‘American Sniper’ prompts threats to Arabs, Muslims

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Kid Rock Snipes at ‘Piece of Sh-t’ Michael Moore.

Seth Rogen takes part in a SiriusXM Town Hall with Seth Rogen and James Franco with host Lisa Lampinelli on SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio channel at the SiriusXM Studios on December 15, 2014 in New York City. (credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM) LOS ANGELES (CBS Houston/AP) — Seth Rogen responded to the outrage incited by a series of tweets he wrote regarding the film “American Sniper” in a statement issued exclusively to the Associated Press on Thursday, saying it wasn’t his intent to offend anyone or to say anything with political implications.Filmmakers Michael Moore and Seth Rogen’s negative comments regarding the movie American Sniper — a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars next month — have evoked a rather colorful response from self-proclaimed “American Bad Ass” Kid Rock.

Last week, Rogen compared the film to a scene in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’, tweeting: “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.” The tweet referred to ‘Nation’s Pride’, a pseudo Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film directed by Eli Roth that plays during the final scene of ‘Inglourious Basterds’. The musician took particular umbrage with the Bowling for Columbine director’s statement that Moore’s uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II and that he was raised to believe snipers were cowards. “Fuck you Michael Moore, you’re a piece of shit and your uncle would be ashamed of you,” Kid Rock wrote on his website. “Seth Rogen, your uncle probably molested you. From concerns over the baldly anti-Muslim social-media rants it has inspired to titular real-life protagonist Chris Kyle’s debatable status as a hero to his notorious unreliability as a non-fiction narrator to the confusing use of a robot doll rather than a human baby, the film has inspired both harsh criticism and lavish praise. In his statement Thursday, Rogen reiterated that the movie only reminded him of the other “because they both involved plots about the most lethal of snipers.” “My comment about the movie was not meant to have any political implications,” he said. “Any political meaning was ascribed to my comment by news commentary.” Rogen also apologized for any offense his tweets might have caused. Steve Pond, Awards Editor at entertainment site TheWrap.com, said Academy voters may be swayed by headlines but their vote more likely depends on which side of the criticism they side. “If Academy members are passing around articles that are critical of Chris Kyle, which I know some of them are, it has the potential to make some of them a little less likely to vote for the film,” he told FOX411. “But it also could make those who feel the criticisms are unfair to support it even more strongly.” Tim Gray, Senior Awards Editor at Variety, said accusations against fact-based films happen every year and don’t often negatively effect the outcome, citing Best Picture winners “A Beautiful Mind,” “The King’s Speech” and “12 Years A Slave” as examples.

The actor concluded the statement by saying he hoped that “this clears things up.” (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. You either love this movie or you hate it, and by extension director Clint Eastwood, star Bradley Cooper, and especially Kyle himself; there isn’t much room for dialogue between the two positions. In 2013, “Zero Dark Thirty” came under fire with accusations that the filmmakers betrayed classified information but the movie still took home Best Picture with Jessica Chastain accepting the award for Best Actress. “The mark of a good piece of art is when people can have different interpretations,” Gray said. “So I think it’s entirely possible that people on the right and the left will both vote for it. If anything, I think people in Hollywood are encouraged — after the box office dropped in 2014 — that a January movie can make this money.” Grey is referring to the $107.2 million the movie brought in during its opening weekend, making “American Sniper” the biggest January box office opening of all time — something Pond says is not enough on its own to guarantee an Oscar win. “Oscar voters like a winner, but that can mean going for the little movie that is beating the big movie at all the guild awards,” Grey explained. “For example ‘The Hurt Locker’ over ‘Avatar’ in 2010, rather than automatically going for the biggest moneymaker.” If the controversy won’t directly hurt the film’s Oscar chances, does that mean it will help it? Not exactly, says Pond, who says it’s important to first look at the movie’s chances of winning in spite of the attention surrounding it, and “Sniper” by many people’s predictions is not favored.

Despite those compliments, he criticized the way the movie’s characters call Iraqis “savages” and alleges that Clint confused Iraq for Vietnam with his movie. Politics notwithstanding, those who’ve seen it tend to describe the experience in religious terms: awe-struck congregations of Americans seeing the Iraq War the way it happened, traveling down the path to PTSD together.

Ask around: Be it Texas or Williamsburg, it’s not uncommon to hear of packed theaters with the patrons filing out in reverent silence after the closing credits. For “Best Actor,” Bradley Cooper is up against stiff competition — Michael Keaton for “Birdman” and Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything,” so he already has a tough fight.

I hope both of you catch a fist to the face soon. “Me and my wife had gotten some dessert and were in the lobby getting plates to bring back to our room … And Kanye was like, ‘What are you guys doing? Personally, though, I found the movie to be factually probable, visually and emotionally stimulating, but curiously aimless: like walking in a shallow pool looking for a place to dive and swim, expecting depth and finding none. The spiritual and emotional progress of the characters is limited to basic states of existence (good or bad, alive or dead), and none of them evolve despite numerous encounters with tragedy and misfortune. Even Kyle, who regarded himself as a sheepdog guarding sheep against wolves—in the film, strangely, the sheep are either American citizens or Marines, or both—never sways from that belief.

Despite a wealth of action, and opportunities to expand or grow, the only thing that changes over time is that the man onscreen begins to express remorse over some of the women and children he killed; he maintains the necessity of killing terrorists that, to his mind, are a direct threat to America, but once back home, he finds it necessary to do something, anything, to heal himself and others like him. Late in the film, this leads to his generously sharing his time and energy with other combat veterans suffering from the grievous injuries they sustained in combat; this seems like progress, and is satisfying to watch and feel. It’s interesting that the literary and cinematic history of snipers goes unaddressed in the film; up until the 1990s or so, it’s difficult to find them mentioned in valorous or positive terms. (America’s first unequivocal sniper heroes were Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, the Delta duo who insisted on landing amid hundreds of hostile Somalis during the Battle of Mogadishu, sacrificing themselves to save a wounded comrade during the events portrayed in both the book and the film Black Hawk Down).

But paradoxically, he’s nonetheless more at home in this fairly simplistic movie than Kyle himself, building upon a long legacy of Hollywood sniper-villains. Greeks, relatively primitive when it came to almost every conceivable measure of analysis, seem to have been more capable of seeing sophistication in their enemies than the type of American who cannot stand any villain with more than one dimension.

The real-life person who is proud of his identity as a sniper, and his actions in that position—the flawed but valorous character Bradley Cooper so admires, and portrays so admirably? It’s necessary to point this out, because the movie is inspiring a great deal of emotion, which seems based on an assumption that what’s onscreen is “real” or “true,” and what is being consumed is a portrait of authentic heroism.

Older generations familiar with the genre recall its reliance on a basic plot: Good gunslingers representing law, order, and mercy are outnumbered by bad gunslingers representing the opposite. Wouldn’t Eastwood’s own Unforgiven be less compelling if William Munny rode into town for vengeance at the head of a convoy of tanks and soldiers, jets screaming overhead? What’s heroic or courageous in one situation becomes absurd in another, all the more in this case because the absurdity is buried under what every American viewer already knows about American Sniper’s larger story: Within a few years of our departure, ISIS emerged from Syria and took over the battlegrounds in which Kyle and other Americans fought. Restrepo, a 2010 documentary detailing the deployment of Army paratroopers to Afghanistan, is the finest project to emerge thus far, but documentary is designed to deliver fact, to present reality.

And ultimately, it’s far more important to me and other veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan that our fellow citizens sit down and witness the emotional reality of war, that we as a nation honestly confront our ongoing actions overseas. If this film inspires conversations about cultural imperialism—and how simplistic and reductive philosophy, combined with exposure to violence and moral injury, can twist and distort a decent human being—so be it. Adrian Bonenberger deployed twice to Afghanistan as an infantry officer, and feels sad that America doesn’t use its extraordinary wealth and strength to do more good overseas.

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