The Epistle of Q — Chapter Eighty-Five

Why would I walk for 45 minutes, more or less downhill, to see a matinee movie when I have two vehicles in the garage?
Well, perhaps because it was almost +10C and it was sunny. More likely because I needed the exercise. The problem, of course, would be in the return. No longer even light out, let alone balmy; it was uphill. But it was okay…the movie was worth it…

Today I viewed the recently released film, VICE starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Both should be nominated for Oscars. Their acting is superb and the screenplay is gripping, not to mention some really fine directing. The story of Dick Cheney is worth a movie. The fact that he didn’t help them make it is unfortunate, but then again it might not have helped. It skirts around most of the truth in a way that helps one understand that Trump didn’t invent dictatorial government. Of course, if you have read Sideshow by William Shawcross you already know about how deceptive a president can be and how outside the constitution he can operate and not be found out (or even dealt with). But the film does a visceral job examining how a man who never was president came to be the most powerful man in the United States of America.

This is a film for any one studying government or even democracy. It really doesn’t help the opposition though. It is hard to see how this is about conservative or liberal, it is about the desire for power — especially in the backrooms of the democratic process. Consider our own government and how off-side it has become about real Canadian issues of economic growth and improvement of the middle class. While it hasn’t dropped bombs on unsuspecting peoples in far-off lands, it certainly has made life quite uncomfortable if not outright uneconomic for major portions of the working classes in western Canada, and by extension the Maritimes as well. And I am not sure that those surrounding the Prime Minister are any more focused on the good of the nation versus their own agendae, than Cheney and his associates were. And the importance of a strong, not always silent, partner ought not to be overlooked either. Lynne Cheney was a very astute, perceptive and powerful personage in her own right.

I highly recommend this film to be as relevant for today as All the Presidents Men was back a few decades ago, or Primary Colours a decade later or even the Frost interviews. It is an excellent commentary on our times and how many people just don’t have time for politics, thus strong, silent types can become very influential, even powerful. By the way, Steve Carrell is very good in this film as well as Rummy… (go watch it to see who he plays).

While I am on the movie scene, another commentary on the fate of the middle class can be seen in the movie The Mule. This is another Clint Eastwood production and comes very close to Gran Turino as a social critique of our society. This time the question is not about the impact of gangs or even drugs, even though the story is built around those two issues. Rather it is: What happens when technology displaces hard-working, successful small-business folk? Again I am not going to tell you the story, but I am going to encourage you to see the flick. Eastwood plays an old guy who had been an excellent market-gardener/florist who is forced into bankruptcy because of the internet. How does he survive? He is blue collar. He has been successful to a large degree at the expense of family. He is not afraid of work, long hours, or tough conditions — but none of that was enough for society to let him remain employed or even employable. So he finds a way to gain an income — in fact, to gain a great deal of income. He uses it to help many ordinary people and many ordinary organizations (including his family). But is he really a criminal? And in the end, has he perhaps done more for society than it has for him. Go watch the movie and let me know your thoughts.

And, while you are at it check out Netflix and the film Come Sunday. I watched it a night after watching Scent of a Woman which came a night after watching Love Actually (which is along with Charlie Brown’s Christmas) is among my most favourite Christmas movies. And while I think that Scent… may be Al Pacino’s best film (hoo-hah!!) I was really brought to earth with Come Sunday. It is an indictment of fundamentalist religion, but simultaneously gives an insight into the rise of Trump. There are many people within religious persuasions that want to see people punished for their sins (whatever those sins might be, even if they be minor). If you want to feel better about people, then it is the other two Christmas holiday films to watch; but if you want to get ready for the two biggies I’ve talked about above, then watch Come Sunday and consider it like spring training or a pre-game warm-up…

And now, before I forget, Happy New Year. I hope that 2019 brings you a more upbeat world than you’ve experienced last year and that with all the elections coming (in Alberta, in Canada, maybe in BC, perhaps elsewhere) that if it impacts you at all, get yourself educated to the issues, but more importantly try to learn about the people asking for your vote. The loudest may not always be the one that should turn you off…

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