Thursday, September 26, 2013

R.I.P.D. &,... Indian Food?

With everything there is do do, and all the great movies I could be talking about, why talk about RIPD? It's not a good film--it's not even funny, and I'm pretty easy that way--but it does do three things we have seen in two really big films (World War Z and The Conjuring) and that's why we are going to take a quick minutes to discuss Indian food, the avatars for Roy (Jeff Bridges), Nick (Ryan Reynolds) and Mildred Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) and Christianity in films.
First, Indian food. 
How can we say the film is anti-capitalist? We see Nick running after a really, really fat man who is gathering gold. Now, it would be possible to interpret this as a bloated centralized government (like Melissa McCarthy's character Diane in Identity Thief) going after gold like the Nazis going after the gold of the Jews as portrayed in Cowboys and Aliens, but Nick taking the gold he and his partner Hayes found in a drug bust and keeping it to help him and wife Julia have a worry-free financial future is intended to be a slam on the American Dream because they don't make enough; why not? Well, all we ever see Julia doing is running,... why? Well, she's French, so the government takes care of her so she has time to do whatever she wants, jogging. At least, that's what we are supposed to think. It's wrong, the film makes a point of saying, that Nick and Hayes take the gold--so unlike some films, this is NOT a case for wealth re-distribution--but it wants to make you realize that you can't be honest and financially secure; if you are secure in your finances, then you must be corrupt and stole it from someone else, which is why Hayes says he was going to get a speed boat, a luxury item. The only reason Hayes allowed Nick to take any of the gold (part of the staff of Jericho) was because Nick was there; Hayes intended on killing Nick the whole time, but used Nick to help him move it and then "got rid of him" once Hayes found out what Nick had done with "his share."  This is the purpose of the "notecard" questions asked when Nick and Roy approach a dead-o, they are questions like, can you eat chicken late at night on Ash Wednesday, because they associate religion with the appetites, even in the fasting religions like Judaism and Catholicism practice.

It's pretty obnoxious, actually, watching Roy gorge himself on Indian food, bits getting stuck in that awful goatee he wears; the reason he does it is because "dead-os" (the undead walking around earth pretending to be alive) have a reaction to Indian food that they can't hide; in other scenes, the dead-os sniff black pepper from a McCormick canister (yea, the kind you buy in the baking aisle at your local grocery store) and that reveals them to be dead. Why? Of all things, why Indian food and why black pepper? What do the two have in common?
The East India Trading Company.
The top photo is Roy driving after he and Nick have just met; the middle photo is a bit later in the same scene, and Roy looks at the bare ankles of a woman standing on the corner, after commenting that, in his day (the 1800s) the dresses were longer and, in the bottom frame, we see Roy and Nick as their respective avatars. In the image at the top, I think we all have to agree that is a most un-becoming and un-sociable way of sitting, with your legs spread apart as such. So why does he sit like that? Well, imagine him as his avatar and it makes perfect sense: he's depicting the masculinity of sexually promiscuous women. So, what this appears to be, is the promoting of lesbianism in a very under-handed way, and even homosexuality since, in the top image, he's spreading his legs out towards Nick. Later in the film, a guy--obviously attracted to Roy's avatar--approaches her about being in a music video and (s)he replies that (s)he is a woman not a piece of meat for him, however, in the scene depicted in the middle image, the anonymous woman who gets the once-over for her bare ankles is exactly that: a piece of meat for Roy. Why is this important? It demonstrates how poorly women really fare with socialism. The Democrats and liberals proclaim they are pro-woman and the conservatives (like myself who am female) are waging a "war on women" but I would much prefer to be a woman like Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3, or Jinx in GI Joe Retaliation--pro-capitalist films--rather than ANY WOMAN depicted in these pro-socialist films.
The EIC was run by merchants and aristocrats who became FANTASTICALLY wealthy from selling spices (like the pepper) to the rest of the world (please, recall, that Columbus sent in sail of spices because they were of such great value) AND the EIC was almost completely controlled by the merchants, not the government. When Nick's dead-o partner Hayes (Kevin Bacon) sniffs the pepper, he turns into a dead-o; why? Capitalists can smell "money" in the spice of life (please see the caption under the main theatrical poster above for more on this topic). (In a different vein, in the animated film Planes, Dusty "falls for" another plane from India, and that film was definitely pro-America; I didn't understand the importance of it then, but it makes more sense now that Dusty [going after his American Dream] can see capitalists [like in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel] in India and the dreams fulfilled for merchants in India) and, in World War Z, recall that the intercepted message the Israelis got ahold of came from India saying they were fighting the undead, because the real "boom" economically, came during this time, the capital increased so much, they were able to afford more and more adventures and enterprises which fueled capitalism throughout the world). SO, the opportunity to make money is what "brings out the dead." Next point: the avatars.
Here's an interesting little detail devoted readers will appreciate: Roy's avatar's name is Opal Pavlenko, a Russian woman. Does that mean anything to you? It certainly makes the whole "Russia question" more perplexing. As we have discussed, Russia has an identity problem in American films: some films claim (as RIPD seems to do, by putting a Russian with a Chinese guy) that Russia really is STILL communist; other films claim that Russia has become so dedicated to capitalism that they are more of our ally than Great Britain who seems to be turning socialist. It's not, in other words, a clear-cut issue, however, given the extreme anti-capitalist bent of the film, RIPD probably interprets Russia as still being the Soviet Union and wants to portray communism as beautiful and sexy. Remember next week we will be watching Gravity (George Clooney, Sandra Bullock) and it's a Russian satellite that takes out the space station. Now, on a similar but different note, it's important that Nick is married to Julia because Julia is French, i.e., a socialist. In Madagascar 3, Expendables III, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (French music playing as Bill Hayes seduces George Smiley's wife), The Raven, Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom, France is associated with socialism and, in RIPD, Nick being married to Julia and him originally stealing the gold to "make a better life" for them, even though she doesn't want a better life, demonstrates the film's conviction that the American Dream is a set-up for evil and only the government can take care of you.
We discussed in the initial release of the trailers that Nick is portrayed as an "old Chinese guy" probably as a reference to the old Chinese guys who overthrew their government to become communist; Roy's avatar, the beautiful blond, probably references the glamorous Hollywood stars who support socialism. There is a far deeper perspective here, however, and it ties in little things we have been seeing: a advocating of the "unnatural." As we discussed in The Conjuring with a man playing the female witch Bathsheba, and a female dog portraying a male dog in the film, as well as the androgynous character Seneg in World War Z, socialists are all for flipping the "natural order" of male and female, and this is exactly what RIPD does.
Why Boston? It's not a place where many films are made, so it's an interesting choice. Proctor tells Nick they have the third largest volume in the "dark forest" (a reference to The Wizard Of Oz?) and that's probably because the history of Boston is so pro-capitalist (even while they tend to be liberal politically and socially) AND, like Philadelphia in World War Z, a traditional monument of American independence due to the Boston Tea Party, SO instead of associating Boston with American freedom and resistance to tyranny, RIPD wants us to associate Boston with dead-os the way World War Z wants us to associate the birthplace of American Independence--Philadelphia--with the outbreak of a pandemic zombie infestation. Clever, aren't they?
The men have female avatars (at the end, Nick's "new avatar" is a girl scout with a mouthpiece, more on this below) while Mildred (Mary-Louise Parker) has a black male doctor avatar. It might seem like a little detail to you, however, this irreverence for proper male-female identities (men having male avatars and women having female avatars), and the respecting of naturally bestowed sexual identity, is surpassing the status of trend and approaching epidemic status. Why? Traditional culture (i.e., non-socialist culture) identifies certain traits and job duties with male and female; socialist governments don't like that, the government wants to assign the job duties and doesn't want something like a "cultural stereo-type" to interfere with sending a woman to the front lines of a war socialists seem to always be declaring (like Seneg in World War Z being in the army). Further, we have certain basic individual identity factors as a result of our biological identity and socialists despise individuality, they don't believe it exists: you are an animal and you do what the government says, just like The Eternals in the film, leading us to our next and final point, the portrayal of Christianity in the film.
Why is Roy a cowboy? Of all the possible identities they could have chosen, why a lawman from the wild west? Well, we have seen Django Unchained and The Lone Ranger, both pro-socialist films, and I think the reason is an attempt to make us believe--as socialists always do in a country they are trying to take over--that America has ALWAYS been socialist and socialism is in our history when it's not. The wild west was filled with (often ruthless) gold-seekers and ranchers, looking to make it rich anyway they could; it was a lawless time, but it certainly wasn't socialist by no stretch of the imagination, unless you just don't know anything, and I don't think these film makers do. If Roy is a cowboy, and symbolic (or supposed to be) of America's past, why is Nick's "new" avatar of the little Girl Scout with the braces important? Well, what do you think of when you think of the Girl Scouts? Cookie sales? They are learning to be capitalists as they go door-to-door selling their goods, so they have to be re-written, absolved and given a new identity. Because the film is so much about appetites, that's why Nick's avatar has the mouthpiece, to correct his still faulty appetites. We can't deny, even though it's maybe a bit of a stretch, that there is a scary connection to Hitler's Youth here, that all youth programs must be taken over by the state and devoted to the state, not the individual, the way they are now.
At the start of the film, there is an afterlife, and Nick is clearly going to hell when Proctor saves him so he can have another chance and "do penance" in the "purgatory" of Boston. So far, this sounds like something with which Christians can identify with (I am a convert to Catholicism) BUT, like what we saw in The Conjuring, this is only a thin, deceptive veil. "The Eternals" are the big bosses who run the show by putting messages on long pieces of paper in a bucket and sending them via a slide down to Proctor who then reads the bad news and carries out orders. This is exactly how socialism works: The Eternals perfectly demonstrate a removed, inefficient and uncaring centralized government that makes bad decisions even as it refuses to realize that the right detectives are on the job; in theory, when someone inevitably makes contradictory statements (being pro-socialist while demonstrating what a terrible job a socialist government does) that's called "deconstruction," because it has taken apart its own arguments.
Kevin Bacon plays Hayes, Nick's corrupt partner who wears a St. Christopher bracelet to "protect him" from being revealed as a dead-o.  The St. Christopher medal is specifically Catholic, so when Hayes takes it off, he's revealed to be a monster trying to re-assemble the Staff of Jericho. Why is that important? Jericho was where the Israelites founded their homeland, they left the slavery of Egypt and found religious freedom worshipping God, THE SAME WAY PURITANS left the slavery of land laws in England and found freedom in Boston; yes, RIPD is advocating a return to slavery, plain and simple, and Hayes "raising the Staff of Jericho" is the banner of seeking out a land where you are not under the law of tyranny and you can worship as you see fit, i.e., the dead Hayes wants to bring back are the Founding Fathers, which is exactly what conservatives like myself do on a daily basis to liberals and Democrats who laugh at the Constitution. Again, it's a pretty clear picture being painted for us of what someone like myself appears to be for a liberal.
Christians know that we get abused like no other religious group, so it's not uncommon to see Hollywood bashing us; what's different is, the seeming compromise with Christianity, only to bash our faces in; why? I think this is a rouse, just like in The Conjuring, to make Christians think about what Christianity really is: according to socialists, Christianity sanctions stealing and lying, murder and paganism. There is never any mention of God in the film, so we know it's not really religious--like The Conjuring--rather, it's preparing us and forcing us to make a choice: are we going to abandon God and accept socialism, or are we going to fight for our religious liberty?
In conclusion, we haven't covered everything in RIPD--so if you see something you think means something, it probably did, but we don't have time to go into it here--and if you disagree with these interpretations, as always, I NEVER try to pass them off as authoritative, but to aid you with your own interpretations and interaction with the film. There are, however, numerous elements creeping up in films--seeming details--until you start realizing the patterns they establish and RIPD aides us in tracking down those elements so we can have a larger picture of the puzzle we are working with. Eat Your Art Out, The Fine Art Diner