Entries from April 2005 ↓

Manson Documentary and Unforgiven

Manson

I managed to get a hold of a 1972 documentary on Charles Manson and his family, which apparently won an Academy award at the time. Now, I didn’t know much at all about Charles Manson – in fact the only thing I really knew was that he was a cult leader and they commited some murders. And the only reason I knew this was because Trent Reznor saw fit to record The Downward Spiral (by the way – this has just been remixed and released in surround sound) there.

Now I looked through Amazon to see if they actually had this and it seems they don’t – but there are alot of other movies inspired by or reconstructing their murders. This documentary was surprisingly uncensored for such an old piece of media – I’m not particularly sure why I would have expected it to be though since I have no idea of what censorship was like then.

Anyhow, it basically goes through how Manson used the combination of drugs and sex to control the minds of young people high on free love. There is quite alot of interviewing of some of the kids that left before slaughter became blatent goal. They discuss all the things they did and how they thought of Charlie as a parent and as God, or at least the son of God.

They also had some clips of Manson speaking – and I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t really impressed at all. There was meant to be all this mystique around him and some powerful presence. He just seemed like somebody who had taken too many drugs and was full of shit. No great insights to life. Just someone exagerating the insights gained while intoxicated. I think he was actually weak. But maybe it’d be different in a different time, place, and climate.

The documentary was very insightful, and particularly the way that the media used the Manson murders to cover up all the other crap that was going on politically. Hmm. Maybe the U.S. government sponsored Charlie with drugs and told him to go on a rampage? Wouldn’t put it past them…

One question I had at the end was what had happened to all the children that came from the family. What are they doing now? These kids engaged in the orgies and drugs, so are they normal now, or just fucked up?

Unforgiven

Unforgiven is western movie starring Clint Eastward, Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman and that’s all I know of. Now, this isn’t just your ordinary western movie, and it also supposedly won an Academy award.

The movie is quite slow, and quiet. Very contemplative. Long pauses as the wind blows across the savannah. Clint Eastward has alot to regret, his wife has passed away and she was the one who removed him from his life of drunken murder. Now in desperation as is kids and he try and cope with disease in their livestock, Clint is tempted to take the role of bounty hunter in order to earn some extra cash.

It is really difficult to find anyone in the movie who is good. Everyone is a little evil and prepared to kill, except for maybe the lead victim. Violence is brutal, and gunshots are enough to kill is they hit, which isn’t guaranteed as in alot of Hollywood movies.

Movie Review – Supersize Me

I finally got round to watching this movie while I ironically was eating my dinner – okay it would have been even more ironic if I had been eating McDonalds. And this gives an idea about what it is about. A guy decides to eat only McDonalds for 30 days, and if they don’t sell it he can’t eat it. That includes drinks – so he has to buy water from them.

It was a documentary in the vein of Michael Moore’s films, except their wasn’t so much of the trying to change things. However McDonalds apparently started offering a Premium Salads selection after the movie was released so at least that is something…

I highly commend the guys commitment to his cause – by the end of it his body was seriously not liking him abusing it. It almost Jackass-like, except there was actually a reason for doing it.

Okay documentary – but most people already know about America being full of fat lazy people (but that isn’t me saying that all American’s are fat and lazy – just the majority :P).

Review – The Seventh Son – Orson Scott Card

This is my first attempt at actually seriously reviewing something – other than scientific literature, so please bear with me while I develop a groove.

The Seventh Son is relatively short and also an easy read – although I’ve always found Card’s novels have a flow about them that carry the story along. These two points made it one of the fastest books I’ve read in a while. It is the beginning of a series called “The tales of Alvin Maker” where Alvin Maker is the seventh son of a seventh son which endows him with certain mystical talents. The world in which it based is when America was still the frontier, but in this reality things such as magic exist and the forces of nature have a will.

The writing style is done in a manner that reflects the character whose point of view it is, and alot of times this Alvin’s view as he grows up, although he only gets to the age of a teenager by the end of the first book. Thus the mannerisms (what is the voice equivalent?) of the characters can get a bit of getting used to but really add to their depth.

There is a bit of a good vs. evil theme going on, although it isn’t really clear which side is good since the Church is portrayed as being self-righteous and not really accepting how the world really is (although really this isn’t much different to reality…). However even the child protaganist Alvin is alluded to have the capacity to use his mystical ability for the wrong.

All in all a nice read and I’ve got the second book which I’ll start reading now.