Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The More You Know (1989)
Excellent Use of Commercial Time
Whoever thinks that this is "socialist propaganda" must think that America stands for illegal drug use, intolerance, hate crimes and violence.
While most of the public service announcements were on pretty obvious issues, the ones about tolerance (is that really a "left-leaning" only message?) were very effective in getting the point across.
Given that some people actually look up to TV stars (the why of this is beyond me), it's a good idea for them to issue more positive messages.
The important thing here is that the stars used and the language employed in these TV spots were age-appropriate, meaning that Jennifer Aniston or Matthew Perry would give a public service announcement for the teenage/early 20-something crowd.
All in all, this can't be a bad thing for television. Have you even seen the other garbage put on it?
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Excellent cinema, in spite of its propaganda
It's hard to be completely objective about this film, but Griffith made a masterpiece for filmmaking. Unfortunately, given his Southern roots, it's expected that he would make a film with such a disturbing message. The truly strange part about this film is that the first half is very much accurate, yet Griffith sees them as a case FOR slavery! Of course, the cruelty that the slaves faced wouldn't be put in the film for obvious reasons.
The film then delves into fiction for the Reconstruction period. The "Making of" documentary even states that much of the scenery for this part of the film is mostly false or overwrought.
And yet I have to give this film a 10. Not because of the content. I'm a diehard liberal, but that doesn't mean I'm going to love every film with Barbara Streisand or Al Franken in it. This film was truly ahead of its time and has even aged well. No wonder it's been a successful KKK recruiting tool.
One of the best films of all time
This isn't just the best anime of all time. I feel that it trancends its boundaries as an "anime" film and can rank amongst the all-time greats. What many don't understand in their haste to compare this to films like Princess Mononoke or Ghost in the Shell is that it came out about 12 and 7 years before those films, respectively. Akira was so far ahead of its time, that it's actually aged very well.
The story, centering around two members of a biker gang, actually goes so far in depth about the nature of their friendship that you actually forget about the theme of "man vs. nature" in the story. The SE DVD was done really well and it plays really well on a good home theatre system.
You can't possibly think of a film this layered as just another Japanese cartoon. It set a high water mark for anime and along with films like Macross and Vampire Hunter D; was very instrumental in anime crossing the pacific to enjoy widespread popularity in the U.S.
The only complaint I could think of at the moment is that much of the plot was toned down from the even more adult themes of the comic book anime that this was based on. Although many people think that the original dubbed voices were poorly done, I think that they gave the movie some extra character and charm.
American Beauty (1999)
I can't believe that amount of accolades given towards this movie. A movie about pedophilia, drug use and homophobia makes me question the sanity of anyone who might think that this movie is what best exemplifies America and the struggles within it.
Spacey delivers a wonderful performance while Benning gives a very overdone one. Most of the acting was very good, but the plot was so convoluted and based on a series of misunderstandings (Come on! How could the weird neighbor's father think that his son was gay based on a bad viewing angle from his window?) that it just detracted from the movie while I felt like I was yelling at the characters in the movie for all the stupid things they were doing and dangerous situations they were involving themselves in.
Most of American society is not this screwed up. Perhaps the main theme here was that characters in the worst situations can still find beauty in their lives, but if that involves a drug dealer falling in love with a flying plastic bag, then count me out of this idiotic mantra.
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
deep and thought-provoking
This movie was not very well-received when it initially came out, but I believe that it was due to the timing of its release. It came out about two months before 9/11. Most people couldn't or wouldn't think of the deeper meanings in this movie at the time, be it the idea of artificial beings having real thoughts emotions or even souls; or the idea of humanity being able to accept these artificial beings as their own. These themes were explored in the Robin Williams movie "The Bicentennial Man" that came out two years earlier, but I think that A.I. was far better in terms of story structure and the overall tone of the movie.
Considering the number of recent posts lauding this movie, I think the tragedy of 9/11 and peoples' mortality has begun to weigh so much more heavily on our society that a movie that poses such deep questions is more easily understood by people today.
This film was loosely based on Brian Aldiss' short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" but digresses greatly from the initial point of that story. While the sci-fi story wasn't bad, I think that Kubrick and Spielberg did a phenomenal job in progressing with those themes than did Aldiss; though Aldiss did have some small contributions to the film when shortly collaborating with the late, great Stanley Kubrick before their egos took over.
Spielberg really proved he could do sci-fi w/o resorting to cheesy special effects (with the notable exception of those ridiculous Hounds costumes in the movie) or trying to tidy up little plot point for the sake of pleasing the audience. This films ranks amongst his all-time best after "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan."