I haven’t done one of these in a while. That’s because all the wild conspiracy stuff I used to post is now our everyday reality, and the stuff of the regular news shows… So perhaps today is a good time to post.
John Carpenter publicly denies that They Live (1988) is an allegory for the secret Jewish control of the world:
THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.
The CIA have declassified 13 million documents and published them online. Most news outlets are focusing on a small number of inconclusive UFO reports. Sky news, however, focused on their tests on Uri Geller, something that Geller has claimed for a while, though not always being taken seriously. The papers provide evidence, however, stating that “As a result of Geller’s success in this experimental period, we consider that he has demonstrated his paranormal perception ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner.”
(With apologies to Jonathan Tuckett for stealing his format. And writing style. And, you know, just in general.)
The original series. I am obviously ignoring the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is obviously the weakest of the series as a whole. Although actually I think it’s better than most people give it credit for. It has some really good scenes—the opening, the CIA debriefing, and the scene with the fridge is no more ridiculous than jumping from a plane in a dingy, getting dragged under a truck or that leap across the chasm in a minecart… But the main point at which the series jumps the shark is that the Hebrew god (and Aztec and Indian gods)—who the central character disavows on a number of occasions—actually get involved in the plot. And nowhere more so than the denouement of the Last Crusade.
There’s not enough Harrison Ford. He’s not even in it for the first twenty minutes. Then he has to share all his screentime with Sean Connery (although that he manages to compete at all is impressive).
The plot is complete bobbins. Spielberg and Lucas admitted as much when they added a sequence to the middle – and that it was another chase sequence is telling. The film is structured like this: Beginning (20 mins—established Henry Jones and makes a bunch of references to the other films), Plot Setup (30 mins—mostly boring until Connery turns up, although I admit a complex admiration for Elsa, who is in my opinion the best looking of the Indy Girls, though lacking the chutzpa of Marion… Complex because she is a Nazi, after all. Still, no-one missed Willie, eh? (Except Spielberg lol)), Chase Sequence (about an hour), Christian Ending (20 mins). It’s boring. The chase sequence was a small part of Raiders and Temple, but here, it’s literally half the film.
Sean Connery makes shit films watchable. That is the Mystery of Connery. See also: the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Rock, that one with Zeta Jones. Or, my personal favourite, Sword of the Valiant (see below). If you can think of other examples, please add that in the comments below.
Spielberg’s using the “Daddy Issues” plot again. See also: ET, War of the Worlds, Hook, Munich, Catch Me If You Can, Jurassic Park…
Again and again, the film riffs on Raiders. Say what you like about Temple of Doom, but at least it tried to innovate—Last Crusade is terribly derivative, but amplifies Raiders every time it copies it. Indy meets Nazis; Indy meets Hitler. Characters like Marcus and Sallah reappear, although tellingly, none from Temple of Doom. Most obviously, the sequence at Marshall College is a complete remake of the sequence in Raiders, except now so many students demand his time that he has to jump out of a window to escape. While a hot student writing “I Love You” on her eyelids is not part of my experience as a lecturer, it is at least believable, but in Last Crusade his teaching career becomes utterly cartoonish.
Raiders was steeped in Christian imagery. But it is little noted that the mythology it uses is rather unorthodox, drawing from the same deep well that the Da Vinci Code and its ilk would later again capitalise upon. Indeed, the god of Raiders is somewhat complex in his motivations—he sets fire to the swastika on the boat on principle, yet seems only to kill those with their eyes open at the end (even if we doubt that Indy and Marion would have been killed, Belloq is killed extravagantly despite having never directly harmed anyone. Then Temple is all Hindu stuff, and we can say that it is at least heavy handed, or at worst downright racist in places, although the villagers themselves are portrayed very positively. But importantly, for Lucas et al, the agency of the Hindu deities is absolutely as real as that of the Hebrew deity in Raiders—a manifestation perhaps of the perennialist approach to religion as promoted by the Eranos school, and the writings of Jung, Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade. Significantly, Lucas was inspired by Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Masks, upon which Star Wars was built. But then… back to Christian imagery for Last Crusade. Except, even more so. Indy becomes a sort of Christ figure, rather than the tomb raider-esque rogue of before. So the tour of objects which embody various hierophanies is over. All we get is a bunch of platitudes about meek-and-mild Jesus’ rubbish old cup. Bah.
…Alright, it does have its good points. Especially the best line in the film, improvised by Denholm Elliot: “Water? No thank you sir. Fish make love in it.”
The marketing world has reacted with dismay to today’s news that every possible variation on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster has now been produced and is on sale somewhere in the UK. The poster, produced during the second World War – though never used – was virtually forgotten before it began to re-appear as a framed print in interior decorating magazines around 2007. It seemed to catch the spirit of the times, and has since joined the likes of “Frankie says [blank]”, “Love is… [blank]”, “[blank] on board” and “[blank]s do it [blank]” in the popular unconscious of the Great British Public.
“We don’t know quite why it took off the way it has,” a source told us. “Despite a brief flurry of ‘Dig For Victory’ memorabilia in 1999, none of the other WW2 posters have been popular. No-one seems to want Careless Talk Costs Lives on their wall, and we’ve a whole warehouse full of rotting Make Do and Mend T-shirts we can’t shift.”
But take off it has; Gary Barlow’s new volume of memoirs is called Keep Calm and Gary On, Pinewood Studios are to make a new Carry On film, set during the war, Carry On Keep Calm and Carry On, and the new retrospective from enfant terrible-cum-elder statesman of the Brit Art scene, Damien Hirst, is entitled Keep Calm and Fuck Off.
“Things seem bleak now” our source told us, “But it’s only a matter of time before the next mildly amusing catchphrase which we can sell over and over comes along. Until then we’ll just have to keep… um, calm and… shit.”
Occasionally funny but inexplicably bitter Channel 4 panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats this week featured a sequence where they mocked my favourite Texas-based paleoconservative conspiracist radio host and film-maker, Alex Jones:
No, the other Alex Jones:
And he’s not happy. He appears to believe it’s the most popular show in the UK, and that it demonstrates that mainstream TV promotes a slave mentality. Personally I think it’s remarkable that he could even appear on mainstream TV in the UK: