Sunday, May 30, 2010

MIA, Brecher, and the Tamil Tigers

It's fun to compare this hysterial NY Times piece on Maya Arulpragasam with Gary Brecher's pieces on the Tamil Tigers (RIP). It's even more fun to throw in Easy Rider, seeing as how Dennis Hopper died this weekend (RIP also).

Warning btw. Everything linked to above may make you lose your lunch.

A friend asked me recently if they should watch Easy Rider. I'd seen it recently because I ride, and it has motorcycles in it. I told them "no" for three reasons -- two small, and one big.

The first (small) reason is that it has 70s pacing, and I've found that most people cannot stand movies with 70s pacing.

The second (small) reason is that there are some movies with 70s pacing (The Conversation, Blood Simple, Point Blank) that has enough other stuff in it to make it worthwhile. Either a clever plot, or a fantastic ending, or cool characters. Easy Rider has none of those redeeming elements. The plot is so stupid even the movie doesn't bother with it, the ending is lame, and the characters are dated.

Now here's the third (big) reason. Easy Rider is not famous for its plot, ending, or characters. It's famous because it encapsulated a time in history, and as Le Wik says, is "A landmark counterculture film, and a "touchstone for a generation" that "captured the national imagination"". Sure. But what was countercultural then is mainstream now, the generation is not your generation, and far from capturing your imagination, you'll just find it trite.

Arulpragasam is today's "edge".

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2 Comments:

Blogger Tom Hickey said...

Easy Rider is not famous for its plot, ending, or characters. It's famous because it encapsulated a time in history, and as Le Wik says, is "A landmark counterculture film, and a "touchstone for a generation" that "captured the national imagination"". Sure. But what was countercultural then is mainstream now, the generation is not your generation, and far from capturing your imagination, you'll just find it trite.

Well stated, Easy Rider was a counter-cultural blockbuster when it came out. I was in grad school in DC at the time and went across the river to VA to see it with some other buddies on bikes, long hair, peace signs, etc. The ride home was "interesting," but thankfully uneventful. Can't say the time for some experiences at other times though.

Those were very transitional time. People that didn't go through that cannot imagine the transformation that happened in the US during those time. But now it's history, and Easy Rider is just a curious artifact.

But what memories! We had to fight for what we got. It didn't always happen easily. It was a culture war and there were heroes and victims (Kent State). Dennis Hopper was one of the heroes for making that film. There was no Internet then, and the mainstream media was on the other side, of course. There was only the alternative press and a couple of columnists. Films like Easy Rider were like a voice in the wilderness.

Interesting to reflect on that war on memorial day as some of the veterans of it pass away.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Ray Sawhill said...

It was a bad movie, but it was (and remains) historically important. Helped mark the end of one era, the beginning of another. If you're interested in film history (and many aren't these days), it's a movie you have to see despite its good-ness or bad-ness.

3:37 PM  

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