Tag Archives: Ned Beatty

Superman and Nostalgia

10 Jul
Message of Hope or Greed?

Message of Hope or Greed?

Last night, my husband and I went to the movies, something very rare indeed, but the cinema not far from us has a deal of $6 tickets on Tuesdays — great deal.  We decided to see Man of Steel, primarily because we both loved the Christopher Reeve movie Superman (1978) and we both liked Henry Cavill in Stardust.

Sadly, I was exceedingly disappointed. Cavill does a good job, as does Amy Adams as Lois Lane, but the whole movie lacked a sense of humanity. It missed the opportunity to demonstrate how we are all called upon to work for the greater good — a conversation that seems to be in desperate need of life support in the 21st Century.

Man of Steel made me quite nostalgic for the Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. The 1978 version presents a picture of humanity and develops characters that I feel invested in and want to watch. The movie also had a richness of pathos and wit.  Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor was nothing less than brilliant, and Ned Beatty just adds to that brilliance. I would also argue that the 1978 version is very family friendly — there is not a lot of gratuitous violence. Finally, I’m just not convinced that anyone but our Terrence Stamp (Bernadette from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) can play General Zod.

Henry Cavill does a good job of playing Superman and he is certainly easy on the eyes, but his character lacks the humanity that Superman had with Christopher Reeve. Amy Adams starts off as a wonderfully strong and independent woman, but the character loses all credibility as a strong independent woman with the awful awful line: “What if I have to tinkle?”  Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Jor-El is a bit over the top and certainly lacks all of the humanity that Marlon Brando delivered. Alas, I think the worst crime of this movie was the 35 minutes of non-stop gratuitous violence that does nothing to move the story along, nor does it make us feel more invested in any of the characters.  Rather than watching a movie about the plight and hope for humanity, I felt as though I was watching a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

When I watch the 1978 version of Superman, I leave the movie inspired and hopeful that humans are capable of a transformative experience and that we are dedicated to the greater good for the greater cause.  I left Man of Steel feeling grateful I only paid $10 for my husband and me to see an enormous amount of violence and a rather nasty nationalistic, almost jingoistic message of patriotism.

We the Corporations, In Order to Form a More Perfect Profit…

23 Jan

That doesn’t sound quite right.

Eleven score and fifteen years ago, our forbearers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in greed, and dedicated to the proposition that most should toil for the bottom line while few profit mightily.

Still off, isn’t it?

Ask not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for your company!

Okay, I suspect you get the picture. Are we a nation of citizens or a nation of companies? The two ought not be mutually exclusive, but which has primacy? When laws are made and cases decided, where does the privilege lie? One look at the shrinking middle class, the power of the lobby, and corporate greed even in the face of shameful behavior nearly toppling the economy gives us the sad answer.

The highest court in the land ruled not just that companies were effectively people, but that they had even more powerful rights to anonymously influence our elections. People run for office without any understanding of minimum wage, proudly pushing unfunded tax cuts while dodging their own taxes.

You have meddled with the Primal Forces of Nature!

When one of the few truly liberal journalists in the country suddenly announced that he was terminating his show, people widely assumed it was because of the new corporate masters. Our media certainly are not left-wing, but, other than FOX, few are aggressively right-wing. They are a strange mix of sinister timidity because they are driven by corporate desire for profits. We are truly living out Mr. Jensen’s dream.*

The bread-and-circuses media and the crumbling educational system leave us stultified and ill-prepared, little better than yahoos, distracted by shiny baubles while living miserable, petty lives.

So what can one person do in the face of these pressures? Hit them in the bottom line. Don’t spend money at places who use that money against your best interests. Pay attention to where you shop and what it means in the bigger scheme of things. Just as the accumulation of votes, one citizen at a time, elects our leaders, the reduction of profits, one refused purchase at a time, puts pressure on the corporations.

It takes time and effort to learn what corporations are up to. It takes some fortitude and a little sacrifice to give up a favorite store. It also takes compromise, since like people, corporations are seldom all good or all bad. Besides the usual suspects like Wal-Mart, find out which corporations spend against civil rights and don’t give them your money. (Are you listening Chik-Fil-A, Target, McDonald’s, Gold’s Gym?) Look at the regular business practices of the companies you patronize and shop accordingly. Does a retailer abuse employees just to run big sales around the holidays? Go somewhere else!

It’s easy to feel resigned, that one person’s efforts are meaningless. But the actions of a single person, living with integrity, accumulate. We can only be powerful together if we choose to be powerful individually.

*  Just for fun, I searched Google for “olbermann mad as hell” just for the past 24 hours and found over 44,000 hits. Coincidence? I think not.

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