Saturday, April 22, 2006

I'm not entirely sure what I just saw

I guess I kind of went in expecting a total fluff piece. When I went to see American Dreamz I was anticipating a sort of P-C slightly to the left amusing movie that kind of ripped on Bush and American Idol and in the end taught us all that "Americans aren't so bad after all, just a little silly". A feel good for Democrats. This was not the case. I actually disagree with a large number of critics who have said that this was fluff with no substance. Firstly, it was not fluffy; it was down-right unpleasant in some parts. Secondly, there was actually a certain amount of substance in the dark dark humour of the film. On some level it was actually quite scathing about American politics and the American way of life.

The thinly veiled look at the Bush presidency was sort of an on-the-side amusement rather than the Daily Show-esque Bush roast I enjoy on a nightly basis. The strangest thing was in typical Hollywood fashion I actually found myself sympathizing and even liking the president. Their president! In the movie! He was just so sad...
That said it was not especially kind to Bush or American foreign policy in its satirization, but it was probably not as harsh as it could have been either.

The movie features a number of hopeful Americans and American TV personalities involved with the hit TV show American Dreamz (aka American Idol). Middle America, corporate America, white trash America and Hollywood, no one is spared in this almost painful look at the American way of life. I think I can summarize it by saying that the the most likeable character... nay the ONLY redeemable character in the film is Omar, a contestant on American Dreamz who is part of a terrorist cell and being sent to blow up the president.

Really dark. Kind of weird. Kind of funny. Wait til it comes to Rainbow.


Captain Jonas J. Lovejones, MD said...

I thought it was pretty damn funny. The parts with the terrorists were almost Naked Gun silly, and Willem Dafoe was pretty much the best Dick Cheney ever.

I liked Omar's cousin the best.

Liz said...

There were definitely funny parts!
And I agree, Omar and his cousin were my favourite too.
I do think that there were some places where some really funny material wasn't used as well as it could have been.

Example: When Mandy Moore's ex-boyfriend returns from Iraq when the agent is there, I immediately made the jump that they were going to use him to make her look good. A simple look from the agent or mother, or just a realization from her would have been sufficient, but by spelling it out step by step ("Wait, he fought in Iraq? What have I been telling you about the common touch?" or whatever the line is) it lost some of its humour and became just plain evil.
I don't know that I liked or disliked this movie, I was just surprised. In some parts pleasantly in some parts unpleasantly. Disappointed in some ways, impressed in others. 3/5 stars.

PS: Willem Dafoe is the best everything ever.