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Power Kids aka Force of 5

tn_powerkidsPOWER KIDS is another Thai action movie but for kids. It stars the same two girls from MUAY THAI GIANT plus three boys, and no giant. There’s the Thai Wil Wheaton as sort of the main kid, the Thai Corey Feldman as the slicked back hair charmer guy who thinks he’s hot shit, and the first kid’s little brother who has a weak heart.

The first 35 minutes is just like a cheesy kid’s movie about trying to get the money to buy their brother an RC car for his birthday, trying to stop the bullies at the RC track, also getting in a fight with a big drunk Australian guy (not Nathan Jones sized, but big). Then all the sudden two very bad things happen:

1. the little brother’s heart gives out and he’s gonna need a transplant

2. the hospital where the transplant heart is located gets taken over by rebel terrorists taking an ambassador hostage to make a point

So the kids try to sneak in and get the heart, just like the Goonies, the Explorers or the Hardy Boys or somebody would, but those little weiners would all get shot and killed before they got into the building and it would be a pretty short and depressing movie. Possibly the Little Rascals could’ve pulled it off, but I’m not betting on it. These kids use their youth to take the rebels off guard but also they use their muay thai skills to beat the god damn shit out of them. It’s not HOME ALONE type hit-in-the-balls-with-a-flying-object-and-it’s-hilarious type of kid movie violence, it’s actually pretty bloody.

mp_powerkidsThis would probly not be considered a kid’s movie in the U.S. We always complain that our media is violent and there’s a double standard about sex, that people got no problem letting their kids watch the Joker murder a guy with a pencil but would be upset if they brought them to a movie where you see a sideboob. And of course that’s true. But also there’s a line drawn somewhere and I don’t think a movie where little kids have brutal, bloody fights with terrorists would fly over here.

But it is definitely a kid’s movie, you can’t really get around that. And I mean that in a derogatory way. But I did enjoy the novelty of seeing kids do insane Thai style stunts. I’m not saying it’s up to the Tony Jaa standard, but it’s past adult level for most countries. These kids do alot of jumping off walls and people, alot of flying knees and kicks. One kid runs and jumps knees first through a window, breaking through glass and hitting a dude. The same kid has a bird’s-eye-view shot of running up a wall, doing a flip and landing both knees on a guy that’s laying on the ground.

Just because it’s kids I assumed there was some kind of special effect involved, some wires or digital enhancements or something. But both shots I just described are shown from other angles on the making-of featurette, and they were done live on set. It’s funny to see these kids beating up the adults and every time the take ends they give a little respectful bow. I assume the adults also do that to each other, unless it’s just a weird etiquette thing they make the Thai stunt youth do, like saying “May I be excused, please?” before leaving the dinner table.

Just to make things seem a little more even they actually have a little girl on the terrorist team. I know it sounds ridiculous but she’s a girl that was orphaned during war so she joined the rebels. She’s an intense-looking little kid and I think they actually get some successful drama out of you wondering if her quest for revenge or her kid-solidarity will win out. It would be sweet if she became friends with them and it would be fucked up if she killed them so either way you’re gonna get some drama.

So yeah, like all the Thai movies I’ve ever seen this has alot of crying and tragedy and melodrama, even though it’s DIE HARD meets muay thai meets little kids.

It’s kinda weird being an adult watching a movie about kids. I’ve learned over the years to appreciate a family film if it’s well made, but usually that’s gonna be about a talking pig or a cartoon character of some kind. But when it’s a human child and you’re supposed to relate to them it feels kind of ridiculous. You can put your sympathies with somebody totally different from you but when it’s a kid sometimes it feels like shit, I been through that before, I don’t want to go back to it. Or jesus these kids today, I lucked out by not being born in their time, I want to take advantage of this and not have to think about what kind of stupid shit they care about. So for example I would rather help somebody move than watch the documentary about that little boy with the bangs that sings on tv, even though it’s from the director of STEP UP 2-3 and even though Drew McWeeny claimed it was an interesting documentary. I just don’t want to look at that kid or hear his music or remember that it’s something that people care about. The modern world just isn’t my bag. I’m a John-McClane-man in a that-kid-from-Twilight-that’s-in-the-John-Singleton-movie-where-it’s-like-Bourne-Identity-with-teens world.

So I get some of that discomfort watching this, I feel out of place with these kids even though they got a tough life and all that. I kinda feel like I’m watching the Disney Channel at first, and not the part with Disney cartoons. But then it turns into what it turns into, which is a movie where gunmen are trying to murder little kids who are throwing around a box with a human heart in it. And bad things happen to the heart.

I mean if the singer kid was gonna get bloodied up and fight for a box with a human organ in it then maybe I would consider watching it, I’m not sure. But that is not something I expect to happen.

winner: the children of Thailand

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011 at 12:03 pm and is filed under Action, Family, Martial Arts, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

56 Responses to “Power Kids aka Force of 5”

  1. Yeah, something about having kid heroes (and one kid villain) reduces the rewatchability of this one. I appreciate their fighting, and someday maybe I’ll have a reason to enjoy POWER KIDS with a 10 year old nephew or son or daughter or something, so I’ll appreciate it even more when that happens.

    I like the idea that these movies inspire little ones to be athletic; knowing how to do a split and judo hip toss terrorists and jump off walls makes you live longer, unless you have a horrible and accident and die, which could shorten one’s life in my opinion.

    Action films are good for kids, I maintain. Anything to keep the minds of our youth off the filthy sinful image of a naked human being, amirite?

    In conclusion, thank you, glorious Thai people, for inspiring new forms of entertaining violence and helping America celebrate Veterans Day.

  2. Maybe I’m just a sick fuck, but there is little I enjoy more in a movie than seeing little kids getting the crap kicked out of them like they’re grown-ass men. I’m not talking about abuse or anything. I don’t want to watch some poor bastard’s stepdad whaling on him. I prefer the kids to be able to take it and then dish it out. That’s why this movie and the part in MY FATHER THE HERO where Jet Li’s kid gets his face put through a glass fucking table are two of the greatest things that ever happened to me.

  3. That’s healthy, dude, you sick fuck. Tone is important when there’s kid-bashing going on. Like, in 300, that kid fight doesn’t do much for me, because it’s so dreary and serious and uninspired. It works in the movie, but it’s nowhere near as awesome & memorable as what you’re talking about. I’m scrambling the brain trying to remember more such moments.

    Surely you laughed at the bridge scene near the end of TROPIC THUNDER? Little guy gets tossed!

    And when Will Ferrell face palms that kid out of the way when he has the tranq dart in his neck in the p-o-v shot in OLD SCHOOL?

    My thing is seeing a man slapped by another man.

  4. Yeah, that bit in TROPIC THUNDER was amazing. I was a bit bummed when they had that probably studio-mandated shot showing that the kid was okay, though. But at least the panda didn’t come back to life at the end.

  5. Stiller should do a director’s cut where it doesn’t show that the little one is okay.

    This would be historic:
    Original version: 107 minutes
    Director’s Cut: 106 minutes, 58 seconds

  6. TROPIC THUNDER: THE AMBIGUOUS FATE OF HALF-SQUAT EDITION

    But isn’t the director’s cut of BLOOD SIMPLE considerably shorter than the theatrical cut because the Coens watched it again 20 years later and got bored?

  7. Yea, color me excited to watch this, even if it’s sort of weird. I thought I saw them throwing around the heart-box in the trailer. Anything above and beyond the kids flying and kicking is a bonus, as far as I’m concerned.

  8. Wow. That was your best review for ages, despite (or possibly because of) the fact that you don’t “judge” the movie in a conventional sense. I’m actually really intrigued by this one now. Will give it a go.

  9. So this is like a movie long version of that one part in BORN TO FIGHT where the little girl avenges her mother? Which kinda undermines it’s cred by having the kid scowling and posing at the end in a supposedly badass manner.

    Btw, is there any particular reason for the appearance of Australia/Australian actors in asian action cinema? Nathan Jones in all this stuff, the Australian guy in this, the setting for most of TOM YUM GOONG and FIRST STRIKE. Is it just that the country’s closer than America is and a good source of actors when they want to cast non-Asian characters?

  10. I keep putting off watching this, and it’s only like 70 minutes long, right? Should be no problem but I’ve had the Blu-ray for years and never popped it in. I’m totally down for little kids doing brutal Thai moves. That actually appeals to a lot of my cinematic interests (my all time favorite movies coincidentally happen to be so-called children’s films. And also Die Hard and Face/Off.) I guess knowing the Thais I’m worried it’s really childish and a lot more plot than action, and this review sorta confirms it, but maybe not. One day maybe, maybe this Thanksgiving or Xmas and I’ll post in this thread again after I watch it.

  11. Re: kids getting beat up- I have to say I did find the bullying flashbacks in KUNG FU HUSTLE a bit harrowing and heartbreaking.

  12. Oh, certainly the most disturbing kid on kid violence is in the movie BULLHEAD. Anyone see it at one of the fests yet?

  13. I remember seeing the trailer, particularly the bit where the girl knees the terrorist through a window, and thinking I had to check out this new unhinged Thai goodness, but it is a little weird and uncomfortable when you realise that it’s actually a legitimate movie for kids, not some kind of Kick-Ass deal. I like that Thailand is making full-on action movies to inspire the youth, but it was awkward sitting in on it.

    I also struggled to sit through all the kids-movie logic, like the news reports and the radio controlled car action scene. The trick with the striplight is now one of my all-time favourite cinematic fight moves though, kid or adult.

  14. nabroleon dynamite

    November 11th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Someone mentioned this shit right here in the outlawvern.com talkbacks and I immediately copped it from amazon!!

    The shit is kinda dope once the hospital takeover kicks off and I even liked the charm of the earlier parts. Best $6.78 I ever spent!!

    By the way… I’m a veteran bitch!! HOOAH!!

  15. I’m afraid I just can’t understand why someone would have a hard time watching a kid’s movie provided it’s well made

    I mean, what difference does it make what the ages of the main characters are?

  16. I tend to consider “kid’s movies” and “family films” two different, if related, categories. A film is classified as a kid’s movie when it is obviously written by an adult who is trying really, really hard to come up with a story he believes kids will like. Usually this means it involves a lot of slapstick. A family film is a movie that is much more encompassing. It’s appropriate for kids, but it is not going out of its way to pander to them. I think the movie Babe is a good example of a family film. The talking animals tell us that children can watch it, but the fact that many of these talking animals will end up on a dinner plate tell us that it’s not talking down to children.

  17. I tend to think of “family films” as actually being “parent films.” They’re movies about things parents like to fool themselves into thinking their kids are into, like hugs and lessons and wholesomeness, and not the stuff they’re really into, like swearing and running around like idiots and product placement. I’d rather watch a children’s movie than a family movie any day. At least they’re made for a real audience and not one that only exists in some willfully obtuse adult’s head.

  18. I don’t agree with your perception of family movies, Mr M. Because if you ask me, the ones with learning and hugging are the kids movies, because older audiences hate this shit even more and think those lessons are childish. Family movies are either movies that weren’t made for kids, but can also be enjoyed by them (like the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, although part two is in parts pretty graphic) or kids movies, that are inspired and well made enough, to make older viewers enjoy them too. (Like the first SPY KIDS [the sequels not so much, although I enjoyed part 2 & 3] or my favourite family movie of the last decade: SKY HIGH)

    The one thing that I really hate, is when filmmakers or studios think they made a family movie, because they put some references in their kids movies, that you are only able to get if you are of a certain age. That’s just cheap and more like throwing the poor parents a bone, then really entertaining the whole family.

  19. Regarding Griff’s point, the problem for an adult watching this particular kids movie is that it is not well made. The fights are good through the last half hour but story, plotting and dialogue are pretty weak.

  20. I was trying to go for a definition of “family film” that’s along the lines of what CJ said. Although, I do see where the term family film makes it seem like lessons need to be learned. Maybe we could come up with a better term for films that are appropriate for most younger kids but at the same time don’t pander to them. Other than just a “good movie.”

  21. CJ: I see what you’re saying and I think it kind of fits my point. “Family movies” are movies where the whole family can sit down and watch it together and nobody gets embarrassed or offended but nobody really likes it either. The parents would rather be watching a grown-up movie full of sex and violence and adult themes, and the kids would rather be watching a kids movie full of farting and funny voices and people making a giant mess. To quote Calvin, “Compromise is when nobody is happy.” That’s a family movie to me: a bunch of shit nobody likes but at least there’s no tits.

  22. And that’s where I think you are wrong. Kids are definitely not above enjoying stupid films (shit, I dug the hell out of that dog movie BINGO when I was young!), but it’s not that they get bored if nobody falls on his ass with a slide whistle sound effect. And it’s not that adults are automatically bored, if nobody ever swears, people only get killed bloodless offscreen and there isn’t even a sideboob in it!
    At least they shouldn’t. If my kids wouldn’t be able to appreciate an exciting movie, because it lacks slapstick and poop jokes, I would slap them. And if my friends hesitate to watch a movie with me, because it isn’t dark, gritty, violent and r-rated, I would punch them.
    The world is full of films and TV shows, that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages and often even for the same things. And most of them doesn’t suck or are half-assed compromises.

  23. I’m not trying to say that every movie that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people is a family movie. STAR WARS, for instance, has far-ranging appeal, but it’s not a family movie. It’s a sci-fi adventure that as a naturally occurring by-product of its story manages to be appealing to people of various generations. A “family movie” is a movie that exists for no other reason but to be inoffensive entertainment that has the proper messages and no rough edges that might make somebody uncomfortable. These movies are like brussel sprouts. Parents don’t like them any more than kids do, but it’s important that children get the proper nutrition so they serve them up anyway.

  24. Maybe that’s not fair to brussell sprouts. Throw a little cheese sauce on top and they can be quite tasty. I’m not sure making family movies even cheesier is the way to go.

  25. Majestyk – family movies for me could be anything from “Batman” to “Pulp Fiction” (although that came out a little after my time). As a child I watched enough ultraviolent gorefests to impress… well… a lot of people on this forum, I guess! My parents didn’t exactly hold to the view that “shielding” your child from this stuff is bad.

    And despite the “research” from the likes of Christian fundamentalists who believe that all media not featuring Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus should be instantly banned, I don’t think it did me any harm. I mean, I’m pretty emotionally stable, right? Right?

    Wait a sec…

    …Come to think of it, maybe the Taylor Swift lovers were onto something.

    Anyway.. “Family movie” does seem like a derogatory term nowadays, yet I’d class something like “Wall-E” as a family film and it’s probably my second-or-third favorite movie ever. I loved “Toy Story 3” – a lot more than I liked the first two “Toy Story” films, in fact – and think it had a lot to say about the process of transitioning into adulthood, letting go of old ties, etc – does that mean that it’s not a “family film”? Is it too good for that?

  26. I was actually thinking about TOY STORY 3 when I wrote my definition of “family film” (which I should stress is my personal definition, taking into account my various prejudices and peccadilloes and thus not intended to be universally applicable) because it fits the definition almost perfectly and yet I really like it anyway. But then I realized, actually, no, it doesn’t fit my definition at all because there’s shit in it that would totally fuck up a little kid’s world and lead to some awkward conversations with the parents on the way home. (“Does everything die, Mommy? Will I die, too?”) So I’m thinking “family film” is a mostly derogatory catch-all term that nonetheless manages to have some good shit under its umbrella every now and again. Like “techno” or “torture porn.”

  27. Oh shit, man. I like you, Mr Majestyk, but your assumption that a family movie is automatically toothless bullshit, that was softened around the edges to make it appeal to everybody until nobody likes it anymore, is plain and simple bullshit. Sorry.

  28. I just think we’re not even talking about the same kinds of movies, CJ. You’re talking about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and SPIDER-MAN, shit that has mass appeal because everybody likes heroes and adventures. I’m talking about stuff that specifically markets itself as “fun for the whole family,” like basically any movie with a little girl and a horse and/or a dream. I mean, I could be totally wrong but that’s why I’m calling it my personal definition. I wish I could come up with specific examples but I’m drawing a blank, mostly because anything that markets itself as a family movie is not something I would ever watch because it’s bragging about how low-impact it is. It’s like Bud Light bragging about its “drinkability” because that’s all it’s got going for it.

  29. Enjoying this conversation, fellas. It’s wishy-washy to say, “It’s semantics,” but that’s what we’re dealing with here. It’s not “bullshit,” CJ. It’s a matter of understanding different, nuanced meanings of certain terms. That’s cool, though, since I enjoy a good argument & evolution of an operational definition. I’ll offer some anecdotal input.

    Other than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and maybe He-Man & She-Ra for a brief period when I was 4-5 years old, I hated all “kids” entertainment choices when I was a young un, and I’ve definitely always hated “family” entertainment. I might have enjoyed about 20% of the old Bugs Bunny & Road Runner & Droopy cartoons, but mostly they were unsatisfying. [I have come to appreciate Bugs Bunny’s forays into opera, though. (I wanted to link to “What’s Opera, Doc” and “The Rabbit of Seville” here, but apparently Warner Brothers has eliminated all such free videos of acceptable quality online.)]

    A movie or tv show can be good “family” entertainment incidentally, but it can’t set out to be a “family movie” and still be good, in my experience. No amount of cheese on those brussell sprouts can cleanse the bitterness of the forced delivery of [usually Christian] family values in a lazy “family movie.”

    (The only good exception I can think of right now is the great Cosby sitcoms; The Cosby Show or whatever it was called is a wonderful American institution and a piece of long running entertainment that deserves a spot in museums. It’s unbelievable how funny & engaging Bill Cosby and crew made that material, and I never even followed the storyline through the years. Sometimes I’d watch an episode and Rudy or whoever the little one was would be 5 years old, and then the next episode I watched there was a plot about young adult family members I didn’t even remember existing in the Cosbyverse. Each individual episode was funny, and the messages imparted were usually benign but strong and important for young viewers.)

    I’ve always hated jokes about bodily functions. I always hated those TGIF sitcoms. I never found Saved By the Bell funny. Even as a 5 year old, I always got pissed off when my teammates goofed off and failed to take baseball/basketball/soccer practice seriously, though practice & games were always tremendously fun. I hate goofy sound effects. Hell, I hate Goofy. And Donald Duck. And those obnoxious cartoon chipmunks. And the Animaniacs and Ren & Stimpy and Pete & Pete and all that Nickelodeon shit (though today I have a weakness for most iCarly episodes, because that’s a brilliant show).

    I hate characters who yell for no reason. I hate overtly “Christian” inspirational movies. I have always hated movies or parts of movies that look like they were shot with the soft fuzzy lighting from a Barbara Walters interview. I enjoyed much of HOME ALONE, but despised the bit about the tearful family reunion and the old man, except where he uses his shovel as a weapon, iIrc. The first non-TMNT movie I remember making me genuinely laugh was either ALADDIN or MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.

    So, upon considering my catalog of hate, one might wonder, “Was Mouth precociously cynical, or did he simply see the weaknesses of all those supposedly ‘kids’ and ‘family’ movies because they have always been subpar works of art & entertainment?” Probably both, but my relationship with these “kid’s” and “family” movies gets more complicated and affectionate later in life, so I’m not trying to pat myself on the back for having early insights and rejecting blatantly stupid movies & tv shows that my peers ages 5-13 enjoyed.

    From about age 11 until about age 18-19, I largely refused to watch movies or tv shows that I perceived to be intended for a target audience below the age of mature adults. My happy peaceful suburban life meant that my choices for escapist entertainment leaned toward “gritty,” exotic stuff, I guess. I also had an idea of what a “family movie” was, which was different from “kid’s movie,” and I hated it peremptorily but for good reason. I did not feel that this was an arbitrary criterion I was applying to my movie-watching choices. I truly believed there were movies for kids and movies not for kids, movies for Ned Flanders and movies for the anti-Ned Flanders, and I only wanted the latter.

    It didn’t feel like a personal choice of rebellion at the time, just a matter of taste and optimizing my time with my VCR, but, well, I’m certain I’m the only kid in town who raided the “Foreign” & “Classics” shelves at the several local movie rental joints. This saddened me, since I lowered my opinion of the tastes of my peers & neighbors, more than I exalted myself, since I didn’t think it made me special. It was my little personal episode in the eternal war between “low brow” and “high brow,” a sub-battle of which involves the merits of “family movies” versus whatever the opposite of that is.

    To me, a “family movie” was something that didn’t even attempt to provide the viewer with the adrenaline rush (via comedy or action or melodrama) or dramatic catharsis of more serious movies. “Family movies” never left a comfort zone. “Kid’s movies” could leave that comfort zone and exhibit more imagination, and could start on the path to that adrenaline rush, to that occasional moment of catharsis, but they were likely to resort to silliness and trite subject matter that left a viewer unsatisfied (unless the viewer is dim).

  30. Then I hit a certain point in my life and expanded the fuck out of my horizons. Now I can appreciate any movie, any work of art and/or entertainment, no matter the genre or intended audience, as long as it displays artistic merit.

    Like that SCOTUS justice said about porn, I might not have a definition, but I know a “family movie” when I see it. I still despise that Barbara Walters lighting, and it still nauseates me in movies/tv when there are muzak musical cues that introduce a heartfelt conversation between parent and child, or when a kid has a teary conversation with a mute animal (to honor Mr. Majestyk’s “little girl and a horse” scenario). However, I’ve learned to love, unironically, stuff like ENCHANTED, MONSTER HOUSE, and BEAUTY & THE BEAST. (I can’t think of any purely “family movies” that I like right now, but I’m open to the possibility.) And I don’t require some measure of subversiveness in my kiddie entertainment to enjoy it as a grown man.

    I’m sure there are many people who have very similar stories. I’m not special now. But I was a smart kid, too smart for 99% of the garbage that got categorized as “kid’s movies” or “family movies.” Nowadays, seems to me that only about 80% of it is really garbage.

    I never saw THE STRAIGHT STORY, the David Lynch movie that is G-rated and supposedly very good. Is it?

  31. Mr M hits on a good point, what exactly is the difference between a movie that’s perfectly acceptable for kids to watch, like Jurassic Park or Back To The Future and a movie that’s specifically a “family film”?

    I mentioned in a different talkback that I had a certain criteria as a kid that if a movie involved animals or talking animals it would suck (with the exception of Babe), but I also hated kid’s comedy movies in general, my taste in humor ran a lot more mature than most kids, probably because my parents would actually let me watch SNL from a very young age

    the kind of kid’s movies I did like were the adventure ones, like The Goonies or Flight of The Navigator, if it involved an adventure I went easier on it than I did most kid’s movies, but most of the movies I watched as a kid was stuff like Jaws, Alien, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Raiders of The Lost Ark, good lord do I feel sorry for people who’s parents would only let them watch “suitable” entertainment

    btw you know what movie I absolutely loved as a kid? Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, there was something about 1950’s style aliens (which even as a kid, I got the whole “1950’s sci fi” vibe) blasting the shit out of stuff that just clicked with me, I re-watched it a few years ago as an adult and thought it was only ok, but I sure did enjoy it as a kid

    I actually think though that it would be pure, undulated awesome if someone made an alien invasion flick set during the 1950’s, but with modern day special effects

  32. Vern: solid tip in the crazy Thai martial arts movie vernacular:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r01IVFEpQMg

    Dynamite Warrior, 2006

    Giants, lycanthropy, wizards, surfing on a flying rocket, menstrual blood with mystical powers… an evil plot to kidnap water buffalo to force Thai farmers to buy tractors!

    But the fight choreography is what you need to see.

  33. On the (vague) topic of childhood revisionism, what do you folks make of Frank Miller’s rant against the 99%/OWS movement? Or is it being covered elsewhere?

  34. Frank Miller is nuts, isn’t that common knowledge by now?

  35. Mr Majestyk, the problem was that you sounded like you were talking about anything with the “family film” label in general, while you, judging by your last post, were just talking about the toothless stuff, that several Ned Flanders-ish watchgroups would call “good fun for the whole family”. Shit like that exists and it sucks.
    And even though everybody here seems to love BABE, I would count it among these movies. Its sequel is still a family movie, but a damn great one, that has something for everybody, from the mom who loves saccharine filled animal movies, to the cynical teenager who loves nightmarish absurdism. And when it’s over, they will all agree that they liked the movie as a whole and not just the single parts that drew them into watching them. THAT’S what a family movie is for me. The kind of movie that can entertain everybody, doesn’t matter how old they are or what their personal taste is, without selling out, just to appeal to everybody.

  36. And yes, THE STRAIGHT STORY is very good, and despite what everyone says, a typical David Lynch movie. You will watch the first five minutes of it and immediately think “Damn, that’s so David Lynch”.
    It just doesn’t have any disturbing images, sex, language, violence and so on.

  37. About Miller’s rant:

    ““Occupy” is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the “movement” – HAH! Some “movement”, except if the word “bowel” is attached – is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.”

    I kinda agree with him on this. Most people who are occupying anything, don’t even seem to know why they are doing this and just do it because of the simplest stick-it-to-the-man mentality, that turned an arrogant spotlight whoring scumbag like that Wikilieaks guy into a public hero.

    I understand why such a movement came together. I’m sure whoever started it, was a well informed person who knew what he was fighting for, but whenever I see those teenies on the streets, who wear Guy Fawkes masks, just because they love the cool action scenes in V FOR VENDETTA so much and not because they get the real meaning of it (especially not the historic one of the mask), I wanna punch them. A while ago someone here in Germany created a wonderful word for such people: “Wutbürger”, which means “anger citizen” (although “angry” or “enraged citizen” is a better sounding, but not 100% accurate translation) and describes people, who are against whatever the government, companies and other people with power do, just because they love to be against anything.

    And that’s the problem I have with the recent rise of protests and political movements: It’s nice to see how the current generations try to stand up for their rights and opinions again. This seemed to be a lost art a while ago. But for too many it just seems to be a fashion statement. Last year you had to grew a beard and wear skinny jeans, this year you just go out on the street and protest whatever you can come up with. Oh, but don’t forget to visit the next comic book store and buy your V FOR VENDETTA merchandise item.

    —–

    But then Miller goes too far with what he wrote. He seems like a Wutbürger himself. But one of the really crazy ones, that need medication.

  38. Just the mention of Frank Miller these days makes me sad. I have tremendous respect for some of his older material, but he hasn’t been relevant in years. The anti-OWS rant is some pretty idiotic stuff. The suggestion that you have to go along with whatever economic system your government is promoting merely because we have enemies is some grade B propaganda. He also spills a bunch of lazy stereotypes about the protesters, which conveniently sidesteps any arguments made by the protests in favor of identity politics. And of course he has to end with the suggestion that the OWS protesters sign up for the military, when, to the best of my knowledge, Miller has never served in the military himself. I just love it when those who have never served in the military are so eager to send others off to war.

    CJ – While I agree with your definition of family films, I don’t really agree with your characterization of OWS and its affiliates. I haven’t been down to the New York protests, but I have been down to the Boston ones, and while there’s some granola in the crowd, there are also a lot of people who work their 9 to 5 and head down there on the weekend. There are plenty of blue collar workers as well as veterans. These people are generally well informed on issues of globalization, international trade deals, Wall Street reform, and politics in general. Sure, there are also people who wear Guy Fawkes masks and have no clue who he is, but I’ve found this to be an exception to the rule. Even plenty of the neo-hippies have a cogent world view. If anyone really wants to know what people are so upset about, then check out the movie Inside Job. The movie adds a little bit of new information about the 2008 Wall Street crash, but mostly it does a great job of collecting the big clusterfuck of the past few years and presenting a cohesive narrative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzrBurlJUNk

    Sorry for getting a little off topic here.

  39. Hey, I’m not saying that EVERY protester is a jerk without a clue, but many of them, especially those younger ones with the Guy Fawkes masks, are. I like that there are people outthere, who protest day and night against the financial injustice that swept our world, but between the many good protesters, are unfortunately way too many who just do it to be cool and don’t even notice that they make the fight look bad and even worse, destroy something that could really make a change.

  40. Jam – maybe all that booze finally rotted out Frank Miller’s brain?

  41. The Guy Fawkes masks kind of get on my nerves as well. The people who wear them are unaware of the history of Guy Fawkes (who was basically a religious zealot) or even of the purpose behind the mask in Alan Moore’s comic book. In the source material V is a much more ambiguous character, and I would be suspicious of anyone who found him outright heroic. My guess is that most people only know Guy Fawkes from the V for Vendetta movie, which was kind of dopey, kind of enjoyable.

  42. Jam – yeah, there are idiots within OWS, like within any community. Miller’s implication that these guys are over-pampered idiots who have no legitimate cause whatsoever makes me mad as hell.

    Mouth / CJ / Majestyk – I get the point now. Yeah, “family films” by that definition – the utterly safe, predictable, and forgettable – are to be despised. There are so many great films out there that anyone of any age can watch, that have genuine “bite” to them, that I don’t see any reason to make a “family film” of that sort. (Well, except the obvious one – they sell well among a certain casual cinemagoing subset of people.) But other than purely financial motives – if you have nothing to say, why speak at all?

  43. CJ:

    you’re focusing on the sideshow

    you are having your buttons pushed and are being distracted from the root concerns of the protests, which aren’t going away, and are quite real, and many, i say the majority, fully understand and are making genuine common cause about

    respectfully, you are falling for the propaganda of the right wing media that wishes to paint the protests as simple criminals, insane homeless, rapists, drug addicts, and guys who just like to bang drums. yes, those people, and the trustafarians wearing the guy fawkes masks that you dislike, ARE intermixed with the protesters. but they aren’t the show, they are the sideshow. don’t get distracted

  44. No no no, you misunderstand me. Like I said, I only KINDA agree with Miller ONLY on that one part that I quoted. And only because the movement and (especially here in Germany) such protests are constantly abused by the Fawkes wearing hipsters. To be honest, I haven’t even heard of any accusations of the protesters being rapists or anything like that. I guess that’s a Fox News thing and we don’t get that channel here. I’m not saying that our news are only fair and balanced, but from what I’ve seen, they seem to be on the occupier’s side, so you can’t really say that I’m falling for the propaganda, because I haven’t heard much of it yet. Shit, now that I think of it, even our local propaganda shithead newspaper BILD seems to be pro-occupy. Well, at least I haven’t heard otherwise, but I don’t read it.

    But WHAT I know, are way too many people who really do protest against anything, just for the sake of protest and being able to pretend that they are politically active. And cool. But mostly because they are unhappy with the way governments and corporations are running things, but boil it down to a simple “we are right, they are wrong” ideology. And these people piss me off beyond believe. Especially here in my are are way too many of them, thanks to some huge hullaballoo about a coal power plant. (It takes a little bit longer to explain that in detail. Let’s just say, all of that could have easily been avoided, if people on both sides had been more careful BEFORE it was build. Now the whole area is almost broke and the city the plant is in, is almost a ghost town, because the protesters simply block every attempt of a compromise, but every suggestion THEY come up with, would make everything worse.)

    I DON’T WANNA SAY THAT THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT WAS FOUNDED BY CLUELESS PEOPLE, WHO ARE AGAINST EVERYTHING. The whole movement is a great idea and when I saw people doing this, I cheered! I didn’t believe that it will change shit, because we all know how successful the anti war demos from 10 years ago where, despite billions of participants from all over the world, but it’s great to see citizens who got screwed go outside and say “enough is enough”. But like I said several times, they where joined by too many (maybe here in Germany or Europe in general more than in the USA) wannabe’s, who probably just wanna be cool and/or appear on the news, but don’t care for the reason behind all that. And I really wish they would just go home, because they make the whole movement and maybe demonstrations as a whole look idiotic.

  45. Well put, BR. I got a friend, she traveled hundreds of miles to be a part of OWS. I offered her a place to stay, but she preferred to sleep on the street so she’d be around to help with the logistics of mounting a 24-hour-a-day protest, which includes feeding people, distributing literature, and keeping the area clean so that the cops wouldn’t have the excuse they were looking for to shut it all down. Do you really think she would have done all this, took time off of work at a financial loss to herself, slept on a sidewalk in the cold for days on end, if the people she found there were just assholes in Halloween masks trying to score pot? Those kind of people were there, of course, but they generally grew bored when they found out it wasn’t just a big party and left. Not coincidentally, these rubbernecking yahoos were the only ones the reporters ever spoke to, not the people who were actually contributing anything of value.

    BR’s right, CJ. You’ve been played.

  46. Obviously, I posted before I read your rely, CJ. I’m glad to hear that you’re not swallowing the party line.

  47. I see Miller’s diatribe as systematic of most political discussion today; sadly, things have to brought to extreme (i.e. ridiculous) levels in order to be heard. There is no room for subtlety or complexity; everything has to be THIS or THAT. No middle ground in a world that can only exist in the middle ground. There are no such certainties except in the basest levels of fiction and religion (the two not being dissimilar, for what I hope would be obvious reasons).

  48. CJ – the Guy Fawkes mask thing is more of a reference these days to the 4chan bred anti Scientology movement than V For Vendetta

    and I personally think the OWS movement is fucking great, if only for the fact that it shows the conservatives and the tea party that they are not alone in this country, that there are liberals alive and well and they’re tired of all this bullshit

  49. I don’t think Anonymous actually cares about Scientology. I think they just use that faith as a target because they’re too wimpy to go after the social structures that *actually* have negative effects of their everyday lives. For example, literally any other religion.

    I see their Scientology protests as the equivalent of that one guy you know who waits until your Black coworker leaves the bar before making N***** jokes.

  50. Basically, they like the empowerment of their anti-religion crusade (pun!) but they’re not willing to be open about what they actually feel, which is fear of the other. Structurally, their arguments against the religion are very similar to conspiracy theories about evil Jews and evil Muslims. But I’ve written a lot about that round these parts before, so I won’t bother getting into all of that again.

  51. OWS is a beautiful thing. My personal advice to Mr. Majestyk’s awesome activist friend and her cohorts is:

    It’s all good as long as the message evolves & sticks to (and I’m as liberal as anyone, but here I am a realist and, well, it is complicated. . .):
    “30:1 income inequality is okay,

    100:1 income inequality is okay,

    but 300:1 CEO:average worker income inequality, after we bailed your asses out with a trillion taxpayer dollars, is not okay!”

    That’s math. And this math angers me. There is no excuse for not supporting the #1 goal of OWS. Ideology, D vs. R, has nothing to do with it. There are millions of good, law-abiding Americans who have been getting shafted by our current ubercapitalist-lobbying-plutocrat system, and they deserve even more than the modest concessions that are currently being offered as their platform proposals.

    I wouldn’t change much about my home country if I were Supreme Leader, (It really is the best nation-state ever, and I love capitalism.), but I’d certainly be going the opposite direction of the policies of the current GOP imbeciles in power in Congress.

  52. I heart the American Republican Party. I wish I could vote Republican for life. I like their platform, mostly. But the party’s current crop of top representatives are clowns through and through. Fuk-KING KUH-LOWNS. Payasos! Conservative America deserves so much better.

    The ne’er do wells of OWS (with their masks and animated t-shirts and tents and bongos — oooh, scary!!) are nowhere near as dangerous and ignorant and culturally retrograde as the leading Congressional Republicans in the US.

  53. What we learned from the most recent Republican debate for the nomination for the loser to Obama/Biden 2012:

    Half of them support re-legalizing, re-instituting torture as an American policy.

    I wish I had super caps to emphasize this.

    What Bachmann, Cain, and a couple others said 2 nights ago on CBS puts my life in danger. More importantly, their words put my teammates’ lives in danger.

    Their input on US foreign policy holds far too much weight, and they sling absurd maxims of blind anti-Obamaism that would never ever be acceptable in a Democrat debate during a Republican administration.

    Imagine that. What if a Dem had said some of those things while a Republican was in office? There would be no end to the suggestions of treason. Fox & WSJ would be orgasmically epileptic. “You don’t undermine a commander-in-chief in wartime! You must reserve your criticisms for private conversations! You practice diplomacy! Durkadurka commanders on the ground! What was he/she thinking! This anti-troops talk is putting our servicemen&women in danger!”

    But today, anything to score a few percentage points in the polls is okay. I just wish these motherfuckers weren’t playing with my life and, more importantly, with the lives of my subordinates. If Michele Bachmann feels so strongly about Obama’s failures as C-in-C, if Newt Gingrich really cares about my unit, then those motherfuckers can shut up, ruck up, and fall in. I know where the fuck Iran is. Dem or Repub, I don’t give a fuck. Give me the order and I’ll go kill a motherfucking Iranian, I’ll go stomp a A.Q. Khan acolyte. I got this. But don’t doubt my fucking Americanism just because my C-in-C is a successful black man who’s smarter than 98% of your dumbass local constituency.

  54. Mouth for president!

    I mean, uh, supreme leader.

  55. Thanks, BR, future Secretary of State.

    This is all to say, those who blanketly oppose OWS do so for silly, ideological reasons, for fear, while supporters see the light. Lot of gray area there, but OWS, to put it simply, while far from perfect as a political/social movement, is something that will make the world a better place.

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