Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spermboys, Pit Bulls, and Second Chances

Even the most devoted of us common sense conservatives trying to clear Gov. Palin’s path to the White House has to pause every now and again to, as the young people say, “chill out”. Last night, with my two liberal and so-called progressive friends (who said we common sense conservatives are intolerant?) Janet and Nathan, I watched The Kids Are All Right, which has made every Ten Best of 2010 list in sight. I loathed it.

Teen children of a lesbian couple seek out their mom’s sperm donor, a motorcycle-riding organic restauranteur. One of the moms has an affair with him. The other mom is hurt and angry. The two teenaged children feel betrayed (as teenaged children do pretty much regardless of what happens, of course). The two moms remember that marriages and families are hard work, and figure out a way to reconcile. The end.

Performances by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the moms: good enough to make you feel sorry for their having to work with a rotten script that contains exactly one interesting revelation: that some lesbians sometimes enjoy watching gay porn by virtue, if I got Moore’s character’s explanation right, of men being sexually protuberant. Performance by Mark Ruffalo as Spermboy: far short of mediocre. Photography and set direction: About on a par with Ruffalo’s performance as Spermboy, which is to say the first thing that struck me about the movie was how very ugly it was, how the camera seemed over and over to have been positioned at random.

I have long believed that, if you don’t count Keanu Reeves, who’s in a class all his own, Nicolas Cage is the worst actor of his generation. At least he takes chances, though; indeed, sometimes his awfulness is absolutely riveting. I’d much rather watch him than a non-entity like Ruffalo, about whom you can say nothing more laudatory than that he’s apparently able to remember his lines. He suggests no life beyond the scene in which he’s appearing, has no depth, is never interesting or surprising. You’ve heard movie stars described as so charismatic that it’s impossible not to watch them when they’re on screen, whether or not they’re speaking? Well, I find myself watching everything and everybody but Ruffalo. How does such a guy keep getting cast?

Here. I’ve done it. I’ve thought of someone as bad — the guy who played Ally McBeal’s love interest on television, Gil Bellows. And he was a Canadian.

I would never have dreamed a movie could make me long for Cameron Diaz’s self-delightedly ditzy singing, but the scene in Kids during which Benning’s and Ruffalo’s characters sing Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” over dinner managed it.

I blame myself. I should have known, as a common sense conservative, that a movie about deviates wouldn’t work for me.

In other news, the Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, formerly known for wearing a bow tie, spoke for a great many of us on Tuesday when he objected to President Obama’s commending the Philadelphia Eagles football team for giving a second chance to Michael Vick, who raised pit bulls to tear one another’s throats out. “Now, I’m a Christian,” Carlson said. “I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick…should’ve been executed…”

Naturally, the liberals and so-called progressives have been having a field day with this, pointing out that we common sense conservative Christians almost invariably append a statement beginning with but to such declarations as "I believe in second chances".

Yet another case of the LSCPs just not getting it! There is no logical inconsistency whatever in believing in second chances only for those who genuinely deserve them, just as there is none in believing unwaveringly in freedom of speech only for those who don’t wantonly abuse it. That one believes, for instance, that a television evangelist who has allowed himself to be seduced by a shapely young secretary obviously placed in his path by Satan himself should have a chance to redeem himself in no way compels him or her to believe that a person of color who has sanctioned dog-fighting deserves a comparable opportunity.

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