(Tis the season to be jolly - continued)
As one critic ( Charlie Jane Anders) put it, "seeing a horrendous movie on this level is, for some of us, a quasi-religious experience, in which the cheesy dialogues, crappy philosophizing and dime-store visual effects are like a form of torture that enables us to glimpse the face of God. "
But enough about American politics.
As Quinty will tell you, the 2010 election devolved in its closing days into a battle---familiar in American history and high school alike---over who’s stupid, and who’s a snob.
The Tea Party, has been, if nothing else, a useful and most convenient distraction for the GOP and the Obama administration alike. Much better to siphon the base's energy into circling the wagon and defending the President against such nonsense as questions about his birth certificate, or accusations of being a muslim or a commie or both (not to mention Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Genghis Khan all rolled into one) than to have people look too closely over, as other critics have dubbed it, the fake fight over the fake health care reform.
As Paul Valery famously put it, Politics is the art of "forcing people to make a choice about things of which they have no proper understanding" and preventing them "from sticking their noses in things that are properly their business."
As for the Tea Party movement itself, this particular political situation is very interesting from a psychology-of-the-mob point of view. The Tea Party might as well have pitchforks and torches. Everybody understands Washington is rotten to the core, but everybody wonders why the Tea Party chose this administration to voice their outrage, rather than when the very same, if not worse situation, was prevailing under a president they elected? Why wait to unleash their fury on a president who is only going along with the policies instituted before him?
All in all, strategists expect that all the madness and obfuscation will serve Obama in 2012, especially if the Tea Party movement, as they expect, tugs the GOP toward the right.
David Axelrod is thinking in similar terms. In broad strokes, he argues, Obama will benefit in 2012 because the election will be framed less as a referendum on the nation’s direction and more as a choice against a Republican alternative. “The hardest thing in politics is to be measured against yourself,” he said. But in 2012, "these voters, and all voters, will be faced with a choice. And I view that as an opportunity."
I rest my case.
Which brings us back to Nicholas Cage----did I mention the "Sorcerer's Apprentice," and what a ridiculous movie that was?
But, hey, I don't go to the movies to talk politics---not in this particular instance, anyway. Every so often, I like to catch a flick for the sheer dépaysement, i.e. the unexpected, the unusual, the exotic, the change of scenery, the NEW HORIZONS fiction sometimes can deliver.
The great thing about cultural constructs such as fiction provides is that they do remind us that our so-called daily reality too is built upon cultural constructs---especially when it comes to politics!
Speaking of politics, one may wonder why the aggregated reviews of the pundits on the Tomatometer (i.e. the certified members of various writing guilds or film critic associations) gave a movie like Season of the Witch such a measly score (hovering between 3 and 7%), while the same pundits saw fit to give The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010) distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, a whopping 43%, when so clearly both movies are equally bad.
Hmm... the answer is probably in the question.
I, for one, would be at a loss to decide which one of the two was worse. At least, I did manage to stay awake during Season of the Witch. Did I mention Claire Foy ♥ is starring in it? Last time I checked, the general audiences seemed to agree: the review aggregator places Sorcerer's Apprentice at 59% and Season of The Witch at 60% (though, in my opinion, 25% and 26%---a most generous rating---would have been more like it.)
Everything is political or not, I guess.
A point that Charlie Jane judiciously drives home in her review:
"Is killing in God's name always wrong — or is it only wrong when you're not facing zombie monks, shapeshifting wolfy creatures that look like they're ripping off Twilight, and a flaming CG demon? This is an important philosophical question, one which we all have to examine in our own lives, and Season of the Witch makes a stab (so to speak) at addressing it, before finally giving up."
If you ask me, Charlie Jane did it all wrong - I quote: "Maybe it's just the double espresso and the bag full of chocolate-covered speed pills talking, but I walked out of this film feeling like I'd seen a new classic of bad movie-making."
She should have taken Tom Huddleston's advice---the part about getting inebriated.
Season of the Witch was by no means a good movie.
And it was not such a godawful movie as the pundits have been making it, either.
Still---and even under the influence---whatever charm Season of The Witch might have held over some of its more lenient audiences (Did I mention Claire Foy is starring in it?) the movie does collapse one quarter towards the end---when the party reaches the Abbey. Until then, there was still some hope this could have been a very different movie.
I don't know what I was hoping for.
A cross between "The name of the Rose" and "Ladyhawke," perhaps?