1. "The Unknown Soldier." At The Reeler, Lewis Beale says Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn is yet another racist Vietnam war movie.
["For the most part, Vietnam War movies are all about us—the Stars and Stripes—and the ways the war messed with our heads. Thanks to our immersion into the heart of Southeast Asian darkness, we learned the Nature of True Evil, which compelled and even required us to kill everything that moved. Take for example the justly famous Russian roulette scene in The Deer Hunter, based on absolutely nothing that occurred in real life yet inserted into the film to show how our small-town heroes are turned into quivering neurotic messes thanks to those degenerate Orientals and their inhuman savagery. Or let's discuss Apocalypse Now a supposedly revisionist version of the war (Vietnam is all but lost, and Americans are crazed and paranoid throughout), which still treats the Vietnamese as a collective body of victims without any sense of individuality. In one famous scene, our boys are so disconnected from the locals they can't distinguish between a boat full of terrorists and one of innocent merchants, so they preemptively massacre the latter. The U.S. Air Force napalms a village in order to 'save' it from those dastardly Viet Cong. And that symbolic climax where Kurtz's disciples sacrifice a caribou while their leader is sacrificed nearby, affirming even more primitive impulses than our own? We're not supposed to think they're having a barbecue, are we? If there's a humanized Vietnamese character in either of these films, and not just a gaggle of Yellow Peril cannon fodder, I didn't see it."]
["Network notes have gotten a bad rap, but as several recent programs attest—including David Milch's bizarre John From Cincinnati, Aaron Sorkin's self-indulgent Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and, yes, David Chase's much-debated blackout—left to their own devices, even the finest writers can produce material that leave audiences cold and occasionally slack jawed."]
[Mike Jones: Well, most gay men have issues. We all have baggage. There's no doubt about it. But for a lot of gay men, they've never come to grips because—as gay men a lot of times—we do put up with a lot of crap. We have to [jump] hurdles to be who we are. I think sometimes since we haven't resolved a lot of the issues within ourselves, we're not quite sure how to react to certain situations. I think that has kind of happened with me. Are people happy that I exposed [Ted Haggard]? Yes. Are they happy that it was me who did it? I think a lot of them feel not. What's happened, even with HRC, is they're looking too hard at me as a person than what I did as a person to expose this man. They're looking too much at the escorting part and not at what I accomplished."]
["Truth be told, when I come upon writings on film by an English Lit prof, occasionally a slight prejudice kicks in. Perhaps I've seen too many such writings foreground the 'literary' elements of film (plot and dialogue, a novelistic approach to 'rich' character development) at the expense of taking hold, with both hands, of the full audiovisual complex of cinema, treating, as V. F. Perkins put it, 'film as film.' When I first encountered it, Naremore's writing gave me a bracing corrective to this stereotype. "]
5. "End of Story." In which Mark Ravenhill of The Guardian advocates gathering up copies of Robert McKee's screenwriting bible Story and burning them.
["It's a sinister conspiracy no one's talking about...It's spreading through movies, television drama, fiction writing for adults and children. It's beginning to creep into the theatre. It's a cult with thousands of glassy-eyed members. It's poisoning more and more of our culture. It's called Story. And I want you to help me put an end to it."]
Clip of the Day: "Go ahead, Stevie! Go ahead!"
_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.