Only modern capitalistic economies created a glorious opportunity for everyone to dress in the attire reserved for the royalty of old. We democratized formality, and there’s no better time to show precisely how this works than during the holiday season.
Hardly a day goes by — certainly no major holiday or sporting event does — where American military personnel aren’t breathlessly thanked for their service. Frank Sheeran — “The Irishman” — is the dark, shattered underbelly of that service.
Just when you think politics is ruining everything in American life, at the very moment when we’ve all just come to assume that every movie out there will have a manipulative message designed to beat back our bourgeois sensibilities and turn them into …
The great news is that, so far as I can tell, viewers aren’t very interested in the climate-crisis-post-colonial-critical-theory-identitarian elements of the story and prefer to think mainly about the cute fire gekko, Elsa’s taming of the icy horse, and Anna’s awesome boots.
This film reveals both Judy Garland’s genius and her catastrophic life to the whole world in ways that make us frustrated but ultimately grateful for her personal sacrifice for the sake of art, culture, and the well-being of humanity. As her signature song says, it’s the journey that matters more than the destination.
The Joker is not just one man, not just a crazy person, but the instantiation of the insane and morbid dangers associated with persistent personal failure backed by a conviction that when there is a fundamental conflict between a vision and reality, it can only be solved by the creation of chaos and suffering.
The film Luce is beautiful, haunting, and profound precisely because it doesn’t take the easy path. It doesn’t disguise the underlying truth that our endless search for saints to canonize and witches to burn is nothing but a cover for our failure to deal with the much less dramatic troubles in our own lives.
Something tells me that if we are ever going to regain the footing in public culture, the Brooks path might be the one to make it happen.