Mockingjay Part 1

I have really enjoyed the first two Hunger Games films.  Jennifer Lawrence proves forever lays to rest the argument that women can’t be action heroes.  Her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen is fierce and powerful.  I wanted to be ready for the final installment of the franchise so I  streamed Mockingjay Part 1 to the XBox and gave it a watch.

They should have made one really long movie rather then break it up.  I understand why they did — the financial incentives to milk this for all it was worth were always going to trump story, but there wasn’t enough material to carry a movie.  Katniss broods and proves she can’t act.  (Actually a tough thing for a good actress to do).  They blow up shit.  Or rather other people blow up shit.  It’s the capital that destroys the hospital, faceless hoards who blow up the dam and hydroelectric plant, the capital that bombs district 13.

There is an exciting rescue mission to rescue Katniss’s love, Peeta.  Except it’s not very exciting when you’re watching it on a heads up camera display.  I haven’t read past the first book, but this struck me as a bad decision based on being true to the underlying material.  Maybe in the book Katniss didn’t go to the capital to free her sweetie, but in the movie she sure as hell should have gone along.  If I’d been adapting this that’s what I would have done.  Because Katniss watching the action on a TV screen is boring and it effectively neuters her.  Yeah, yeah, I understand how they wouldn’t want to risk their symbol but she seems passive as a result.

Basically Katniss, the protagonist of this film never actually protags.  She’s taken places where she can react to things.  React to the hospital getting bombed, react to the bombing of District 13, react to Peeta being rescued, react to Peeta trying to kill her.

Her impassioned speech after the hospital is bombed is her best moment, but truly the most effective thing a named character does in this movie is when Peeta breaks training and risks more torture to warn district 13 that they are about to be attacked.  Actually when you think about it Peeta is the hero of this particular installment.

Which is a shame because while I really like that character I want to see Katniss kicking ass, shooting arrows and taking names.

If the Shoe Fits…..

I try very hard to obey the Godwin rule.  You don’t bring up Nazis unless you are talking about actual Nazis, but the current Republican field and in particular Donald Trump is making that incredibly difficult.

His race baiting has been with us from the beginning, but when he remained silent in the face of suggestions that all Muslims in the United State should register and carry ID identifying them as Muslim, and continued to stay silent when it was pointed out that this was perilously close to what was done in Germany in the 1930’s.  Then he said in Alabama “I want surveillance on these people.”  Threatening and imprecise.  Does he mean all Muslim Americans are going to be surveilled?

At this same event in Alabama a Black Lives Matter activist was attacked, kicked, choked, called the N word and thrown out.  I understand that protestors are going to be escorted out of events, but demonstrating and protesting is a fine old American tradition.  This kind of thugish behavior was chillingly reminiscent of the gangs who supported Adolf Hitler and roamed the streets of Germany while dressed in brown shirts.

So Trump is making it very hard to avoid stumbling into Godwin territory.

Then last night Trump put up a Tweet with completely bogus crime statistics that is racist in the extreme.  Charles Johnson, a recovering conservative who pens the Little Green Footballs blog did some sleuthing and found the source of the erroneous statistics.  It’s a Neo-Nazi site.  You can read about it here.  Tweet Source.

To date Mr. Trump has not yet removed this Tweet straight from the swamp and bile of white supremacy.  Will he?  Probably not.  The man seems incapable of admitting to any mistake or error.

Disqualifying Behavior

I am linking to this article and I urge you to watch the video.  Kill The Gays Rally.  Not because of this ranting nutball religious head case and the 17oo deluded and hateful followers who attended, but because three republican presidential candidates showed up at this event.  I know people are going to say — “Oh Melinda, why are you getting upset over these bigoted fools?  They have no power, no way to actually enforce their murderous agenda.  Let me reiterate —

Because three candidates for the republican nomination to be president of the United States attended.

Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal.  Those are the names to remember.  What does it say about the current state of the republican party that candidates for the highest office in the land feel comfortable showing up, sharing the stage and being interviewed by this man?  Bluntly I think that their attendance at this event should instantly disqualify them from any consideration for president.  Nixon was notoriously homophobic but I expect even old Tricky Dick would have had enough brains not to show up at something like this.  While Huckabee and Jindal have no chance of actually securing the nomination Ted Cruz has an actual lane to run and win.  Sit with that for a minute.

What this tells me is that there is a percentage of the American public who are perfectly happy to let their racist, sexist, homophobic freak flags fly.  That good manners and civil discourse have long ago left the building, and that these three men are either —

  1.  Viciously homophobic themselves.
  2. Want to turn American into a Christian theocracy.
  3. Cynically playing the rubes to win the nomination

Personally I’m hoping for door number 3 — it’s the least terrifying option.