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Chewing the Fat of the Celluloid Succubus
Ranting correspondence between two Fiends about Film. VOLUME I: "Training Day"
From: Jake McGee
To: Bob Freville
Sent: Monday, February 3, 2003 9:20 AM
“Say, you ever watch Scent of a Woman on weed?” Actually, I still haven’t seen that one. I did see (fucking bought it like a dill-punk) Training Day last night. Tell me this- is it just me, or do movies like these suck nowadays? I still think Bad Boys is pretty cool, as I do Die Hard, Ricochet, etc. etc. But what the fuck?! All these movies that hint of violence just downright suck! I don’t know, maybe I’m missing something, but what is so great about Training Day? And where was all this violence I was told of? Must be the Jews, I tell ya…
Kiss The Midget,
From: Bob Freville
To: Jake McGee
Sent: Tuesday, February 4, 2003 12:06 AM
I didn’t think it sucked as bad as you say, but I could see how you would be disappointed. That fact that Denzel won an Academy Award while Sean Penn was left in the dust for his role as SAM!!!! is proof enough that racial equality is totally off-kilter. In fact, if I may be so bold, I think that what most people view as a giant step toward equality is really a shift from one end of the spectrum to the other. All that the Academy’s African-American agenda proved was mankind’s inability to reach racial congruity. This seemingly rigged roster of black winners, many of whom didn’t deserve diddly squat, just goes to show that we don’t pride ourselves on a rainbow of diversity. We simply single each other out more in an effort to co-opt one another’s hubris. Am I confusing you? Let me explain myself more clearly. Whitey is definitely responsible for all sorts of Bad, that is irrefutable. And I definitely would not care to be lumped into that category in this lifetime. We have enslaved, exploited, capitalized, betrayed, robbed, raped and disenfranchised a cross-section of different races, sexes, etc. Hell, the white man even does it to his own tribe in the name of exalting himself within the Hierarchy. But now that we live in politically-conscious times, we draw up all sorts of laws to provide for other cultural entities we alienated, damaged or ostracized in the past.
Once it became clear that we were equal, we devised new ways to flaunt this equality. Only problem is, in doing so, we have flipped the animal on its back. Now people are even less equal than they were before or, in the very least, weirder. The black man, at least the men and women of color who represent their tribe, act white, frequent white jobs and basically domesticate, adjusting to the evil white Hierarchy themselves. And when it comes down to rewarding or awarding people who do great things, the white man is so afraid fo a lynching (isn’t it ironic?) or being called biased that he must give it to all minorities. Which is why Sam took a back seat to the emotionally shallow, pugnacious Alonzo.
To make a long story short, it is all made clear in Halle Berry’s acceptance speech, in which she orates about what a proud day it is for American-Americans. Not people, mind you, African-Americans. Then they shower us in visuals of all the great black stars of yesteryear, many of whom didn’t have the integrity to realize that they were playing two-dimensional butler/shoe-shining roles way back when. Now I hate to sound like Trent Lott because we all know that Lex Sativa represents the Ghetto. But what the fuck?! What in Sam Hell is wrong with this picture? Don’t say you want to be equal if you want to be better.
Back to the subject at hand, which I can see I have deviated from quite self-indulgently, Training Day was good and bad. It was good if you can get past the usual clichés (skinny white boy triumphing in a ghetto that would normally swallow him whole? Thugs calling Ethan Hawke “dogg”? Washington using “nigga” like it is going out of style) and see it for what it is when it is stripped bare: A tale of good and evil directed by the numbers. Ultimately, it is a throwback to the Bible. That might sound funny, but think about it. Hawke is the sheep and he’s told that he needs to be a wolf. Hawke is repeatedly belabored by this and that, but in the end, he chooses the path less traveled for the sake of keeping his dignity in an insane world. Call me sentimental (actually, don’t call me that, ya bastard!), but I like that sort of thing. The only thing I really couldn’t stomach was the burning question…why didn’t Alonzo let Dr. Dre ice the rookie during the drug bust sequence? Why was he saving him for later?
I guess that answers all your questions and gives the press plenty of dirt should I ever run for office. So there ya go. I am off to bed. When I wake up, I will dye my skin brown and convert to homosexuality. Then maybe, just maybe…I will be a STAR!!!
From: Jake McGee
To: Bob Freville
Sent: Tuesday, February 4, 2003 9:42 AM
If Dre would have shot Jake (Ethan Hawke), it would have not only contaminated the crime scene, but it would have presented a serious problem to cover up, and especially since the police were on their way to the house, it wouldn’t have been good. However, you’ll notice that soon thereafter (I believe in the next scene, outside of the house) that Alonzo is on his cell phone, and he ends the call by saying, “make sure the bathtub’s clean.” Of course, Hawke soon finds himself in a bathtub, with a shotgun all up in his grill piece…
Ah, yes, the sad fact is that, unless he converts to a lesbian, Sean Penn will never get an Oscar in this lifetime. He’s too hated, for reasons beyond me. Personally, all I recall to warrant such scorn is allegations from Madonna of being tied up and beat, and how no one seemed to comment that Madonna seems like the type to enjoy (if not beg for) such high jinx is also beyond me. Sure, he could have very well been abusive to her, and this is fucked up, but all I recall is one particular incident that showed up on the cover of The Enquirer and Globe and Star etc.
Anyway, not to vindicate him from shit, just that people seem to automatically hate Penn, and therefore I suspect he’ll never get due recognition from the Academy. He kicked ass in I Am Sam, but then again, he’s white, and therefore already privileged, right?
Yeah, this is where I have a similar qualm. It goes without saying that, throughout the course of History, European Males have been the shittiest motherfuckers around, and practically all other definitions of peoples have fallen victim to the White Man’s greed and persecution. That said, why should I have to suffer for something my great great great great uncle did (even though I can’t trace any such atrocities anywhere along the McGee chain)? Never mind the fact that my grandfather established the first bricklayers’ union (still around) in Pittsburgh, which insisted on membership based on HARD WORK AND NOTHING ELSE (i.e. “affirmative action” was not necessary, since if you worked hard, you got a damn good job, plain and simple). This was the first time in Pittsburgh’s history that a work force was mixed of color, and it set an example for all other labor forces in Pittsburgh, nut just brick laying.
Never mind the fact that, until I went to a PUBLIC SCHOOL (10th grade), I never consciously acknowledged a difference between a “black” person and a “white” person. Never dawned on me that it was beyond appearance. Of course, once I fell in contact with the brilliance of these “politically correct” motherfuckers, I learned that the color of your skin determines your worth in this world.
Now, the tables are most certainly turned upside down. I’ve lost employment because of the color of my skin, and this time it was at the calling of the very union that was supposed to protect me. Go figure…
Now, as for Training Day, I guess it didn’t completely suck, but it was a real let down. The only thing that kept me guessing was that I expected Washington’s character to eventually redeem himself, for I’m not used to seeing Denzel play a Bad Guy. This had practically nothing to do with this particular movie, but rather Denzel’s prior roles. By the way, I though it was kind in the deleted scenes when Alonzo shows Jake a picture of his black ass from his rookie years, and the photo is from Ricochet.
Anyway, the only reason the movie wasn’t blatantly predictable is because I assumed that Denzel was a good guy, based on all the characters he’s played in the past. If Wesley Snipes or Larenz Tate or Clifton Powell or even Sam Jackson played the role of Alonzo, I would not have tried to ignore the obvious shadiness.
I will say that Training Day was filled with all sorts of subtle redemption, and in fact in damn near every facet except the one I expected (Alonzo). The “ghetto niggers” actually behaving like humans, and not busting the bluck bluck bling in Jake’s cracker ass, nor Alonzo’s for that matter. The SA’s having some level of dignity and a sense of Honor. Of course, even though the White Man is displayed as a shady fuck (slimy double-crossing motherfuckers at the lunch), keep in mind that Ethan’s character was part Latino, and therefore he was not pure. Thus, the White Man didn’t truly prevail in the end of Training Day.
Yeah, it was clever, the symbolism of the Sheep beating the Wolf on the Sheep’s terms, but it was just far too hyped up for me. On that note, forget everything I’ve said about Spun and The Hebrew Hammer.
Gotta Let Your Nuts Hang,
From: Bob Freville
To: Jake McGee
Sent: Wednesday, February 5, 2003 12:54 AM
I agree with most of what you have said. Although I did figure out ahead of time that Denzel wasn’t going to be squeaky clean just by the trailers which constantly shoved that “King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me!” line down our
throats 24/7. I will say this: Antoine Fuqua did a better job with his previous directorial effort Bait starring Jamie Foxx. That was a good film if you can tolerate formulaic action comedies. Jeff Donovan of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was a stand-out in a cameo as one of a pair of dim-witted hustler brothers.