March 2, 2010
Carl stopped at a light. Half a dozen two-by-sixes were strapped to his roof rack. As traffic crossed the dark, wet intersection, a car pulled up next to him, all chrome and paste wax. He snickered just as the passenger looked over at him.
• • • • •
“They cut you off?” Audrey asked.
Carl threw down his jacket. “And then I slammed on the brakes which popped the bungees and the damn lumber fell off my truck. Oh, and then? One of them jumped out like he was gonna apologize, and he keyed the fender!”
“But you’re all right.”
“Oh, I’m just great.” He paced across the family room. Still agitated, he sat at the computer.
“Now I exercise my freedom of speech.”
“On ‘shiv my truck’ dot com.”
“Come on, Carl. I’ll get you a beer.”
“Audrey, my truck has a three-foot groove in it! I don’t want a beer, I want revenge!”
Audrey stared at him. “Just sit over here and read this.” She led him to the couch and handed him a printed page.
Inglourious District 9 Basterds
by Audrey Pullet
When I heard there would be ten nominees for Best Picture this year, I was excited. It’s about time, I thought. Now I realize it’s not about time. It’s about energy.
Of the ten, two movies stand out as having the most negative energy. Inglourious Basterds and District 9 begin with wild “what-if” ideas: What if a band of rednecks could ambush Hitler at a packed moviehouse? What if the South African government could confine extraterrestrials to an internment camp?
Now add cynicism and indifference.
What if the rednecks commit atrocities as horrific as those attributed to the Nazis? The theme emerges in Inglourious Basterds that the Allies were just as evil as the Third Reich. Auteur Quentin Tarantino would have us believe that war is simply an excuse to hack each other up. Despite the tricky plot, double-twisting characters and triple-axel Tenessee accents, all the energy in Inglourious Basterds whirls through Tarantino’s bloody maze and down a giant funnel of satire: we hate everybody!
In Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, what if apartheid hasn’t gone away but rather morphed from racial to extraterrestrial segregation? The alien life forms, forced to live in District 9, look like jumbo prawns and are treated like roaches—or do they look like roaches and are treated like jumbo prawns? When the government’s idiot investigator becomes infected with alien DNA, he becomes the new science project and cares only about his own survival. No one learns anything. The energy in this film dissipates into mockumentary: we know nothing!
Will Inglourious Basterds win the Oscar? Not if the voting members have seen it.
Will District 9 win the Oscar? Not if the voting members have the energy to vote.
©2010 Pam Wells