M'kay. So now I'll tell you my super-secret hidden agenda for posting about Paglia's nostalgia pageantry. Part of the reason that crotchety "things were better in my day" attitude hit me so hard this week was because 300 came out on DVD last weekend. Me, I'm getting older myself. And I won't lie to you, I had a horrible reaction against this movie when it was first released for a very shameful reason: My nephew loved it.
Petty, isn't it? Oh yeah it is. It was the height of "my old shit is better than your new shit" arrogance on my part. He loved this movie and insisted on me going to see it in the theater. Honestly? If I hadn't had any sort of feedback from him before going to see it, I'd have loved it. Here's the movie: Blood, boobs, brawn. What's not to like about it? It's a great flick!
But me and my nephew, we had recently had a prolonged culture swap that failed miserably. He won't read. He doesn't like Nirvana. He thinks Goodfellas is too slow and boring. (!!) Seriously, how was I supposed to communicate with this kid? So in my small little mind, when he came along loving this movie, I figured since he thought everything I liked was shit, that our tastes couldn't ever parrallel. So I watched 300 with a jaded, crotchety old bitch's eye. It sure didn't have the violence of The Warriors! It didn't have the sex like Showgirls! It was stylized with Bullet-time so it reminded me of The Matrix, which had Keanu Reeves and a superior script. (Shut up! The first one WAS good!) Also, that is NOT how the Battle of Thermopylae went down!
But you know what? Once I got bucked off my high horse and pulled my own head out of my ass, here's what I saw in the movie: Gerard Butler and his ferociously white teeth looking incredibly sexy, especially rounded up with a whole gang of nearly-naked Spartans as they threw spears. Again -- what's not to like? I won't go all Pauline Kael and say that this movie is trash at its finest, because, frankly, though it did have stylized action and fetishized both violence and war, it wasn't exactly revolutionary. It also wasn't historically accurate, but it was extremely faithful to the Frank Miller comic it was based on, which means it was even better. Bonus -- Rodrigo Santoro, also nearly completely naked for prolonged stretches.
But see, I didn't appreciate it until it was jammed down my throat a second time on DVD, after I'd gotten over my snit. I fear these sorts of snits are going to start coming along more frequently now that I'm getting older and more entrenched in my ways and tastes. (How fucking hip and modern can I be expected to be, I listen to Bobby Darin fer chrissakes!) I just hope my nephew tolerates and then slaps me out of my snits so I don't miss out on graphic violence and near frontal male nudity in the future!