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War, Inc. Reviewing the reviewers.

Corporate media is not going to handle John and Joan Cusack's
film, War, Inc., very well for a few reasons.

1) Don't know how to review satire
2) What to make of a movie that makes fun of THEM
3) Pressure from corporate structure above for reviewers to pan such a movie.
4) Easier to attack something topical than support it.

So I'll...
Corporate media is not going to handle John and Joan Cusack's
film, War, Inc., very well for a few reasons.

1) Don't know how to review satire
2) What to make of a movie that makes fun of THEM
3) Pressure from corporate structure above for reviewers to pan such a movie.
4) Easier to attack something topical than support it.

So I'll find links to some reviews out there the first couple weeks of this
movie's run. First some things to keep in mind. If the review is from a town
that wasn't on the sluggish distribution list, they probably wrote their review
having NOT seen it. (unless they watched a pirated copy) If you see some of
the following expressions high up in the review, "tries to do too many things,"
"tone deaf" "niggling factor," "Fatuousness of this magnitude," or "exhausting,"
there is a very good chance they were handed copy by the Pentagon or the State
department to rephrase, make it your own and add a byline.

Why would they leave some of those catch phrases in there? Oops. Journalists are
lazy by nature. You know that, I'm sure. I'm alert to that, I've been one myself
for a long time. And inside of the corporate media it's the worst. Deadlines,
corporate pressure, task overload. Plagiarism, single-sourced stories, and
poorly written work is the norm these days.

But I digress. On to the reviews of the reviewers, here.

"Grosse Point Dumb," says pajiba.com. "this one sucks ass through a straw,"
and "entirely too obvious to be decent political satire." They've got nothing
to say after you strip away all the ad hominems, so I'll stop there. I haven't
read a lot of pajiba.com but it probably sucks ass through a garden hose.

"its lampoon of U.S. imperialism and military privatization," says the Chicago
Reader, "is so bracingly obnoxious I didn't really care," and "In one scene,
embedded journalists file into a theater for a virtual-reality chopper mission."

As I said, a lot of people just simply don't get satire. And they look foolish too,
they're not protecting themselves from lampoon, they're so diligently protecting
their slavemasters. When Moliere used to absolutely slam Popes and Kings alike
there weren't very many clergy or storekeepers saying, "Oh come on, this is
obnoxious," or "sucks ass through a straw." Instead they laughed and laughed
at whoever this "ass" must be. Some got it, and some didn't but almost no one
attacked it save for the king or the popes themselves. Kings' wives and popes'
bishops and nuns were laughing at their expense too. A King or a Pope might
never get it and go "Oh what an idiot, who would do that?" and then a wife or
an assistant would lean toward them and go "Um, I think this is about you."

Yadda yadda yadda. Yup.

Chicago Reader buffoons themself too. I know you didn't care. You didn't plan
to care even before you watched the movie, I'm sure. And by the way, the virtual
reality is a metaphor for press pools, and embedded journalists, on a "what if."
Take it to its worst extreme, that's about what you see in the movie. One of the
times I laughed hardest throughout this movie was right after a woman removes her
goggles to yell at Cusack and Tomei for having their own real life drama, and then
goes back to her goggles and this Fauxnews War she's watching on the big screen
is so realistic that she suddenly flips out simulating a sucking chest wound.
"I've been hit," "Medivac me now!" Hahahahahahaha. Chicago Reader didn't
get it.

Walpole Times gave it a B-. They seemed to like Hilary's role but not the
others. How shallow. I won't touch that. "... wishing they [Tomei and Duff]
were in a better movie, one that didn't rely so much on slapstick and irony."
Perhaps the Walpole Times writer should just go watch a porn or something.
Leave reviewing to people who know about characters, drama, comedy, climax,
etc. Slapstick and irony? I saw a lot of irony throughout, and a little bit
of slapstick, but it was chock full of all kinds of other humor as well.
Invective, sardonicism, wit, this thing's full of wit. But you were staring
at the portrayal of someone far too young for you with all of her bellybutton
and half her pelvis exposed. You missed everything else, Walpole Times.

Seattle Times has this to say, "... on satiric overdrive from the moment Cusack
appears to the spaghetti-western-like musical score."

Dammit, it's about time someone mentions a situational convention or a literary
tool inside of something they're calling a movie review. Yikes.

"Cusack seems to phone his performance in from a distant galaxy."
- san fran cron

Wow, hate to inform you, cronpeople, you missed a LOT. Did you actually see this
film? It did play in your town, along with Chicago and NY, and nowhere else until
this weekend then it played in like 9 more places total. Yuck. Anyhew, I need to
point out to you that Cusack's character was well developed, easy to identify
with, and potent. Only thing I could say critical about it, was it wasn't
quite as powerful as his sister's character. But that's not saying much -
Joan's role included several outbursts that were more powerful than anything
Jack Nicholson's EVER done! I almost fell out of my seat a couple times
there. I felt like I was being verbally assaulted by a screenplay. Sinking
back in and realizing it was for a purpose it felt quite cathartic.

Seattle Post Intelligencer says "Funny cast runs out of jokes halfway through."

Wow. Sheepshit, the garbage truck, KROQ on my radio, LeBron James, the Iraqi
kid blowing up Cusack's HMWVV saying, "next time bring candy!" and Ben Kingsley
accidentally striking his own Popeye's with a missile; you didn't get any of those?

Those were all second half jokes and the crescendo/climax worked, and so did
all the anti-climax. Beautifully done. A brilliant screenplay all through, I
thought. Also, the ballet music used during fight scenes was a nice touch.
Made me laugh so hard even talkers in the theater seemed frustrated with me.

"Cusack playing yet another soul-fried wiseacre running on emotional autopilot,"
says the Chicago Tribune. Um, you only need to look at Bush himself to see a
soul-fried automaton these days. But don't stop there. Who else is Cusack's
character a metaphor for? Wolf Blitzer, Lou Dobbs, far right and far left
people alike, The corporate media in general, or perhaps even the war itself.

Another metaphor I got that might not have even been thought through yet,
is that Cusack's character seems to me like an Oliver North to Ben Kingsley's
John Hull. Google them together, you'll see what I mean. "john hull oliver
north"  http://shrinkster.com/z91

Tribune did however, mention the following:

"Will the film look dated in 10 years? The more pertinent question is:
How dated will the real war look by then?"

Good call.

I guess I'll close by biting the ear off of the Associated Press.

"often goes to hilariously absurd extremes."

Isn't that what satire is supposed to do???

"feels too dead-on and too soon since we're still in the middle of the
very war that's being satirized."

Yes, I suppose it is bad form to dissent until after the war ends on its
own, right? It isn't nice to call bullshit while the bullshit is piling up.
Best to wait for just the right moment.

{"Sir, I asked for this meeting to tell you with all respect sir, that
now that this battle is over, I didn't feel very good about all these
things you made me do."}

That would be fine for mopping and buffing an already clean floor, but not
for blowing up an orphanage, or torturing a Moslim person with captured sex
slaves. I'm sorry. It isn't nice, but sometimes you just have to call bullshit.

John Cusack worked his ass off to find a way to call bullshit on this
misplaced Iraq war in a way that "we the people" might tolerate it, enjoy it,
laugh along the way, and perhaps consider dissenting our own selves our own way.

Our intolerance as a nation's mainstream precedes us.

[ref]=[ http://muffinbottoms.org/?p=24]