Tuesday, March 20, 2012

5 Offensive Movies That Totally Aren't (Not to Me, At Least)

You might be getting some mixed signals here from me. I have said many times in the past that I have this propensity to really get into a movie, and how seriously I can take it sometimes. So you might assume that I'd be acutely aware of any possible subtext a movie could have. Well, "acutely aware" might be a stretch, but I am aware of things up to a certain level.

But to be offended by what I see in a movie? What's the point? There's never gonna be a movie that's 100% politically correct and conflict-free, because that will be a piece of shit. It's a personal belief of mine that if a movie gives you nothing substantial to talk about, it's not a movie worth being made, let alone being seen.

Seriously Turkey, what's wrong with your cinema?
No doubt, I'm probably not the best person to talk to about what's offensive and what's not because I rarely use the word. Or rather, it's not me to see the offensive side of things and I sure as hell wouldn't go out of my way to look for it. If we're talking about movies, I'd only take offense if the movie is insulting to my intelligence.

Of course, I don't pretend to be the ultimate voice of reason here. I'm saying that I personally didn't find anything offensive in the following movies, but if you feel differently, feel free to drop a line or two in the comments section or better yet, keep 'em to yourself and just agree to disagree.

#5 Braveheart [1995]

Supposedly offensive because
Historically inaccurate.

Why it's not
It was supposed to be inaccurate. Enough said. (Okay, I admit. This one's more of a filler because I could really think of four examples when I brainstormed for this blog entry. Just play along, yah?)

Who should be offended instead?
Whoever goaded Mel Gibson into thinking he's a sex symbol.

#4 Million Dollar Baby [2004]

Supposedly offensive because
Painted the disabled in a negative light.

Why it's not
Okay, before I explain why not, I should tell you that there are spoilers ahead. But this movie was released back in 2004, so if you're still unaware of the plot twist, it's your own damn fault. Now, this is not something I imagined because people really did get mad when Maggie opted for euthanasia and her trainer Frankie obliged.

But here's the thing, people forget that they're not watching a documentary, nor did Million Dollar Baby try to emulate Rocky [1976]. Somehow the people who took offense conveniently forget the basic rule to every story. Or more to the point, the oft-repeated disclaimer that goes something like this; All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

In short, the characters represented no one but the characters themselves. Was it a missed opportunity? Perhaps. But like I said, Million Dollar Baby is not Rocky. It was a different kind of a story. And it was just as touching.

Who should be offended instead?
No one. It was a great movie.

#3 Zoolander [2001]

Supposedly offensive because
Unflattering portrayal of Malaysia.

Why it's not
Ben Stiller was in it. Who in the right mind would take him and his movies seriously? But I guess that is expected considering how a majority of Malaysians do not know how to take a joke. This is the same type of people took offense to the most harmless joke ever made that's not even aimed at Malaysia, and if had their way, would make Ellen DeGeneres apologise for it. So I guess in their minds, Zoolander was a mockery of biblical proportions.

Who should be offended instead?
People in the fashion industry because in the Zoolander universe, a guy who looks like Ben Stiller can be a supermodel and that's wrong on so many levels.

#2 The Expendables [2010] and Conan the Barbarian [2011]

Supposedly offensive because
All the guys were cool, but the women only made things needlessly complicated.

Why they're not
Both of them served as a throwback to action movies of old, which were known to not make any damn sense whatsoever, let alone make life-altering statements or in-your-face social commentaries. It's the same reason why guys shouldn't complain when all the men in bad Romantic-comedies are portrayed as inept, insensitive and think with their penises all the time. Because every man knows that a penis have a mind of its own.

The point is, these kinds of movies are made solely for entertainment. If you feel like it's beneath you to see such a movie, there's an easy solution for that; Don't go see it. Getting mad because they're not politically correct is about as silly as getting mad at Dirty Harry for shooting criminals in the face with his .44 Magnum instead of just slapping handcuffs on them. What were you expecting, really?

Who should really be offended instead?
Physics professors, bomb specialists, vehicle manufacturers and insurance companies.

#1 300 [2007]

Supposedly offensive because
Unflattering portrayal of Persians and demeaning towards Muslims.

Why it's not
For the first one, because it was told from the perspective of a Spartan, and it wasn't something you need to read between the lines to discover. That narration you heard throughout the movie? It wasn't just a sentient being we never get to see. Very early in the movie there was a scene where a group of Spartans was shown sitting around a campfire, with one guy standing, telling the story of King Leonidas and the brave three hundred. As with any war, enemies are always demonised out of proportion. Heck, people even do that during peacetime.

As for the second part, it's not something I made up. I was told by several of my friends that they're not gonna see the movie because apparently this movie about a fictionalised retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae that took place in 480B.C. somehow found a way to insult Islam. It took me a while to figure out why they thought that, and I believe it's because they associate 'Persia' with 'Iran', a now-Islamic country that believes the end justifies the means. Not worthy of admiration, if you ask me. But that's a story for another time and place.

The point is, Islam didn't exist at the time. Brush up on your history, please. After all, every decent Muslim should know that iqra' is a big deal, so read more and talk less!

Who should be offended instead?
Everybody who had to put up with guys who went to the gym only after watching this movie, thinking they too can rock the leather Speedo look eventually.


missyblurkit said...

I enjoyed Million Dollar Baby quite a bit. Not too sure how ppl actually thought it was trying to photocopy Rocky.

Mamü Vies said...

Me neither! I mean, they're two totally different movies. But boxing movies tend to get that kind of treatment; People like to lump them all into one pile.

Anonymous said...

Great film should challenge us. You must be very insecure to feel offended by a film.

Mamü Vies said...


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