Li’l Fatass’s Top 5 of 2011: John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard

#3: The problem with Western cinema is it’s difficult to say retard or homo anymore without the audience using that slur to characterize the speaker. Yes, the SPEAKER not the SUBJECT. The audience member thinks, “Oh that Chinese woman just called her Jewish neighbor a money-grubbing kike. I guess they are trying to tell me she is a racist bigot.” While it COULD be the case it is NOT NECESSARILY so. That Chinese woman could totally be a very nice lady. She probably recycles and gives her leftovers to homeless people. Her neighbor might be Bernie Madoff.

Let’s say we have a character with a shaved head and wearing an army uniform. If he calls one of his bunkmates a “faggot” does it necessarily mean that character is a redneck? No. That character could be a Black or a Mexican for all we know. The use of pejorative slurs rarely gives a good indication of background or education or grooming. I myself went to a private university (cum laude) and I call my friends “queers” and “fairies” all the time. This is not because I am a bigot or even that my friends are homosexuals. It is because they like it. We laugh about it! They sometimes call me a “cocksucker” even though I’ve never even touched an erect penis when it wasn’t a dare in High School (and even then it was just with a tree branch and not my actual mouth). Sometimes slurs are just good for producing confusion. Like the time someone on the street asked me for spare change and I said, “No I hate stupid Chinks.” The homeless guy was Black!

My point is INSENSITIVITY does not just have a single function. But it is rarely used for purposes other than characterization. The Guard is changing all that. The Guard is changing a lot of things. The very idea of A HERO for one. Brendan Gleeson, too busy fucking around, too busy getting fucked-up at the moment. Or villains. When was the last time you saw the antagonists of a film given equally sharp, snappy lines as the protagonists? It is an unfair world where the most morally righteous (usually played by the most famous actors) are also in possession of the sharpest wits, the keenest intuitions, the cleverest comebacks. Did no one ever question why Humphrey Bogart coveted all the best lines? You think this is actually how it works in real life? Take a look at Mother Teresa; does she look like a woman that could make you laugh? Give me a fucking break.

The only brothers who rival the Coens for their strange, brutal and aggressively humorous renditions of film noirs are Martin and John McDonagh . . . $13

If you heart The Guard:

Recommendations by Li’l Fatass
Beat Takeshi’s Sonatine
Wong Kar-wai’s Fallen Angels
Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy

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The Fan’s Guide to Avoiding Movies that Suck Eggs and Shelling Out the $5 for Movies that Will Make Your Day

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