Yes, we forgot the slogan, the one I will tell you later and it was not mine, but it is a slogan I have admired for years. The view exploded as I saw ‘Toxic avengers: what Scorsese and Tarantino’s new films say about male violence‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/dec/16/scorsese-irishman-tarantino-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-toxic-male-violence), I need to be careful here as I do not wish to attack the views of another person, in this case David Alexander. Yet he almost forces me to do that when we see ‘are they doing anything to move the discussion forward?‘
I am not certain, you see “Outside the Tarantino dreamscape, in which men enact their fantasies of aggression in defence of quasi-fictional innocents, what is the implication of violence for male relationships – with families, women, indeed other men? It’s surely devastation, Scorsese tells us, as he presents male violence as a problem rather than a solution“, in the end a movie is like a book, it is entertainment. I could watch either movie and then still have fun to watch ‘Spies in Disguise‘ as well, Will Smith as a turned pidgeon might be nice and the movie made me slightly curious. Me wanting to see film number three as well does nothing to the value of movies number one and two.
Just like a good book, a movie can be entertaining, educational or even inspirational, yet the inspiration could be the drive in any discussion and moving something forward, yet am I an Irishman? De Niro (for the most is not, he is American (with descendancy from both Italian and Irish side), so does that make him an Irishman? Nope, but he is an Irishman in the movie, still we focus on the actor when it is a Scorcese movie. Scorcese is the director, the author of the movie, Scorcese controlled the artistic and dramatic aspects and he visualizes the screenplay by Steven Zaillian all whilst he guides the crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. We can state that we wanted to have a discussion, but it is in the end a discussion on a piece of fiction, we forgot the slogan that mattered ‘The story is everything‘, it was the slogan of FX and it is still the best slogan in entertainment I know of.
And this movie? It is a movie and we can see from actual events that this could optionally have happened, yet when we realise “Hoffa vanished in late July 1975; his body was never found. He was declared legally dead in 1982“, as well as “At 3:27 p.m., Hoffa called Linteau complaining that Giacalone was late. Hoffa said, “That dirty son of a bitch Tony Jocks set this meeting up, and he’s an hour and a half late.” Linteau told him to calm down and to stop by his office on the way home. Hoffa said he would and hung up; this is Hoffa’s last known communication” A lot of this can be found in FBI files, does this make the movie truthful? No, it makes it a story that seems believable and that is not the same thing. Yet the issue that it does show is that we all love movies that are dipped in reality, whilst we leave space for Will Smith as a pigeon. Yet to be honest, how does a movie like that ‘move the discussion forward‘? It is in that context that I do not see “Both present vibrant ecosystems of toxic masculinity. And both reveal much about the largely male environments they present and the shocking violence within them, through the way they think about their central female characters“, both are basically pieces of fiction and one has been dosed with the facts of events making the movie a massive dose of realism, realism that was out and about in the 70’s.
If my movie became a reality (optionally as a short movie), would ‘How to Kill a politician‘ be the stuff of fiction that drives a conversation, Yes, I would hope so, yet what conversation it would drive is another question. I thought through ‘How to Kill a politician‘ as a viewed version of my response towards anti-Islamic feelings in Europe and the anti-islamic feelings driven by politicians (in this case a Dutch one). It is a different setting, and it does not oppose the view of David Alexander, who in the end states “Scorsese tells us, as he presents male violence as a problem rather than a solution. In doing so, he ultimately creates the more meaningful film“, that is a fair enough view and we see that it is up to the director to validate or partially invalidate that view, perhaps it is not valid but it is what we take away from the story that is the beauty of the book and movie, they inspire us to have thoughts, they inspire us to dream and they inspire us to consider, three very meaningful and essential points that are in anyone’s self. And in all this we forgot one more point of inspiration, it is the story that David Alexander gives us his view on the matter, or on the matters at hand.
It does not matter whether he is right or wrong, it is HIS point of view and it made us consider issues, so in this he became ‘the story is everything‘. That is also a point of view that we need to consider. There are points that come from within us, yet are they fictive or realistic? ‘How to Kill a politician‘ is a point of view that is all about fictivity, but the events around it were real, still it is fiction, can fiction become reality? It is the serious question behind it all, especially as the article is about the Irisman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, it is in that that I see not the question can fictivity become reality (a side every Harry Potter fan yearns for), yet the view can fictivity drive reality is another matter. It can drive things (the movie JFK is evidence of that), yet the drive is specific and that part matters to me, it was a central consideration in the drive as I thought through ‘How to Kill a politician‘, I wanted there to be a drive for questions, yet I wanted to be clear in the fictivity and in this the optional view of children as they considered how to counter hate. I considered that the stronger the drive for questions, the larger the drive from people to see it and that part intersects with both Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese, I believe that they push a similar drive as this is one way to make people curious and keeping a curious person away from any movie is a non-option (my sense of humour is voicing that as it refers to curiosity and all those people who saw Deep Throat).
It gets us to the one sentence that I oppose (partially) towars the view of David Alexander in “Both present vibrant ecosystems of toxic masculinity“, I have an issue with ‘toxic masculinity‘, we can go from the part where all violence is toxic, but it does not stop us from watching it, and we can see that it is about the story and in this violence sells, just like sex sells. Both make most men (and some women) curious, and that grips back to the curiosity setting in watching a movie, any movie maker wants to set the stage in a place where it leaves the people really curious and of course the movie needs to settle that curiosity, yet at this point that feeling need not be based on reality (Spies in Disguise anyone?) that is just my feeling in this and they all adhere to the one side I still admire ‘the story is everything‘. In the end we are all slaves to what we need, what we need satisfied and curiosity has been a number one for a long time, Hollywood figured that out long ago, if they had not record after record would not be broken in Hollywood, but it has.
I merely wonder when we see a historic movie based on the era that comes over the next 20 years, will we see the optional “what X and Y new films say about female violence“, we might not believe it, we might ignore it but it is there and there are facts all over the place that violence by women is on the rise, to be honest I wonder when people figure out that violence is an issue for all homo sapiens, not just men. It has been merely more visible in that group. That realisation makes me wonder how we see violence and do we see it correctly. Violence tends to be a tool to get from one point to another nothing more, it is hard to see it in that way, but it is a truth, and Yes, I do understand that violence is overwhelmingly a male tool, I am merely stating that it is not ignored by women. And it is important to realise that the movies were not about that, they were stories and for the most we all love stories, we were addicted to books for centuries (those who could read), over time we went to the cinema’s and both the cinema and TV replaced books for the longest time now, yet the need for a story remains.
A lot of us forgot the slogan (or were not aware), let us never do that again.