Monday, July 27, 2015

If... (1968) and Elephant (2003)

Today's movie is If... !  It's a look back to high school days, but it's also more than that.  My high school was almost exactly like this, except, you know, we're girls.  The main character, Mick (played by Malcolm McDowell) is a upperclassman who enjoys rebelling against the system with his friends.
The staff of the school are rather bizarre and let a group of seniors, called Whips do all the discipline, which they are more than happy to dole out to Mick and his friends.  Mick and his friends are not bad people, they are free spirits in a restrictive environment.  After a particularly cruel beating Mick and them are forced to clean out the basement, and find grenades, because of course there'd be grenades in a basement.

During the Founder's Day celebration, everyone is gathered inside until Mick and friends smoke them out.  As they run outside, the group picks them off with automatic weapons from the rooftop.  This entire part is surreal, because no one would really do this.  Oh wait, I live in America, yes this sort of thing happens quite often.  And no one seems to know what to do to prevent it.  I will give this film an 8/10.  It's more about rebelling against an unforgiving strict society that aims to keep us down.

Today's film is also Elephant, which can either be called "sad homage to a film like If.." or "sad reflection of today's reality".  The story is basic at best.  Really long takes of people walking, long takes of the sky, like I don't care.  In both films, we don't see any parents interacting with their children.  Except for the one drunk dad who's a screw up.

Then, there's the bullied kids who end up shooting up the school.  If you're wondering how it's possible for them to obtain weapons, well I live in Florida where it's extremely easy to buy guns.  There's a gun store on every corner, and shooting ranges/clubs everywhere.  There was a famous ad here from Nation Trucks that offered a free AK-47 with every purchase of a truck.  In actuality, they gave us a $400 voucher for the gun store where you could buy anything and the AK-47 was an attention grabber.  It really is the best and easiest to handle out of the automatic weapons. imo.   Also, the kids could just get it from their parent's room.  The man who shot up the church in Charleston got his gun as a birthday gift.

The problem with Elephant is that we don't get to know anyone whereas in If, we get to know Mick and his friends, and even some of the minor characters in other grades.  It's more like a documentary style.  But there's no heart in it.  It's just some bullied kids who can't handle their emotions and anger taking it out on everyone around them.  The threat of being shot, along with common core, is one of the reasons it might be a good idea to homeschool.    Most schools nowadays have metal detectors because of the sheer amount of shootings.  Also, the movie takes so long to get to its point, and then oh its just a school shooting for shock value.  Yeah I learned nothing.  I will give this film a 2/10.

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