Monday, September 1, 2008

Movie Night

Blogging has been light around these here parts lately ~ no wonder perhaps, given that my house seems to have a perpetual revolving door lately. This has been gone on for the past six months or so. It's just that the number of revolutions appears to have increased dramatically recently.

Last Sunday, my sister-in-law and niece arrived for a visit. My niece flew back home Friday morning. The same Friday as my brother landed in Halifax. Unfortunately he landed approximately three hours before his luggage did. Making for a bit of a late night. Then after spending a day during the touristy thing in and about Halifax harbour on Saturday, my sister-in-law left to go home Sunday morning. As for my brother, well, he will still be here for another week. No wonder I have a headache...

Seriously though, the company is nice. If a bit disconcerting at times. The 'adults' in the house (as we're loosely known) went to the movies tonight. And what did we grace our great intellect with?

Tropic Thunder.

Yep, one and the same. Of the recent infamous 'Campaign to End The "R" Word' fame.

Yeah, about that.
  • General impression of the movie ~ stupid
  • Humour factor ~ some parts were funny but in general, see comment above
  • Use of the 'R' word ~ somewhat annoying but much less offensive than what followed

It's funny how after all the hype about the use of the word "retard", personally, I found the portrayal of Simple Jack much more offensive. It was an extreme characterization, really a caricature of itself, perhaps, and I have to admit that it turned my stomach somewhat to hear some in the audience laughing at the portrayal.

Let's face it. Hollyweird does not exactly have a stellar record when it comes to portraying people with disabilities. But when I think of some of the movies referenced in Tropic Thunder, itself (Forrest Gump, I am Sam and Rain Man, for example) as well as some others that come to mind (Radio, The Other Sister, There's Something About Mary and Pumpkin Head), it strikes me that at least those movies didn't seem to so blatantly go out of their way to insult this segment of the population. Well done or not (and many are certainly debatable), at least they didn't so overly turn my stomach.

So is that really what you think of my child? And so many others? Trust me, I know many, many mentally challenged people and that is so not how they are. In fact, they wouldn't consider stooping to anything so stupid and pathetic. Quite frankly, they're much too classy.

But ... and here's the bigger thing ... I think it's really unfortunate that the disability community has given this movie as much publicity as it has. Just as an example, I probably wouldn't have even went to see it if I hadn't read what I had. It piqued my interest enough that when my brother suggested it, I agreed. But frankly, I think it's a stupid movie that would likely to die it's own stupid death a lot faster were it not for the extra publicity.

And, unfortunately, I think it's just another example of the disability community shooting itself in the foot. As I mentioned before, there was a previous movie (whose name I now misremember) which received a similar reaction from the disability community and when I viewed some of the clips, I really couldn't see what the big deal was. The world is often not as we wish it to be but I suppose that I would rather save my energy for advocating about some of the bigger problems we face.

No, Virginia, sadly enough there is no 'right to not be offended'. And my fear is that by pushing too hard in some of the wrong places, there will only be a backlash against those for whom we advocate.

Oh yeah, one more thing ... I can honestly sat that the absolute best part of the movie was when they were rolling the credits at the end. And no, I'm actually not being sarcastic, they showed some great footage and played some good music right at the end.

Dance on, Tom.

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