Monday Morning Critic 10.11.2010 – Brett Favre and his junk, PoliWood and Lawrence of Arabia


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.

So this week the crap really hit the fan for Brett Favre. After being accused of sending that hot-ass reporter pictures of his junk via DeadSpin, we have video and email proof from a source that isn’t Jenn Sterger. And two massage therapists from the Jets claimed to have been the recipient of inappropriate texts from Favre from back in the day. Jason Whitlock penned a column and a new nickname: “The Old Dong Slinger.” While the NFL is allegedly investigating this, and ESPN’s silence on the subject is deafening, we all know what’s going to be the end result of this:

Absolutely NOTHING, mainly because Favre has the sort of status that only Michael Jordan in his heyday had.

As much as Roger Goodell wants to act like he’s Raylan Givens in Justified sans the Stetson, suspending people at will because he can like he’s the Sherriff of the NFL, Favre is going to not get punished in any aspect no matter how salacious the details of his attempts at wooing the opposite sex in an unwarranted and unbecoming matter. Considering the backlash following the Ines Sainz brouhaha over nothing with the New York Jets, which was a publicity stunt in every aspect that demeaned the true working professional women in sports journalism 100 times worse than it did Sainz, this is the absolute definition of sexual harassment that has put pen and paper to what was merely rumors for Sports blogs for a while.

As I look at the months long work that’s been done by the DeadSpin guys, and the silence of any investigation up until now by the NFL, we know that they’re not looking to do anything to Favre. The only reason there’s an investigation into the matter now is a matter of damage control. Favre is one of the big drawing cards of the NFL and a guy that every announcer waxes poetic about no matter how badly he occasionally plays. Favre is an icon of the league in a way that Peyton Manning or Tom Brady will never be; the myth of Favre is much more than the man. What can we expect to happen?

If past results indicate future performance than Favre will get suspended sometime mid-season for at least four games, maybe the rest of the season. Roethlisberger got six for something he wasn’t charged for and there’s significantly more evidence, potentially, than in that case. Roethlisberger had his word against hers and nothing happened; Goodell played cowboy then and if this was fair for everyone Favre should get suspended soon for a lengthy period. Especially in light of the Jets recent high school machinations against a wannabe Spanish Erin Andrews, it would make a huge point that the NFL doesn’t tolerate anything against women. With all the good they do, and this being Breast Cancer awareness month, it is what they ought to do. But it isn’t what they actually will do.

Goodell will conclude an “investigation” sometime in the next month and call it baseless. This isn’t rumored gambling charges on Jordan in the ‘90s, either. Favre is planning on leaving anyways and that will be considered more important than him sexually harassing women, sad as it is. ESPN’s sum contribution to this whole mess will be to cover Goodell’s presser, call everything in it in the same terms, and that’s it. Why? Because having Favre the myth, supporting his cancer stricken wife the whole time and playing the game of his life after his father’s passing, is better for the bottom line than Favre the man who is trying to seduce a “reporter” whose claim to fame is dressing slutty during a football game by showing off little Favre.

I love Brett Favre the quarterback, as much as I couldn’t stand him behind center of the Packers, but Favre the man is someone who bothers me. But then again, thoughts like these kept me out of the good colleges.

Random Thought of the Week

One of the things about the web is that now unfortunately everyone has a voice. And while a large part are imbeciles seeking their 15 minutes of fame, and sometimes getting it, there are a number of other voices coming out well worth the read. I’ve always mentioned James Bernadelli and Christian Toto as being two of the best out there, better than nearly every professional reviewer for magazines & newspapers, but one of the more entertaining views is Roger Simon and Lionel Chetwyn’s Poliwood at PJTV.com.

Simon is an Oscar nominated screenwriter and Chetwyn’s been nominated for a handful of Emmys and they have a Video Blog thingie in which they discuss various aspects of cinema. They also happen to have departed from the rank and file of Hollywood liberalism and as such they have a varied measure of how they look at it all. The politics is a bit much but it adds a level of interest to me because they have a different perspective. Not necessarily better but different and let’s face it; there’s enough groupthink out there that when Armond White is the only guy who has a different opinion on a regular basis something is wrong in my mind. It’s like being the guy who doesn’t think Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all time for legitimate reasons, as opposed to the contrarian ones that usually come up. Kane is an easy pick and hard to argue against but there are certainly others out there worthy of being in the discussion.

It’s why I look for a variety of opinions; if all you hear is one it ends up becoming an echo chamber. Hence the reason why I tune in whenever they have something new; it encourages debate and discussion, sometimes even giving me something to write about like they did this week. And last week they had something for discussion almost in passing as they discussed the glamours of the old Hollywood system against the modern Hollywood studios:

Could a modern Hollywood studio make Lawrence of Arabia?

So, in order to settle any question that’s more rhetorical in nature than anything else, I’ve decided that we need a series of five criteria to be able to decide this in what shall be dubbed the Lawrence’s Arabic Problem Solver Dilemma Thingie.

Normally I have a guy who comes up with the names for these but he’s out with the flu.

And In order for us to determine whether or not a film can have been made under the modern studio system we need to take a look at five criteria:

1. Directorial Ability Required

Some films are great because they have a director at the right point in his career with the exact skill set to direct the film. It’s why remakes of classic films often times have a harder time being good films in their own right; sometimes a director has an inherent grasp of the material that can’t be translated by anyone else.

2. Circumstances

There is the old saying of “art through adversity” and some classics come to be because of a lack of funds, as opposed to the right amount (or an overabundance). Halloween was inventive because John Carpenter had a little over $300k and a bunch of relative unknowns. Sometimes great films come to be because everything is so painful to get together.

3. Acting talent available

Some films are great because it’s also a matter of having the right talent at the right moment in their career. Getting Brando for The Godfather, or De Niro in Goodfellas, was a case for Scorsese and Coppola of having a great actor at the very end of the peak of their abilities. Or getting McQueen for The Magnificent Seven right before he exploded and became one of the biggest actors in the world. There is something to be said about whether or not modern circumstance would dictate getting a cast together of that caliber at that stage in their career.

4. Atmosphere

This is a trickier one because things change so rapidly, culturally. What you could get away with 20 years on the big screen is no longer the case and some things that end up being shocking in the time are pretty bland today.

5. Plausibility factor

Some “classic” films don’t hold up today because the internal logic that holds them together, while plausible when it was released, just doesn’t cut it anymore.

If we use this criteria. they are absolutely correct in that Lawrence of Arabia couldn’t be made.  But I’d like to think that Hollywood hasn’t fallen that far.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Lawrence of Arabia

Since I already discussed Lawrence of Arabia above, I had the DVD waiting to be viewing and figured why not tackle David Lean’s classic about Major T.E Lawrence’s involvement in the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in the first World War. But I forgot one main thing, having ignored the running time listed before throwing it into my DVD player: it’s insanely long. And I wish I was making a joke about it, i.e. that film felt so long that they were still shooting footage and beaming it directly into the theatre, but since this is a DVD I can’t. At nearly four hours long this isn’t something you pop in for a quick viewing. This is a multiple night or a long afternoon view because it’s tough to sit down for anything longer than 150 minutes without needing more time unless something you’ve blocked out time for.

A winner of seven Academy Awards, including one of David Lean’s two Best Director Awards (his other win would be for another classic, The Bridge over the River Kwai), this would be the film that Marlon Brando and Albert Finney both ended up passing and giving Peter O’Toole his big break and starting out what would be a career for the ages. His career would be defined by this film and the awards that followed, or more for being the guy with the great performance in the great part in a year where someone else with a greater performance and a better part. He lost to Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, De Niro in Raging Bull, Brando in The Godfather, John Wayne in True Grit, Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland and Sir Ben Kingsley in Gandhi. But if there ever was a way to debut, this would be it.

One of the films in the “Best Movie Ever Made” discussion, Lawrence of Arabia follows the titular Lawrence as he leads the Arabs under Prince Faisal to victory over the Turks and towards independence. Over the 216 minute span of the director’s cut, which is the cut to view, we see Lawrence go from educated observer to nearly “going native” in his zeal for helping out the Arab population. This obviously causes a bit of friction in his own British officer corps, especially because he adapts the manner of dress of his newfound Arab friends and adopts a couple of boy servants, but he never loses himself in it all. And considering who didn’t take this role, O’Toole is an absolute revelation and unbelievably good in the part. Watching this from years past it’s odd to see this as his second feature film; he’d been a veteran hand in the London theatre scene but he shows the rare presence of a veteran film actor who has been there, done that and knows exactly what he’s doing. It doesn’t hurt that he has a director who knows exactly what he wants to do.

Lean has crafted the film masterfully and it comes through much more clearer in the director’s cut of the film. Scored correctly per Lean’s version of the film, this is a film that is easy to just stare at and be impressed. Lean’s cinematography is impressive and the film’s calling card, winning an Oscar for Best Cinematography and Art Direction, as the film is just a marvel to view. It has that whole epic story and characters to go along with it, too, and remains probably the last truly great epic of the Old Hollywood era.

Strongest recommendation but with a warning: its 216 minutes.

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

Jackass 3-D – The show that filled emergency rooms around the world returns with stupid stunts galore.

See It – There’s something primal and stupid about the whole Jackass experience that makes it so worth the viewing.

RED – Bruce Willis gets a group of retired CIA badass-types together to take on the CIA.

See It – It’s like the retirement version of The Losers, but that film was enjoyable and anytime you get Helen Mirren hamming it up as a trained assassin you can’t help but want to see it.

Conviction – Hilary ‘One “L” Two Oscars’ Swank gets her brother’s murder conviction overturned by going back to college and becoming a lawyer. In limited release, expanding within the next several weeks in a platform release.

See It – I’m actually seeing this tomorrow afternoon and while I admit it looks like it screams “give me an Oscar” for Sam Rockwell and Swank (again), it is inspired by a true story and as such will at least be interesting. The other thing is that they’re holding a TON of screenings for this and that usually means they think they have a hit on their hands. After getting screwed over for Moon a year ago, hopefully this is the year everyone gets to know how awesome Sam Rockwell really is.

I Want Your Money – Hollywood Conservatives band together for a documentary screed against President Obama’s politics in 500 theatres across the country a couple weeks before the election.

Skip It Fahrenheit 9/11 sucked six years ago, no reason to think this won’t. Anytime you have a screed against a President it never works out like how it’s supposed to.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at Kubryk@Insidepulse.com 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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