The Forever Purge

This is the first time I’ve ever taken a movie recommendation from Alex Jones who mentioned this movie during this interview with Michael Malice. Stay tuned to find out if I ever take another one, after this brief message from our sponsor: I HATE EVERYTHING.

I’m getting freaking PTSD from these awful, awful trailers they’re playing before the movies, to which I’m already coming in 15 minutes past marquee time to avoid the bulk of. I hate the biopic of Aretha Franklin so much already. Why? Because they make it look like she wrote “Respect” as opposed to getting it from Otis Redding. (Where Redding got it is another matter.) This was followed by a trailer for the new Candyman, which trades its spooky gothic plantation origin for a modern hands-up-don’t-shoot narrative. I’m not a big Candyman fan but as I recall, he was a badass even in the midst of genuine slavery, and not some poor waif gunned down by rogue police.


That is, I’m not taking any more movie advice from Alex Jones. Now, in fairness, he didn’t say it was a good movie, he just said that the movie shows the bad guys are the people in charge. This is true. In fact, the thing that keeps this movie from being awful as it wants to be is its complete and utter incoherence. We dipped out after the first one—which, holy cow starred Ethan Hawke and Lena Heady—not because we didn’t like it, but because we both agreed that as a concept it was just too stupid to sustain. (Beware Pixar!)


Variety: Is America Catching Up To ‘The Purge’ Films?

This movie was so stupid, I was tempted to go back and look at the second film in the trilogy to see if they just got progressively stupider, only to discover it’s not a trilogy but a pentalogy with a freakin’ TV series spinoff. We regretted not going to see the Escape Room sequel. Or, hell, Pig again.

This entry in the already dubious pile of crap that is the Purge Cinematic Universe has us believe that the purge has gone off, once again without a hitch, and people just go back to normal the next day. The one good part of this whole movie, story-wise is that the actual purge night is only a small fraction of the film. You could easily have believed they were going to do the whole as one extended night, but we get a little break before realizing that people aren’t going back to normal the next day.


Den of Geek: Why ‘The Forever Purge’ Is The Series Most Relevant Move Yet

Which is, of course, the obvious stupid thing that was obvious and stupid from the first movie.  The “Star Trek” episode (“Return of the Archons”) that the movie rips off at least has, as its premise, that the inhabitants of the town are mind controlled by a rogue computer, and their “festival” day is a release valve for repressed emotions. It’s a dumb explanation but at least it’s an explanation. In the Purge-verse, the idea is that people just cut loose one day and then go back the next day to normal.

And also that the good people cower while the (often mercenary) vandals, rapists and murderers run amok. Oh, and also that the good people get caught outside during the purge.

All of this is too stupid to contemplate, and this film may be the ne plus ultra of the America-hating we saw in the first film.

So, in this profoundly dumb entry, “the purge” doesn’t stop and America falls to these gangs of roving purgers who are (probably?) hired by the richies that run things or who may have just decided to take things over for themselves. Our “heroes”—we got one separatist guy who actually gets a chance to reform, which is almost novel—are going to flee to Mexico. And when they get there, they’ll all be expected to speak Spanish.

Also, the Mexicans and the Canadians are only giving Americans a short window to escape—failing which they’ll trap all the refugees in a fascistic hellhole where they will be murdered, raped and enslaved. But Americans have that coming, right?


RT: ‘The Forever Purge’ begs for liberal praise by devolving into anti-Trump fanfiction for CNN viewers

See, that’s the thing with a movie like this, that wears its politics on its sleeve: It refutes itself with its own stupidity. It also reveals a special brand of cowardice that’s so far from American Exceptionalism, you can tell there’s no one around who understands or dares express the idea. You get a movie made like this which looks exactly like the Antifa/BLM riots but you have to make the baddies White Supremacists. You have to, of course, there’s literally no way you could make a movie about actual villains.

The White Supremacists ultimately come up against Native Americans who are, I guess, illegal immigrant smugglers—and have been fighting this war for 400 years, or something, they say—but they are woefully underprepared when six dudes in dune buggies show up. The Boy groused about this: It’s one of those action scenarios where it’s not clear why anyone is doing anything, nor how many bad guys there are, since the number seems to be “however many we need till we’re done with our action piece.” Two of the bad guys get into a firefight with the heroes in a little mud hut, are killed, and the other bad guys don’t even notice.

What would really happen—and why The Purge is just a left-liberal fantasy—is that the rioters would run amok in the cities where leftist mayors give them free reign and then they’d stop before they got to the country—hell, the suburbs—where America’s ONE BILLION GUNS live. They’d end up with empty cities, where they would starve to death, and they’d be killed pretty quickly the instant they tried anything elsewhere.

But you can’t have that. No, the story is: All the good guys are disorganized, unarmed cowards who would flee the instant they met trouble. Literally anyone who would fight for America is a villain.

Dumb. Hateful. Tedious. But Alex is right about the frogs.


Live look at the audience!

La Cercle Rouge (1970)

At some point, when you take yourself to your sixth ’60s/’70s era French film with Alain Delon, you have only yourself to blame. Fortunately this was only our second such film, having skipped Indian Summer, Le Samourai and some others that our local indie chain insists on showing for some reason, and this one was a heist film. It recalls Rififi, though France was certainly not spared the countercultural revolution, and this film is nowhere near as fun as that one.

Although there were only two of us.

Our approximate expressions on the way to the theater.

Let’s get the important stuff out of the way: There are no female characters to speak of in this film, which means the saving grace of La Piscine (copious female pulchritude) is limited to a very gratuitous bit with Anna Douking, who is Alain Delon’s ex-squeeze and now with the guy who left him holding the bag, and who listens from that guy’s bedroom as the two talk. Completely naked, of course. Apart from that, you get showgirls in shockingly modest uniforms.

By the way, I may be mixing up Alain Delon and Yves Montand, so.

Anyway, a guy gets out of jail after serving his time and goes to shake down his old partner, who is a mob boss now (or something). Meanwhile another guy is being taken to jail and stages a daring break, fleeing from his train into the woods and finds himself in the trunk of guy #1. The two bond through a some evading the police and murder, and end up (in spite of even their limited decision making skills) planning a mega-jewel-heist. Their compere on this adventure is an alcoholic sniper, and much like Rififi (IIRC), the heist goes just fine. It’s the subsequent aspects of the crime that go wrong.

Not exactly "tight".

This is Anna Douking’s entire role: She stands behind this door for five minutes, naked. Never comes back. Never factors into anything.

Apparently this is a great movie. They tell me this is a great movie. I don’t know why they tell me this. A lot of times, when they tell me things like this, I can see what they mean even if I don’t agree. This is one where I don’t get it at all, really. It’s quite slow, which is not an issue per se (cf. Stalker). The characters are okay, I guess. It seems like a fairly conventional, somewhat grim story.

The cinematography’s okay but nothing to write home about. Nothing special about the blocking or set design (though the alcoholic’s house is kind of cool in an awful sort of way). The use of music is kind of interesting—there isn’t any at first, probably for about 15 minutes. Then there’s some ambient music. Then there’s some regular orchestral stuff. That stuff works.

I guess it all works, eventually. And I will say that I had trouble telling people apart, particularly—and this is key—the mob boss and a saloon owner being coerced by the police. In the end, the characters meet their fate by believing a clearly untrustworthy person implicitly. I thought that was kinda dumb. Sorta like, “Well, the movie has to end, so let’s do this.”

The Boy liked it somewhat more than I did, though he had similar issues. For a 1970 French film, it was acceptable.

These guys gonna die.

I would watch it again at gunpoint, anyway.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

If you had told me that forty years ago, the Academy Award for best picture went to a film about Man’s relationship with his religion versus his duty to his nation, I probably wouldn’t believe you. Because I had never seen Chariots of Fire, the true-ish-to-life story of the 1924 English Olympic track team. If the Internets are to be believed, this movie began as an attempt by producer David Puttnam (Midnight ExpressFoxes) to create something with a sort of Man For All Seasons level of drama, and he very nearly makes it.


The beauty and grace of world class athletes.

Our two central characters in the drama are a Jew, Harold Abrahams (played by Ben Cross, who played Barnabas Collins in the ’90s reboot of “Dark Shadows”) who is ambitious and driven to finding acceptance in English society, and a Calvinist Scotsman, Eric Liddel (played by Ian Charleson, who was in Gandhi and a lot of British TV shows before AIDS got him in 1990) who has to balance his God-given athleticism with his literal mission (which in real-life took him to China and eventual internment at the hands of the Japanese).

There are other characters as well, but The Boy and I are not great at telling people in these period pieces apart. (This would make our next film, La Cercle Rouge, a real struggle.) Also, the other characters seem to exist primarily to throw Liddel and Abrahams into contrast. In particular, I struggled with telling Nigel Havers’ (from that English TV series you like, and also Empire of the Sun) Lord Andrew Lindsay from Nicholas Farrell’s (from that other English TV series you like, and also the 1984 Tarzan movie, which featured Ian Charleson as well) Aubrey Montague till about halfway through the movie. Lindsay was kind of interesting because he was portrayed as being not driven like Abrahams and Liddel—just the kind of upper class fellow who did things on a lark, but was still good enough to make it to the Olympics. (Speaking of Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller would win three gold medals at these Olympics, before going on to play the best Tarzan in the 1932 adaptation.)


Just havin’ fun, gettin’ muddy.

This character, Lord Lindsay, is a composite, apparently, but a surface look at the whys and wherefores is murky and contradictory, and I didn’t go see this movie for a history lesson.

Abrahams is the most compelling character, because he’s—as the kids say—a total chad. He does this legendary race around the Cambridge quad, “The Great Court Run”, and is the first person to beat the challenge since Aethelred the Unready or something. (In reality, it was the Lord Lindsay character who did it first.) When one of the guys (Aubrey?) takes him to see the Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of Mikado because he has a crush on the star (prime Alice Krige, most famously known as the Borg Queen but who I’ve had a thing for since Ghost Story), it’s Abrahams who asks her out—during the intermission.

Colin Welland’s script shows Abrahams as a character who is distinctly English and yet excluded from society, or at least suspect, because of his Lithuanian Jewish descent. Though it should be noted that the movie opens with Abrahams very, very Christian funeral while not ever mentioning that Abrahams converted. His utter lack of religion makes the entire focus about the English establishment, which ends up being less interesting. Krige has a good line early on when they’re on their first date: “Nobody cares.” I’ll leave it as an exercise for the viewer as to why that’s so great.

With apologies to Gaston.

“Who is it?” “Me! The man you’re gonna marry, you lucky girl!”

Liddel’s situation is more interesting. He’s running for God. And he doesn’t roll on shomer freakin’ Shabbos! He spends the whole movie (in-between training) delivering sermons and re-assuring his sister that he’s not being seduced by worldly temptations. And then his Olympic meet happens to fall on a Sunday. At that point, it’s a little unclear whether the French are just recalcitrant (the Olympics were being held in Paris that year) or whether the Brits were just too proud to ask a bunch of frogs to do some rescheduling, but it comes down to everyone (including future abdicator, the Prince of Wales) demanding Liddel run on a Sunday.

Liddel runs like a geek, which The Boy noted, and which I assured him was doubtless thoroughly researched. Amusingly, Liddel’s wife objected to the portrayal of his running, but the producer swears by the accuracy, and I’m inclined to believe him. Nobody could make that gait up.

Overall, whether or not to run doesn’t quite have the intensity of Thomas More standing up to Henry VIII, to be honest, but I liked it because it seems like such a novel thing, lo, these two score years later. The Boy was less impressed: He liked it but didn’t think it was a must-see. He did have to recalibrate while watching because so much of the film has been aped and parodied—especially the music, which perhaps ironically, I found very hit-and-miss—he had to remind himself that this was the original.

The Old Man was salty about this movie back in the day. It was put in the Best Picture category (which it won) whereas a similar Australian film, Gallipoli, was put in the foreign language category and didn’t even make it to the nomination phase. He would not be surprised that Gallipoli is rated higher on IMDB. Of course, virtually every other film nominated that year is currently ranked higher. Raiders of the Lost Ark towers over the others, but Atlantic CityOn Golden Pond and even Reds—the odds-on favorite, especially after Beatty won Best Director—are all rated higher. Meanwhile there was Das BootThe Road WarriorThe Evil Dead, Excalibur, Blow OutEscape from New York and the debut film of Serbian director Emir Kusturica, Do You Remember Dolly Bell? But the Oscars post-’60s tended to split between empty echoes of former glories and communist agitation, until it gave way in the past decade to something resembling complete self-abnegation. (Nine of the last ten “best director” awards have gone to foreign born nationals.)

Anyway, even if there are twenty better films from this year, it’s still worth a watch.

Go figger.

An utterly unremarkable long shot that is also iconic.