Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Talledega Nuit

Cancer can be funny. I've been with cancer patients who find all sorts of humorous dimensions to their predicament. Funerals can be funny too. Over the years of officiating at funerals, many times there are moments of tender and even hearty laughter. Surgery can be funny when the patient or surgeon discovers some positive outcome. Just watch the "Blooper" shows on TV and you will find audiences (and even victims) laughing at slips, spills, collapses and crashes. But the context and the setting is not funny. Funny is pulled out of tragedy and chaos to encourage the human spirit, to triumph.
I went to see Will Farrel's new movie "Talledega Nights" with my non-movie-going wife and visiting son last night. And it has its incredibly funny moments; product palcement and endorsements that are outrageous, a hillarious spoof on family prayer, and a general mocking of Nascar culture.
But the context was far from funny, it was tragic and toxic. In the middle of a humorous scene, crude and vicious words would spill out onto the screen. Little boys would say things about their grandpa that were so mean and hurtful, only to have it laughed off. Hormonal urges were announced and described in a detail that rendered characters into copulating animals.
That's why I think "Nights" is a fitting descriptor of this movie, because it is a moral dark night: commitment, caring, decency, respect, marriage, sexuality and friendship were all mocked and defaced.
I do not think of myself as prudish. But when I saw the PG-13 rating, I assumed it would be funny, with some edgy humor. Terri Gross on "Fresh Air" conducted an in-depth interview with one of the supporting actors, protraying the film as a campy comment on modern American life. If so, we are in real trouble because there is no moral flooring no thought, just urges. Yikes!


At 7:19 PM , Anonymous Fred said...

I am sorry to hear that another new movie has missed its potential. I am a NASCAR junkie, and note that it is one sport that broadcasts an invocation praising our Lord, and the winners often include God in giving thanks (along with another 4 or 5 paying sponsors). When our entertainment experts decide what we should see, I cringe, and here apparently is another movie for the ever growing pile of offensive tripe. Let us hope and pray that our very talented movie makers give us some uplifting and truly entertaining fare.


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