I feel a bit disconnected from the world at present, even more than usual. Nothing I do at the moment seems to satisfy me and I’m not sure anything I’m doing is making the slightest difference to anything or anyone. In the last three days I’ve done loads of stuff at work, yet somehow it all feels a bit pointless. “Is That All There Is?” by Cristina pretty well sums everything up at the moment. (I think it was first recorded by Peggy Lee; PJ Harvey has done a version of it too, but the Cristina Monet version from 1980 is the definitive one.) I realised today, that with so many of my colleagues at work having recently been ‘restructured out of existence’ I’m suffering from a form of ‘survivor’s guilt’.
2002 – Certificate: Not Rated – United States
By a strange co-incidence, this move has an equally uplifting plot. This is a drama about a play of the same name, being performed by a character in a similar position as the character in the play. (Oh oh, I think I’m going to need a painkiller soon, that sounds way too complicated now I’ve written it down.) It’s a film about bullying in schools and the effect it has on some individuals who’re the victims of it. This is a very American movie. In the UK, victims of school bullying generally hide in their rooms and self-harm or commit suicide; in American it seems they build bombs or get guns and go to school and kill people. Okay, I’m hugely trivialising and oversimplifying something that’s really tragic in reality, but it did feel a little over dramatic at times; then again, this sort of thing really has happened. This film was made in 2002 and is based on a play written in 1999, so there’re no mobile phones to be seen anywhere in it, which makes it feel a bit dated now, especially as the mobile has become the modern-day school bully’s weapon of choice; all those embarrassing and humiliating videos, it’s what YouTube was invented for after all. If most American schools really are like this, then it mystifies me as to why the country manages to turn out so many clever, imaginative and decent people; (I like Americans in general, even though I love to snigger behind their backs at their lack of culture and understanding of irony; and get frustrated by their politics.). The original play has apparently been performed thousands of times in schools and similar places and from reading the comments on IMDB and Amazon (USA) it’s clearly had a massive impact on lots of people, yet I didn’t fully connect with it myself; I guess I’m too old and too much of a Brit to fully appreciate it. However, even taken as a stand-alone film it’s well worth a watch; but when you then take into account its background it takes on a while extra dimension. It does feel a bit weak in places, but the power of its general narrative and all-around American goodness drags it through these parts with sufficient force to make you, you know, ‘a believer’. Good quality drama with a social conscience.
Recommended for bullies. If it makes a difference to any of them (and considering how many people have seen the play or film, I’m sure it must have had a positive effect on some of them), then it’s all been worth it.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? In that very American ‘we fucked up but then overcame our failure thus proving we were right to do what we did all along’ kind of way, it’s the big ‘penny drops’ scene when everyone watches Trevor’s videos taken by the police from his house; giving people a serious guilt trip they deserve is definitely badass.
April 18, 2012 | Categories: The Thoughts of Cactus | Tags: 2002, Bang Bang You’re Dead, Ben Foster, British Columbia, Bully, Bullying, Canada, Cristina, Cristina Monet, Drama, Excerpt, Guy Ferland, Janel Moloney, Peggy Lee, PJ Harvey, Play, Randy Harrison, School, Shooting, Tom Cavanagh, United States, US, USA, Vancouver, Video Camera, William Mastrosimone | Leave a comment