Monday Morning Critic – 6.14 – The BP Oil Spill, To Hell and Back, World Cup 2010

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

Every four years something excellent happens: The World Cup. And with it comes all of the awesomeness involved, of course, as the world’s greatest all-star game gives us one month of pure football bliss. With it, however, comes the one thing I hate as much as I love the Cup: columns from idiots who dust out the “I hate soccer and think it’s boring” columns. It’s essentially someone doing the “I’m too cool for the room” bit once every four years for various reasons.

It’s the one thing that drives me nuts but not because I’m a soccer fan. I’ve made peace with the fact that, at best, the beautiful game will maybe end up being just behind the NHL in terms of popularity and prominence in the American sports lexicon. It’s not an American game, never will be, but it can be something we do that we take pride in. This weekend we played England even, tying 1-1, and in the process earned a bit of respect from the rest of the world. It wasn’t a pretty game but it was effective, but it belies a bigger point: we played even with one of the best sides in the world for 90 minutes.

What bothers me is that the “soccer sucks” column from sports columnists and others are that they aren’t really original anymore. I understand the venom and I get it; I feel the same way towards baseball (which is like watching paint dry) and golf (which is even worse). But what I always find amusing is that the guys who discuss how boring soccer is discuss how much more exciting two sports that celebrate the fact that its members smoke cigarettes during the event. And it’s about as original and enlightening as someone doing an “ate my balls” meme in today’s modern age, honestly.

While there’s lots of things I could say to denigrate other sports, or point out the beauty and wonder of what I consider to be God’s game, but there’s different strokes for different folks and I get it. I just wish people would get over the fact that the rest of the world loves the sport and want to hold up their noses towards it. A wise man once said that it’s better to hold your tongue and let the world think you’re an idiot than open your mouth and prove them right.

Random Thoughts of the Week

One of the more amusing things I’ve been keeping track of is the whole race by British Petroleum to contain their little oil spill. And something interesting started happening that piqued my attention:

Oscar winning Directors James Cameron and Kevin Costner both were in the news for their ideas on clean up. Costner testified in front of Congress while Cameron used some of his, ahem, signature brand of “class” as he got denied by BP for help in this crisis that is leaking enough oil that it’ll end up being the biggest oil spill ever.

It’s interesting that both men have extracurricular activities that could help, Costner in developing a cleaning tool and Cameron with his experience in deep water oceanography. But something came to mind before I remembered both of these: How in the hell does the star of Waterworld and the auteur of Piranhas 2 end up becoming experts in oil spill cleanup?

And then I kept thinking further. Maybe we ought to go ahead and consult other famous, Academy Award winning directors for their solutions to this crisis. I mean if President Obama has to morph into his alternate identity, President Kick-Ass, then maybe a really good story-teller could help BP out and save Louisiana. I mean celebrities have their causes and a good number just won’t shut up about what they think about politics and foreign relations so I say let’s put their money where their mouth is.

Listen to me now and believe me later.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to see a great director use his talents to save us? Hollywood has this awfully bad habit of declaring what is moral and what isn’t, so let’s put the best of the best to the test. And as such I’ve compiled a top ten list of directors with two qualifications. They have to be alive and they have to have won an Academy Award for Best Director. No exceptions. With that in mind, I submit to you Ten Ideas to stop the BP Oil Spill from Ten Directors who’ve won Academy Awards for Best Director:

1. Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby)

He fires three shots from an M-1 Garand Rifle at the spill and growls “Get out of my ocean.” The oil complies immediately.

2. Martin Scorsese (The Departed)

Nothing good happens, and then two dozen people die of graphic head shots. Plus at some point “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones plays.

3. Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List)

He takes the red dress and throws it on the spill. It works like a Sham-Wow.

4. James Cameron (Titanic)

He disappears for a decade and then comes back $200 million poorer, but with a cartoon of Smurfs having sex.

5. Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)

Awesomeness ensues.

6. Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July and Platoon)

He does nothing, instead blaming it on former President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; it’s revenge for Katrina, apparently.

7. Woody Allen (Annie Hall)

It ends up being much worse than when it started, but along the way he has sex with some underage Louisiana women. I mean come on; it’s why he defends Roman Polanski as vigorously as he does. They both fish out of the same dating pool.

8. Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump)

He takes all his Forrest Gump money, builds a time machine out of a Delorean, guns it to 88mph and goes back in time to FUBAR the oil rig before it goes all funhouse mirrors on us. And then he has sex with his mother.

9. Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)

Ron convinces his buddy Russell Crowe, to clean it up singlehandedly after going through a dramatic life-altering event.

10. Sam Mendes (American Beauty)

Everyone is obviously miserable with their lives and flees the suburbs for fulfillment. And then the oil spill takes care of itself somehow.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – To Hell and Back

Audie Murphy is insanely bad ass in a way that I’m scared of walking past his grave. Not because death bothers me in some sort of normal way. I’ve nearly died a handful of times in my life so death really doesn’t bother me like it ought. What I’m scared of is Murphy’s corpse beating my ass. Why?

Because Audie Murphy is the greatest soldier of World War II, that’s why. The highest decorated soldier of World War II, he singlehandedly pulled off enough crazy, death defying stuff that it seems like something a screenwriter made up for an ‘80s action star. A guy with such huge nads that despite two service branches rejecting him, and the one that did trying to get him as far away from combat as possible, he ended up with a chest so full of medals that Patton would think it was too over the top. And he did it with Malaria. Think about that; we call in to work with the flu and he decides to kill Krauts with a deadly disease that killed plenty of people and he just kind of shrugged off.

He managed to win every meaningful honor the U.S Army gives out, as well as a whole ton from France and Belgium. He received 33 different medals when all is tallied up just from the United States, five multiple times, and was cited for the Medal of Honor in the most insane actions ever to save his comrades from the Germans. Read about it right here.

That’s right. He was such a badass that Chuck Norris wets the bad at the mere thought of Audie Murphy.

Reading his life story is unbelievable, like the Armed Forces wanted to create the legend of the most badass guy not named Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster and make him a hero of old. But it’s all awesomely true, to the point where Murphy even played himself because no actor alive was badass enough to be able to pull it off. And considering this was the era of James Stewart & Gary Cooper, et al, that’s a bit more insane than thinking Matt Damon & George Clooney couldn’t do it.

The amusing thing about the film is that it tones down and eliminates some of the things that Murphy was cited for because it was deemed “too unrealistic” for a movie, a fact that is insane in retrospect. When you’re such a badass that your real life exploits have to be toned down because it seems like no one could pull that off it’s a good thing, I think.

The film follows Audie Murphy through his time spent in World War II. From a childhood working to support his family, as his father left in his youth, Audie dropped out of school at 12 to support his younger siblings. When his mother dies, Audie decides to enlist to help further support his younger siblings. As he goes through the phases of combat, he sees his friends die as his exploits lead to him eventually being given a field commission to Lieutenant amongst other things.

It’s an interesting film that is more abject hero worship than an actual biopic set in a war. Audie Murphy is practically a saint who never does anything wrong and is the greatest human being ever. He was a flawed human being, first and foremost, but we have to remember the time it was filmed. This was still the era where someone’s flaws would be eliminated for a distinct narrative from Hollywood and the media. A good representation of the era is L.A Confidential, for those interested, and Hollywoodland would be another.

This is the same era that positioned JFK as this strapping, athletic man who loved only his wife when he was given massive steroidal treatment to deal with his crippling Addison’s disease in between boning anything with a skirt. Murphy was a bit of a womanizer, married multiple times, and one of his good friends was Jimmy Hoffa (who was kind of a scumbag). The film takes away anything potentially negative and makes Murphy out to be so sweet that you’re almost diabetic afterwards. On its own its an admirable tale of bravery in time of war, but it’s so over the top in making Murphy to be holier than a Saint that it gets a little too over the top (even for a 50s war film, which were on par with 80s action films) at times.

Mild recommendation.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Jonah Hex – Josh Brolin is a former Confederate soldier who can speak to the dead. He has to save the day from some bad guys. And Megan Fox is a whore. And she plays one, too, apparently.

Skip It – This has been getting radioactive bad level early buzz and the trailer was abashedly awful.

Toy Story 3– Another sequel to the franchise that launched the CGI animated film genre.

See It – It’s Pixar. They don’t make bad films.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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