Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders open this weekend, and up to this point, I have been reluctant to provide any commentary: the moral ambiguity in the US these days--all over the world, actually--has made it difficult to distinguish what values are being upheld and what values are merely being mocked; however, two promotional trailers have recently been released which reveals the film's agenda far better, so let's take a look at the first trailer, and--I WARN YOU--this is full of graphic sexual references, but there is a point to it,... I think.
So, there are two moral problems presented: first, the two main characters are cops and, as we know, cops have received countless death threats (mostly while Obama was in office, and it has eased up, however, it has continued). The reason two cops being main characters could be targeted as a "problem" is because police officers symbolize what socialists hate most: personal responsibility. In matriarchal societies, there is no personal responsibility, people don't really get into trouble for what they actually do, unless it damages the rulers in some way (think of the Russian Gulag or in today's modern communist society of China, citizens are assigned a social "credit score" to control their behavior). The law is a system of fairness and equality: you steal someone's car, you go to prison; you break into someone's house, you go to prison; you have drugs on you, you go to prison. The modern penal code is patriarchal, because it emphasizes personal responsibility: you are punished according to the abuse of your free will you have made against society and you are held accountable for that. Police officers, more than anyone else in American society, symbolize that patriarchal sense of individuality (socialists, however, will allow crimes if they advance the Party's agenda, such as rioting in cities, or killing police officers, or even rapes committed by certain demographic groups because it strengthens the hold on "identity politics"). So, the film was all ready going to be complicated, and then,....
Jenny (Elizabeth Banks) was the only human in the Happytime Gang. We know a person's head is where their thoughts originate, and anything pertaining to the head reflects what that character is thinking, so seeing Jenny's roots--and how much darker they are than her dyed-blonde hair--reveals she is having "dark thoughts," and this one detail could be sufficient to implicate her in committing the murders of the Happytime Gang. We can also notice that her fingernails are painted red; red is the color of blood, and our hands symbolize our honor, so it's possible that the "blood" of the murders is on Jenny's hands. There is also the coat and leopard-print shirt she wears, which suggests her "animal appetites." In-between them is a candle in a purple votive holder; we know that, being light, the candle symbolizes "illumination," that is, something which happens in this scene will "come to light" and could be a turning point for some aspect of the narrative; the color purple denotes royalty and suffering, so Phil and Jenny either hold each other in very high esteem, or they don't hold one another in the esteem they deserve, and there is suffering (or they have caused the other to suffer) as a result.
Sex.
When we see the puppet offering oral sex to Melissa McCarthy's Det Connie Edwards, she confesses she's not a man, then she has to do the same thing to the "Rotten Cotten" female puppet prostitutes; because transgender-ism and homosexuality have become such Left-wing trigger mechanisms, this could be seen as a defense of sexual promiscuity and sexual identity politics, especially when we realize that the puppets are treated as "second-class citizens," which is a distinctly Marxist designation (and the elevation of all "second-class citizens" has been a rallying call for the Left, even though there aren't any second-class citizens in America); however, this new trailer has just been released and it clears up an awful lot:
This "trailer" was really genius, on numerous levels: first, it provides a way to advertise the film without giving away more of the plot and gags; second, it extends the cinematic boundaries of the film to encompass the reality in which we live and receive information. What does that mean? Generally, when we go to see films, the film is a "closed narrative," that is, we don't really expect to share a space with the characters and their trials in our own world: if we see a can of Coke sitting on a counter, for example, or Ferris Bueller addresses the audience and breaks the barrier between actors and viewers, then that demonstrates the "conscious awareness" of the film. Yea, I know it sounds unnecessarily complicated and maybe even ridiculous--the film has to have a level of "self-consciousness" in order to get produced and distributed, or no one will ever see it--but what this theory describes is a means of more direct communication with the potential viewer: I know what your life is like, and I am a direct reflection of it; for example, here are the puppets reading "Mean Tweets":
Or this blind date:
Now, the purpose of "art imitating life" demonstrates blatantly that watching this film is not going to be an escape from reality, in spite of the puppets interacting with real people; it's going to be a plunge into reality, maybe even a reality some audience members have attempted to ignore, such as the plunge America has taken since Reagan left office. Did you catch that in the True Puppets trailer above? After Reagan left office, a small TV start-up turned these second-class citizens into stars and gave them all a big lift in their careers; due to a lack of personal responsibility, they plunged in their own personal lives, and we can say the same about America after Reagan left, that--just like the good, wholesome show The Happytime Gang which so many loved and learned important life lessons from--so America itself has plunged into the darkness of a lack of personal responsibility and the addictions of sex and drugs. I could be wrong, the film could take a turn I don't have anyway of knowing about, however, that specific reference to Reagan, and the lack of morality plaguing the puppets post-Happytime Gang establishes a spiral most Americans will be able to agree about (because if they couldn't then they wouldn't have made the True Puppet Story trailer). If we are still in doubt, here is another advertisement they did, this time, with Phil the puppet doing commentary for that American film and American hero, Bruce Willis in Die Hard (it's always awesome to see Alan Rickman):
So, the lingering question remains: if they have such high hopes of achievement with this film, and drawing people's attention to how low America has sunk, why fill it with profanity, sex and drugs? There are at least two answers to this question. First, there is a specific demographic in America that is only attracted to a film like this and in a film like this, they are apt to get the kind of information they actually run away from in real life; second, we tend to think of puppets as wholesome, they don't have the faults, sins and vices that humans do, they are idealized and stylized to behave in a certain way, so seeing these "wholesome characters" so degraded reflects for us the degradation into which we ourselves have fallen yet can't recognize because we have become jaded to that personal reflection.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner