Bowling hurts, and that's what I like best about it. You can't watch the movie and not feel real sick rage, sheer hatred for America. You'd expect the Right to attack this movie but the incredible thing has been the Left's craven reaction. This is typical of the American Left, who have always wasted far more time stabbing each other in the back, clique-shuffling and double-stancing rather than terrorizing the enemy on the Right, something too "obvious" for most. Just to give you an example, the LA Weekly, which prides itself for its perfect blend of Beigeified radical Left politics and pseudo-hip multicultural post-theory posturing, slammed Moore's movie for being too slanted, complaining in their review that he was merely pandering to the Europeans' anti-Americanism. This isn't just an indictment on the LA Weekly's cowardice; it's a sign of Moore's effectiveness. He scared the fake Left. He flushed them out, sent them running for the populist right, exposing them for the sleazy collabos that they really are.
There were a few movies that were solidly good in 2002, though not at Bowling's level. Solaris, which I'm still ashamed to admit I liked, and Adaptation, which, in spite of its lame post-modern ending is fun to watch if only because it's one of those breakthrough movies that takes ideas and obsessions that you've heard in conversation but never imagined would make for compelling cinema. It's a movie that, while watching, you get a little, shall we say, envious because you got scooped and you don't like being scooped, least of all by people with ironic names like Spike Jonze, people who are filthy rich, famous, and set up with all the prescription drugs they'll want till ripe old age.
Then there's The Ring. I didn't review it here because for some crazy reason the English language cinemas decided not to show it. The movie is...scary. I mean fucking scary. I don't remember the last time a movie scared me. Dr. Dolan actually got mad at me for recommending it, saying it affected his sleep. The Ring works because it's a horror movie that doesn't look over its shoulder or wink like all American horror movies of the past twenty years. Originally a Japanese film, the American remake will definitely fuck with your mind, if you have one. Plus Naomi Watts of Mulholland Drive fame has got to be the hottest 30-something in America.
If I missed a good movie from 2002 please let me know. This is the most anemic list of must-see films I've ever compiled. And believe me, I've never compiled a list of must-see films in my life.
Now, onto this week's movies in Moscow.
GANGS OF NEW YORK
I'd like to spend an afternoon at Ronald Reagan's. Just throwing things at his head, saying, "But you just said that," or, "Did you prepare your speech for tonight's dinner?" to confuse and scare him. But that's because I hate the bastard.
Do you want to watch a senile Martin Scorcese fart his way through a shallow dime store novel adaptation, trying to ride the mistaken star-dusted coattails of Leonardo di Caprio and Cameron Diaz, who are so aware that they don't belong that they even give up the bad accents during entire scenes. Daniel Day-Lewis brilliantly squeezes what little can be drawn from his character and the opening scene is decent on a big screen, so if you're the "resigned" type, as in like how Bush is "resigned" to a nuclear North Korean, then you won't mind this movie.
For those of us who expect something more, something truthful and religious from Scorcese and will accept nothing less, then this film is a cry for help.
To paraphrase Sam Rothstein from the last watchable Scorcese film ever made, Casino, in the scene when he fired the hick slots machine manager: "Marty, are you telling me that you didn't see this disaster coming?!"
Scorcese: "No, Mister Rothstein, I just...I hired them. Anyone could hire di Caprio and Diaz."