- What makes some movies better than others? The story,
the dialogue, the acting, lighting, sound and directing, correct? Suppose
a movie is good because of what it says over time. The best movies withstand
the test of time, like Shakespeare, and what they have to say remains as
pertinent today as it was 30, 40, 50 years ago.
- We live an amazing, personal action movie every day.
Part drama, part tragedy, with predictable yet entertaining comedic moments
even; with a cast of six billion people, all of us performing our parts
with convincing passion.
- Bernie Madoff? An amazing comedy that even Woody Allen
would not have dared to write. An extremely wealthy swindler convinces
other extremely rich people to invest billions in his get-rich-quick investment
firm. Unfortunately for Bernie, he swindles the wrong kind of people. Not
Mafia types but perhaps members of the Bilderberger group and CFR members.
If I were writing this movie, these powerful people would find a way to
get even with the swindler. In the last scene of my Madoff movie, a morality
tale really, we see huge stacks of money (Close Up on the money) being
transferred from one secret offshore bank to another as the credits roll
and the old swindler trots off to jail.
- Since I'm now a film student, at the age 59, I watch
a lot of old films. A foreign friend of mine who had never seen Easy Rider
wanted to see this road movie. I told her that during the Sixties, folks
just hit the highways by the tens of thousands, like the pair of colorful
gypsies portrayed here. If you've seen the film, you may remember Captain
America (Peter Fonda) and his sidekick, Billy (Dennis Hopper), astride
a pair of beautiful choppers.
- Perhaps you saw that movie. But what you may not remember
is what Jack Nicholson's character (George Hanson) says to Billy as they're
camped out in the forest.
- George Hanson: What you represent to them is freedom.
- Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what
it's all about.
- Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all
about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different
things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold
in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not
free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove
to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to
you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual,
it's gonna scare 'em.
- Billy: Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.
- George Hanson: No, it makes 'em dangerous.
- What YOU represent to some people is freedom. You see,
you've had your eyes opened and your mind expanded, not a lot but a lot
more than most folks. You're like Tom Joad, (Henry Fonda) in The Grapes
of Wrath when his character says: "If there was a law they was workin'
with maybe we could take it, but it ain't the law. They're workin' away
our spirits, tryin' to make us cringe and crawl, takin' away our decency."
- Taking away our decency.
- We are ALL a part of this big movie. A personal Grapes
of Wrath or Robin Hood or A Man For All Seasons. Some play the villain
and some play the hero. Sometimes the roles get reversed. The villain becomes
the hero and who we perceived as the hero suffers some injustice. Meanwhile
the villain gets away and lives a rich and wonderful life surrounded by
- Perhaps you saw where that Iraqi shoe thrower got three
years in prison for throwing his shoes at George Bush. He represented freedom
and if enough people followed his example, well that might be dangerous.
Meanwhile the former president, who threw a whole lot more than a pair
of shoes at the Iraqis, will get six figure speaking fees.
- Like that Iraqi hothead, what YOU represent to most people
in power is danger. You're dangerous because you ask too many questions
about freedom and justice and privilege and the abuses of power. You have
the nerve to question why the average American citizen is cross examined
at the airport by TSA but wealthy foreign duel citizens working for the
US government in Washington are never cross examined? At least never cross
examined about their motives like one Charles Freeman.
- We watched that classic movie Chinatown again. The story
recreates how Los Angeles officials cleverly hoodwinked, some say stole
water, from the folks in Owens Valley. Once again, Jack Nicholson, as P.I
Jake Gitts, portrays an average guy who gets sucked into conflict with
a powerful conspiracy headed by a greedy and lecherous businessman, named
Noah Cross, portrayed perfectly by John Huston.
- Jake Gitts: I just want to know what you're worth. Over
- Noah Cross: Oh my, yes.
- Jake Gitts: Why are you doing it? How much better can
you eat? What can you buy that you can't already afford?
- Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gitts, the future.
- I imagine those lines perfectly mimic similar lines that
every powerful person says everyday. In pursuit of a better planet of course.
At every Bilderberger or Council on Foreign Relations meeting, I imagine
the members must truly believe their motives are right and just, whether
in Africa or Iraq or Indonesia. If a few thousand or million or billion
people must suffer for their vision of the future, well too damn bad.
- Towards the end of the movie, Jake/Jack tells the tormented
heroine: "Evelyn, put that gun away. Let the police handle this."
Evelyn replies: "He owns the police!"
- Most viewers were perhaps surprised that you could have
the hero say that in a Hollywood movie. The notion that a wealthy, perverted
old conspirator could actually "own" the police must have seemed,
well, dangerous. Didn't the good guys always win in Hollywood movies? Didn't
virtue get rewarded? Didn't the underdog prevail?
- No. Rarely in reality.
- Recently top investigative reporter Seymour Hersh described
an 'Executive Assassination Ring.' Was anyone truly surprised? He said
of the assassins: "In many cases, they were the best and the brightest.
Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind
of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America ."
Pretty much what I wrote about the patriotic yet programmed assassins in
my novel: The Guns of Dallas.
- Nearly as surprising was what Hersh admitted about the
US presidency: "The beautiful thing about our system is that eventually
we get new leaders, (but) it's really amazing to me that we manage to get
such bad leadership, so consistently."
- Amazing? Not really. We consistently get bad presidents
on purpose, not by accident. Only a truly naïve, ignorant or disingenuous
person would believe that US presidents are chosen by happenstance and
not vetted long in advance. Like the villain Noah Cross, those who choose
the presidential candidates know well in advance exactly what they are
getting. The future, or their views of it.
- Any troublemakers or idealist, like JFK, MLK or RFK are
erased and replaced by people who dictate to the president what he should
or should not do, like bailout banks or escalate unpopular wars.
- After Evelyn is shot, in the movie Chinatown, Jake tries
to intervene, tries to right the wrongs, save the innocent, bring the perpetrators
to justice. A colleague grabs Jake and drags him away: "Forget it,
Jake; it's Chinatown ." As the credits roll, you cannot help but
become cynical or sullen. Rarely does real life offer a happy Hollywood
- Whenever I witness another abuse of power in America
or the world, another banker being bailed out and rewarded, another mass
murderer honored, another foreigner promoted, another injustice ignored,
another blatant destruction of the Bill of Rights, I cannot help shake
my head and say: Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown.
- Longtime Rense contributor Douglas Herman lives in Bullhead
City and believes in the idealist, the underdog, the activist and the decent
streak in every man and woman.