Friday, October 15, 2004

Signs and movies

I said I'd give you my thoughts on a few movies that I've watched recently, so here you are. First, I'd like to point your attention to this sign I saw in Kofu over the weekend. The question is, does it qualify as Engrish?

I don't know. Anyway, the first movie I saw was called 'Radio', or at least that was it's Japanese title. This was a dreadful movie and I nearly felt bad for Cuba Gooding Junior, not because he played a mentally challenged outcast, but because he played a mentally challenged outcast badly. The main reason why I disliked this movie is because it was one of those films that portray the mentally disabled as big achievers, which I find a bit irritating and patronising for MD people in the real world. Other examples are, of course, Rain Man; I Am Sam; A Wonderful Mind, and I'm sure if I really thought hard about it I could pick out a few more. The thing I really hate about movies that depict mentally disabled folks as heroes is that they strengthen the idea most people have regarding mental disability as a defect that originates in the individual and they rarely look at the social structuration of disability. These movies start from the premise that with the help of good-hearted members of society, mentally disabled folks can be helped into society, albeit in a cute and Hello Kitty kind of way, but they fail to show how it is exactly our highly rationalised societies that exclude them in the first place. The directors who produce these movies are in it for the buck, and mental disability for them is a good earner.

That's enough of my politics, but that aside, the movie 'Radio' was really crap in many other more artistic capacities. The actual story isn't very interesting; it's based on a true story about a guy who was a loner back in the seventies, but was 'nurtured' by another 'normal' guy and welcomed into an American football team as little more than a funny life-size mascot. In all, it was a story about a community, which by opening up to a retarded guy showed itself as being humane. The acting was poor and I thought many of the scenes seemed unfinished or rushed.

Non-related picture of the South Alps

However, Radio was not the worst film I saw over the weekend. Yes, believe it or not, I managed to watch an even bigger head-banger of a movie the following day. And when I came out of the cinema I actually considered asking the ticket clerk for my money back. This second movie is called Two Brothers, and it is about two baby lions. I really can't tell you any more than that because the story was so difficult to discern. It is full of crap, crap and even more crap. Guy Pierce broke my heart simply by appearing in it. He was always a favourite of mine in Neighbours, mainly because I couldn't distinguish the good acting from the bad back then, but now he's let everything slip. Absolutely everything. Quite honestly, I can't say any more about Two Brothers simply because it was absolutely horrendous. There is nothing descriptive or subtley critical that can be said about it. It is simply utter crap. And what made it worse for me was that when the credits rolled down at the end (a film this crap needs to be watched in full just so you can brag about your endurance and tolerance levels) I found that it was partly produced by a joint British-French production company. I mean, I rarely relate to my own nationiality, but this made me feel ashamed of myself. This is the website if you really want to take a look.

Finally, I watched The Village, or 'za bire-ji' as it was called in Japanese. This, in light of the first two movies that I watched seemed like a thundering work of art, although it was probably just as cheesy as anything else. I won't say anything about the story because I recommend you go and watch it for yourselves. The storyline did seem a bit like last resort patch-work, but overall it had an interesting idea behind it. Regardless of anything else, it made me realise how vulnerable and therefore attractive young blind girls can be. Saucy.