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movies / May 10, 2010

Mickey Rourke Whiplash Iron Man 2 movie image

Iron Man 2 is such a huge hit, it’s clear everybody’s going to see it regardless of critical praise or condemnation. Each of us can—or will soon be able to—fulminate about why it’s good, bad, or meh. We don’t need no stinkin’ critics, etc.

Personally, I enjoyed it, but then I hadn’t seen a movie in a theater in about a month, for various reasons I won’t bore you with, so I’d’ve enjoyed anything that oscillated onscreen to accompanying noise. Baby Einstein would’ve worked for me.

Bearing that in mind, I’d still like to make a case for points of avid interest in Iron Man 2. One thing I’ve noticed about professional critics, they’ll tell you everything except the interesting things that go on in a movie. They’re generally mum about those. Some guild rule, perhaps.

There’s a whole through-line about money in the movie, what it can do for you, and what it can’t. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is dying, see; the price of being Iron Man is untreatable blood poisoning from the glowing metal thingy wedged into his chest. That’s iron-y for you, ha!

Anyway, he’s constantly measuring his blood toxicity and seeing it shoot up, and then trying to figure out how to get whatever he can out of his remaining life. Given that he has gobs of money and all the accompanying power and influence and access, this should be one big party, right? And it is. But that’s the problem. Even the biggest party is, y’know, still just a party: liquor, presumably drugs (though not shown), loud music, crowds of people—the good-looking kind money can buy, but still—people. How long before you want to put on your Iron Man suit and start shooting in their general direction? Not that long.

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There’s a wonderfully pathetic moment when Stark asks someone what they would do for their birthday if they knew it was their last birthday. He’s up against the limits of his imagination early. It reminded me of a great scene in an old Douglas Sirk melodrama about American wealth and its corresponding miseries, called Written on the Wind. In it, the son of the richest guy in Texas spends half his time in a rural dive bar drinking rotgut liquor. The bartender rebukes him, saying if he had all that money, he sure as hell would spend it better. The rich guy’s son asks him how. The bartender says, “I’d be up at the country club drinking bonded bourbon.”

I tell people that parable, and they never get it, and I have to explain: money really isn’t everything if all you can think to do with it is go to a better bar and drink better liquor.

If you know any extremely rich people, this ought to resonate. I’ve known a few. Not happy. Relentlessly, aggravatingly not happy. Strangely unfree and incredibly unimaginative with money. Beyond occasional lavish trips to Tuscany, and maybe collecting stupidly expensive lamps or something, they don’t know what the hell to do with their dough. That’s one of the points of anxiety in this world: if the filthy rich can’t show us how to live well, who can?

Iron Man 2 starts with the biggest party Tony Stark can throw, in the form of a showbiz spectacular at the week-long Stark Expo, featuring Stark himself zooming onto center stage as Iron Man, surrounding by a laser show, fireworks, high-kicking chorus girls in metallic bikinis, cheering crowds, the works. Starting at this point is smart, because it’s the cheesy American dream none of us are immune to, and Stark is already living it. Part of the fascination of the Iron Man story is that our hero starts at a peak-fantasy point of wealth, power, autonomy, even adulation, and then suggests there are big problems with all that.

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For an American, this hits home. It’s not only an allegory for our lone-superpower national status, now getting shaky; it’s also an attack on our personal beliefs. Nobody really buys those old “money isn’t everything, money doesn’t bring happiness” adages anymore—even as we’re nodding along saying “yuh-huh” to yoga teachers and pop psychologists trying to peddle those adages, and thinking of our rich unhappy friends, we don’t really buy them. We just think, “But if you gave ME that money, I’d know what to do with it, I’d be so happy I’d secrete sunshine from my pores.” As a culture we long ago made the money/fame combo the key to joy and the measure of worth. If they truly don’t bring happiness, we have reason to be very, very upset.

But we’re what you’d call “of two minds” on the subject.

Back to the movie: opposing Tony Stark and trying to bring him down is an impoverished Russian genius named Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke. Vanko’s father was the Soviet physicist partner of Stark’s father, Howard, during the Cold War, but Vanko Sr. got cut out of the loop and sent to the gulag, so all Vanko Jr. wants is to avenge the family. So there’s Rourke as Vanko, looking like a filthy embittered tattooed mutant in a cave-like hole of a dwelling, watching a small crappy TV set showing Downey preening and prancing at the Stark Expo spectacular. Rourke’s weird, deep, pre-modern honor-culture rage versus Downey’s ultramodern mercurial glibness; two great tastes that go great together. Casting doesn’t get better than that, folks!

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(It was wonderful to read that the rivalry continued behind the scenes. Rourke tortured Downey with digs at his famous drug addiction, insisting on having “I Don’t Want to Go to Rehab” blaring in the downtime between takes. “Mickey likes a little psychological warfare,” Downey said mournfully.)

A lot of critics complain that there’s too much going on in the movie, too many characters vying for screen times, etc. As Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter put it, in place of all the virtues of the first Iron Man, “Iron Man 2 has substituted noise, confusion, multiple villains, irrelevant stunts and misguided story lines.”

I admit I didn’t mind any of that, but then I’m a big fan of Hong Kong martial arts movies, so I’ve developed a taste for cinematic excess in genre films (i.e., the best films). I like seeing everything movie mogul money can buy, and I thought it all worked well thematically. There’s Stark, practically counting his own heartbeats while trying to distract himself with hedonistic chaos. And there’s Vanko, who has a plan to defeat Stark in a way that involves innumerable enemies. At their first battle, when it looks like Vanko is already defeated, he gloats, “You lose!” Meaning that he’s already made Stark/Iron Man look weak and bloodied, so the vultures will descend and finish the job. (Another allegory alert, America!)

Sure enough, everybody smells blood and is out to get Stark. The military, via Stark’s easily-duped pal Lt. Col. “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle in for Terence Howard); the government, in the form of a toad-like senator carrying a grudge (Garry Shandling, who truly looks like he’s swollen with corruption); the media, represented by Bill O’Reilly and Christine Amanpour (!) in cameo performances; a rival military-industrial corporate honcho, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell doing nice work as the quintessentially horrible, strutting, whining modern male git).

Plus there’s Scarlett Johansson to contend with, as Natasha Rushmore aka Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow. Her deep-dish beauty is there for the fanboys, of course, but she has the potential, if she got the right roles, to be a real star in the old-time sense of the word, an overwhelming physical presence who keeps all eyes on her—male or female, dog or cat. She’s got action scenes here that might be considered rote—black catsuit, martial arts kicks and leaps, lethal strikes, multiple fancy weapons, nothing we haven’t all seen many times—if it weren’t for her extraordinary looks and aplomb. Has any gorgeous young starlet ever been as phlegmatically calm and assured onscreen as Scarlett Johansson?

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Add in Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and there are many critics who call the mixture too rich. But the audiences like it. I never saw such a crowd of rapt faces of all ages, races, and presumably, creeds, as in the packed theater where I watched it. Everybody united in sating their movie-hunger. There’s nothing like a starvation diet to bring out the mobs; for weeks on end, we’ve had nothing to watch, and even now, what else is there? The documentary Babies? (Jack Foley, head of distribution for Focus Features, stopped counting the Iron Man 2 profits long enough to snark in USA Today, “I hope [Babies] didn’t hurt Iron Man too much.”)

So when you go, you be the judge: Kirk Honeycutt says there’s no there there in Iron Man 2:

What is at stake here? The fate of the world? The emergence of a new superpower? No, it all seems to pivot around who will win a new Defense contract. Wow, there’s an emotional grabber.

But I have to say it seemed to me the movie was pulling out all the stops with emotional grabbiness. Tony Stark can only save himself by rediscovering his father’s legacy, as parent and Cold War scientist, see. But he hated his father. There’s some nice early-‘60s-looking footage of Stark Sr. in the movie, as a sort of Papa Disney of physics, conservative, affable, and optimistic about Tomorrowland utopias, till he thinks the promotional take’s over. Then we see the coldness, alcoholism, and male hysteria underneath.

Obviously this mirrors the Ivan Vanko Jr. and Sr. storyline, with its variation of the failed father who SHOULDA been a contender on the world’s stage except that his nation lost the Cold War. When Vanko Sr. dies and there’s an overhead shot of Vanko Jr. screaming his anguish at the gods, you can almost forgive such a moldy cinematic cliché.

It’s a traditional storyline, but as far as I can tell, it still works for a reason; patriarchal dynasties we have always with us. The two filthy-rich people I happen to know, for instance? Both men inheriting wealth from ruthless-mogul fathers they hate and are helpless to stop emulating. Nailed it, screenwriter Justin Theroux who also wrote Tropic Thunder! We will view your future career with interest.

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43 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Pablito  |  May 10th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Great review. The critical consensus was so far off on this one. Perhaps its become rote to hate upon bloated big budget sequels. But the script and direction actually worked this time!

  • 2. Jorge  |  May 10th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Since I stopped somking weed this site seems a lot less interesting, even stupid.

  • 3. mike from Arlington  |  May 10th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Not to mention Thors hammer and Captain America’s shield, both of who made cameo’s in the movie.

  • 4. matt  |  May 10th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    @jorge

    Try speed, or nothing. Or booze. Your comment is basically “the stupid drug made me stupid.” So find a new drug.

  • 5. Leper  |  May 10th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Can inanimate objects make cameos or are they merely product placement advertisements for future movies?

  • 6. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 10th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    “Since I stopped somking weed this site seems a lot less interesting, even stupid”

    We were just all thinking the same thing!

    ..about YOU.

  • 7. curious  |  May 11th, 2010 at 1:02 am

    There’s one thing I’m not entirely sure I got about this movie, and that’s the subplot about why Vanko’s father was framed by Stark Senior and deported.

    If I didn’t imagine this, wasn’t it because he wanted to capitalise off the reactor design and make a big pile of money? I thought this movie took a generally pro-capitalist tone, with half of it being about the dastardly looter government trying to nationalise the Iron Man suits? Or is Starks big money hypercapitalism another way for kids to revolt against their parents?

  • 8. WE  |  May 11th, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Wonderful review as always, but the money cannot buy happiness thing, I’m just not buying it. Choosing between eating or paying one’s rent, not getting medical attention for a lack of funds/health insurance, living in fucked up apartments in fucked up parts of town that don’t have any of the working class charm we see in films; simply junkies, bums and alcoholics alternating between pissing and sleeping in your stairwell, not being able to walk to a corner store after dark without that acute low intensity pulse of adrenaline, not being able to sleep with open windows in your non air-conditioned shit hole for the same reason, watching your love life go to all fuck because you’re not 19 anymore and most women (even the cool ones with their converse and non-materialistic rhetoric) will find another catchword (ambition, stability, the future!) to say what, do you think I want to go on walking dates every fucking weekend of my life, a grande anything at Starbucks is worth like an hour of your labor, get some fucking money dude! Yeah, waiting until payday to buy a blanket, eating once a day, being kept awake by hunger, jerking off with spit and shoe polish cause any lotion that doesn’t smell like a black stripper in a used car costs like 8 bucks a bottle, I’m not trying to say money would make me happy, but having it sure as fuck has to be better than this…

  • 9. A-Lex  |  May 11th, 2010 at 4:32 am

    I’m sure the movie will show very good box office results in Russia, but really, guys — ANOTHER movie with yet another Russian villain? Aren’t you yanks fed up with that yourselves yet?

    This is starting to look like a queer fixation: why can’t you Americans get over us already? The Cold War is over, two freakin’ decades this year. Now the Chinese are beating you in industrial production. The Latinos are turning your cities into ethnic enclaves. The Muslims of all trades are planting bombs in your streets while collecting you generous aid and welfare.

    And yet, when in need of a villain, who do your moviemakers come up with? Scratch their heads, hire an expensive plot-writer, spend tons on cocaine on an “insight” and — tadam! — a… Russian villain?

    Wow, that’s so fresh, so daring. And I see this movie’s no less expensive “Russia expert” (probably an ex-Ukrainian Jew who hasn’t left Brighton Beach ever since immigrating to the US in the 1980s) has come up with a truly “authentic Russian” name — Ivan Vanko. Wow.
    No really, wow.

    What kind of “reset”, or “breakthrough” can you Americans master, or how can you even count on accommodating yourselves in the increasingly multipolar world when you can’t change your mindset in fucking 20 years??

  • 10. Plamen petkov  |  May 11th, 2010 at 4:57 am

    American movies put me to sleep. Superheroes American movies eat up what’s remaining of people’s working brain cells. The budget of one of these will keep most of Africa feed for a week. Gimme a good old Mifune/Kurosawa flick any day of the week. Or an olde Leone spaghetti western. This shit is pure boredom.

  • 11. lars  |  May 11th, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Along with the upcoming (or not, they only had to make the trailer to get the ball rolling: Machete!), and Watchmen:the Ultimate Cut; I sense a paradyme shift in the mindset of major film making hidden agendas. It’s a ‘doublespeak’ of “we’re going to tell you our plans for you up front, but you’re not going to believe us, in that you doubt we’d be that forthright and upfront.”
    Like Blade Runner before it, the theme of man being enhanced with ‘Borg’ technology is continuing; and the ultimate direction it is going in, is toward ‘the download’, where human consciousness, personality to some extent, and selected memories are finally and fully ‘electronicallized’ into a ‘flash-drive’ for example, connected to a computer and installed into a robotic body, yeilding a virtually ‘endless lifestyle’ and ‘lifespan’, if you can call that living !
    “Out of one frying pan and into a completely unknown fire.” As the lead character in “Whence” said it.

  • 12. Michael  |  May 11th, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Who’d still call Scarlett Johansson a starlett? She’s a star yet.

  • 13. aleke  |  May 11th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Propaganda. “I did you a big favor: I have successfully privatized world peace!” clever clever! but not mighty enough for socialism, happy belated victory day

  • 14. wengler  |  May 11th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Eileen Jones, Welcome Back!

  • 15. DarthFurious  |  May 11th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    @A-Lex:

    Unfortunately you are quite correct. As to the cause of this, well that’s simple. We are stuck on Russians and the cold war for the same reason we are stuck on WWII “nostalgia;” in the past we are winners. In the present we are losers.
    Of course these are perceptions, and have nothing to do with whether or not we “won” anything in reality. But then our (America’s) wealthy master’s claim to fame has always been their ability to shape perception.
    Surprise surprise. Turns out capitalists are good at slinging bullshit. Who’d have guessed?

  • 16. FrankMcG  |  May 11th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    All reviews of the Iron Man movies pretty much boil down to:

    “How badly do you want to see Robert Downey and Paltrow improv for two hours?”

  • 17. Socrates  |  May 11th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Fun review, Eileen, and killer comments by WE and A-lex.

  • 18. Yes  |  May 11th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    So do you monitor peoples faces during the film? How exactly do you do that?

  • 19. The Guvnor  |  May 12th, 2010 at 4:20 am

    By using your eyes and looking around you, dipshit.

  • 20. Bartleby  |  May 12th, 2010 at 5:16 am

    I was wondering how long it took Rourke to memorize the five lines of dialogue he had in the whole movie..? I would have thought a discredited physicist/supervillian/russian vor with laser whips would have got better lines.

  • 21. Michael  |  May 12th, 2010 at 5:46 am

    I don’t think Eileen is talking about ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ in the ‘not having a penny to scratch your ass with is A-OK’ sense. What you’re talking about, WE, is abject total utter poverty. Which sucks, of course. Jones is talking about how ridiculous wealth is not going to get you any happier than just being (upper-) middle class.

    And A-lex, I was all impressed by your cliched rant about how Amurrkans need to find new enemies, except you kinda lost me at presuming something about an ex-Ukrainian Jew, and insinuating that’d make him an asshole.

    Anyway, would it have been better if Vanko had been French, German, or Swedish? Perhaps Japanese with a big-ass glowing katana would’ve satisfied your taste for ethic justice? Or Chinese? They could’ve just turned the whips into nun-chuks that way! Yeah, it all makes sense now, your whole argument, we have to get rid of the Russians as villains.

    But wait, what’s this? Common sense? Huh, didn’t expect to see that here.

    1. Who gives a shit where the villain is from? The true cosmopolitan doesn’t care, and the true dumbass will always find fault with a nationality.
    2. It’s a film based on a comic series. Seeing as the Iron Man series is older than the end of the Cold War, Vanko was long established as a villain. The Crimson Dynamo, his villainous name, first appeared in 1963. So how about you shove your retarded nationalistic whining up your ass, and stop bothering us with your narrow-minded black and white world view of how we are all evil Westerners who want to do the poor Russians in. It’s fiction, if anything it’s a negative critique of American society and how Americans proclaim the wrong people to be heroes.

    I’m Dutch, by the way, I live in Taiwan. I’m completely neutral in this, nationality-wise. But the biggest reason I don’t write retarded shit like you is having two brain cells and a slightly cosmopolitan world view.

  • 22. Chas  |  May 12th, 2010 at 8:11 am

    @Jorge
    Sorry to hear you stopped the weed !
    Shoulda just done moar !!! Then it works.

  • 23. you  |  May 12th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    “Iron Man 2 starts with the biggest party Tony Stark can throw … it’s the cheesy American dream none of us are immune to…”

    Um, I think you’re projecting a little bit here. The dream sounds nice enough, but it’s not like I would sacrifice very much in order to have this party. I mean what, is it going to get me laid? There are other ways to accomplish this…

  • 24. you  |  May 12th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    “has come up with a truly “authentic Russian” name — Ivan Vanko. Wow.”

    I’m pretty sure this name comes from the comic book, ace. I’ve never read it, but there’s an ad-lib on a Ghostface album, something like: “now you, professor vanko, the world’s greatest expert on electricity, must devise the destruction of stark’s mighty guardian, iron man.”

  • 25. rick  |  May 12th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Great movie. Anyone who says otherwise–especially nerds, AND WE ALREADY ALWAYS HATED YOU NERDS–is suspect. Comic writers are mostly horrible, but Hollywood writers and financiers brought these legends into “canon,” uniquely. Good material. You give Shakespeare some bullshit Danish Hamlet myth, he punches it up.

  • 26. WE  |  May 12th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I knew I was splitting hairs on that one Michael because it really does boil down to perspective, though I am depressed to learn that you consider me to be totally, utterly poor. That was what I thought of the people pissing, sleeping and from time to time shitting in my stairwell, though once again, it comes down to perspective. What is equally true is that once (if) I get a bit more money again, I won’t appreciate shit, and that is something I hate about the human condition, you cannot hold on to that memory of hunger, once your belly is full you are a different man, just as 6 months without sex will have you looking at hardened nipples on sweltering city streets like they’re the eyes of God, while the nipple in your mouth just makes you think about all the other nipples you will never have. You try so hard to learn lessons from these sexless, hungry times, dreaming of those salad days, thinking about appreciation like it’s a pallet to be cultivated, the undying zen like cancer patient, but you cannot stop the world from coming in, you cannot stop being what you (or I) am, build to forget, built to keep looking on past the event horizon, waiting till the day I day for a place that will never come.

  • 27. Michael  |  May 12th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    @WE

    I don’t know, maybe being European gives me a different perspective on what it means to be poor. Our welfare state makes it pretty hard to become really poor.

    I agree with everything else you say, more or less.

  • 28. A-Lex  |  May 13th, 2010 at 12:03 am

    @Michael

    Having a fair proportion of both Ukranian and Jewish blood in me, I find it rather difficult to be a Khokhol-hating anti-Semite. My grudge with US-based Ukranian Jews (or, to be precise, with ex-Soviet emigrants in general) is the role they play in shaping the vision of Russians in the American culture. A lot of the images of the proverbial ‘Russian mafia’ (like in Be Cool) were actually derived from their cheesy appearances and style, which reflects their own parochial features, but not Russians en masse. Moreover, ignorant Hollywood cinema people hire these folks time and again as experts on Russia, so there you have images of St.Petersburg sporting street signs and billboards in broken Ukrainian (Saint), rabied Russian astronauts fixing shuttles with a hammer (Apocalypse), Ukranian-Russians wearing fur hats in Odessa heat (Everything Is Illuminated) and, of course, idiotic fake Russian names like Drago, Vanko or Colonel Brekov.

    So you can relax your PC-sensitive rectum Michael, I’m a cheesy-hack-phobe, not a Judophobe.

    And since we’ve already mentioned PC here, would you care to explain something to the narrow-minded Russian, you being an prejudice-free globetrotter ‘n all: How come, when Muslims started bashing Whiteys almost indiscriminately from Morocco to Indonesia for a harmless comic strip in a Danish newspaper, enlightened Europeans like yourself predominantly went into repentance mode right away, but you obviously see it as outrageous if a Russian expresses discontent with being a perennial bogeyman for Westerners?

    To your question as to why should anyone give a shit, here’s a reason: As much as Hollywood represents America, this constant lame-ass portrayal of an enemy makes Americans look like ignorant and arrogant jerks. These images don’t smear Russians as much as they smear Americans themselves.

    As for a prospective new movie villain, Michael, credit where credit is due: Your brilliant image proposal about Chinese or Japanese has illustrated the depth of your perceptibity to other cultures. You’re wasting time in Taiwan, they need you badly in Hollywood.

    Anyway, whoever they choose to star as the next bad guy, I’m afraid the image is going to be invariably cheesy and grotesque. So maybe they should pick on the Dutch, wouldn’t that be fun? Wooden shoes, bicycles and marijuana can prove terrific bogeyman material for the Dream Factory.

    Let’em exploit the Evil Dutchman narrative for 10 years and 40 movies, and then I’d like to see what you have to say about that.

  • 29. Michael  |  May 13th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    @A-Lex

    Whenever the Dutch are mentioned in any right-wing show, they’re portrayed as weed-smoking grandmother-killing baby-murdering whore-fucking Devil-worshippers. It’s just that we’re too small for anyone to truly give a fuck about.

    As for your summing up of how Ukrainian-Jewish assholes have fucked up the image of Russians, you could well be right. Or wrong. Either way, it’s all based on a comic book series from the 60’s, so it’s not really like they decided the next villain to be Russian in 2008. Also, since it is a comic book movie, everything in it is exaggerated and not really meant to represent reality accurately, no matter how many parallels to contemporary politics you can find.

    I don’t care how many jokes you make about Ukrainian Jews, but it seemed to be your explanation for their being giant gaping assholes. That doesn’t go well with me, cause any kind of racism/anti-semitism is just dumb. Your explanation cleared things up on that front, though.

    I a bunch of Muslim fuckers can’t take a joke, that’s their problem. European political leaders predictably went into the defensive to protect trade interests. Not very heroic, perhaps, but a realistic response. The overwhelming majority of Europeans was on the side of Kurt Westergaard, however, and thought he used freedom of expression in a correct and funny way to criticise fundamentalist Muslims. The idiots who stormed our embassies were as retarded as you are in this case, taking a simple cartoon (movie) waaaay too seriously.

    If the Americans smear themselves in shit, let them: everyone’s free to fuck up their self-image in the way they see fit. If they smear the Russians, be the bigger man and don’t care about their ignorant portrayals.

    Indeed, this is how I see Chinese and Japanese, for real! Did I mention all Chinese know kung-fu, all the Japanese know karate and they fight each other all day while throwing proverbs at one another? Dick.

    I’ll be happy to see anyone care as much for the Dutch as you described in your last sentence.

    Maybe the next movie about Russia can be a documentary portraying some alcoholic, embittered fuck typing away at his wooden computer, denouncing the Americans for portraying the Motherland in such an abusive fashion! The horror! How dare they!

    Honour died along with firearms. Live with it.

  • 30. tam  |  May 13th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Eileen, I hope you’re going to do a review of ‘Four Lions’ when it comes out over there. It’s even better than ‘In The Loop’ and shows up dreck like Iron Man 2 and superhero movies in general for the idiotic recycled westerns that most of them are.

  • 31. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 14th, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Mickey Rourke looks like he’s wearing the lovechild of a Bowflex crossed with Edward Scissorhands’ gear; work your upper torso WHILE causing mayhem.

    Now featured at select stores near YOU.

  • 32. A-Lex  |  May 14th, 2010 at 12:35 am

    @ Michael

    >>That doesn’t go well with me, cause any kind of racism/anti-semitism is just dumb.

    Oooh, I see. So that’s why you’ve bothered to pen another pejorative stereotype of a Russian right away — an “embittered alcoholic” at a wooden computer.

    It’s not that you’re an arrogant asshole, Michael. Actually, an outspoken chauvinist would at least deserve some credit for his diehard conviction.
    But you’re a typical Western hypocrite: if I made a similar joke about a Jew, you’d just go apeshit. Likewise, you’d never have the nerve to denounce the Muslim “fuckers” in their face, or anywhere within reach of a reporter or a lawyer.
    And as for the comic-strip scandal, sad as it is, your “overwhelming majority of Europeans” has failed to make their support for Westergaard vocal whatsoever, and at least on the surface, the European public generally acted submissively vis-a-vis the Muslim rage.

    So there you are, acting all smug and sarcastic about the dimwit touchy Russians, as long as you know you’re not insulting any “sacred cows” (like Jews or Muslims). The punchline here is, you’re probably earnestly convinced that you ARE a bias-free global citizen. But underneath all that, you’re the same arrogant colonialist fuck, only with no balls to be honest or consistent about it.

    And you being a Dutchman, I seriously recommend that you marry a Russian. Then, at least your kids won’t be as ugly as you are.

  • 33. Blowfloat  |  May 17th, 2010 at 6:35 am

    @ Michael and A-Lex

    Boys, please please please keep throwing crap onto each other. It’s so very entertaining to read. Don’t stop, you obstinate cosmopolitans ))

  • 34. Boris from Butovo  |  May 17th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Hey! Nice review there big guy!

  • 35. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 17th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    “One thing I’ve noticed about professional critics, they’ll tell you everything except the interesting things that go on in a movie.”

    Same thing goes for most ‘professional’ economists; they’ll tell you everything EXCEPT the interesting things that go on in the U.S. financial world.
    Namely, that it’s COLLAPSING.

  • 36. korman643  |  May 18th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    @Michael

    “Whenever the Dutch are mentioned in any right-wing show, they’re portrayed as weed-smoking grandmother-killing baby-murdering whore-fucking Devil-worshippers.”

    I think you’re wrong here: weed-smoking grandmother-killing baby fucking whore-murdering Devil worshippers must be necessarily Belgians.

    As for the rest, I’m afraid that I agree completely A-lex. But I’m Italian, the NW variety, so I’m a bit biased here.

  • 37. lol  |  May 19th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    First you tell us about miserable rich people are (and you should know), and then, at the end, how the only rich people you know are just pathetic kids of rich parents. Why not mention that from the get go? Typical of the new Exile, actually–rhetorical tricks, driven by ideology.

    I miss when it was about drugs and hookers and the good things in life, and not politics.

  • 38. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 19th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    “I miss when it was about drugs and hookers and the good things in life, and not politics”

    So did I. Until I realized POLITICS is what’s getting in the way of my enjoyment of drugs, hookers and the good things in life.

  • 39. lol  |  May 20th, 2010 at 8:58 am

    RecoverylessRecovery, if your goal is to improve your lot in life (and/or that of others), politics will get you nowhere. This is just plain, bare-assed reality. Even those precious few who ever successfully used politics for good, pale in comparison to those who used science, technology, or even business for good. Take even the most obvious triumphs, like civil rights movement. Would whites ever give blacks a break unless there was enough wealth in society that the relative benefits of exploitation, unchanged in absolute terms, stopped being a major factor? No, they would not. Politics is just a facade on real machinery of this world.

    The problem is that all that “real” shit is hard. You constantly run into your own limits that need to be pushed. Whining, on the other hand, is easy, and if you have enough like-minded people around, you can convince each other that politics is all there is to the world.

    For most of our evolutionary history, we lived in much smaller groups, where our opinion on how shit should be run *did* matter. So the desire to have strong, consuming, emotionally-driven opinions on that sort of thing became an instinct. We already got rid of many outdated instincts, and the liberals got rid of more than theconservatives did, which is why it’s not hopeless to think we could get rid of this one too.

    Make something, and give it away to people you like, or sell it (and perhaps give some of your money away to people you like). That is how difference is made, both in your life and in the world.

  • 40. Jyp  |  May 20th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Mickey Rourke “looking like a filthy embittered tattooed mutant”. Yeah. And?

    If there’s a weirder well-known actor around I’d like to hear about it. Just for fun. Remember when he was quitting acting to become a professional boxer?

    Malcolm Lowry said fame is like some horrible disaster.

  • 41. Fuel  |  May 28th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    @ A-Lex and Michael

    The shit you two been hammering around has entertained me more then everything the Exiled has produced this year.

    Keep up the good shit!

    Also, What happened to the Warnerd? Im missing him really :(

  • 42. A-Lex  |  June 8th, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Just as a small update, there’s been news that China has introduced some peculiar censorship to Iron Man 2 before running the movie in cinemas: namely, they made all spoken references to “Russia” or “Russian” inaudible.

    See source: http://shanghaiist.com/2010/05/09/chinas_bizarre_censorship_of_iron_m_1.php

    That, given the fact that there had been no official protest against the movie from Russia (it’s on in cinemas here), nor a public outcry, no class action, nothing.

    I’ve already grasped the idea that Iron Man is an old comic book, so there’s no intentional Russophobia about the cinematographic Ivan Vanko. But as you see, the world outside “the world” — the world that didn’t grow up on those comic books — may also have an understanding for why another nation might by annoyed by seeing itself vilified once again.

  • 43. A-Lex  |  June 9th, 2010 at 3:04 am

    P.S. Here’s an interesting opinion on the issue from a Brit:
    http://thequietus.com/articles/00362-cockny-cold-war-ritchie-rocknrolla-and-russian-movie-villains


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