August 20, 2009

"The Hurt Locker"

You should definitely pay the extra dollar or two to see it in a state of the art movie theater with full sub-sonic audio system. Then, sit in the back row because you'll get what you pay for: this story of insanely courageous U.S. Army bomb-disposal guys in Iraq is loud.

I've loved director Kathryn Bigelow, who is like a 6'-tall real life version of one of James Cameron's butt-kicking babes (she's one of Cameron's countless ex-wives), since 1991's "Point Break," which featured a hat-trick of Hollywood's most cerebral-looking leading men -- Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, and Gary Busey -- as surfing bankrobbers.

Bigelow's shtick is a little like Patti Smith's or Chrissie Hynde's in rock music a generation ago: being an admiring but slightly astounded outside observer of masculinity at its most unhinged.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

47 comments:

albertosaurus said...

Anyone who has a decent Dolby 5.1 HT system can just adjust their sub woofer. I keep looking at those chair shakers too.

I was planning to rent "Midway" from Amazon VOD. Charleton Heston made two movies "Midway" and "Earthquake" that used big Cerwin Vega Vega woofers to simulate naval fire and earth quakes respectively.

This was the "wave of the future" back in the seventies. In the Bay Area the Northpoint theater was the only venue that had these big woofers. Alas they are now closed and no one has that kind of equipment installed that I know of.

It was kind of fun. Suddenly the woofers would cut loose and everyone in the audience would vibrate. It wasn't much like a real earthquake. I don't have any experience with battleship guns.

But not to worry, I can get the same sound pressure levels at home now.

DCThrowback said...

I saw the Hurt Locker about a month ago and I loved it. That being said, 5 gentlemen I work with all hated it. What makes these 5 gentlemen unique is that all 5 of them are Army EOD(Explosive Ordnance Disposal) qualified (I am one of two office mates who are not).

I agreed with all critics who enjoyed the movie. The movie is about the war, but not really. It's about a guy who is so engulfed and so good at his craft that it pervades his existence - everything else is mundane compared to the science (art?) or bomb disposal. I am no simpleton - I know that the guys who do this for a living don't go through a lot of what the characters in the movie go through - but I also like to be entertained. And The Hurt Locker did that in spades.

As a former military officer, I swallowed a lot of scenes in the film that were not likely to occur in "real life" (leaving the base without escort? leaving a bomb scene to chase insurgents? picking up 7 155mm rocket rounds?), but I am willing to swallow some "hollywood-ism" for the result, which is a great story, some awesome action scenes and some realism of what it's like to serve in Iraq during the rise of the counterinsurgency. I thought David Morse's appearance was just awesome as an O-6 who is mighty impressed with a particular mission. "You're shit hot!"

If anyone in this thread has some EOD questions, I'd be happy to answer them - it's an incredible program and the men and women who do it for a living have my enduring respect. 60,000 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan attest to the importance of what they provide to maneuver elements on the battlefield. You can learn more about the EOD Memorial at Eglin AFB (it's multiservice) here: http://www.eodmemorial.org/.

I echo Steve's sentiments: Please see this movie. You will be entertained.

John Derbsyhire said...

In my brief & casual acquaintance with the military life, I was once at a range course in England, at an army base then used only for transient course attendees. Another group at the camp was from Bomb Disposal. They were elitism squared, dressed as they pleased, talked only to each other -- worse than the bloody SAS. Little wiry guys all, I don't know why. For a while there I wanted to do BD, before a little voice kicked in: ARE YOU NUTS?

flint said...

"Point Break" is a classic. An excellent movie that brings back fond memories of childhood.

Both the premise of the film and the men cast in the leading roles are ridiculous, but it all works out and is entertaining as hell.

It's also probably Gary Busey's best performance next to The Buddy Holly Story.

Steve Sailer said...

Gary Busey is also great as Mr. Joshua in Lethal Weapon.

Anonymous said...

Steve I hope you review this when it comes out in a few months.

kudzu bob said...

Don't forget Kathryn Bigelow's "Near Dark," the best damn movie about redneck vampires ever made. Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen are superb. Even now, when the whole bloodsucker genre's become so uncool as to be radioactive, her film still holds up.

I wouldn't mind being Kathryn Bigelow's obsessed fanboy stalker, but hey, these days who's got the time?

Anonymous said...

Steve, Gary Busey was an FBI agent, not a bank robber, in "Point Break."

tasmanian said...

"Steve, Gary Busey was an FBI agent, not a bank robber, in "Point Break.""

Well they go undercover as surfers. At least Keanu Reeves's character 'Johnny Utah' does. Can't remember if Busey's ridiculously named character 'Angelo Pappas' does or not though.

Fred said...

There was a British miniseries shown on PBS about 25 years ago about British bomb disposals guys during WWII. I think it was called, "Danger: UXB". It was pretty good.

Near Dark was a great vampire movie.

stari_moamk said...

Point Break?!?

Was that the one with Swayze as 'Bhoddi' and the 1000 year storm and the black surfboard?!? The one that HBO used to play, oh, 15 times a week.

Worst movie ever. Obviously made by people totally unfamiliar with California surf culture. Looking at the cast, they didn't even bother to get any real surfers for cameos, etc. Tells you all you need to know.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting on that John Hughes obituary.

Anonymous said...

South o' the Border Vibrancy Alert:

Pollie shot dead, severed heads found
From correspondents in Mexico City
Agence France-Presse
August 21, 2009 08:41pm
news.com.au

THE leader of congress of Mexico's southern state of Guerrero was shot dead in his car, while three human heads showed up in ice coolers elsewhere in the state, officials said today...

Anonymous said...

"Bigelow's shtick is a little like Patti Smith's or Chrissie Hynde's in rock music a generation ago: being an admiring but slightly astounded outside observer of masculinity at its most unhinged."

Two thoughts:

1.) I can't believe its already a generation ago. Am I really that old?

2.)I always thought Chrissie Hynde did a pretty good job herself at the unhinged masculinity thing, not as an outside observer, but as a female insider with uniquely testosterony personality. Example: the Pretender's song "Middle of the Road."

Anonymous said...

So I rented the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Is there anyone who casts Nordics as consistently as Cameron? I didn't even check to see who's actually credited for casting, because it's obvious he got the message. At this point I find it impossible to think the trend can be anything but deliberate. Dr. Silberman even got replaced with a blue-eyed white-haired pinkskin.

On T and Point Break, don't forget John McGinley, the guy who scared everyone on the set of Office Space. I love that guy.

Bigelow's looks remind me of the female lead from The Postman, more similar to people I've seen from central Europe than England.

dearieme said...

In the 70s I knew of a WWII bomb disposal officer. Before the cleaners arrived his secretary would sneak into his office to remove the gin bottle from his waste paper basket.

Anonymous said...

I caught Kathryn Bigelow on the Cobert Report last week. I was surprised by how feminine she appeared given the position she holds in Hollywood. If accurate, it might explain her unusual perspective on the world of testosterone jacked men.

Point Break was also on last week in the wee hours on a Showtime channel. I sprayed coffee through my nose reading Steve's "Cerebral-looking leading men" comment. This, having a fresh recall of Keanu Reeves as a pot head surfer dude channeling Bill and Ted in the role of a FBI agent going undercover as a pot head surfer dude. Does it get any better?

It does for Gary Busey

TCO said...

Gary Busey had played a surfer (along with Jan Micheal Vincent) in Big Wednesday. Go see that flick. I kinda though the Busey casting and a few remarks hearkened back to that flick.

I thought the Hurt Locker was good entertainment also and a good story. I can understand those who felt it was "Hollywood" in that while realistic in some areas (the bomb factory movements for example) that the frequent breaks in protocol were unlikely. It was still good fun and also made you think about a few things like what the hell are we doing over there. THe smile on the guy's face as he went back for his second tour was classic (and something that has been written about for other soldiers).

Marc B said...

Glad to see the Kathryn Bigelow mention. Point Break was awesome on multiple levels, and I like seeing her development as a director (far too little work, she should have been less picky about projects). She is also a gorgeous and fit Fifty.

Michael said...

I second and third the enthusiasm for "The Hurt Locker" (and "Point Break" too). It's a tense and exciting little war movie. Zero politics, by the way, which is great. I don't know that Bigelow has much on her mind. But who cares? she's majorly turned on by the way guy-guys are often drawn to derring-do, she's majorly talented, and her excitement really conveys itself in some of the movies she makes.

"The Hurt Locker" may be a humdinger, it also seems to me to have one of the worst titles ever. New game: The best movies with the worst titles. I can't come up with a better example than "The Hurt Locker," can you?

Svigor said...

The "Nordics" comment was mine, forgot to sign my name.

Best movie/worst title?

Blade Runner's got to be top dog in that category.

Svigor said...

On T and Point Break, don't forget John McGinley, the guy who scared everyone on the set of Office Space. I love that guy.

Which reminds me of another Big-T Point Break player, forget his name, the undercover narc all pissed at Reeves and Busey for screwing up his bust, the guy with the tat, the one who played a bad cop in Natural Born Killers and a bad robber in Heat (picked up a little girl to use as a human shield); IIRC he's the one who beats his wife in real life.

keypusher said...

I always thought Chrissie Hynde did a pretty good job herself at the unhinged masculinity thing, not as an outside observer, but as a female insider with uniquely testosterony personality. Example: the Pretender's song "Middle of the Road."

Well said. Your comment also applies in spades to just about the entire first Pretenders album.

josh said...

I remember when I saw "Trip To Bountiful". Whoa,my ears were ringing all day!

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, the chick from Point Break, Lori Petty, was just ├╝ber-hawt.

Fast-forward 18 years, and [apparently] she's still single, never-married, and childless [at the age of 45, going on 46].

Hollywood takes in these hot young Shiksas, chews them up, and spits them out as old barren spinsters.

Fred said...

"So I rented the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Is there anyone who casts Nordics as consistently as Cameron? I didn't even check to see who's actually credited for casting, because it's obvious he got the message."

Svigor,

James Cameron had little if any involvement in the series Terminator: TSCC (a great show, btw). The creator/show-runner/executive producer/head writer was Josh Friedman.

Glad you like the Jew-approved casting decisions!

bruce said...

Most cerebral-
Least cerebral-
Typo, or decisive rethink?

Svigor said...

Glad you like the Jew-approved casting decisions!

Hey, whatever works. But the consistency's there, and it's Cameron's property...

Svigor said...

And so far it's not too bad (I'd like to kick everyone involved in the writer's strike in the nuts, yet another show they gored; 11 episodes down the tubes, from a series canceled after the second season). I particularly enjoyed the part where Glau walked down the stairs as the Mafiya hit men were walking up, laugh out loud funny (the level of schmaltz in American television and cinema, including Chronicles, is cloying).

gwood said...

"Which reminds me of another Big-T Point Break player, forget his name..."
Tom Sizemore.
Today's fun fact: In February 2005, he failed a court-ordered drug test after he was caught trying to use a prosthetic penis to fake the results, the second time he has been caught trying this.
I like the show Masterminds. There have been several bank robbers who were inspired in their choice of careers by Point Break.

Fred said...

One thing I liked about TSCC was that the writers didn't feel compelled to make every episode hyperkinetic, and they let the show breathe. It's a series, so you might as well let some drama build. At its best, the show was excellent. It's peak was probably the episode "Self Made Man" which even Sailer would probably like, for its flashback scenes in old time Los Angeles.

Anonymous said...

Hollywood takes in these hot young Shiksas, chews them up, and spits them out as old barren spinsters.

I just googled Kathyrn Bigelow, and I can't find any record that she had children, either.

What a tragedy.

Templar said...

I particularly enjoyed the part where Glau walked down the stairs as the Mafiya hit men were walking up

I refuse to watch TSCC on account of Summer Glau, whom I have loathed ever since being suckered into watching Serenity by a friend.

Fred said...

What was your problem with Serenity?

As for Summer Glau, I liked her better in TSCC. She plays a good robot.

Svigor said...

Why hate Glau? I mean, she's can't be too in-demand if she's let herself be so thoroughly typecast after just two gigs, but hate?

Serenity had a lot of anti-schmaltz moments. I love it when he kicks the henchman into the turbofan. If the guy had just kept his mouth shut, heh.

Templar said...

What was your problem with Serenity?

Joss Whedon.

Why hate Glau? I mean, she's can't be too in-demand if she's let herself be so thoroughly typecast after just two gigs, but hate?

Yep, hate. I loathe her sullen glare and despise the diminuitive killing machine type/human tank she's become known for playing.

Serenity had a lot of anti-schmaltz moments. I love it when he kicks the henchman into the turbofan.

And then you have thirty hulking psychopaths politely approaching waif-fu girl one by one so that she will not be overwhelmed in an instant. Good grief, I don't think I've ever had my suspension of disbelief shot to Hell faster, except perhaps with G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra asking me to believe that Rachel Nichols, playing a character who was supposed to have graduated from college at age 12, would display even the remotest hint of interest in a character played by Marlon @*$#ing Wayans.

Anonymous said...

To weave the two thread topics together: I know the Sarah Connor Chronicles writers socially, and it turns out that Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner was a contender for the Derek Reese role that ended up going to the surprisingly effective Brian Austin Green. Actually, Mr. Green is a good counterexample to Testing99's perpetual whining about hot chicks not digging beta males. The skinny goober from 90210 reinventing himself as a muscled babe magnet through Nietzschean force of will is the stuff of legend.
Also, the Sarah Connor Chronicles writers are a cranky, politically heterodox lot-- most of them are from the south or small towns, which probably explains the show's surprisingly pro-military, friendly to Christianity stance. It's also one of the few places where you people like middle-aged white nuclear engineers portrayed sympatheticallTo weave the two thread topics together: I know the Sarah Connor Chronicles writers socially, and it turns out that Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner was a contender for the Derek Reese role that ended up going to the surprisingly effective Brian Austin Green. Actually, Mr. Green is a good counterexample to Testing99's perpetual whining about hot chicks not digging beta males. The skinny goober from 90210 reinventing himself as a muscled babe magnet through Nietzschean force of will is the stuff of legend.
Also, the Sarah Connor Chronicles writers are a cranky, politically heterodox lot-- most of them are from the south or small towns, which probably explains the show's surprisingly pro-military, friendly to Christianity stance. It's also one of the few places where you people like middle-aged white nuclear engineers portrayed sympathetically as well. Finally, hating on Summer Glau? A homeschooled ballerina/practicing Baptist fro Texas? Really?

Templar said...

Finally, hating on Summer Glau? A homeschooled ballerina/practicing Baptist fro Texas? Really?

You're missing an important detail. I'm not "hating on" a homeschooled ballerina and practicing Baptist from Texas, but rather a sullen-eyed, sometimes naked female psychic killer/assassin gynoid.

Anonymous said...

Paleocon sites [not to mention paleocon NERD sites] need some sort of a metafilter to keep out the riff-raff who hate on Summer Glau.

Good grief.

Anonymous said...

most of them are from the south or small towns, which probably explains the show's surprisingly pro-military, friendly to Christianity stance

Which, in turn, undoubtedly accounts for why TPTB were moved to cancel the series.

Templar said...

Paleocon sites [not to mention paleocon NERD sites] need some sort of a metafilter to keep out the riff-raff who hate on Summer Glau

Hush, child. The grown-ups are talking.

Fred said...

TSCC got canceled because its ratings sucked, nothing more mysterious than that. Although Jewish me and Slavic Svigor enjoyed watching the Nordic actors on the show (I happened to enjoy watching some of the non-Nordic ones as well, such as the Asian-Aussie girl from BSG), apparently not enough other people did.

BTW, the woman who played Sarah Connor on the show (whose name I'm drawing a blank on at the moment) was very believable in her fight scenes.

Templar said...

Although Jewish me and Slavic Svigor enjoyed watching the Nordic actors on the show (I happened to enjoy watching some of the non-Nordic ones as well, such as the Asian-Aussie girl from BSG), apparently not enough other people did.

As I understand it, "Slavic" is a linguistic, rather than ethnic, group, thus it's not at all out of the realm of possibility that Svigor is a Slavic Nordic. ;)

Svigor said...

Slavic Svigor

Heh, I get that a lot. The handle, I guess. I'm old American stock (mostly British Isles), and I look pretty Nordic, though not to the degree of Rutger Hauer or Dr. Silberman's replacement.

I understand Slav to be an ethnic term. But there is a strong Nordic component there. It all gets kind of soft once you go beyond gross divisions like Med/Nord.

Anonymous said...

Season two of TSCC became even more of a Nordic-Celtic fest, as they added bosomy blonde love interest Riley and the new liquid metal terminator played by odd-looking but sexy flame-haired Scottish rock singer Shirley Manson. The season was even bracketed by two traditional folk songs-- the Biblical "Samson and Delilah" on one end and the jolly evocation of Scottish pride "Donald, Where's Your Trousers" (redone as a funereal dirge sung over the burial of a major character.)

Jimmy S said...

The movie is just meh...can't believe its up for best picture. Thought this was a good assessment:
http://www.coolinternetwebsite.com/5/post/2010/02/the-hurt-locker-best-picture-nominee-really.html

Anonymous said...

the burial of a major character

Are you referring to Savannah as a "major character"? Or did you think that Derek was the one being buried? (Which is obviously not the case, given the tiny coffin...)