The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Tale Of Two Reviews

Posted on | July 21, 2012 | 29 Comments

by Smitty

Emphasis mine throughout.

John Nolte is just a little bit gushing about the Dark Night Rises:

But unlike so many who disguise their resentment and hatred for America through the lie that criticism somehow equals patriotism, Nolan’s love for this country is without qualifiers and symbolized in all its unqualified sincerity in the form of a beautiful young child sweetly singing a complete version of “The Star Spangled Banner” — just before “Occupy” attempts to fulfill its horrific vision of what “equality” really means.
Nolan’s genius as a filmmaker is without question. The pacing, editing, performances, and humanity of “Rises” will be talked about for decades. But his real genius is in how he expresses his vision and theme. While all of Hollywood embraces nihilism wrapped in irony, Nolan moves us with an inexpressibly touching faith in humanity. While all of Hollywood embraces CGI, the shaky-cam, and hyper-editing, Nolan sets his story in the real world and allows us to see what’s going on. And as all of Hollywood embraces hollow, artless, left-wing tripe, Nolan delivers crowd-pleasing, thematically-driven classical art that ennobles the human spirit and while doing so breaks box office records.

Meanwhile, former Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder offers a yawn:

The film is thick with politics of an obliviously nonsensical sort. In an attempt to lend the tale contemporary resonance, the script (by director Nolan and his brother, Jonathan) positions Bane as a self-declared revolutionary, come to liberate Gotham from its oppression by the city’s wealthy upper crust (the One Percent, if it need be said). But Bane is so clearly a vicious nihilist—he empties the municipal prison, arms the freed inmates, sets up kangaroo courts—that it’s not at all clear why the inexplicably angry populace (they’re living in a city scrubbed crime-free after the death of Harvey Dent—what is their problem?) would so ecstatically rally to him. Members of the real-world Occupy movement may bristle at being thus depicted, even at second hand, as witless sheep.

It sounds as though the film could be a case study in confirmation bias. Will I give up three hours of blogging to go see this flick? For some reason, I just can’t park myself long enough to watch things I know I need to see.


29 Responses to “A Tale Of Two Reviews”

  1. richard mcenroe
    July 21st, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    Can’t blame you for your confusion.  Although Nolan apparently MADE a very solidly conservative movie, the studio intially SOLD it with a serious Occupy theme.  See for yourself:

  2. Henson
    July 21st, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    It’s definitely a center-right message, just like the other films were. 

    The villain Bain uses class warfare as his message to throw Gotham into a violent mob, with the “poor” pulling the “rich” out of their homes and setting up a ridiculous Kangaroo court to try them for their crimes of “theft” of the poor.

    Will the film resonate to the ballot box?  I think it will, particularly among younger viewers.

    These Batman films are the “Star Wars” of this generation, it’s going to have a cultural impact.

  3. Pathfinder's wife
    July 21st, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    Meh, I’ll take the review given by my 21 yo. niece: who saw all three Batman movies in the theatre and loved the first two.
    She said it was plodding, underdeveloped in many areas, and that the politics was way too overdone at the expense of telling the story.  She was really wanting to fall in love with the movie, given the last two, so she’s bummed.

    I think I’ll wait until it comes out in Redbox.

  4. Evilbloggerlady
    July 21st, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    There is a reason some of us have Netflix.  This can wait.  

  5. richard mcenroe
    July 21st, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    I’ll be going to see it tonight or tomorrow.  There’s a certain amount of Fuck-You-Psycho involved, but also, if it is a genuinely conservatively themed movie, it should be supported.

  6. scarymatt
    July 21st, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    Members of the real-world Occupy movement may bristle at being thus depicted, even at second hand, as witless sheep.

    They’ll bristle all right. Sometimes the truth hurts.

  7. SDN
    July 21st, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    Comparing the wits of sheep to those of Occupods is an insult… to the sheep.

  8. richard mcenroe
    July 21st, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

     Long as they’re bristling, hit’m with the hose.  The soap will soak in deeper.

  9. Beeblebrocs
    July 21st, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    Medved gave it 3 stars but said skip seeing it. He said it was depressing and left you feeling terrible. He also said bring your ear plugs to the theater. I’m waiting for the Blu-ray.

  10. Leroyoddswatch
    July 21st, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    My 23yo daughter went to the midnight showing at the local theater.

    Her review?

    “Total sausage-fest.”



  11. King B
    July 21st, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    Conservatives justifiably gripe about Hollywood left-wingery, then cherry-pick problems in the most successful, outwardly conservative film series of the 21st century. Herding cats, herding cats…

    I went and saw it last night, loved it, and was taken aback by some of Bane’s speechifyin’ as being interchangeable with our POTUS’s. If you don’t normally go to movies, nothing would persuade you to see this, but it’s a movie best-seen in the theater. Well worth the $$, if any movie is worth the $$. From a conservative, Nolte’s view rings valid – not sure what Loder’s problem was, and I like Loder. 

    Best way to judge art? Quit reading about it and experience it for yourself. Duh. I wait for most movies to come onto Netflix, but this is more of a theater experience. 

  12. Evilbloggerlady
    July 21st, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

    If you confirm that is the case Richard, I will go.

  13. Bob Belvedere
    July 21st, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    Mrs. B. and I stopped going to movie theaters a long time ago, so, when we wnt to support a movie, we make sure to buy the DVD.  This way, (1) it’s cheaper for us and (2) the makers still get the dough.

    The Studios look at both theater and DVD sales when greenlighting a filmmaker’s next project, so you’re still helping them by buying the DVD and, as I say, you don’t spend thirty bucks on overpriced condiments [and you  can pause the pic and go use the Necessary and pour another cocktail!].

  14. Bob Belvedere
    July 21st, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

    Mr. Loder moved from the Left to the Right [as a Libertarian] and methinks he’s still a bit uncomfortable being here.

    On Red Eye, he’s an interesting guest.

  15. Henson
    July 21st, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

     I couldn’t agree more King B.

    Conservatives need to work more on finding common cause instead of fighting amongst ourselves over trivial nonsense.

    It’s the most “conservative” Hollywood blockbuster I can remember seeing in several decades.

    Pop culture is almost always working against us.  We need to make sure our support is given when Hollywood “royalty” sticks their neck out for our side.

  16. Rob Crawford
    July 21st, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    Members of the real-world Occupy movement may bristle at being thus depicted, even at second hand, as witless sheep.”

    Truth hurts.

  17. JeffS
    July 21st, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    Just came from seeing “The Dark Knight Rises”.

    Like everything else these days, political statements are assumed.  I went in assuming nothing of the sort.  I put Aurora out of my mind — not out of disrespect, but because to do so, I felt, meant that the killer in the theater had won.  And he, and any like minded creatures, will not win through anything that I do. 

    Batman — as originally created many years ago — was an American in the sense of “American Exceptionalism”: an individual working to improve the world around him, and spreading a message.  What I saw today — and in the earlier movies — was a return to those values.

    So, in a sense, yes, there’s a political message here, one that echos from the past, not unlike watching a rerun of a John Wayne movie.  But that’s more in the line of following an old formula.

    What I really saw was a classic comic book brought to the screen.  Good versus evil, in the form of Ying and Yang, where Evil is intertwined with Good.  An epic battle, a search for meaning, betrayal, friendship, love, hope, despair, pain. 

    No doubt current events influenced the movie, there’s no way it could be avoided.  Context is important in entertainment.  But any partisan interpretations are likely more a result of what that person was looking for. 

    Now, all of this is just my opinion, yet another review.  But I would like to point out that this is not the first production wherein the Dark Knight rises — I don’t suggest buying it (unless you’re a Batman nut), but The Complete Frank Miller Batman has an awful lot of parallels with “The Dark Knight Rises”, including battling a seriously bad ass gang leader with a cult following, and a strikingly similar ending.  Indeed, the last chapter is entitled “The Dark Knight Returns“.

    So what I saw, I believe, was A Good Old Fashioned Movie, like we used to see, before Hollywood went political, leaned left, starting pumping out highly partisan movies, and indoctrinated people to see political partisan messages in everything, rather than where politics mattered.  Where Americans are human, mistakes will happen, and the world doesn’t stop as result — life goes on.

  18. JeffS
    July 21st, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

     Well, that was bizarre — one of the verify words for this post was “political”. 

  19. Pathfinder's wife
    July 21st, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

    I just want to see movies that don’t beat me over the head with politics — if I want politics I can read the news; is it so much to ask for a good movie that doesn’t shove politics of any kind down my throat? (I realize that politics are an aspect of culture, thus unavoidable, but I’m just tired of going to a movie and the political “message” being so obvious to the point of no escape from it.  This is one of the primary reasons I quit going.)

  20. richard mcenroe
    July 21st, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

     It was worth the ticket.  Marvelously acted, the audience applauded, many Occupados got curbstomped.

  21. Anamika
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 2:16 am


    I put Aurora out of my mind — not out of disrespect, but because to do
    so, I felt, meant that the killer in the theater had won.

    I was listening to the live reports of the Aurora shootings as i left home to watch the movie. As soon as the movie began playing, I completely “forgot” about the shootings and enjoyed the show.

  22. Anamika
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 2:28 am

    She was really wanting to fall in love with the movie, given the last two, so she’s bummed.

    Me too. I watched the first one with no expectations at all and loved it.  It was a pleasant surprise. The second one blew me away and I have been waiting for years for the latest. I thought the previous Batman films from the 80 and 90s were silly. I’m not a fan of comic book superhero adaptations. Nolan’s triology is an exception.

    TDK had a great villian in The Joker, Rises’ Bane doesn’t match him. TDK althought enormously successful had its flaws as well, but they were small in comparision to Rises. But I’m still happy with the Rises, it had an amazing ending.

  23. JeffS
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 9:50 am

     Tut tut, Anamika, tut tut!

    Alas, you have indulged in cherry picking and obfuscation.  I can only offer some words from Kipling to comfort you in your self-imposed mental torment:

    “We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost;

    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that plays it is lost!”

    Tut tut, Anamika!  What applies to the Vikings applies to psychos as well.  Tut tut!

  24. JeffS
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 9:51 am

     And I find it intriguing that one verify word for this post was:


  25. ThePaganTemple
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    It’s good to see a conservative message promoted for once. If any group deserves to be portrayed as villains on screen its the #Occutard Scumbag Hipsters.

  26. Anamika
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    There is NO cherrypicking or obfuscation whatsoever. That comment was NOT sarcasm or whatever your mind contrived it to be. I was simply stating a fact of my experience watching the movie minutes after I heard about the shootings on telly.  I had half an hour to digest the news before I and a friend left home to the movies, a 5 minute walk away.

    BTW, I just realized (been away from TOM for more than a week) that one of my last comments  here (adressed to you regarding Gaussian distribution) was moderated by Wombat. He asked me to post it on my own blog.

    So here it is (external link):

    To Jeff

  27. JeffS
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 11:39 am

     Tut tut, Anamika, tut tut!

    Alas, you cherry pick where you obfuscate, and assert where you cherry pick.  Your argument is thus circular, and hence invalid. 

    Tut tut, Anamika!  Mathematics and arithmetic are related, but not the same.  Tut tut!

  28. Brad Bettin
    July 22nd, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    Don’t know what Medved saw …. I wasn’t depressed by it.  Liked the characters.  

    Didn’t think Anne Hathaway had the chops to play “Catwoman” (note – the character is never called that) but am happy to say I was wrong … she played it very well.

    I’m particularly pleased by how it ended – the day is saved … for everyone.

  29. Guest
    July 23rd, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

    >”bring your ear plugs to the theater”

    So it’s not just me…saw it yesterday and it felt like they’d turned the volume up to 11.  (Literally…it was loud enough that you could feel it.)