Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I just watched the movie "Elephant" on DVD. It's written and directed by Gus Van Sant, who directed "Good Will Hunting" and "Finding Forrester." It's a film that's basically a tone poem about the Columbine High School shootings. It follows some students through part of a normal high school day, and then follows the shooters from the day before the event up through the shootings. Not the actual Columbine events -- it's a Columbine-like situation, set in Oregon. It's a very artistic film. I thought it was okay. The first half, with the suspense of not knowing when the shooting would begin, was more interesting and edge-of-your-seat than the second half, following the shooters.

After I finished watching, I looked at some reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It got pretty good reviews. One of the reviews linked to is on a site called Screen It, which has parental reviews of movies, itemizing all instances of drug use, violence, etc in the film. This is an unintentionally hilarious website, because it presents the issues as an unordered list, without any sense of proportion. So, under "imitative behavior," it lists:

-- The film could inspire kids to do a similar at school shooting
-- A girl wears a midriff revealing top.
--Alex drinks milk directly from the container at home.

One of these things is clearly worse than the others. Is anyone really taking issue with a midriff-revealing top in a movie about school shootings? Or with a kid drinking milk from the container? Do these things really belong on the same list as, "your kid might shoot up the school"??

Again, under "topics to talk about":

--The Columbine shootings that obviously inspired this film.
--Eric tells Alex not to drink from another student's cup since he could get herpes or something from it.

Sense of proportion, please. If you're talking to your kids about drinking from someone else's cup after watching this movie, you deserve whatever fate befalls you.

Just for fun, I decided to see what else I could find on this bizarre site.

Under "disrespectful/bad attitude" in "The Passion of The Christ" -- "A freed prisoner defiantly wags his tongue at a guard." Yes, that was the worst of it, I'm sure.

You may want to watch out in Spongebob Squarepants for this scene likely to turn your children into monsters: "Spongebob grabs Patrick's bare chest (where his nipples would be if he had them, but in a nonsexual manner)."

And one of the scary scenes in The Exorcist, apparently: "Megan spits on a doctor."

Finally, although, really, this website looks like it can provide hours and hours of entertainment, in the ZOMBIE comedy "Shaun of the Dead," under "Disrespectful / Bad Attitude," "A subordinate takes a cell phone call as Shaun addresses him and others." Yes. They were surrounded by zombies, and this is what parents need to worry about. Give me a break.