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Unfiled March 11, 2005
Hell Is Other People on Amazon
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 3 of 3
But one thing you can say about our people: we're verbally cagey. Several of the reviews hint at outrage that one of the main characters is a lesbian, but only one, Brandon from Kansas, had the honesty to say so: "This movie contains some sex, lesbian issues and things worse than that." Brandon herself is one of those delightful surprises you encounter reading these reviews. She IS Tracey Flick, (even if she is a he -- Flicks come in several genders) and admits it: "[Flick] has the aggression just like everyone has running out for something. Like I did running for Student Council Secretary."

The review which best sums up all the sorry revelations of the lot is by Russell Rubert from King of Prussia, PA: "...this is less a comedy, then an all too possible headline in your local newspaper you'll skip this travisty. It is the most disapointing thing I've ever seen Matthew Broderick in, with the possible exception of "Godzilla" (The remake) Oh yes, the acting is good, it better be, I'd hate to think these people are really like that. If you are in the market for offbeat, quirky fun, buy Rushmore instead."

Yes, we love that offbeat, quirky fun, as long as it's not actually offbeat or quirky. Oh, and of course it has to jerk some tears: "Rushmore was far more poignant [than Election]." Another critic advises, "Whoever wrote [Election] could have learned a thing or two from Rushmore. You can have pretentious, annoying characters, but redeem them in the end so we're not completely turned off!"

The funny thing is, I hated Rushmore; hated that "quirky, offbeat" protagonist; even hated Bill Murray for lending legitimacy to a film which I knew, somehow, was in the enemy camp. Yet everyone whose taste I respect loved it. I even, uncharacteristically, wondered if I might possibly have been wrong.

Seeing all these Amazon idiots praise it by way of damning Election gave me a wonderfully smug sense that I was right all along -- that Rushmore was, as I'd argued at the time, nothing but an adoring biopic about the life and adventures of a young David Geffen.

Thus the Amazon reviews serve another important purpose: their endorsement of Rushmore proves, or at least suggests, that my inarticulate loathing of it was right after all.

Yet another pleasure in reading these things is the joy of seeing one's ideological enemies acknowledge a direct hit. The reviews of Election provide many such yelps of pain, like this one: "As a 38 year old male this movie offended me greatly. It was made by MTV films which says alot about the politically motivated aspects of what happens when a Music Video cable channel decides to starts making movies which are politically based and totally one sided. Its hard to believe that Matthew Broderick went from Ferris Bueller (A Hero) to a conniving, evil, audulterer (Mr McAllister). Another thing that hurt (following MTV'S political agenda) was that it glorified Homosexuality and made men look stupid, evil, and immature."

There it is, the Bush consensus: terrified, vengeful, and hopelessly confused; blurted out more clearly by an anonymous sucker than it could ever be by its spayed official spokespersons.

Seek out these blurts while they're around. Go to the movie you most love and read what the bad people have to say about it. As a wiser fella than myself once said, "To defeat the bug, we must understand the bug."

John Dolan is the author of the novel Pleasant Hell (2005), available through Capricorn Publishing. See home page to purchase this comic masterpiece.

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