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Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Sympathetic and Real Eye Opener
Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore uses satire throughout the documentary/movie to emphasise his argument of gun culture in the USA. He proves to his audience by visiting a local bank and opening an account that supplies you with a free rifle. "What kind of bank gives away guns?" was a question that Moore asked one of the employees at the bank. What kind of bank gives away guns? That is the question. Are we so care free about the possession of guns that a bank has the ability to give away free guns to every applicant who applies? Not only do initial rifle stores sell them, but now BANKS do - the place that stores your money. It's rather peculiar for a bank to give away rifles don't ya think? It seems as though gun culture is a huge part of American society, whereby every citizen has to have a gun in order to feel protected and safe - but if this was the case then wouldn't America be the country with less murders? The Columbine massacre was a huge upset, knowing that two teenagers could go on a killing rampage at their own school and then commit suicide afterwards. It seems ironic that whilst the Columbine shootings were happening, President Bill Clinton was bombing his enemy due to his international affairs. Moore interviews many people, such as the neighbourhood of Littleton (where the killings took place) and celebrities such as Matt Stone (creator of South Park) who showed their feelings and sympathetic emotions towards such an atrocious crime. American citizens were interviewed and were asked why there was so much violence in American society. Music, Parents, Media, Toy Guns, South Park and Marilyn Manson were to blame. People immediately think of the media and its influence but aren't the politicians and government a part of society too? The question of what's the difference between America and other countries when they all have the same videos, movies, poverty, violent history, 'black' people and alienated youth. 11,127 people get killed every year in America by guns which is by far significantly larger than any other country. People then developed a fear of crime due to media coverage as it increased by 600% when 20% of actual crime had decreased. Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) believes that people own guns because its a comfort factor and after the tragedies of Littleton and Flint (a young 6 year old girl got shot by her fellow student), Heston still had the nerve to go to those neighbourhoods and promoted the use and safety of guns. Michael Moore has created an excellent documentary and has raised the issue of gun culture within America convincingly.
Shallow Hal (2001)
Good film with an underlying meaning
Shallow Hal is a feature film about a man named Hal Larsen who bases his womanising souly on looks. After meeting Tony Robbins, a talented hypnotherapist in an elevator, Tony gives Hal a gift to see inner beauty instead of what's on the outside. After receiving this gift, Hal begins to see inner beauty and starts a relationship with Rosemary Shannahan, an overweight, 300-pound Peace Corp volunteer. Hal's friend, Mauricio refers to Rosemary when he first sees her as a "rhino" which indicates that he also bases his womanising on appearance. When Mauricio dumps his girlfriend because her second toe is longer than her first toe it clearly represented that he dumps girls because he's scared of something as Hal points out. Towards the end of the movie, Mauricio ends up confessing to Hal that he has a spinal condition which therefore indicates that he makes up excuses to avoid women. In today's society, people in general tend to focus too much on the outside appearance. When a friendship develops between a male and female, the personality shines and possesses the potential to develop into an intimate relationship. But if we refuse to not give people a chance of all races and appearance then we are not giving ourselves the chance to find that one special person. Today in this superficial world, the generic definition of beautiful is "skinny and blonde". Although what ever other people think is beautiful people still continue to possess strong standards. I agree that you have to be attracted, but can't you be attracted by personality? The outside appearance of a person should not matter and this exact message lies underneath the meaning of Shallow Hal.
Once Were Warriors (1994)
Powerful and Intimidating
Once Were Warriors is a dramatic and powerful film that represents Maori culture in a pessimistic perspective. This film is about the Heke Familys' struggles of independence to break away from their cultural security blanket. Beth, a mother of five, originating from her ancestral tribe seeks independence and to get her family back onto a positive future and lifestyle. Beth's husband, Jake is a violent induced character who controls his family in a violent matter. Gracie, Beth and Jakes eldest daughter an optimistic and talented young girl, who is basically the Heke familys only hope for a positive future. Nig, Beth and Jakes eldest son, becomes part of a gang to escape the destruction of his family. Mark (aka Boogie), the middle son, ends up in social services and gets disciplined by learning the traditional Maori culture, such as the "Haka" dance. Polly and Hu, the youngest siblings, symbolise innocence and contrasts the violent environment in which they are brought up. Throughout the movie issues of masculinity, violence, cultural genocide and family relationships are represented through the characters of the Heke family. This movie is powerful and compelling and besides making me cry! also made me realise a pessimistic perception of Maori culture/tradition. Truly an inspiring film.