And I must say, this movie would make a very convincing Exhibit A for his defense, since even beyond the overt molester Uncle Ernie, it seems that every character is engaged in child abuse of one sort or another — and I’d forgotten that the thing that shocks our young pinball wizard into becoming “deaf, dumb, and blind” is his oddly-sexualized mom (an adoring Ann-Margaret writhing curvaceously in baked beans) and his stepdad ordering him to stop seeing and hearing or ever speaking of the evil he’s seen.
It would make a good double feature (with discussion) with the far superior Pink Floyd: The Wall from five years later, since both focus on a British lad who loses his dad in World War II — but Tommy is threatened by male sexuality and responds by becoming a rocker/ersatz Christ figure, while Pink fears maternal smothering and his wife’s adultery and becomes a rocker/fuhrer figure, making the movies a sort of yin and yang of classic rock.
Less philosophically rich but still worth discussing for the right political factions this month are:
•Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for neocons (the gung-ho prior film obviously having been made with ample military assistance and depicting our boys in the Middle East in a positive light)
•Bruno, which features the faux-gay Austrian fashion reporter attempting to seduce Ron Paul, for paleos and people with a Euro/gay aesthetic streak (perhaps bridging the cultural divide between some fans of our Lolita Bar debaters last week, TakiMag editor Richard Spencer and Sanctity of Marriage handbook author Bryan Harris)
•I Love You Beth Cooper for libertarians (well, this is really just a romantic teen comedy from Larry Doyle, but I knew his work even before meeting him [he was in my apartment and we had a mutual friend] and even before his work on The Simpsons, New York magazine, etc. because he used to be a comic book editor when the company First! Comics existed, and he edited libertarian Mike Baron’s excellent series Nexus — all of which makes Doyle’s next announced film project, a sci-fi high school comedy called Go, Mutants!, unsurprising)
•Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for liberal anglophiles who value education and meritocracy
•Watchmen: The Director’s Cut (in a few cities the weekend after this coming one) for anarchists
I may have to see them all — despite or perhaps because of the almost astonished-sounding and baffled negative reviews of Transformers: RotF — since I’ve in some sense been part of each of these factions. That’s why I should make an effort to ensure you hear less “party line” and more “plethora of notions” on this blog now. You may find yourself getting even angrier as you read it, though.