Monday, January 24, 2011

223 Movies, 349 Days

I watched 232 movies in the 365 Days of 2010. Here are the 223rd and 222nd movies I watched:

Waiting for Armageddon
2009. 74 min. USA. Directed by Kate Davis, David Heilbroner and Franco Sacchi. Watchdate: 12/15/2010.
My roommate put this on because he puts on random videos and movies off of Youtube and my Netflix account, and at first I thought he had put on some random proselytizing evangelist nonsense. So I started demanding he switch it off. To his credit, he didn't and as it proceeded I realized it was actually a very interesting documentary about Evangelical Christians and their belief in the rapture. And so then I demanded he plug his computer into the TV so we could watch it on the proper screen for movies and things. The movie's thesis is fairly simple. Essentially, Evangelical Christians believe that the rapture is coming due to their very literal interpretation of the Bible. They read it as prophecy, and so they see conflict and disaster as harbingers of end times. In particular, they see wars and battles in the Middle East in this light. They also see any attempt at making peace in the Middle East as the work of Antichrist.  Because of their significant influence on the U.S. political establishment and their strong friendship with the state of Israel, this is somewhat creepy. As a non-evangelical minister and theological scholar says in the movie, if a military superpower envisions itself at the center of the Book of Revelations or Book of Daniel, these religious stories can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's also the issue of the Evangelicals' special love of the Jews. This love is special, Gershom Goremberg explains, because it involves loving a people with the caveat of hoping they will renounce the very core of their identity (their faith) or else burn in hell for all eternity. As interesting as the subject matter was, I was even more impressed by the sensitivity of the filmmakers. Despite how I have described it, they did not demonize any of the Evangelical Christians that they followed around and interviewed throughout the movie. In fact, they did very well in humanizing them. These are people who are willing to be honest and open about their deepest beliefs which is not an easy thing to do (although obviously easier for them in a predominantly white Christian country with constitutional protection of religious conscience like America). They deserve a measure of respect, however much one might disagree with them. I would highlight some of these very human moments if I hadn't already gone on way too long, but in short it's a documentary well worth seeing.

1995. 91 min. USA. Directed by Larry Clark. Watchdate: 12/14/2010.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that this turned out to be an X-rated after school special with fetishistic tendencies. But I was. It was uninhibited in ways I didn't expect, and conventional in ways I didn't anticipate. Casper was the most interesting character to watch, even though he was somewhat tangential to the main plot. I thought Telly was basically the tragic version of McLovin, but maybe it was just Leo Fitzpatrick's face and voice. I also noticed there was also a very bothersome ratio embedded in the movie. The amount that any particular scene or sequence was fucked up, disgusting, horrible and difficult to watch was proportional to how good and important that particular scene or sequence was. Thus, the beating scene and the various HIV-spreading sex scenes were the most powerful parts of the movie despite being truly awful to behold. Particularly the very last sex (rape) scene, which gives a whole new meaning to the word "unknowing." Sometimes looking at the movie felt like watching so many car crashes.

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