Savages

Not rated yet!
Director
Oliver Stone
Runtime
2 h 11 min
Release Date
6 July 2012
Genres
Crime, Drama, Thriller
Overview
Pot growers Ben and Chon face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend.
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VJ Morton1
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • Savages

    ★★½ Watched 06 Jul, 2012

    Oliver Stone, USA, 5/10
    Could have been a trash classic if Stone could have gotten three people who can act to play the "DESIGN FOR LIVING" love triangle at the center (HT: Jim Ridley). Supporting performers / characters all far more interesting.

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Crosswalk1
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Savages Sinks Despite Stone
    Movies DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012Theatrical Release Date: July 6, 2012Rating: R (for strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout)Genre: Drama/Crime/ThrillerRun Time: 130 min.Director: Oliver StoneCast: Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayek Whether it was the kinder, gentler Gordon Gekko who emerged when Oliver Stone re-visited Wall Street in 2010’s Money Never Sleeps or the biography of former president George W. Bush that wasn’t nearly as controversial as audiences were expecting in 2008’s W, there’s been no shortage of critics who’ve suggested that the writer/director has simply lost some of his former gravitas. Stone seems fiercely determined to put that notion to rest with the brazenly violent Savages, where he re-visits two of his favorite subjects: the tangled web that people often find themselves in when drugs are involved (see: 1978’s Midnight Express and 1983’s Scarface) and protagonists driven to edge of madness by a quest for the truth or perilous circumstances (see: 1986’s Platoon, 1991’s JFK, 1994’s Natural Born Killers or 1997’s U Turn). Based on the Don Winslow novel by the same name, Savages is something you’d expect Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds) or Robert Rodriguez (Machete) to naturally gravitate toward, thanks to no shortage of opportunities for shocking bursts of violence. But for Stone, the guy you wouldn’t think of for something like this, co-writing and directing Savages allows him to re-establish himself with a story that skews toward a decidedly younger demographic—a shot at continued relevancy as he inches closer to his 70th birthday. Trouble is, while Savages will certainly satisfy the blood lust of those who appreciate movies with a high body count, the younger actors simply aren’t up to the task of carrying this morbid morality tale. Perhaps even more laughable than the amateurish performances of Taylor Kitsch (Battleship), Aaron Johnson (Albert Nobbs) and Blake Lively (Green Lantern), who look like they accidentally wandered on the wrong set when they were really scheduled for an Abercrombie & Fitch photo op, is the story’s faulty set-up. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Yes, the Women’s Movement has officially taken another giant leap backward, thanks to Ophelia (Lively), who’d prefer you ditch any reference to Shakespeare and simply call her “O.” Lacking any ambition of her own, she’s tall and pretty, sporting perfect beach hair. Underneath that veneer, however, is a slew of problems. In addition to being estranged from her family (who she routinely lies to), she’s the girlfriend of not one, but two men who happen to be best friends. Content to share her equally, even in bed, Chon (Kitsch) and Ben (Johnson) also make sure she enjoys their lavish Laguna Beach lifestyle complete with all the supersonic pot you can smoke. See, when Chon was busy serving his country in Afghanistan, he stumbled upon some seeds that allowed his botanist pal Ben to invent  some of the most potent weed in the world. Legally selling medicinal marijuana by day, the duo makes the bulk of their cash by shipping their stash out of state. While Chon is clearly the brawn of the operation, Ben is the heart. While he’s clearly stumbled into a good situation from a materialistic perspective, Ben, is still determined to give back—a by-product of his Buddhist beliefs. But even with the California sunshine and the gentle waves of the Pacific serving as a picturesque backdrop, it doesn’t take long for this trio’s semi-charmed life to seriously unravel. When Chon and Ben fail to satisfy the demands of a crumbling Mexican cartel that wants to partner with them, the cartel savagely retaliates by stealing that which Chon and Ben love the most: O. But getting her back and, eventually, running their business on their own terms again proves more than challenging with a conniving mastermind (Salma Hayek, The Pirates! Band of Misfits), a corrupt federal officer (John Travolta, Hairspray), and the comically ruthless muscle of the operation (a scene-stealing Benicio Del Toro, Things We Lost in the Fire) in the mix. In fact, it requires a suspension of belief of gargantuan proportions, which is precisely why Savages never quite works. While Stone goes to great lengths to shock, he forgets that great leaps of logic don’t exactly help the plot. Worse yet, you sense that the filmmakers eventually realize the error of their ways, which is why they won’t even commit to an ending. While some may call the non-ending "an exhilarating twist," others will conclude it’s basically par for the course in a story that wasn’t adding up from the beginning. If anything, Savages is just another instance where style clearly takes precedence over making the story’s larger point with conviction. Common sense and meaningful takeaway value are kicked to the curb in favor of cheap thrills. CAUTIONS: googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Drugs/Alcohol: Recreational drug use, namely of the supercharged pot and cocaine, is depicted throughout. Even when O is imprisoned, she needs her “little pick me up.” Language/Profanity: The full spectrum of profanity is utilized, mostly the “f” word. There are also instances where God’s name is misused or paired with “da--.” A middle finger is extended. Sex/Nudity: As mentioned before, O has not one, but two boyfriends, and they both enjoy sexual privileges—sometimes even at the same time. We see her sleep with both Chon and Ben, and the scenes are very gritty and graphic. O is also taken advantage of by Lado in her drug-infused haze, and the disturbing footage is shown to her when she’s not high. A woman is shown topless in one scene, while there’s some rear male nudity in others. Discussion of O’s orgasms and Chon’s “wargasms.” Violence: There are random—and not-so-random—bursts of violence throughout the movie. We see a close-up of several men who’ve been decapitated with their bloody heads lined up. We also get an up-close-and-personal view of a couple of men who were crucified and hung upside down. A man is tortured and forced to admit to a crime he didn’t commit in order to save his family. A man’s hand is impaled. A bodyguard is shot by a man posing as a police officer at very close range. Several trucks (with people inside) are blown up with explosives. A woman is killed, and we see blood dramatically emerge from her breasts. Religion/Morals: Of O’s two beaus, Ben is the savage with the proverbial heart of gold. He may be in the drug trade, but Ben says he’s committed to using his wealth to do good in Africa “like Bono does.” He equates his moral center to practicing Buddhism and initially, he’s nervous about committing crimes because it’ll mess with his karma. Publication date: July 6, 2012 ]]>
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Plugged In1
Focus on the Family



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Savages
    DramaAction/Adventure We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewBen and Chon are in the marijuana biz. They run a mom-and-pot outfit, if you will (except that there's no mom). Germinated with bootleg seeds from Afghanistan and cultivated through high-tech botany, the cannabis these guys grow is some the most potent in the world. And even though they're just a small boutique dealer compared with the big-box pot growers south of the border, they still do enough business—legally and otherwise—to sustain a comfortable existence. But now their modest success has attracted the attention of a drug cartel. The cartel wants to do business with Ben and Chon. And if they resist, well, let's just say the bigger organization might just initiate a hostile takeover. How hostile? Chon receives a video from the cartel filled with images of decapitated heads—the last group, it's insinuated, that refused to partner up. Chon, an ex-military man, wants to push back, to show these guys that he and Ben aren't afraid. Ben, however, is very much afraid. He's ready to get out of the business and turn their operation over. But the cartel, led by mysterious drug heiress Elena, isn't interested in that option either. Instead, Elena kidnaps O, Ben and Chon's (shared) girlfriend. The cartel arranges a video conference, where Ben and Chon see O tied to a chair, bruised and bleeding, surrounded by blade-wielding guards. The message is clear: Join the cartel or O will die, and die badly. Successful businesses always require some sacrifices, of course. But some require more than others.Positive ElementsThe film's three protagonists—Ben, Chon and O—care deeply about one another. Both Ben and Chon show a willingness to die for what they both call their "family." (How their relationship to said "family" manifests itself is problematic, but we'll get to that shortly.) They're not the only ones with strong attachments. Elena also has family, a daughter whom she would do anything to protect. Dennis, a crooked federal agent, cares for his dying wife and is trying to raise two young daughters. Ben uses his drug money to start and fund various charities around the world. "He sees himself as a healer," O says, adding that Ben wants to change the world for the better. And when Ben dreams of getting out of the business, he imagines moving into a less problematic, more altruistic line of work.Spiritual ContentO says of Laguna Beach, Calif., "God parked Himself [there] on the seventh day, but they towed Him on the eighth." Elena's cartel is based in Mexico, where we see Catholic iconography crop up around the periphery. One henchman wears a crucifix that shines in the sun before he shoots a victim. Ben and Chon give the cartel a shipment of marijuana in the midst of statuary that may have been part of a religious "Day of the Dead" celebration. (A skeleton, for instance, is dressed as a bride.) Ben is Buddhist, and statues of Buddha show up occasionally. Chon tells Ben that his religion doesn't have a place in the sordid business they're involved in ("What does a fat Jap know?" he says, getting the Buddha's ancestry wrong). Chon later researches Buddhism and quotes the Dalai Lama to get Ben to do what he believes is necessary. Elena tells her daughter that she's coming to visit, saying, "If the mountain doesn't come to Mohammed, Mohammed will come to California." Elena also plays with a deck of Tarot cards.Sexual Content"There is something wrong with your love story, baby," Elena tells O. And she ain't kidding. Ben, Chon and O form a strange threesome, with each man knowingly sleeping with O whenever the mood strikes. And it strikes often. We first meet O and Chon having wild sex on a couch. We see Chon's bare backside as the two make explicit movements and sounds. We're told Chon is an angry lover, working out past battlefield experiences in "wargasms." Ben returns from a do-gooding trip to Africa and takes a bath. (We see most of his body, but not his genitals.) O joins him, clothed in a flimsy top and panties. The two make out in the bathtub, end up in bed and have sex. We (again) see his bare backside, sexual body motions and suggestive sound effects. Then, after the three of them smoke something potent, they all make out together: It's not as explicit as the first two sex scenes, but it's clear the guys are having sex with her simultaneously. Director Oliver Stone tells The Huffington Post that he would've loved to have made that scene more explicit. "Oh, yeah, there was no way I could have done that in the present film environment." Stone says. "There's a certain Puritanism in our society that continues to haunt us." Magda, Elena's daughter, has sex with her boyfriend. O wears flimsy, revealing outfits. A henchman is shown with a bare-breasted female companion. Bikini-clad women show up frequently. We catch a glimpse of a painting featuring a woman's genitals. A man looks at a pornographic magazine. Someone grabs and fondles a guy's crotch. Cartel employees explicitly ponder what O does with Chon and Ben. Elena theorizes that Ben and Chon love each other more than O, which is why they agree to share her. Crude references are made to various body parts.Violent ContentSavages seethes with the carnage that reflects the violent nature of the ongoing drug wars in Mexico. The bloodshed and the violations that the camera focuses upon offer a brutal, fictionalized representation of that reality. As such, they're meant to feel real and painful and terrible. When O is in the custody of the cartel, a terrifying enforcer named Lado makes threatening, lewd come-ons. He cuts a bloody steak and feeds it to her, piece by piece. When she requests a hit of marijuana, he takes a toke, then forces her mouth to his and blows the smoke into her. All this culminates in rape, which takes place when O is so drugged up that she doesn't immediately remember … until Lado shows her the video of the deed taken with his phone. (We glimpse images of him pressing himself upon her sexually against a fence; both are mostly clothed.) Another video shows a concrete floor covered in blood and littered with decapitated heads. On the walls, we see mutilated, headless bodies skewered on stakes or hung upside down. A man in a mask picks up a head and appears ready to hurl it at the camera. Lado goes to a lawyer's house and shoots the man in both kneecaps, leaving him screaming in pain as Lado talks on the phone. Before hanging up, he finishes the poor soul off. He then forces one of his henchmen to shoot the dead man's wife—blood spattering over their faces. It's suggested Lado and his team cut up the bodies and take them away. Lado tortures a suspected snitch in Elena's operation. The victim is hung up by chains and whipped across his body and face. He's beaten so horribly that one of his eyeballs has popped out and hangs from its socket. The man does not confess until Lado threatens to do horrible things to his wife and kids. He then confesses (to a crime he did not commit). Lado tells him that protecting his family is honorable: "I would give you a better death, but I would set a bad example," he says. He then puts a tire around the man's neck, soaks the man in gasoline and tells Ben to drop a flare into it (which he does), immolating the shrieking man. Several people die from close-range gunshots (we often see blood and brain matter splatter), or from knives to the jugular (one man bleeds out in a car). Someone's hand gets stabbed and pinned to the back of a car seat. A massive gunfight leaves everyone involved dead or nearly so, blood gurgling and seeping from gory wounds. Three people apparently kill themselves by injecting some sort of drug. Cartel members tell Chon to put a gun in his mouth and put his hand on the trigger—telling him they'll cut off O's fingers if he doesn't. Chon obeys. We see bleeding faces and hear a chain saw start up as the prelude to a massacre. Lado "fires" an employee by shooting him in the face. People are kidnapped and kept in wretched conditions. Drug users and runners are threatened with death. Cars explode. Crude or Profane LanguageAbout 100 f-words and 30 s-words. We hear "a‑‑," "b‑‑tard" and "n-gger." God's name is misused a few times, twice with "d‑‑n." Rough slang references genitalia and breasts.Drug and Alcohol Content"Drugs are supposed to be bad," O says as she lights up a marijuana pipe. "But in a bad, bad world, they're good." Or so O and her cohorts seem to think, as there's an awful lot of drug use in these bad, bad environs. Pot is everywhere: being grown, being cut, being packaged, being delivered, being smoked (be it in a joint, a pipe or a bong). Several people use cocaine, with residue visible on various countertops. Characters smoke cigarettes, drink wine and consume all manner of hard liquor. Interestingly, when O tells Elena that she's having trouble concentrating in captivity and begs he for a little something to "take the edge off," Elena asks how long O's been smoking pot. Since eighth grade, O tells her. Elena smiles. "And you're wondering why you're having concentration problems?" she says.Other Negative ElementsPeople throw up after their first killings. Lado urinates outside a house. O spits in Lado's face; he wipes it off and sucks it into his mouth.ConclusionSavages is based on a book by Don Wilson, a journalist and author who's spent much of his career cataloging the horrors of Mexican drug cartels. He believes, and director Oliver Stone agrees, that not only has the so-called War on Drugs been lost, but that it breeds the sort of violence we see in Savages. "If pot weren't illegal, there wouldn't be so much risk," Stone told The Huffington Post. "If there weren't so much risk, there wouldn't be so much money and violence; if there weren't so much money and violence, there wouldn't be a movie." Whether Stone is right or wrong or in between, frankly, is outside the scope of this review. We must concern ourselves with not what could or should be here, but with what is. And as such, Savages is an exceptionally problematic story—a would-be morality tale, except for the fact that there's no moral in sight. I've detailed the extreme sex, violence and drug use here, and I should note that Stone himself believes his latest film barely squeaked through with an R rating. And while his narrative is compelling enough to have earned plaudits from some reviewers, there's little, if any, redemptive value here from a Plugged In point of view. But at least the title tells the truth. There's no shortage of savages here: the cartel we're supposed to loathe, the characters we're intended to like, the film that depicts them. Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Kyle Smith2
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Review: "Savages"
    Oliver Stone’s best film since “Natural Born Killers,” “Savages” is a nasty drug thriller with a sense of humor. My reviewis up.]]>
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  • Dept. Of Original Ideas (Cont.)
    (”Savages” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Where have I seen this before? Oh, yeah. Hollywood: Where even the marketing for warmed-over ideas is warmed-over. Someone told me Oliver Stone is no longer the party lad he used to be. But I kind of enjoyed his blow-happy movies. I hope he hasn’t gone sane or anything. ]]>
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John Hanlon1
John Hanlon Reviews



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Savages
    The American Heritage College Dictionary says the noun “savages” can be applied to individuals who are “primitive or uncivilized” and those who are “brutal, side effects fierce or vicious.” In director Oliver Stone’s new film, dosage ...
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Michael Medved1



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Savages
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Debbie Schlussel1
The New York Post



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Wknd Box Office: Savages, Woman in the Fifth, To Rome With Love
    Blog Posts Movie Reviews To Rome With Love“: This is not one of Woody Allen’s best movies. Not even close. It’s entertaining enough, but kind of boring and it simply doesn’t have the sharpness and tight plot of Allen’s other contemporary movies. In comparison to those, it’s dull. Still, there is good commentary in it against Communism (which Allen needs to tell his mirror, not us), statements regarding the absurdity of fame and fandom, and other issues. There are four storylines in the movie, which takes place in Rome, as indicated by the title. There is an Italian clerk (the one-note Roberto Benigni) who is working-class and unattractive. Suddenly, he becomes famous for no apparent reason. He is followed by the press, beautiful women have sex with him, and he is invited to movie previews. His shaving sessions and meals are the topics of feverish media coverage. Then, there is a couple (Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwig) who live in Rome and are visited by the woman’s best friend, Ellen Page. Soon, the guy is taken with her and cheats on his girlfriend with her, and he takes advice from his cynical imaginary friend, Alec Baldwin. And then there is the neurotic American couple (Woody Allen and Judy Davis) visiting the parents of the Italian guy their daughter has fallen in love with. The Italian father has a terrific singing voice in the shower, and Allen, a retired Opera producer/promoter, wants to get him into showbiz and singing opera. But he is reluctant, as he enjoys being a mortician. Finally, there is a couple of newlyweds, who become separated. He hires a prostitute (Penelope Cruz) to pretend she’s his wife at business and family meetings, but she’s dressed as a hooker. And the bride meets her favorite married movie star, who wants to have sex with her. See, there’s no earth-shattering stuff here. Nothing new, nothing interesting. But a lot of funny lines. Mildly entertaining and fine if you have nothing else to do and want an okay time at the movies. Best line in the movie: Woody Allen announces, “I was never a Communist. I could never share a bathroom.” Well, now Woody, you know how we feel about Obamacare. HALF A REAGAN ]]>
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PJ Media Staff3
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Oliver Stone Makes Another 'Juvenile Fantasy of Bullets, Breasts and Bongs'
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Savages Trailer Official 2012 [1080 HD] - Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Today Universal released Savages, a new Oliver Stone movie in his Natural Born Killers ouevre of nihilistic, Clockwork Orange-wannabes. At least these over-glorified action movies disturb less than Stone's other cinematic preoccupations -- the communist agitprop documentary, conspiracy theory histories, and anti-capitalist polemics.The premise from the press release:Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry-raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town...until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon-with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta)-wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel.So far Savages has collected mediocre reviews. Rotten Tomatoes proclaims only 51% positive, and highlighs Rafer Guzman at Newsday addressing the main problem with Stone's explorations in the genre of the highbrow, ultraviolent, philosophy major action movie:"Savages" is a juvenile fantasy of bullets, breasts and bongs -- not such a bad thing, if Stone would just admit it and stop staging the film as a profound ethical wrestling match.A film can be a teenage boy's exploitation picture with naked women, fun explosions, and elegant action sequences. Or it can be a grown-up movie that deals with evil and humanity's animal instincts seriously. It can't be both. The reason why Stanley Kubrick's film worked so well and has so rarely been duplicated is that it knows to start off as one to hook the adolescents and then shift to the other to make an adult point about reality. But Stone hasn't made that leap upwards to maturity himself, so how could his films? class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/7/6/oliver-stone-makes-another-juvenile-fantasy-of-bullets-breasts-and-bongs/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   facebook Share Oliver Stone Makes Another 'Juvenile Fantasy of Bullets, Breasts and Bongs' twitter Tweet email Email ]]>
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  • It Begins: Good Morning America Blames Tea Party for Dark Knight Massacre *Updated*
    (”Savages” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle Joel B. Pollak, Editor-In-Chief at Breitbart: The Usual Suspects: ABC's Ross, Stephanolpoulos Point to Tea Party in Dark Knight Shooting:On Good Morning America, ABC News' Brian Ross and George Stephanolpoulos suggested that the Tea Party might be connected to the mass shootings early this morning in an Aurora, CO theater during a screening of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. The mainstream media attempted to blame the Tea Party for the Tuscon shootings in January 2011, shortly after Republicans swept the midterm elections. Now, in the critical 2012 elections, the mainstream media seems poised to do the same--and ABC News has led the way.Here is the exchange between reporter Brian Ross and host George Stephanopoulos about apparent suspect James Holmes:Stephanolpoulos: I'm going to go to Brian Ross. You've been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.Ross: There's a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it's Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we'll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.I'll update as the inevitable scapegoating continues. Links to relevant news stories, tweets, and blog posts in the comments are appreciated.Update 6:50 AM PST: The Belfast Telegraph reports on the president's response to the shooting and the youngest victim:President Obama urged the nation to "come together as one American family".....Some of the injured were children, with the youngest a three-month-old baby. Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman.Local reporter Justin Jones said the gunman was wearing body armour and a gas mask."The attacker shot a baby at point blank range," he said.Another eyewitness, James Cameron, said the baby girl was shot in the back.Update 7:12 AM: ABC news reveals the shooter's mother is not surprised that her son would commit this horrible act:A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes' mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved."You have the right person," she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police... I need to fly out to Colorado."Update 7:18: Mother Jones staff writer Stephanie Mencimer tweets:Update 7:45: In These Times "labor journalist" Mike Elk:Elk then decided to retweet these statements:Elk then expressed his main concerns regarding this tragedy:Update 8:10: Kevin Drum of Mother Jones:Update 8:22: Gawker highlighting disturbing images, allegedly uploaded by one of the victims from the Emergency Room:Update: 8:25: Politico reports that ABC is backing off from the irresponsible Tea Party reporting:An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect.Update: 8:36: Cenk Uygur, "Host of @TheYoungTurks on @Current TV and the largest online news show in the world. @TYTonCurrent," reacts:Update 8:50: David Sirota at Salon has decided to use this tragedy to begin a debate about whether we should use the word "terrorism" to describe acts such as this:For all the legitimate questions that will be asked in the coming days (Why are there so many mass shootings in America? Why is it so easy to buy weapons-grade tear gas canisters? How much is this related to the availability of guns?); for all the insulting media coverage that will try to ramrod the dead Fargo-style into the woodchipper of the presidential campaign (New York Times headline: “In Wake of Colorado Shooting, a Concern Over the Proriety of Campaigining”); and for all the demagogues who will use this tragedy for their own gain (pro-gun GOP Rep. Loui Gohmert is today blaming the shooting victims for not being armed) – there is only one harrowing conclusion we can come to for certain immediately after such a heinous act: terrorism has no specific nationality, geography, race or creed.Not surprisingly, police and reporters have been quick to tell us the opposite — that the suspected shooter was likely just a “lone wolf” and that “this act does not appear to be linked to radical terrorism or anything related to Islamic terrorism,” as ABC News put it. This newspeak is supposed to reassure us that this is anything but terrorism — that terrorism is something that happens only in far away places or huge cosmopolitan cities, not in an Anytown, USA in the American heartland; that terrorism never comes at the hands of a “24-year-old white American male” named “James Holmes,” it only comes at the hands of dark-skinned “evildoers” with hard-to-pronounce names. In this, we are expected to be sedated by such reassurances, and to ignore the ever-growing list of such “lone wolves”, and to reject a much wider definition of terrorism, no matter how much the reality of shooting after shooting after shooting screams at us to accept it.But with bodies strewn across an Aurora movie theater, we must ask: what is terrorism, if it is not a man in a riot mask and bullet-proof vest, armed with tear gas canisters and weapons, meticulously executing a military-style assault on a crowded movie theater?Just because something is "terrifying" it does not mean it's an act of "terrorism." The term "terrorism" refers to violent acts inflicted in order to intimidate a population into submitting to political or cultural revolution. Here's the dictionary definition:ter·ror·ism[ter-uh-riz-uhm]  Show IPAnoun1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.2.the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.3.a terroristic method of governing or of resisting agovernment.A mass murderer who wants to "watch the world burn" is not a terrorist like Al Qaeda is and Bill Ayers was. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'The Dark Knight - Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Update 9:27: I've taken the last update with Sirota and highlighted it as its own post here along with an excerpt on the subject of evil from Dennis Prager's new book:Some Men Just Want to Watch the World BurnUpdate: 9:53: From the Huffington Post: Colorado Shooting: What We Know About James Holmes:Lt. Andra Brown of the San Diego Police Department briefed reporters outside James Holmes' mother's home Friday. Brown confirmed Holmes attended high school in San Diego before going to Colorado to pursue additional studies. Brown would not name either school.San Diego media outlets have reported Holmes attended high school at Westview in Carmel Valley. He was also reportedly pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at University of Colorado-Denver. He supposedly enrolled in the fall of 2011, but dropped out in June....Police are still trying to clear the suspect's Aurora apartment. According to police, explosives found inside the unit are "very sophisticated" and could take some time to disarm....The FBI has revealed Holmes is a white male who is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 24 years old, with a birth date of Dec. 13, 1987. Authorities have found no significant criminal record and no terrorist affiliations. Investigators suspect he acted alone.A motive in the shooting is not yet known.Update: 10:00: Twitchy collects Tweets from those choosing to blame Rush Limbaugh for inspiring the shooting.Update: 10:08: Twitchy also highlighted comedian D.L. Hughley's response to the massacre:Update: 10:45: From the influential progressive blog Crooked Timber, and promoted in a tweet by Slate writer Matthew Yglesias:One of Yglesias's followers made the argument more openly:A few months ago I blogged through every chapter of Afrolantica Legacies, a book written by Derrick Bell, the founder of Critical Race Theory and one of Barack Obama's intellectual mentors. In part 7 I noted where Bell chose to blame unemployment for inspiring inner city drug dealers to break the law. This is a common way that progressives choose to shift responsibility for evil acts away from individuals and toward "society."11:13 Update: PJ Media's Editor-In-Chief Roger L. Simon at his blog this morning:Time to Curtail Violence in FilmI am not calling for censorship here, nor for gun control laws, but for a modicum of self-censorship on the part of the filmmakers and the film and television industries. They should ask themselves to what end is the violence they are portraying and whether it need be so explicit. Can they make their points as effectively, perhaps more effectively, without the endless splatter and gore?...Hitchcock’s Psycho and Fritz Lang’s M (about a serial killer), scary as they may be, are considerably less explicit than Natural Born Killers and considerably better artistically as well, yet it is Natural Born Killers that is said to have inspired copycat crimes.I blogged about Stone's most recent film Savages two weeks ago here at PJ Lifestyle.One of the copycats inspired by Stone's film was Columbine -- the two killers debated over whether Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg would do a better job making their life story. Instead they got Gus Van Sant with 2003's Elephant, a quiet, very overrated art film that featured a scene where the two shooters kiss before beginning their massacre.Update 11:32: From ABC News: Aurora 'Dark Knight' Suspect James Holmes Said He 'Was the Joker':The man in custody for allegedly killing 12 people at the screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado told authorities after the shooting that he "was The Joker," NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly said today.Kelly told reporters the suspect, identified by federal officials as 24-year-old James Holmes, had dyed his hair like The Joker. The Joker is a well-known villain in the fictional Batman universe. The attack took place at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," the final movie in a Batman trilogy, following "The Dark Knight" in which The Joker was the principal villain.Two federal law enforcement officials confirmed the details of The Joker costume to ABC News. Police said the weapons used in the massacre include a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns.Update 2:07 PM: I'm continuing the afternoon coverage in a new post here at PJ Lifestyle:What Does Israel’s Prime Minister Have to Do With the Horrific Dark Knight Shooting?***More coverage at PJ Tatler:Rick Moran: Breaking: 14 Dead, 50 Wounded at Batman Premiere Shooting in ColoradoBryan Preston: Bloomberg Pounces, Uses Aurora Tragedy to Push Obama and Romney on Gun RightsBryan Preston: Left, Media Blaming Colorado Shooting on Gun Rights, Tea Party, Rush LimbaughRick Moran: Why Is Brian Ross Still Working for ABC News?Bridget Johnson: Obama Cuts Short Campaign Swing Because of ShootingRick Moran: Colorado Shooter Was Dressed as 'The Joker' class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/7/20/it-begins-good-morning-america-blames-tea-party-for-dark-knight-massacre/ ]]>
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  • Oliver Stone Disgraces Himself — Once Again — and This Time in Communist China
    (”Savages” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ron Radosh Our old friend Oliver Stone is at it again. This time, as The Hollywood Reporter informs us, he is being feted and wined and dined in the People’s Republic of China, where he is the star attraction at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival. The festival will be screening his big flop Alexander, his film Savages, as well as an episode of his Communist propaganda series The Untold History of the United States.I’m certain the ideological guardians of the Communist regime, who still reverently pay homage to the Stalinist dictator and founder of the People’s Republic Mao Ze Dong, will be thrilled to see how the official propagandist picture of American imperialism depicted by Stone and co-writer Peter Kuznick fulfills the ideological requirements of how the regime regularly treats history. They should especially enjoy his portrait of a benign Stalin who only wanted secure borders and fought for peace.As the report informs readers, Stone “brought thunderous applause to a crowd of more than 500 festivalgoers…when he praised whistleblower Edward Snowden as a ‘hero.’” So while Dick Cheney rightfully condemns Snowden as a traitor, a word that Snowden himself says is a badge of honor when bestowed on him by the former vice president, Oliver Stone gets the backing and support of an audience in statist China. The People’s Republic’s government controls propaganda and censors free news reports, has its own repressive gulag system of prison camps, and is anything but a free society. It has not dawned on the filmmaker that attacking the United States as not free in a land in which dissenters are arrested and persecuted on a regular basis shows anything but an understanding of what freedom and liberty are.Stone did just as his hosts required. The article by reporter Richard Trombley tells us the following:In response to a passionately worded indictment from an audience member accusing the U.S. National Security Agency of “eavesdropping on the world,” the celebrated -- and provocative -- director said, simply: "Snowden is a hero," before launching into a brief discussion of the revelations about the U.S. spy programs and their aftermath....Stone went on to praise the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and whistleblower Bradley Manning. He condemned President Barack Obama's administration for prosecuting six whistleblower cases despite campaign promises of a more progressive administration.Stone joined prolific Hong Kong director Johnnie To in a master class entitled “How Does Film Have Its Influence on Real Life?” held at the newly opened Shanghai Film Museum with moderator and state-owned newspaper China Daily film critic Raymond Zhou.“Mr. Stone, you sound like one of China's angry young men,” chided Zhou.Despite repeated attempts from the moderator to redirect the discussion and Zhou's requests not to discuss political matters, Stone castigated the Bush administration, the Iraq war, the Kuwait Invasion and American imperialism.Stone defended movies that criticize authority, from war movies to crime movies. But he did caution that violence must be used responsibly. He also pointed to the media's influence on the culture of violence, from Newtown and Columbine to the Bush-era wars.Cherish the irony. The Chinese hosts wanted the event to appear non-political, in order to highlight their film colony’s entrance into the world arena. But evidently they did not know Oliver Stone well enough.  As he noted, “Movies that glorify war give permission to the leaders to make war,” although his criticism was reserved only for the United States, and not to any of the many times that the Communist nations he supports have used their own media to do precisely that which he claims to find objectionable. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2013/6/18/oliver-stone-disgraces-himself-again/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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  • Cutter's Way
    (”Savages” is briefly mentioned in this.)



    I have to confess that, nowadays, there are very few films that I can truly relate to in terms of sheer nihilism, pessimism, and cynicism, especially in regard to the Reaganite 1980s when Spielberg was king and the promotion of collective fantastic infantilization was the name of the game among the neo-Vaudevillian shysters, hucksters, and culture-distorters in Tinseltown. Don’t get me wrong, the 1980s produced some great dark films including David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) and Tim Hunter’s River's Edge (1986), but I think Ivan Passer’s Cutter's Way (1981) aka Cutter and Bone—a film based on the 1976 novel of the latter name by Newton Thornburg—is the only cinematic work of its era that goes all the way in terms of pure and adulterated cultural pessimism in regard to the state of the United States and its increasingly disenfranchised white working-class majority. Of course, the film has more in common with the aesthetically and culturally subversive films of the American New Wave of the late-1960s and 1970s than most films of its era. Indeed, as Charles Taylor explained in his rather readable yet hopelessly boomer-esque book Opening Wednesday at a Theater Or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American '70s (2017), “WINTER KILLS also calls up the closing days of a decade that has proven to be the richest period in American moviemaking. There were still remarkable movies being made, and wonderful poplar movies that were yet to come, like E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. But, more and more, daring and gusty pictures went unseen. Two years later Jeff Bridges would star in another of them, Ivan Passer’s CUTTER’S WAY, and would see it, like WINTER KILLS, yanked from theaters after a week (in this case because United Artists was still reeling from the disaster of HEAVEN’S GATE—which Bridges also appeared in—the previous month.)

     In terms of its cynical conspiracy theme, Passer’s film certainly has much in common with a number of great 1970s flicks ranging from Francis Ford Coppola’s Antonioni-esque The Conversation (1974) to Arthur Penn’s decidedly dark post-Watergate neo-noir Night Moves (1975) to John Schlesinger’s post-shoah Judaic thriller Marathon Man (1976), yet it manages to transcends all of these films in terms of both aesthetic and metaphysical prowess. Like a distillation of the darkest and most nihilistic elements of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) and Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo (1980) and featuring a miserable ménage à trios that really demystifies such socially sick romantic arrangements as reflected in such absurd bourgeois cinematic depictions ranging from François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (1962) to Oliver Stone’s Savages (2012), Cutter's Way is indubitably one of the oh-so rare idiosyncratic neo-noir flicks that manages to rival the great classic film noir masterpieces like Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950) and Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole (1951) in terms of depicting the worst of the worst of the particular American zeitgeist that they represent.




     While he would eventually degenerate into a for-hire hack that would helm forgettable TV movies, Czech auteur Passer originally received international critical acclaim for his association with the Czech New Wave and directing Intimní osvětlení (1965) aka Intimate Lighting and co-penning the classic early Miloš Forman flicks Lásky jedné plavovlásky (1965) aka Loves of a Blonde and Hoří, má panenko (1967) aka The Firemen's Ball. After defecting to the West with the aid of sleazy guido producer Carlo Ponti following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Passer made his way to the United States and made his American debut with the rather gritty and nihilistic ghetto black-comedy Born to Win (1971) aka Addict aka Scraping Bottom starring alpha-Jew George Segal as a superlatively sleazy Hebraic junky and hobo that lives to lie, cheat, and steal so that he can get his next big fix in between attempting evade the cops and other dangerous gutter-dwelling scum. Based on a story by Hebraic playwright David Scott Milton—a consciously kosher writer that also penned mundane screenplays for fellow chosenites like Peter Bogdanovich, Sidney Pollack, and Irvin Kershner—the film is notable for featuring one of the most shameless and morally bankrupt Jewish characters since the Third Reich era films of Veit Harlan. In short, the ironically titled film, which features a fairly early young Robert De Niro in a small role, is like a Jewish and more cynical equivalent to Paul Morrissey’s Trash (1970) in terms of depiction of the virtual purgatorial lifestyle of an east coast dope fiend. While Passer indubitably has an uneven and inconsistent oeuvre, Born to Win is undoubtedly part of the same cinematic lineage as Cutter’s Way as a film that seems to take savagely sardonic delight in ruthlessly murdering what is left of the great myth that is the American dream. Notably, Passer rightly regards both of these films as his greatest achievements as a filmmaker, or as he described in a 2016 interview with Film Comment, “I don’t have a favorite. I like BORN TO WIN, but I think its blend of European and American sensibilities disoriented many critics at the time. It’s now considered one of my best films. Maybe CUTTER’S WAY, which is perhaps my most American film. It is a damaging account of a nation that has lost its final illusions in the Vietnam War and of a society eaten away by corruption.”



    In some ways, to describe Cutter’s Way as anti-American would be a gross understatement but, at the same time, it is also, despite its Slavic director, shamelessly American, at least in terms of depicting everything that is uniquely ugly about the considerably bastardized nation. Indeed, H.L. Mencken might as well have been writing a sort of philosophical synopsis for the film when he wrote in his essay The Libido for the Ugly (1926), “Here is something that the psychologists have so far neglected: the love of ugliness for its own sake, the lust to make the world intolerable. Its habitat is the United States. Out of the melting pot emerges a race which hates beauty as it hates truth.” A film that only contains pulchritude in its potent putridity and understatedly morbid melancholia, the film depicts a metaphysically sick, culturally and racially deracinated, and morosely materialistic coastal microcosm where the technically physical beautiful are downright ugly due to their attitudes and personalities and where every sunny beach is despoiled due to its loathsome inhabitants. A sad and pathetic yet undeniably darkly humorous film depicting a failed dime store gigolo and his unhinged crippled Vietnam War veteran pal playing virtual Russian Roulette with their own lives by trying to prove that a powerful local cutthroat capitalist was responsible for the brutal rape and murder of a local teenage cheerleader, Cutter’s Way is a true antihero’s tale where true justice seems all but totally obsolete, as the society it depicts is so innately and irrevocably corrupt that there is no hope for the common man to prevail, at least in any big or meaningful way. As for love and romance, they are nothing but a distant memory as the characters are too sick and internally wounded, drunk, and impenetrable to act on their own conflicted emotions. As the end of the film ultimately demonstrates, only death and revenge can provide these pathetic lost souls with any real sense of personal catharsis. A sort of West Coast buddy flick equivalent to Taxi Driver (1976), albeit with protagonists that are slightly more sane and sympathetic, the film will almost unequivocally be regarded as a masterpiece by any serious cinephile that is willing to see American for what it really is; a cultural and spiritual void that is beyond redemption. In fact, despite their glaring flaws, the characters are almost too sympathetic as they force the viewer to confront their own most shameful and unflattering flaws, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses; or at least their own personal capacity for said flaws, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses. After watching the film, one should certainly reconsider Arthur Schopenhauer’s words, “The most effective consolation in every misfortune and every affliction is to observe others who are more unfortunate than we: and everyone can do this. But what does that say for the condition of the whole?



    While Cutter’s Way is certainly, to some extent, an allegory for the disillusionment many Americans felt as a result of the Vietnam War, assassination of JFK, and failure of the so-called Civil Rights movement, among other things, it transcends these themes and acts as a sort of exercise in Sehnsucht, angst, and a specifically American 20th-century form of Mal du siècle. Depicting a rather pathetic situation were two best friends love the same perennially doped up dipsomaniac dame, who also seems to love both of them yet is similarly hopeless in expressing said love, the film ultimately presents an unapologetically forlorn world where love is not enough to establish permanent solid interpersonal bonds and perpetual misery seems more desirable to happiness because the latter only seems like a sick joke due to its scarcity and lack of longevity. While Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) is a rootless wanderer that cannot commit to anything aside from lacklusterly boning old blonde bourgeois bitches for a couple shekels (not unlike Joe Buck of Midnight Cowboy (1969), he is also somewhat bashful when it comes to asking for payment for his sensual services), his best friend Alex Cutter (John Heard)—a sardonically disgruntled Vietnam War veteran that is missing a couple limps and sports of an eye patch that fittingly makes him look like a pirate-cum-biker—has more or less declared total war against the entire world as a man that is plagued with fuchsteufelswild. Although Cutter is married to her, Bone clearly loves the female protagonist Maureen ‘Mo’ Cutter (Lisa Eichhorn) and the three live together like one supremely fucked unhappy (anti)family where nil children naturally are roaming around (after all, degenerates tend not to reproduce, or so once wrote early Zionist leader Max Nordau in his infamous text Entartung (1892) aka Degeneration). While both Cutter and Mo seem to be longing for death to some degree, Bone is just too damn passive, cowardly, and infuriately indecisive to embrace something of such patent permanence, so it is only fitting that both of the former die in the end while the latter finally gains some degree of testicular fortitude. As Cutter complains in regard to attempting to get Bone involved in something important, “It’s like trying to seduce a eunuch.”

    While they all seem to be alcoholics to some degree, Cutter is a belligerent drunk and his wife Mo seems to be slowly but surely drinking herself into death in between taking bong hits. Undoubtedly, in some alternate reality where they both were not so screwed up, Bone and Mo seem like they could make the perfect loving couple. Of course, Mo is a supremely bitter bitch as demonstrated by her welcoming remark to Bone, “ …you’re home awfully early, aren’t you? Couldn’t you find a matron with a taste for gutter squalor?” In fact, Mo has no problem rubbing it into Bone’s face that she is married to his best friend Cutter as demonstrated by her gleefully savage remark, “Really must be tough playing second fiddle to a one-eyed cripple.” Indeed, while Cutter might be a cripple that seems to suffer from a perpetual state of fahne, he’s certainly got more swag and machismo than his best pal, who at least partly owes his lack of masculine prowess to the fact that he went to college instead of the Vietnam War. On the other hand, had Cutter not been physically and emotionally crippled in the war, it would not be hard to imagine him as the ultimate pussy-magnet alpha-male, but instead he is a self-destructively bitter and resentful quasi-suicidal renegade that lives life in the most miserable and misanthropic, albeit charismatic, fashion imaginable.  As pathetic as they are all, the trio needs each other, so naturally things begin to fall apart when one of them dies.



    Although more focused on character development, mood, and atmosphere, Cutter’s Way centers around Cutter and Bone’s somewhat misguided yet nonetheless respectable mission to expose a local capitalist hotshot named J. J. Cord (Stephen Elliott) for the brutal rape and murder of a beauteous blonde high school cheerleader; or, more accurately, the film focuses on the eponymous antihero's attempt to get his pathologically passive male prostitute pal involved in the exposing of said local capitalist hotshot.  The trouble starts when Bone is arrested after he unwittingly witnesses the dumping of the teenage girl’s corpse into a back alley dumpster during a nasty rainy night. While Bone—a man that epitomizes the antithesis to Nietzsche’s concept of the Will to Power—initially wants nothing to do with the murder mystery, Cutter and the dead girl’s older sister Valerian Duran (Ann Dusenberry) make it their mission to get involved and force the hapless man hooker to tag along. Indeed, as is fitting for a film set in a nihilistic post-Vietnam War America, the friends develop a degree of obsession and paranoia that rivals some of the most single-minded investigations into the JFK assassination conspiracy. Despite seeing Cord at a local parade and being initially completely convinced that he is the same killer that he saw before, Bone later tries to reject or contradict any of Cutter’s arguments as to why the tycoon is their man. In fact, they even find a newspaper article where Cord more or less sadistically brags about his sinister deeds, stating in a creepily cryptic fashion, “I like to pickup hitchhikers. Especially young ones. I like their input.” Of course, as demonstrated by the fact that semen is found in the dead girl’s mouth, Cord is actually the one that likes giving input.



    When the group conspires to create a “pretend blackmail plan” to see if Cord will reveal his guilt by actually paying the money, Mo, who wants nothing to do with the entire charade, ruthlessly rebukes the group for even considering getting involved in such potentially dangerous criminal activity. Indeed, aside from sarcastically telling Valerie to, “get fucked, sweetie,” Mo gets so exceedingly enraged with her hubby Cutter that she even mocks him for being a cripple, stating with the sort of rage that one can only expect from an agitated female lover, “You’re not some saint avenging the sins of the earth, you know, Alex. And if you are, what am I doing here? Oh, I know. I’m like your [missing] leg. Your leg! Sending messages to your brain and there’s nothing there anymore.” Needless to say, Bone is not too happy when his ladylove is smacked by Cutter due to her rather rude verbal indiscretions. Rather ironically, it is ultimately Mo that is the first victim of the group’s dubious detective work, as she dies in a rather horrific fashion after someone burns their house down. To make matters more morosely emotional, Mo cheats on Cutter and sleeps with Bone the very same night she is killed. In fact, while having sex, Mo even breaks down crying and says to Bone “I love you,” but the pathetic gigolo ultimately lets her down in the end. While Mo makes a rather emotional plea for Bone to stay the night with her and he obliges, he later secretly slips outside and abandons her not long after she falls asleep, thus unwittingly saving his own life in the process.  Of course, as someone that is as hopelessly miserable as Mo, it almost seems fitting that she dies, especially during an emotional night where she actually reveals her loving tender side but is ultimately betrayed by the very same weak man that she lovingly confides in.  Naturally, Cutter is enraged when Bone admits that he had sex with Mo by meekly confessing in a half-hearted fashion, “That night I left . . . She was pretty depressed, you know, things got kind of heavy.” Not surprisingly, Mo’s horrendous death makes Cutter and even Bone all the more determined to bring Cord to justice. Unfortunately, two perennial fuck-ups make for a poor match against a seemingly all-powerful tycoon that seems to practically own all of Santa Barbara, but luckily Cutter is on a suicide mission and thus willing to go all the way lest he fail the memory of his beloved self-described “wifey.”




    During their intense investigation, Cutter and Bone discover that Cord has a long history of murdering people and getting away with it. For example, the father of Cutter’s friend-cum-boss George Swanson (Arthur Rosenberg) was apparently killed by Cord a number of decades before over a business deal. As a means to both covertly control and keep tabs on George, Cord paid for his college education and set him up as the boss of a boat shop, which Bone also incidentally works at. Despite the fact that George is totally petrified of his tycoon boss, Cutter goes ahead and steals an invitation for a big party at Cord’s house so that he and Bone can sneak in and confront the supposed killer. True to his pathetically passive nature, Bone attempts to talk Cutter out of even going to the party, stating, “Alex, what’s this gonna prove? It’s not like it’s gonna change anything. It’s not gonna bring her back. It’s not gonna take away our guilt. It’s not gonna make you whole again, you know that. Nothing’s ever gonna do that,” but the hardcore headcase vet merely responds by suggestively placing a pistol in his suit jacket and saying “I, uh… I gotta go, I go.” Needless to say, not unlike the antihero of Sam Peckinpah’s final masterpiece Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), Cutter is on a suicide mission of sorts as he has lost his beloved and has nothing left to lose. Assumedly out of a sense of obligation to both his best friend and dead lover, Bone reluctantly decides to join Cutter at the party, which proves to be a true shit show. Indeed, not long after joining the party, Bone is captured and beat up by Cord’s bodyguards while Cutter rides around the large property on a stolen horse like a deranged bloodlusting berserker high on mushrooms.

     Upon meeting and talking with Cord, Bone encounters a seemingly reasonable man who states he is willing to discuss with Cutter the supposed “fantasy” that he has created in his head, stating, “I understand he’s a veteran. Well, I’ve been in the war. I know what it does to some men. I’m willing to talk to your friend if you think it will do any good. Do you think it will do any good?” Not long after, Cutter fittingly crashes the horse he is riding through Cord’s office window and receives a fatal wound via a broken piece of glass in the process. While holding Cutter as he is dying in his arms, Bone stares at Cord and states with a certain visceral intensity, “It was you,” to which the tycoon shockingly and quite mockingly replies with a certain sickly self-assured arrogance, “What if it was?,” and then proceeds to put on the same sunglasses that he wore the night the Duran girl was murdered. In a symbolic act where the two broken ‘half-men’ become one full whole as men in their dual vengeance against the man that killed the woman they both loved, Bone wraps his hand around Cutter’s hand and pulls the trigger of the gun that his lifeless metacarpus is caressing in what is ultimately a fittingly ambiguous ending.




    While Cutter’s Way concludes on a somewhat ambiguous note with Bone shooting Cord, auter Passer shot a sort of epilogue for the film that he never used, or as he explained in a July 15, 1981 interview featured in The Soho News with Jonathan Rosenbaum when asked if it was possible that the protagonist could get away with killing the rich tycoon, “Actually, I shot what happens after that. He walks out of this huge mansion, and it’s just before sunset; and he goes faster and faster and finally begins to run through the trees. And there’s a scene on his sailboat, which he lives on. he’s sailing out of the harbor, and he hears a laugh that sounds like Cutter’s laugh. He stops and looks at where it came from, and he sees there are a few sailors on a small cutter. And one of them looks like Cutter; he’s drinking a beer. And he laughs again. At that moment, Bone almost hits the coast and the Coast Guard; he almost brushes against this huge boat. But he avoids the accident, and soon gets on the open sea, and sails away. They very much wanted this ending, but it took away something. You know, this film is about pulling a trigger — what it takes — and we felt, the writer, producer, and I, that this would be just a tag that would dissipate the emotional impact of that last shot, and so we pleaded with them, and they finally agreed.” While I find this potential ending intriguing, I am glad that Passer went the more arthouse route and left the film the way it is. After all, if I have any serious complaints about Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, it is that I think it should have concluded right after Travis Bickle’s bloody shootout and not with the somewhat absurd revelation that the deranged antihero has been hailed as a local hero.




    While it could certainly be argued that the film has elements that can interpreted as everything from a quasi-Marxist critique of the evils of capitalist oligarchs to a pessimistic Buchanian Paleoconservative portrait of the social, cultural, and racial decline of the United States in an age where both sides of the pseudo-dichotomous American political system support globalization and disfranchisement of white lumpenproles, there is no doubt that Cutter’s Way would never be made in Hollywood today simply because of its many moments of darkly humorous (and simply delightful) racial insensitivity. For example, early on in the film in his very first scene, Cutter pisses off a group of negroes at a bar after loudly stating in regard to a colored friend, “And last but certainly least, is Rastus, the court nigger.” Instead of cucking out and denying he said the word, Cutter takes things a little further and remarks to the group of angry negroes that are surrounding him, “What? Do I detect some tension? Oh. Come now, gentlemen. It’s a simple matter of semantics. What are we white, well-intentioned liberals supposed to call you cats these days, huh? Blacks? Coloreds? Negroes? Darkies?,” thereupon eloquently mocking the legacy of so-called civil rights movement, racial equality, and white liberal ethno-masochistic do-gooder bullshit in the process. Of course, it would not be a proper California film without Cutter making some rather scathing remarks in regard to so-called Hispanics and their American injun brothers. Indeed, while enjoying the sights and sounds of a multicultural Mission of Santa Barbara parade, Cutter declares during a moment of great exuberance with unrivaled dipsomaniacal eloquence, “Look, our glorious past, the Mission of Santa Barbara. Happy padres, happy Indians. The blessings of the white man. Wiped out in less than 200 years by disease and forced labor. You can still get one to clean up your kitchen or you know, park your car. They died with Christ’s blessing. Happy corpses, each and every one.” A natural comedian that knows how to correlate miscegenation with bestiality without even literally saying it, Cutter attempts to squash his wife’s worries by telling her when she asks him what he has been doing all night, “Minding my own business. Doing a little research. Oh, and I conducted a modest sociological experiment. Picked up several hitchhikers. Yeah. An Afro-American homosexual and two mestizas with a domesticated simian. Black cat and the two mez chicks weren’t bad, but don’t ever orgy with a pet monkey. The little fuckers bite.” As his rather hilarious remarks and domestic violence against crazy women demonstrates, Cutter is, for better or worse, unequivocally the Jim Goad of disgruntled Vietnam War veterans.




    Maybe it is the physical appearance of the characters, but to me Cutter’s Way acts as a sort of unhinged cinematic requiem-cum-Ragnarök to American working-class whites—the real people that built America—that had their lives destroyed as a result of the largely Judaic and bourgeois counterculture movement, which introduced this forsaken (and clearly unwitting) generation to hard drugs, pacifism, miscegenation, negrophilia, and other garbage that the same sort of kosher culture-distorters peddled in the Weimar Republic. Indeed, when I see the characters of the film, I am reminded of my mother’s hippie junky brother who had his skull crushed in a car wreck and the various uncles my ex-girlfriend had that either committed suicide or overdosed on heroin.  Probably for different reasons than he intended them, the film bleeds Austrian mischling Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s words, “The weariness of long-forgotten peoples hangs heavy on my eyelids.” Of course, it is only fitting that Cutter’s Way was an abject commercial failure as it was created in the same Hollywood that got wealthy romanticizing hippie hedonism with films like Easy Rider (1969), which is a deceptively culturally corrosive cinematic work that probably inspired more unintentional drug overdoses and hick-hating than any other. While the villain of the film is obviously supposed to be some sort of stereotypical rich WASP villain—a group that was already in steady decline at the time that was being rapidly replaced by members of the chosen tribe—I think it would be more historically accurate to seem him as a sort of Bert Schneider figure or, at the very least, one of the Sackler brothers of Purdue Pharma infamy. As Emil Cioran once wrote in his classic text A Short History of Decay (1949), “A nation dies when it no longer has the strength to invent new gods, new myths, new absurdities; its idols blur and vanish; it seeks them elsewhere, and feels alone before unknown monsters. This too is decadence. But if one of these monsters prevails, another world sets itself in motion, crude, dim, intolerant, until it exhausts its god and emancipates itself from him; for man is free—and sterile—only in the interval when the gods die; slave—and creative—only in the interval when, as tyrants, they flourish.” Undoubtedly, the Christian god is dead in the world of Cutter’s Way but an “unknown monster’ certainly seems to be a hidden ominous force that encourages a sort of collective nihilism where love is an impossibility, passivity a virtue, sex and drug addiction the driving force in life, and procreation a sin. Needless to say, it is no coincidence that when people like the eponymous protagonist of Passer’s film were losing limbs and their minds in the Vietnam War, the Bert Schneiders of the world were calling these drafted soldiers “baby killers” while sitting back and smoking weed, banging shiksa sluts, aiding and abetting Black Panther Party killers like Huey P. Newton, and producing commie agitprop trash like Hearts and Minds (1974).


    Notably, Cutter’s Way is infamous for being the victim of internal politics at United Artists, which just suffered the virtual studio-sinking blockbuster bomb of Michael Cimino’s epic in auteur egotism Heaven's Gate (1980) also starring Jeff Bridges (in fact, somewhat ironically, the studio apparently finally agreed to fund the film after Bridges got on board because they liked him due to his dailies from Cimino’s film). Although championed by various prominent film reviewers, UA spent virtual nil on advertising and promotion for the film, though, as a result of various positive reviews, the studio eventually decided to re-release it in 1981 under its United Artists Classics division and enter it into various film festivals under a new name (indeed, Cutter and Bone was later changed to the current title). Not unsurprisingly, auteur Passer, who seems to regard it as his greatest film, was left exceedingly embittered by the entire ordeal and stated in an article entitled ‘Passer's Way’ featured in the July/August 1981 edition of Film Comment magazine, “You can assassinate movies as you can assassinate people. I think UA murdered the film. Or at least they tried to murder it.” Featuring deceptively warm and intoxicating cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth (Altered States, Blade Runner) and a characteristically idiosyncratically resplendent score by deranged musical genius Jack Nitzsche (Cruising, Starman), Cutter’s Way is probably the most criminally underrated project for every single artist involved in it, not least of all actors John Heard and Lisa Eichhorn. Of course, to quote the titular antihero of the film, “Great art demands a great audience, you know what I mean?,” hence the film's failure in the early 1980s when Star Wars twaddle and mindless Spielbergian fantasy was vogue.

    While Cutter's Way is a positively and patently pessimistic flick set in a world where heroes are non-existent and virtually everything about life seems worthless, it does have one very important message in regard to the need to take a stand in life despite it seemingly pointless and futile.  Indeed, as Oswald Spengler once wrote in his classic short text Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life (1932), “We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.”  Indeed, the eponymous antihero of Cutter's Way might have been a deranged drunkard and aggressively nihilistic shithead, but he at least died with something resembling honor, which is something that cannot be said of most people from the dreaded baby boomer generation. In short, forget emotionally counterfeit bourgeois bullshit like Hebraic hack Lawrence ‘Star Wars’ Kasdan's The Big Chill (1983), Cutter's Way is the ultimate ‘feel-bad’ boomer film as it does the seemingly impossible by redeeming the boomers, at least the forgotten white working-class ones. 



    -Ty E
    ...
    (Review Source)

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