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Go Tell It to the Spartans

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Deeper_Background, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Deeper_Background

    Deeper_Background Active Member

    By now, dozens of critics have weighed in on the massive box office success of 300, but not one I’ve read has figured out the reason for it. I have: it’s a terrific picture, one of the best in years. When I compare it to the movies that were nominated for Best Picture Oscars last year, it makes them seem to be exactly what they were: watered-down warm milk for liberal baby boomers who want to close the curtains on World War III, and snuggle down under their tie-dyed covers for a long winter’s nap full of tangerine dreams.

    They are a weary failure of a generation. Like the British Edwardians before them, they could not live up to the achievements of their elders. So they invented a new set of rules, rules that sounded daring and dangerous and radical, but are in fact puerile, safe and anesthetic. Does western civilization require defense and sacrifice? Well, then ho, ho, ho, western civ has got to go. Does political freedom require responsibility and self-discipline? Well, then we’ll redefine freedom as individual licentiousness. Do other, lesser cultures want to destroy us? Well, then, we’ll join them in blaming America and avoid any unpleasantness. In short, the baby boomers’ leftist philosophy amounts to nothing more than an elaborate rationalization of their own cowardice and a way to dull the pain of the resultant self-disgust.

    Now here’s 300, the mythologized story of the battle of Thermopylae, delivering the message of Thermopylae: if you want to be free, men have to be willing to fight and die to stay that way, just as the Spartans did 480 years before Christ. And watch the liberal critics throw their aprons over their faces and run, screaming, “Racist! Fascist!” and the deepest insult of the supposedly gay-friendly left, “Homo-erotic!” The film is none of these things. If white men kill darker men in this story, it’s not because of their color, it’s to stave off their slavish culture, just as we must do today. And what’s fascist about a film that defends freedom? As for homo-erotic – I suspect in this day and age that a celebration of martial virility makes some men so uncomfortable with themselves, they think it must somehow be gay. Nonsense.

    300 is directed in the style of the Frank Miller comic that inspired it, but it also borrows heavily from video games like God of War. Among elites, to say a movie is like a video game is supposed to be an insult. It’s not – it’s a compliment. Elite art is a bunch of splotches on a canvas. Video game art creates fresh worlds that both echo and haunt the imagination. Elite films offer us male heroes who look like women and can only be masculine with quotation marks. Video games give us men who act like men. Elite stories preach to us not to glorify war. Video games understand that stories are made to glorify glory, which is sometimes found in war. Give me a film like a video game any day over the sort of films elite critics praise.

    But there is one persistent criticism of 300 even among critics who liked it: the film contains no complex ideas. Maybe so. But since when are great movies made of ideas? 300 contains as many ideas as Casablanca does and at least, like Casablanca, the ideas it does contain are actually true – as opposed to, say, the balderdash in Babel or the suppposedly nuanced but, in fact, shallow notions in Flags of our Fathers.

    Flags and its sister film Letters from Iwo Jima – though directed by the indubitably great Clint Eastwood – tell us nothing more than that our Japanese enemies in World War II were human beings fighting for their country just like us. Yes, I suppose they were. But the films never once take into account that the countries they fought for stood for different things and that some of those things, like freedom, are good and some, like genocidal tyrrany – well, not so much.

    What’s more, Flags tells us that “there are no such things as heroes,” and portrays our celebration of heroism as something ultimately misguided and even destructive.

    300 rejects this view and rightly so. The film understands that we celebrate heroes because we dine on the fruits of their sacrifice. The greatest of these fruits is liberty, more precious than life itself. And when we glorify the heroes who defend our liberty with their lives, it reminds us too that we must live in responsibility to them, not only in our actions but in our philosophies as well. Every day that we preserve and cherish our freedom is a monument to them, a sign that they are not forgotten. They are never forgotten.

    Go tell the Spartans.

  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I thought someone from MSU fucked up again
  3. JR

    JR Active Member

    I didn't get past that sentence.
  4. HackyMcHack

    HackyMcHack Member

    On the banks of the Red Cedar, there's a school known to all....
  5. The Spartans stood for human freedom?
    Yes, and the Gauls were fine interior decorators.
    A fruitcake finds an idiot for a fan.
  6. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    The Etruscans stood for free love, dope and fucking in the streets.
  7. ...and low property taxes.
  8. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Weren't we just talking about a complete lack of historical perspective?

    For a better offer, the Spartans would have led the Persians to Athens.

    He tan, he epi tas
  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Yeah, but were they better than Kobe?
  10. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    We're all dead. D_B has a post with the word "licentiousness" in it. His words or not, we're all screwed.
  11. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    You wouldn't have liked any of the ones that followed much better.

    Look, 300 was a stylish-looking and marginally entertaining film, but to call it one of the best in years is absurd.
  12. JR

    JR Active Member

    On the near the bottom of the marginal.

    Took my 18 year old twin boys. One thought it was great, the other was lukewarm.

    I was bored halfway through.

    As I said on the thread, the whole movie reminded me of one those '70's vans with a customized paint job.
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