong. For me, Brad Bird's take on a family of supers forced into seclusion because the U.S. Government couldn't keep paying for the damages they've created as a result of their heroics is my favorite of the decade from this extraordinary company. It's a mix of James Bond, X-Men and Indiana Jones all rolled into one, but it's Bird's first-half, his satire on suburbia and the struggles of marriage after 15 years, that really resonates.

8. Mystic River - Clint Eastwood's haunting and hypnotic murder mystery is as powerful and as compelling as any other work he's done this decade. Sean Penn breathes fire and menace as Jimmy, the father who's daughter was murdered and now turns on his childhood friend Dave (a wonderful and tragic Tim Robbins), the prime suspect in the case, as Sean (Kevin Bacon) tries to search for the truth before Jimmy takes matters into his own hands.

9. Almost Famous - I've seen many coming-of-age comedies that have made me laugh and sympathize with the gangly, awkward protagonists, but writer-director Cameron Crowe's story of William Miller, a 15 year-old getting the chance of a lifetime as he travels with his idol rock group across America and writing for Rolling Stone magazine about Stillwater, stole my heart, and then broke it so the audience can feel as if we are William himself. Billy Crudup as the asshole lead guitarist for Stillwater, Kate Hudson as the legendary Band-Aid Penny Lane, and Frances McDormand as young William's overprotective mother all give fine performances, but it's Patric Fugit as William that shines in this love letter to rock 'n' roll of the 60s and 70s.

10 (tie). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Dark Knight - Simply put, both Christopher Nolan's and Alfonso Cuaron's works have pulled off an amazing feat: they both combine spectacular entertainment without compromising their visions of our favorite worlds, and both directors have made their sequels complete standouts from their original predecessors.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Title. Same Jonathan.

I've decided to Scrap Jonathan's Corner.

Wait, that didn't come out right. Let's try again:

I've decided to scrap the name of the blog, Jonathan's Corner, to The Way I See It. I figured that it was time for a change, so what the hell? Change the name and she where it goes from here.

As for the lack of posts? School (and procrastination) are taking up most of my time, but I will try to write as much as I can on here and on Banned and Dangerous, so this is just a head's up, and to let ya'll know i'm not dead or have disappeared somewhere. There's so much I want to get through, like the end of the Summer Movie Season (A few gems in a lackluster, and bland, showing this time), or the story of some kook who wants to remember 9/ burning the Koran, a September to remember in the National League, the beginning of the football season, and the crucial 2010 Midterms that will decide if the Democrats will keep the majority in the House and Senate. I'll be hitting these topics within the coming days and weeks.