Monday Morning Critic – The Films That Are Uncomfortably Awkward Viewings At Best After 9/11

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It’s weird to think that a high school freshman this fall looks at the events of September 11, 2001, much differently than those of us who lived through it. It’s the same one I have for the assassination of JFK, which my parents can actively remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot. The world as we knew it changed that day in every way possible. This Friday marks the 14th anniversary of the terror attack on American soil that changed everything.

And the one thing it changed that we don’t talk about a lot is film.

Cinema has changed drastically since 2001. For a brief spell many people thought action films and explosions were officially done as a cinematic plot device. Throw in two wars, et al, and the turn of the century changed the way cinema looks and feels on a radical level. I’ve always thought cinema reflects the attitude of the times and modern cinema reflects the events of the post 9/11 world.

It’s just that there’s a handful of films that really don’t feel appropriate to watch anymore since then. It’s something my friend Nick the Stand Up and I have been discussing for years now and I thought it’d be an interesting thing to talk about this week. Next week we’ll talk about Black Mass and its’ implications for Johnny Depp’s career … maybe. Thus this week it’s time for a list:

The Most Inappropriately Awkward Films To Watch After 9/11


The Premise: Islamic terrorists are bombing the US after we’ve captured their leader. The CIA, FBI and the Army go all sorts of crazy and the film ends with an internment scene involving Muslim Americans in NYC.

2015 Thoughts: Any film involving Islamic terrorists striking America is just a bad watch these days, especially attacking America, because we’ve seen how far some people want to go to combat modern terrorism. Before 9/11 a situation like this was only possible (or so we thought) in the movies. Watching what happened in New York City, et al, makes this film the worst of uneasy watches.


The Premise: Terrorists attack LA and kill Arnold Schwarzenegger’s family in the process. He decides to go to Colombia and fight back.

2015 Thoughts: It opened after 9/11 and … well … as much as seeing Arnold take on narco-terrorists was fun it just felt wrong to watch.


The Premise: Guerrilla stage terror attacks in America. Chuck Norris saves the day.

2015 Thoughts: A throwaway ’80s film at best, watching it now is insanely painful. It’s not a good film, as most of Norris’s library has not aged gracefully, but the terrorism angle in particular is handled so poorly that watching this film is really awkward.


The Premise: Arnold’s a CIA agent trying to prevent Muslim terrorists from using a nuclear weapon. Also Bill Paxton is trying to nail his wife.

2015 Thoughts: On the one hand … it’s arguably the greatest action film ever made. On the other … contemplating nuclear terrorism on American soil is a horror no one wants to contemplate. It’s a film you can feel comfortable owning but at the same time it’s much easier to watch Die Hard.

That’s all I could think of after a couple cups of coffee. What do you think? Sound off below and let me know what you think.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

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This week’s DVD – Devil in a Blue Dress

If there ever was a film that felt like a franchise waiting to happen, but never did, it would be Denzel Washington’s Devil in a Blue Dress. The first in a series of novels by Walter Mosley about a detective in 1950s and 1960s America, Easy Rawlins, the film was a financial failure for Denzel Washington in an era where everything he did was successful. Considering he’ll be making his first sequel with The Equalizer 2 in 2017, Washington is the last major actor to not have a franchise.

If there was a film that should’ve spawned it the Easy Rawlins mystery series felt like it. A television show about the character was passed on by NBC, as well.

Simple premise. Easy Rawlins is a plant worker who’s out of work. When a mystery man (Tom Sizemore) offers him a lot of money to track down a prominent politician’s wife gone astray the man two months behind on his mortgage decides to take the money. What starts as a couple of nights in the night life turns into a journey down a rabbit hole of corruption and violence he’s not quite ready to handle.

It’s been nearly 20 years since this film came out and it’s one of those that feels like it should have more movies in the franchise than just one. The Alex Cross novel franchise keeps getting them, it seems, and yet Easy Rawlins never has. It’s a shame because this is an interesting film about an old school type of cat in the 1950s. With a handful of television shows about the era making their way to network television you’d think one aimed towards a more urban audience would be easy pickings for someone.

With the novel being fairly successful you’d think even a television show along the lines of Justified would be in the wheel house for someone like Anthony Mackie to develop. If Timothy Olyphant can revamp his career off the basis of Elmore Leonard’s character you’d think Mackie would be the prime choice for something like this. I’m still baffled that Easy Rawlins has only been on the big or small screen just in Devil in a Blue Dress.

It’s a good film, not great, but at this point in time Denzel Washigton could carry any movie on his back and make it memorable.


What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

90 Minutes in Heaven – Hayden Christiansen dies and goes to heaven. Then comes back and tells us all about it.

Skip it – The guy who did this feels like the kid from the Heaven is for Real film and others who claim they experienced heaven and such.

Perfect Guy – The guy who kind of looks like Chris Brown gets all stalkery.

Skip it – We’ve seen this film any number of times; this time it’s Fatal Attraction for a more urban crowd, Obsessed but without Beyonce bitch-slapping anyone.

The Visit – Apparently Grandma is now a horror film killer.

Skip it – Apparently they’re out of horror film villains now and thus the elderly are now psycho killers.

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

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