Amoeblog

Angels Lack Imagination and Are Pretty Useless in a Crisis: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Posted by Charles Reece, December 25, 2013 01:18pm | Post a Comment
it's a wonderful life poster danish

There are a few seminal American movies that I've made a (non-)tradition of never seeing: E.T., Forest Gump, Platoon, High Noon and It's a Wonderful Life. It's sort of fun to not have seen something that everyone else has. However, I possibly brought a curse upon me and my kin by finally watching Frank Capra's Christmas classic last Saturday at the Egyptian Theater in sunny, anti-winter wonderland Hollywood. The commentary on It's a Wonderful Life is vast, I'm sure, but along with being baffled at anyone who would choose Donna Reed over Gloria Grahame, here's what came to me:

Ultimately, what capitalist realism amounts to is the elimination of left wing politics and the naturalisation of neoliberalism. [...] Capitalist realism is about a corrosion of social imagination, and in some ways, that remains the problem: after thirty years of neoliberal domination, we are only just beginning to be able to imagine alternatives to capitalism. -- Mark Fisher

I don't know which of the most prominent intellectual leftists first said it, but Fredric Jameson, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek have all repeatedly commented that it's easier to imagine the end of the world than the world continuing without capitalism. We treat capitalism as a biological state of things (survival of the fittest, etc.) or a nomological principle on which our understanding of humanity rests. Even the angels in It's a Wonderful Life can't imagine a counterfactual reality where capitalism ceases. George, contemplating suicide, is given an onto-ethical choice between two worlds: one in which he lives trying to help those in need as best he can, but where his whole community ebbs and flows from one crisis to the next according to the caprice of capital, with capital mostly flowing to those most capable of and willing to exploit the working class, i.e., old man Potter; or, two, a world where George was never born, but Potter's power is even greater and he's more successful at exploiting the working class. If divine power is so great that it can fabricate a new reality without you in it, and follow the diverging trajectories of everyone in the alternate world, then why not do the same regarding capitalism, or Potter? George could've even made a deal with Clarence, his guardian angel, such as: "You want me to live, so that you can get your wings, right? Well, how 'bout you make Bedford Falls into a self-sufficient, anarcho-paradise, where there's no hierarchy and everyone respects each other's individuality, yet we work together for the good of the collective, too? I'd love to live, even with Donna Reed and all these goddamned kids, in such a place." But, no, capitalism is greater than God's will.

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The Late, Great Tom Laughlin

Posted by Charles Reece, December 17, 2013 09:29am | Post a Comment

Despite the liberal message of tolerance, the Billy Jack series has always struck me as metaphor for American foreign policy: "I'm trying .. I'm really trying to not hurt you, but you're forcing my hand." It's a power fantasy that we're always on the side of the little guy, or that we're really the little guy, just blessed with super powers to fight back (like Peter Parker taking on Flash back in high school). My dad raised me on these films, and I love them for their lunacy. Tom "Billy Jack" Laughlin died last Thursday, but our national fantasy lives on.

Unwanted Popsicles: Nymph()maniac Receives Frigid Reception from Disney Fans

Posted by Charles Reece, December 9, 2013 09:07am | Post a Comment

I want this to be true, since I can't imagine a better use of Lars Von Trier's entire oeuvre: pornographic portions of the above trailer for his new film Nymph()maniac were shown during the cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which was serving as filler while a Tampa, Florida theater was dealing with some technical problems in projecting Disney's Frozen.

"They put in the filler, it looked like Steamboat Willie, the old Mickey Mouse cartoon, and then all of a sudden it goes into this other scene," grandmother Lynn Greene told My Fox Tampa Bay. "It seemed like forever when you're trying to, you know, cover a little guy's eyes. I didn't have enough hands to cover his ears too and he got the sound down real good."

Although I share Film Drunk's skepticism, it's a truly beautiful idea.

The Late, Great Paul Walker

Posted by Charles Reece, December 1, 2013 09:12am | Post a Comment

Paul Walker's finest ... well, only good film ... but it's so fucking amazing and he's great in it: Running Scared.
Who cares, though? As Orson Welles said, you only need one. 
Walker died yesterday in a car crash.

I Seen It at the AFI Fest 2013

Posted by Charles Reece, November 18, 2013 08:40am | Post a Comment
the strange colour of your body's tears poster french
The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears - Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani

the fake poster saibi 
The Fake - Yeon Sang-Ho

herblock the black & the white poster
Herblock: The Black & The White - Michael Stevens

the unknown known poster
The Unknown Known - Errol Morris

moebius poster
Moebius - Kim Ki-Duk

r100 poster
R100 - Hitoshi Matsumoto

my dog killer poster
My Dog Killer - Mira Fornay

the green inferno poster
The Green Inferno - Eli Roth

nothing bad can happen poster
Nothing Bad Can Happen - Katrin Gebbe

harmony lessons poster
Harmony Lessons - Emir Baigazin

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