Monday, August 14, 2017

It's preventable, that's the worst part.

It's late summer of 2017, and when I turned on the news this weekend, the flickering headline said three dead at white nationalist rally. Being that my kids were already asleep, I was able to watch the footage for a few minutes, and all I could think to myself was how f--ked up this godforsaken country is. How I absolutely dread where we're headed...

...moments after kissing the cheek of my precious four-year old girl. Seriously, where am I supposed to find comfort in this world, when I'm the father of such a little kid? Where's my solace?

Oh, right. This level of awfulness?

It's nothing new.

I wasn't super excited to see Detroit this past Tuesday, but I'm increasingly glad I did. It's rare that my wife and I get a night to ourselves, and I knew she wanted to see something light and fun. Yeah, about that. See, shocking no one, Kathryn Bigelow's latest? It's the direct f--king opposite. 

It's late summer of 1967, and after the police raid an unlicensed club in downtown Detroit, hauling out many African American veterans in the process, tensions between the police and the people on the street escalate exponentially. Despite being encouraged to chill the f--k out by community leadership, the crowd turns violent and rioting and looting erupts.

The next day, as local police and national guardsmen patrol the city, the film's action picks up with an officer named Krauss pursuing a looter. The dude flees on foot, and instead of letting him go, Krauss shoots him in the back. Multiple times. By the time Krauss gets back to the station, he is informed that murder will be indeed, the case they give him. Inexplicably, however, he's allowed to finish his shift.

Well, at least he'll probably play it cool, right? Being that his ass is most definitely grass, right?

Right? *crickets*

This should end well.
Krauss is going to eventually wind up at the Algiers Motel, where police are responding to the threat of sniper fire. Also at the Algiers are Larry and Fred, two young dudes fresh from an abruptly cancelled concert nearby. Larry is the lead singer of The Dramatics, a sweet quintet with dreams of signing with Motown, while Fred is something akin to their manager/hype-man/utility infielder. These two guys are simply trying to keep their chins up after a blown chance, and their heads down in all the chaos.

Keeping our main dudes company (/also captive at the Algiers) are two white chicks named Brittany and Tiffany Karen and Julie, Greene - an army veteran, and few other dudes just chillin' out tryin' to have a good time. Oh, and there's this security guard named Dismukes kind of milling around, too. But I'm not 100% sure how that guy fits in (the best I can do is right place, wrong time).

Unfortunately (and rather obviously), this night is not going to end well. Not even for the people that make it out alive. Krauss and his partner(s) not only cross the line but f--king obliterate it. It would appear (to them?) that they're looking for justice, but these racist a-holes either aren't smart enough, or don't give a shit, about the best way to go about finding the truth. In the end, three people will be needlessly killed.

Speaking of things that should never ever happen, here are the Yays and Boos. As unsettling as this entire film is, it's also incredibly compelling. And I hate to use the t word, but for f--k's sake, it certainly speaks to the world we live in today. Seems we haven't learned much in the last fifty years, huh?

Uh, there's nothing to cheer about here.
Um...her dress was cool...I guess. 
  • The opening sequence literally paints the picture of where we're about to find ourselves. And yes, that's a terrible pun.
  • Why do we all dress like sloppy a-holes right now? Honestly. Like, 85% of these dudes looked so f--king dapper, you know?  I go to work looking like an asshole, and they're in the middle of a riot looking incredible.
  • Okay, there's a point where one dude is basically using the overwhelming tragedy of what's occurring outside to try and get laid. Hahaha... apparently, yet another example of how we'll never change.
  • Dude, my man-crush on Anthony Mackie is getting out of hand. This dude shows up for five minutes, and I'm nothing short of ecstatic. Like, shit is hitting the fan left and right, and I'm like, no, no. It's going to be okay. Falcon's got this. *'flies' around theater like an asshole*
  • Not everybody in authority is the worst, as there's a super-clutch National Guardsman that appears like a f--king magician out of nowhere. And if you're thinking how do you commend someone for being a decent person and doing their actual job well, let me just tell you...uh...yeah. I've got nothing.
  • Man, the lead homicide detective is a real ball-buster, right? I thought that guy was gonna leap through the screen and send my candy-ass to prison. And I didn't do anything. But I'm copping to whatever he's saying, you know?
  • There's a point at the end when one of our guys flees the Algiers and runs into two cops on patrol. I instantly felt like he wasn't safe and that they were going to hurt him even further...but they didn't. This feeling? This awful f--king uncertainty? I felt it. And in that moment alone, I thought this film did its job exceedingly well.
  • And finally, while I'm not really a huge fan of based on true events flicks... this one is so tightly wound I can't help but to support it. Even if some parts are left unexplained, and some other parts perhaps over explained, Bigelow and her crew recreate the chaos with a deft touch. We're just dropped in there, and left to fend for ourselves. It's visceral, alarming and eye-opening. Probably not much more you could ask for from a film like this.
I'm gonna apologize to Will Poulter now.
I mean, I'm assuming that one day...maybe in a year or so...
...somebody is going to punch him in the face.
  • I'm sorry, but I've never understood how in any situation, destroying the place you live in will somehow make it better. I'm not (totally f--king) stupid, it's more about the anger than finding peace, but it still makes no f--king sense. Going somewhere else and wrecking shit? Now, that I'd get.
  • Holy f--king shit, I'm going to assume that awfulness with the tank was based on reality, right? How was that even possible? Where's that girl's movie? [my 'research' has led me to the name of Tanya Blanding...whose death (at 4 years old) in the film is awful in every way possible]
  • Larry singing his song, and nailing it, to an empty room was quietly heart-breaking at the time. But by the end of the film, there's nothing quiet about it.
  • I'm talking out of my ass, clearly, but if I'm on a bus in the middle of a riot, I'm thinking getting off the damn bus isn't the greatest of plans. Actually, I'm asking the driver if he's seen Speed, and trying to buddy up with Gigantor.
  • You ever been at a party and guys start doing some stupid shit? Well, I haven't...been to a party...but I can imagine I wouldn't be all that stoked to see two guys I don't really know pretend to shoot each other. Also: this scene scared the shit out of my wife (which is kind of a Yay...).
  • But pretending to shoot your asshole friend ain't all that bad, with what our boy Carl decides to pretend to shoot at next. Just a horrible f--king call, man. Like, the worst.
  • Defend yourself. There's not much I really want to hear a police officer say, but those two words might just be at the very bottom of the list.
  • Oh, thank God. The State Troopers are here--- wait, what the f--k? They're leaving? Well at least the Guard is here. Wait, what? 
  • Oh, man. The shrieking. The f--king shrieking.
  • Um, Jim from The Office shows up. Not only did I think the movie was over prior to his appearance,'s totally jarring seeing this massive goofball playing it serious. Like, I half expected him to look into the camera and raise his eyebrows.
  • Dismukes, the somewhat random security guard, ends up getting arrested. And as infuriating as this is, so is how the film handles its resolution. It's pretty much, nah...he's fine now.
  • The press in unbelievably horrible at the end of the trial. Just...unfathomably awful.
  • But clearly, nothing is worse than what ultimately happens to the police officers. Yeah, I'd like to Boo everything about these guys, but their horrid actions are the movie, you know? That shit goes without saying.
  • And finally, the main problem I have with this movie, or any movie taking a real event and filling in the blanks, is exactly that. We as the audience, Hell, the people who lived it (or who lost family members to the events depicted), make some pretty harsh f--king conclusions about what we're shown, and it always pains me that some of this is simply the work of a writer. I know I'm not articulating this clearly (surprise!), but I always feel like this is a slippery slope at best. Sure, it's better the story be told mostly true than not at all, but when you start to guess about a given scene or a certain line...the whole thing can feel a bit disingenuous, at least to me.
These last few days, well, they've been very, very hard for me. This f--king nonsense in my own country, as well as how it's been handled from the top, has been sickening. And that's on top of some dire shit in my own family. Something has happened that's unbelievably tragic and it's safe to say, sides have clearly been drawn, you know? 

And just as it's presented in Detroit, when you lay it all out there, there is only one side in a situations like these, right? 

No. There's two. And there always has been.

And that's the f--king problem.


  1. I was with you on Dismukes. I never quite knew why he was there. I feel bad about saying that because he's a real dude, but he felt so out of place.

    I thought the film was messy but I'm glad I watched it. Great review!

    1. I know, right? He's a real guy...but his existence in this story seems totally illogical. I mean, I know why he was there...but c'mon. WHY WAS HE THERE?

      Totally with you. I'm actually liking it more the farther away I get from it.

  2. So sorry to read something happened in your family.

    I've seen what is going on in US in the news and I'm just stunned that organizations like that can be formed and have rallies, it should be illegal. The worst thing though is that there are still people like that who actually have views like that and have absolutely no shame and they actually express them loudly and proudly. This whole world is going down the shitter rapidly.

    1. Margaret, it's so f--king bad (and crazy) what happened, I want to write about it just as much as I never want to think about it. I haven't dealt with it, but I don't think anybody in my family has. But I appreciate you saying that, even if I'm being a cryptic weirdo.

      I'm not even really interested in bringing politics to my silly blog, but we're getting to a point where it permeates everything. Especially when you see a flick like Detroit and it only reinforces how little progress we've made.