Really short movie reviews: Wolf of Wall Street and Noah

wolf-of-wall-streetLast night, I finally watched last year’s 3-hour-long The Wolf of Wall Street, which purports to tell the true story of Jordan Belfort, a guy who got rich beyond his wildest dreams of avarice thanks to the empire he built by fraudulently selling worthless penny stocks.  The film garnered a great deal of attention when it opened because it showed the debauchery of Jordan’s life, as well as the life his fellow get-rich-quick traders lived.  There were beaches full of cocaine (apparently the actors sniffed up powered Vitamin B), mountains of Quaaludes, oceans of alcohol, and swarms of naked prostitutes, as well as few tossed dwarfs.  It wasn’t titillating, it was mind-numbing.

As I commented to my husband, the movie was too much debauchery and too little plot.  By the beginning of the third hour, I was desperate for the FBI to move in and just arrest the guy so that we could all be put out of our misery.  Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I recommend that you skip the whole movie and just watch the first and last half hours, which will tell you everything you need to know about one crook’s rise and fall.

Noah-2014-Movie-Poster-650x962Also last night, my son saw Noah, a movie that has aroused the ire of traditional believers because of the way it turns God’s message and moral on its head.  While my son couldn’t care less about whether the movie twisted the Bible, he does care about good entertainment.  This was not, in his estimation, good entertainment.  Or as he said, and I quote, “Noah was a terrible movie.  It was really stupid and boring.  It was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”

When I pressed him for details, I got a garbled recital about Noah’s stupid belief that he had to kill all of humankind, about his plan to murder his grandchildren, about unbelievable bad guys and animated rocks, and generally about a frenetic, yet boring, mess of a movie.  This was a two thumbs down and then some.

Hollywood couldn’t make an honest “Noah” without indicting itself

Noah-2014-Movie-Poster-650x962Ben Shapiro doesn’t like Noah, the newest Hollywood wannabe blockbuster, this one based loosely on the Bible.  At his own website, Truth Now, and at Breitbart, he vigorously attacks the movie for turning the Bible on its head.  As you read here some months ago, Hollywood has taken one of the Bible’s pivotal narratives, which focuses closely on the wages of man’s immorality, and turned it into a Gaia-focused extravaganza, with a steroid-pumped, ninja-esque Noah cheerfully watching humans die because they pillaged the animal world.  In his Breitbart critique, Shapiro, perhaps accidentally, hones in on why it was ridiculous ever to expect Hollywood to be true to the Biblical source:

In this litany of great sins [eating meat, mining for energy sources, making weapons], you may be missing the traditional Biblical explanations of sin: idolatry, sexual immorality, violence. Rape and murder make brief appearances, but those sins are purely secondary to the true sin: destruction of the environment and the purty animals.

“Idolatry, sexual immortality, violence” — the big sins in the Bible . . . .and the big money-makers in Hollywood:

Idolatry

academy-awards-oscar

425_barack_obama_zach_galifianakis_140311

Barack-Obama-George-Clooney

Madonna Super Bowl

Sexual Immorality

Lena-Dunham-Naked-at-Emmys1

Madonna and Britney kiss

the-wolf-of-wall-street

samantha-sex-in-the-city

Violence

skyfall-train-fight

Fight scene 300

Kill Bill

django unchained

Without the staples of idolatry, sexual immorality, and violence, Hollywood would go broke. It was therefore always impossible to expect Hollywood to make a movie attacking its holy trinity.

With “Non-Stop,” Hollywood doesn’t just jump the shark, it embraces it (BIG TIME SPOILER ALERT)

non_stop_poster-620x356Just yesterday, I pointed you to Roger L. Simon’s post arguing that conservatives are making a terrible mistake when they bail on the movie industry. Our intensely media-driven age, means that increasingly hard-left Hollywood is a superb propagandist that often provides the only information people get on a subject. The beauty of Hollywood propaganda (if you’re a Leftist) is that it’s so subtle. Hollywood doesn’t do clunky Soviet-era posters; instead, as Ben Smith ably demonstrated, it wraps core Leftist messages in rip-roaring good humor, gauzy tear-jerkers, or uplifting homilies. Polemics put people off; entertainment sucks them in.

We’ve gotten used to the Leftist tilt in entertainment over the years. We whine about it to each other (as I have here, here, here, and here), but that’s about all that we do. We accept it as not a necessary evil but an inevitable evil. That attitude encourages a certain passivity.

Sometimes, though, it’s worth making a loud noise, and that’s the case with Hollywood’s newest action flick, Non-Stop. The film has a high-profile star (Liam Neeson), lots of interesting cameos and co-stars, a big budget, and a clever plot about a well-disguised terrorist on a plane who is killing a new victim every twenty-minutes. (Thinking about it, for all it’s flash and newness, the plot is simply a re-hash of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.)

Superficially, it sounds like a fun movie for those who, like me, enjoy a well-produced, fast-paced thriller/whodunnit. Indeed, John Boot, writing at the conservative PJ Media, says that it’s a fun movie, and enjoys the way the ending is unexpected. (He also noticed the Agatha Christie parallel.) It’s that surprise ending, though, that has stirred outrage across the conservative blogosphere. You see, it’s not merely a surprise, it’s a “jump the shark” kind of surprise.

(For the uninitiated, the phrase “jump the shark” originated with the last season of Happy Days, when the show had gotten irrevocably stale. In an effort to jazz things up, they put the Fonz on water skies and had him jump over a blatantly mechanical shark. If a show has to stoop so low, it should already have been put out to pasture. Since then, the phrase is used not only to describe shows that should long-since have been shark chum, but also to describe plot turns that are too stupid to exist even in the magical entertainment universe.)

SPOILER ALERT. NON-STOP’S PLOT DENOUEMENT WILL BE REVEALED BELOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Judging by the movie’s review at Breitbart, John Boot is correct that Non-Stop’s creators managed to avoid having a predictable ending.  They did so, however, only by pushing a hard-Left world view that is going to be swallowed whole by every uninformed adolescent and young person who sees the movie.  That is, while one can appreciate that the ending makes for a good movie, it is so unreal — such a high jump over a such a hideous, faked shark — that it should be soundly castigated, rejected, and ruined.

As I mentioned above, the plot device is Agatha Christie on steroids:  people trapped in an enclosed space with a hidden killer bumping them off.  Today’s headlines say it ought to have been a Muslim, since they’re the ones using terrorism against the rest of the world.  If you’re a filmmaker who wants to add a good twist to reality, you make sure your terrorist is a well-disguised Muslim, along the lines of the British, Christian-born Black Widow who headed the grotesquely violent attack against a Kenyan shopping mall.

Having that kind of ending, however, would have failed to advance the movie’s real purpose:  propaganda.  Breitbart explains precisely what agenda the movie is pushing (and this is your last warning that there are spoilers ahead that will make watching the movie forever unnecessary):

Counting pilots and crew, there are around 150 souls on board. Marks has 20 minutes to figure out which one is the bad guy. Red herrings abound. Is it one of the many actors whose faces we recognize but names we can’t remember? People start to die. Marks is fingered as the hijacker. Who’s doing this? Why are they doing this? What is their motive?

Here’s the answer:

It turns out that the villain is not a hijacker but a terrorist — someone who wants to murder everyone on the plane to further a political goal.

You ready…?

The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.

It gets worse…

After 9/11,  this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.

And now…

The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

It gets worse…

The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.

It gets worse…

The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.

Screw you, Hollywood.

Non-Stop didn’t stop at just jumping the shark.  Instead, it embraced it and then made mad, passionate love to it.  The filmmakers weren’t going for an element of surprise; they were sending a message to those credulous,  uninformed Americans churned out by America’s public school system:  Americans are bad; Muslims are good.  Ignore the headlines telling you otherwise.*  Hollywood knows better.

So what can you do?  Well, I don’t recommend giving out spoilers unless people ask for them.  Otherwise, you will be deservedly hated.  However, to the extent that word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising any Hollywood movie has, start mouthing off.  If someone you know, in real conversation or on social media, expresses an interest in it, you can honestly state something along the lines of “I heard it was stupid” or “It’s supposed to be really bad.  I’d never pay $14 to see a really bad movie.”

As a sort of tag, given that the movie stars Liam Neeson, I can’t help but remember that in January 2012, Neeson expressed a serious interesting in converting to Islam.  Maybe he’s done it already and this movie marks his coming out.

______________________

*The usual disclaimer:  Not all Muslims are bad.  Most Muslims aren’t bad, but to the extent that almost none of them take a stand against the terrorists in their midst, the silent majority are complicit in the Muslim-inspired terrorism taking place in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Eurasia, the Middle East, and Asia.

Is it true that Obama ignored Shirley Temple’s death?

Shirley Temple and Obama

Shirley Temple, may she rest in peace, wasn’t just an old movie star. She was — and to some extent, remains — an American icon. That alone entitles her to notice. But the President also should have noticed her passing because she was a former ambassador for the United States, a role she carried out with dignity and honor.

Of course, perhaps all of the reasons I stated above for honoring Shirley Temple explain why Obama ignored her death (if, in fact, that’s what he did).

Uninformed ambassadors are an old joke

Ethel Merman Donald O'ConnorI’ve been reading a great deal about Obama’s proposed ambassadorial appointments, some of whom have never been to the countries in which they’ll be America’s representatives. They’re getting the jobs as sinecures in exchange for financial services rendered to the President.

Much as I’m always happy to leap onto the anti-Obama bandwagon, he’s not doing anything new. Back in 1949, President Truman did exactly the same thing. He appointed Washington, D.C. hostess and Democratic Party fundraiser Perle Mesta as the Ambassador to Luxembourg in 1949. She was famously uninformed about Luxembourg (or really about anything).

Inspired by this uninspired appointment, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse wrote “Call me Madam,” about Sally Adams, the oil-rich “hostess with the mostest” ambassador to “Lichtenburg.” She is blatantly, amusingly, ill-informed, but comes complete with style and charm. She also sings wonderful Irving Berlin songs, so everyone is happy.

The show, starring Ethel Merman, was a Broadway hit in 1951. I’m now watching the 1953 musical, also starring Merman, as well as George Sanders, Donald O’Connor, Billy DeWolfe, Charles Dingle, and Vera-Ellen. It’s not a great movie, but it helps while away the time while I’m doing my post-surgical rest, ice, compression, and elevation, as well as my ten hours a day on the “knee moving machine.”

My only real regret watching the show us that Donald O’Connor didn’t have a bigger, longer career. I love watching him. He’s a charming actor, has a beautiful voice for show tunes, and is one if the best dancers to have come out of Hollywood. It was his misfortune to be stuck in the “Francis the Talking Mule” films, as well as to get the fever (from Francis) that debilitated him and helped derail his career.

Conservatives end to target the Obama administration for things that really matter. Getting our collective knickers in a twist about something that’s as old as politics is a waste if time. Doing otherwise makes us as silly as the Senators who waste their time targeting the Washington Redskins.

Conservatives should take a page out of the Islamists’ book and disavow bad actors marching under their banner

Mia TalericoA friend tipped me off to the fact that a few deranged individuals have been sending hate mail and threats to an absolutely adorable five-year-old girl who stars on the Disney Channel’s show Good Luck Charlie.  The trigger for this behavior was an episode in the show that saw Disney decide to peddle same-sex marriage to the kindergarten crowd:

On January 26, the Disney Channel made a gentle stride into a more progressive era by featuring its first-ever same-sex couple on an episode of Good Luck Charlie, introducing two lesbian moms who bring their child over for a playdate, then show everyone they’re just like normal parents by not scissoring or establishing a golf pro shop in front of the kids.

Unsurprisingly, conservative groups objected to Disney’s tactic, proving that they’re a bit slow on the uptake here.  As the friend who notified me about the kerfuffle pointed out, Disney long-ago stopped being family friendly, meaning that it no longer stands for the family values in which Walt Disney believed and that were once normative in America.

In the last couple of decades, Disney has been responsible for an incredible amount of brightly colored, highly polished, cheerily-presented trash being streamed into America’s homes.  Small wonder that so many former Disney stars have embraced drink, drugs, and very public sexual misbehavior.  (Hey, Miley!  Is that you?)  Indeed, to discredit once and for all any hint of Walt Disney’s old-fashioned values, big name stars such as the ubiquitous (and, to me, increasingly dull) Meryl Streep have resurrected the old Leftist canard — unsupported by any evidence — that Walt was a rabid anti-Semite and someone so sexist that, even by the standards of the day, he stood out.  All of which is to say that nowadays Disney is just another corporate Hollywood institution staffed primarily by the entertainment world’s Democrat Party fanatics.

But getting back to the hate mail the show engendered.  To the extent people felt the need to protest Disney’s right to preach gay marriage to the toddler set (something protected by freedom of speech, but perhaps not wise as commercial speech), they should have done so by writing to Disney’s corporate office and (a) politely explaining their objections and (b) equally politely say that, because of those objections, they would henceforth delete Disney from their child’s playlist.  Most, I’m sure, did.  At least one person, however, followed the path of derangement:

Now police are investigating some voices who have been making death threats aimed at the show’s star, Mia Talerico. By the way, Mia Talerico is 5 years old.

TMZ first noted that Talerico began receiving death threats on her Instagram feed last month, right around the time the “controversy” broke. According to police reports, these included messages such as “Die Mia, Fucking die in hell! Kill yourself, you deserve to die.” That same suspect also reportedly sent a photo of Talerico’s head covered by a bloody fist and the message, “Yes, kill you stupid bitch.” Again, Talerico is 5 years old, and the star of a Disney show about an adorable little girl that had lesbians on it one time.

My friend commented that there are few things worse than stupid conservatives.  I agree, although I think there are two other possibilities here:  (1) the person who sent those vile threats isn’t politically motivated but is, instead, solidly insane and dangerous; and (2) it’s a false flag operation, run by a Leftist seeking to discredit conservatives.  This is not as wacky as it sounds.  In the past year, I’ve been aware of two instances in which Leftists sent hate-filled material to themselves, once at Oberlin and the other at the University of Wyoming, in order to discredit conservatives and to satisfy their histrionic personality disorders.  (Here’s a list of other anti-conservative hate-crime hoaxes.)

On the off-chance, though, that this really was someone spewing insults and threats against a five-year-old in the name of conservativism, I have the perfect response. Conservatives need to use the Islamo-defense mode. You know how it goes: Some guy hollering “Allahu akbar” blows himself up in a crowd. Lots of people begin to say, “Gee, these Muslims sure are violent.” At which point the apologists in the Muslim community say, “If they’re violent, then they’re not real Muslims.” By saying that, the Muslim community disavows responsibility for the act and, by extension, disclaims any obligation to look at its teachings to see if they could be modified so as not to be an inspiration to perpetual and murderous outrage.

If conservatives were as media savvy as their ideology is realistic and intelligent, their defense here would be, “Anyone this stupid, vicious, twisted, violent, and generally hate-filled, is not a real conservative.”  Right now, we have a habit of demanding that bad actors who label themselves as conservatives should be punished for their bad acts, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone in the conservative front lines to say “That person is not a conservative.”

Doing things the Islamo-defense way means that one never has to look at the ideologies underlying the bad behavior to determine whether the actor is in harmony with the ideology (“Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another”) or acting in opposition to it (“hate the sin, love the sinner”). Indeed, it’s this type of blessed ignorance that allows people to declare that the 9/11 terrorists who killed 2,996 civilians on a sunny morning were Freedom Fighters indistinguishable from the American Revolutionaries who battled the British King’s troops.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead

Philip-Seymour-HoffmanMulti-talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, died an unsavory death today:  alone in his bathroom, with a needle in his arm, presumably of a drug overdose.  He leaves behind a woman he never married, and three children, ages 10 and under, who will grow up without their father.  It’s a great loss to his children and the arts community mourns.

I will not regret a future without Hoffman in movies.  I acknowledge his talent.  But no matter what role he played, I was always aware of the man behind the character, and the man creeped me out.  I can’t articulate what it was about him I found so off-putting.  I know only that, if he had been a classmate or colleague of mine, I would have done anything possible to avoid him.  Given his popularity, I was obviously picking up on something  no one else saw, but to my mind, he was, in a word, unsavory.  Or another word, unappetizing.  No matter his talent, I felt a sense of revulsion watching him and would make any and every effort to avoid be trapped in front of a screen with him on it.  I know my response wasn’t rational, but I had that irrational response every time.

Given all that, it doesn’t surprise me at all to learn that, tragically, he was once a heroin addict and that, after years of staying clean, he ran back to that drug and it killed him.  I actually thought all along that he was an active drug user.  As I said, there was just that . . . something.

His youthful, wasted death is a tragedy for his long-time partner, for his children, for his friends, and for those who found genuine delight in watching him.  I am genuinely sorry for their loss.

 

Movie Review: Disney’s “Frozen”

FrozenI’m really good at reviewing bad movies.  They’re fun to review because they give me a chance to express the venom that builds up in me as I watch a movie that assaults my intelligence or my values.  I have the opposite problem with good movies.  All that I can think of as I watch them is “This is a really, really good.  This is a really good movie.”

Disney’s Frozen (which has been out for more than a month now, showing  how often I go to movies) is a really good movie.  More than that, it’s a really, really good movie.  There, I’ve said it.  Now let me try to drill down a bit.

Plot?  The plot is very imaginative.  It’s loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, the story of a boy who gets an ice shard in his heart and is then rescued by a girl who was his childhood friend.  In Frozen, two princesses grow up in a sunny Nordic kingdom.  What the younger princess, Anna, doesn’t know is that her older sister, Elsa, has in her hands the power to create snow, frost, and ice.  Because the young Elsa doesn’t know how to wield the power, her loving parents make the decision to close up the palace and lock her away from everyone in order to protect Elsa from herself, and everyone else from Elsa.

When the parents die and Elsa eventually becomes queen, the palace is opened for the first time in years for the coronation.  Anna meets a charming prince, Elsa objects to their planned engagement, and all heck breaks loose.  Without giving too much away, a handsome, but awkward, young ice cutter and his lovable reindeer eventually figure in the plot too.  The ending is imaginative, unexpected, and delightful, and I can’t tell you any more in case I ruin it.

Visual quality?  Gorgeous.  This movie is a visual treat.  In a lot of computer animated movies, the animators become obsessively focused on motion — high-speed motion — which just tends to make me dizzy.  This movie,  however, gave the animators the opportunity to play with fractals and snow storms, and wind, and light.  I just sat back in my theater seat drinking in the beauty.  Did I say it was gorgeous?  Let me just repeat that:  gorgeous.  (There was also a clever visual reference that wonderful moment in Cinderella when the Fairy Godmother waves her wand, and Cinderella’s rags change into a sparkling silver gown.)

Music?  Pretty darn good.  My daughter has a semi-photographic memory for melodies and has been singing the songs all evening — and it hasn’t driven me nuts.  One song, sung by a goofy sidekick, is especially strange, whimsical, and clever but, again, I can’t tell you about it, because I’d be giving away one of the movie’s clever and delightful surprises.

Moral?  Just nice.  It’s all about love, of course, but it’s not mixed in with any horrible political correctness.  If anything (and I’m sure the movie’s makers didn’t mean to do this) the movie’s plot was a reminder that global cooling is much less pleasant than global warming.  Oh, and it also has a good message about . . . .  Wait.  I can’t tell you that either without giving away an essential plot element.

Message:  I care.  Oh, never mind.  That was George Bush, Sr.’s message.  My message is:  If you get the chance, see this movie.  It’s truly a delight — and I would tell you more but for the fact that giving away anything is really giving away everything in this intelligent, lovely movie.  And if it’s already left the theaters near your home, definitely rent the DVD — preferably in Blu-Ray so you get the full effect of the beautiful visuals.

The paradox of Leftist utopianism and its dystopian art

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

Six By Sondheim” is a new, well-produced HBO documentary that stitches together the many interviews Stephen Sondheim has given over the years since the late 1950s and then ties those interviews in with six of his best-known or (to him) most important songs. NPR enthused that the show leaves viewers wanting more but, as I am not a Sondheim fan, I wanted less — or at least less of the music.  The interviews, however, were interesting.

My takeaway is that Sondheim is a decent, articulate, intelligent man, who thinks deeply about his craft.  I may not like his end product, finding the endless word play emotionally distancing and the music discordant, but there’s serious hard work and lots of talent behind it.

Sondheim has made a living out of thumbing his nose at critics who complain rightly that his songs are not “hummable.”  Certainly that’s part of why I don’t like his music.  I’m simplistic enough to like pop songs that I can sing later.  Although maybe “simplistic” isn’t the right word.  When Irving Berlin rhymes “farmer” with “potato embalmer,” there’s nothing simplistic about that.  It’s a delightful rhyme scheme that captures in three words one aspect of a farmer’s work.  Likewise, there’s nothing embarrassing about Johnny Mercer’s exquisite lyrics to I Remember You.  “When my life is through, and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of it all, then I will tell them I remember you.”  My primary reasoning for disliking Sondheim’s music isn’t that it’s not hummable; it’s that, to my ears, it’s not attractive.

Certainly Sondheim’s subject matter is seldom attractive consisting as it does of strippers, burlesque, broken homes, and psychopathic moms (Gypsy); deadly street gangs (West Side Story); serial killers (Sweeney Todd); a dystopian view of fairy tales (Into The Woods); attempted presidential murderers (Assassins); a man’s throwing away his life’s talent (Merrily We Roll Along); or broken down marriages (Follies).  Listening to Sondheim describe his life, this deeply negative view about relationships and people in general isn’t particularly surprising.

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd

Sondheim’s parents had an unhappy marriage that ended when he was 10.  Before, during, and after the divorce, he was a pawn in his parents drama and, most especially in his mother’s obsession with his father and her manifest dislike for being a parent.  She hated her son and he knew it.  Indeed, when Sondheim was 40, right before his mother went into surgery, she wrote him a letter saying that the worst thing that ever happened to her was to have him.

Sondheim was also a homosexual who came of age during a time when his sexual orientation was unpopular, to say the least.  There’s no doubt that, in the Broadway world, he could easily have found sufficient numbers of like-minded people to form a relationship that went beyond casual sex.  He didn’t, though.  It appears that  his upbringing left him so emotionally constipated that, as he confesses, he was only able to fall in love when he was 60.

Blessedly, Sondheim seems to keep his politics to himself, but he’s certainly part of the zeitgeist on the Lefter side of the political spectrum.  Those who like him are often the same people who sneer at traditional musical theater, with its bright songs and happy endings.

After watching the documentary, I realized that American art and entertainment present a funny paradox.  Leftists tend to create and to prefer art and entertainment that focuses on the sleazy, irredeemable side of human nature.  Many of Sondheim’s plays exemplify this fact, but the list of gutter-gazing art from Leftists is endless.  Hollywood and Broadway Leftists like, and endlessly produce, movies and shows that focus on the bad guys (Tony Soprano, Walter White), depressing situations (Precious, American Beauty), or sordid behavior (just about every movie out of Hollywood lately).

Fred and Ginger

Fred and Ginger

Conservatives tend to yearn for the type of wholesome fare that Hollywood churned out from the time of the Code through the late 1960s.  These shows involve happy people muddling through to happy endings, bad people getting their comeuppances in morally satisfying ways, suffering people rewarded at the end, etc.  The tear-jerkers involved deeply sympathetic characters who tried to do good and failed, not creepy psychopaths who worked hard at being evil and, even when they got their comeuppance, never repented.

Looking at the differing artistic fare the two political cultures generate, you’d think that it was the conservatives who were the utopians and the Leftists who were the harsh realists.  In fact, though, Leftists are the utopians who fervently believe that, if they can just figure out the correct political coercion, they will perfect human kind, turning each man into someone who joyfully, and without greed, rancor, or violence, gives of his labors to support everyone else in the world.  Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that humankind is inherently greedy, rancorous, and violent, and seek to create voluntarily enforced social, moral, and economic systems that harness and control these innate tendencies in a way that’s simultaneously beneficial to the individual and to society at large.

Presumably, this paradox can be resolved as follows:  Leftists use art to establish that the world, especially the American world, is a terrible place because it lacks the guiding hand of a loving police state.  Meanwhile, conservatives use their art aspirationally, to encourage all people to cultivate voluntarily their better selves, or to put their “baser” instincts (i.e., greed) to a use that lifts up their own lives while improving and enriching the world.

Hollywood is apparently turning Noah into a rabid, mankind-hating environmentalist

The Flood

The last time I saw a first-run movie was in England, when we watched the final Harry Potter film.  What this means is that I pay very little attention to news about upcoming movies.  Since I’m not going to watch them, why pay attention?

I was vaguely aware, though, that Hollywood was producing a Biblical epic about Noah, of Ark fame.  Since it’s not a movie by a true believer — unlike The Passion of the Christ– I didn’t have high hopes for it, but I have to say that it apparently has succeeded in sinking below anybody’s lowest expectations.

To understand fully exactly what Hollywood has done to the Noah story, let’s take a minute to revisit that narrative.  It’s a long story, running three chapters in the King James version. I’ll try for a briefer retelling:

Humans multiplied on the earth, but so did the evil (also called “violence”) they committed, presumably against each other, causing God to regret his creation. God therefore vowed to destroy all life on earth. Before acting on that promise, however, God realized that Noah was a good man or, more poetically, “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” God therefore warned Noah of the imminent destruction, but offered Noah a covenant: build an ark, fill it with two of every living thing (male and female), and God would allow a new generation of life on earth. Noah, without cavil, did as asked.

God then sent forty days and forty nights of rain, inundating the earth with water. The result was that “all that was in the dry land [i.e., that land not meant to be under water], died.” After 150 days, the flood waters began to abate. Noah then used birds to ascertain that there was land. When the ark could finally make a safe landing, God issued Noah a very explicit instruction: “Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” God also encourages man to eat meat.

So, to summarize: mankind was violent; Noah was good; Noah immediately accepted God’s covenant, building the ark and taking on two of everything; and when the flood water’s subsided, God instructed Noah to procreate, procreate, procreate; and dine in style on animal flesh.

You’d never know all that, though, if you learned your Bible from Hollywood. Brian Godawa managed to obtain the version of the script that was apparently used in the movie, and it tells quite a different tale. You have to read Godawa’s whole post to realize quite how far afield Darren Aronofsky went, but a few passages will make it clear that, unbeknownst to God, Noah, or the Bible, God and Noah’s genuine concern back in the day was anthropogenic climate change. No, really:

Noah paints the primeval world of Genesis 6 as scorched arid desert, dry cracked earth, and a gray gloomy sky that gives no rain – and all this, caused by man’s “disrespect” for the environment. In short, an anachronistic doomsday scenario of ancient global warming. How Neolithic man was able to cause such anthropogenic catastrophic climate change without the “evil” carbon emissions of modern industrial revolution is not explained. Nevertheless, humanity wanders the land in nomadic warrior tribes killing animals for food or wasteful trophies.

In this oppressive world, Noah and his family seek to avoid the crowds and live off the land. Noah is a kind of rural shaman, and vegan hippy-like gatherer of herbs. Noah explains that his family “studies the world,” “healing it as best we can,” like a kind of environmentalist scientist. But he also mysteriously has the fighting skills of an ancient Near Eastern Ninja (Hey, it’s a movie, give it a break).

Noah maintains an animal hospital to take care of wounded animals or those who survive the evil “poachers,” of the land. Just whose animal rights laws they are violating, I am not sure, since there are only fiefdoms of warlords and tribes. Be that as it may, Noah is the Mother Teresa of animals.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting the feeling here that Noah is a vegetarian, something that surely would have shocked God.  The script goes on from there, only it gets sillier and sillier, including Noah’s desire after the flood to kill all the humans God charged him with saving.  I’d be tempted to think that Godawa was hoaxed (surely this can’t be the real script), except that preview audiences have hated the movie so much that it makes one believe that Godawa did get his hands on the real deal.

Just FYI, here are some pertinent parts of Darren Aronofsky’s bio (hyperlinks omitted):

Aronofsky was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1969, the son of public school teachers Charlotte and Abraham Aronofsky, who are Conservative Jews.[5][6] He grew up in the borough’s Manhattan Beach neighborhood, where “I was raised culturally Jewish, but there was very little spiritual attendance in temple. It was a cultural thing – celebrating the holidays, knowing where you came from, knowing your history, having respect for what your people have been through.”[5] He graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School.[7] He has one sister, Patti, who attended a professional ballet school through high school.[8] His parents would often take him to Broadway theater performances, which sparked his keen interest in show business.[9]

During his youth, he trained as a field biologist with The School for Field Studies in Kenya in 1985 and Alaska in 1986.[10] He attended school in Kenya to pursue an interest in learning about ungulates.[10] He later said, “[T]he School for Field Studies changed the way I perceived the world”.[10] Aronofsky’s interest in the outdoors led him to backpack his way through Europe and the Middle East.[11] In 1987 he entered Harvard University, where he majored in social anthropology and studied filmmaking; he graduated in 1991.[12]

In other words, New York Jewish, but no real sense of what Judaism is about (and keep in mind that Noah is an Old Testament story, so it’s one that should theoretically resonate with him); environmental background; and Harvard degree in Leftist “social anthropology.”

Aronofsky sounds like an extremely bright, mathematically adept young man who spent his life steeped in cultural Leftism.  Knowing that, maybe the movie isn’t a surprise at all.

Hat tip:  Ace of Spades