Jmac90's Blog

The Insider Review

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

The Insider was an exciting and incredibly entertaining picture. It begins with a charismatic character Lowell Bergman, played by Al Pacino, putting his own life in danger to perform an interview with a dangerous leader. He then links up with Jeffrey Wigand, played by Russell Crow, and formulates a plan to expose the tobacco industry. I appreciate this gesture because I am a smoker myself and would love to see this organization fall. Unfortunately, Bergman and Wigand experience a vast amount of adversity by the industry as well as CBS.

Wigand is a very frantic character that we connect with through his natural behavior. Initially, he does not want to take the risk and go through with this operation, but Bergman is persistent in convincing him to take a shot. Bergman is the investigatory journalist who uses Wigand as a tool to bring down the “bad guys.” He believes that Wigand is the only solution to solving this problem of corruption. We are put into the shoes of Wigand to solve a moral dilemma. Should he keep his mouth shut and let Americans die under the hands of the tobacco industry, or should he tell the truth about how the industry is making cigarettes more addictive but risk going to jail? I really admire how Michael Mann draws the audience into the movie and lets you decide what is right and wrong.

After a moment of suspense, Wigand decides to go through with it and give 60 minutes an interview. This is thwarted by CBS and their decision to not view it. Bergman fights their decision and ends up winning. He doesn’t win all the way through though, because he ends up leaving CBS in the end.

I really felt that the movie was based on Wigand himself or the audience for that matter. He portrays a great amount of courage by putting his life on the line. He experiences many conflicts throughout the film and we are supposed to identify with all of his emotions. We can relate to Bergman’s ambitiousness but that’s about it. He is pretty much a “one-way” character that displays his anger and energy through his actions. The problem here is power and who has it. The tobacco companies have a larger status than Bergman and Wigand but they have the key to unlocking their secrets through journalism and the power to reach people. I was upset that Wigand disappeared half way through the film; bad move.

Visually, the movie was wonderful. It was truly realistic and made me feel like I was part of the movie. The camera angles as well as the structure of dialogue provided us with a raw depiction. It also helps that this movie is based on a true story because I usually like to see how accurately it correlates to the real life events that it is based on. I enjoyed the handheld camera scenes as well as the use of lighting. The film looked blue for some reason, but it added to it’s own unique style.

The acting was on point of course, we are dealing with Pacino and Crowe after all! They had a wonderful relationship on-screen and filled in for each-others missing qualities. It was the magnificent balance between the main characters that made it feel fluent and realistic. The fact that entertainment and suspense was boosted by phone calls rather than non-stop action, shows that a movie can be entertaining and adrenaline filled without the use of constant explosions.

My favorite scene is when Bergman is on the beach trying to reach Wigand at the hotel. At this point we see Wigand with a blank stare on his face ignoring the hotel attendant. He is depressed and overwhelmed with the events in his life. The room begins to contort and Wigand experiences hallucinations of his family. This scene exemplifies the predicament that Wigand is in and how badly it is affecting him. He does not want to lose his family but yet he wants to keep his pride and do the right thing.

The Insider was filled with a great story line and had the intense situations and acting to back it up. I’m a big fan of Pacino and Crowe but never came across this movie until now. I am happy that I seen it and that I enjoyed it so much. It was captivating through its visuals as well as the soundtrack that played throughout the film.They should make more movies that are similar to this in that it was truly realistic and not far-fetched. It was a great movie and I give it 4 stars.


Shouting Fire at Nazis

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

This part of the Shouting Fire documentary was extremely shocking. The most surprising element of this piece is that Nazi’s marched in Madison Square Garden. I never knew of this and I found it quite interesting. I do not support Nazism, but if it was a harmless rally to support their views, which it was, then I have nothing against it. My opposition is against the Nazi’s actions in Europe, rather than a convention in New York. They are allowed to exercise their right of free speech as well as the right to protest.

Mr. Garbus stated that his initial position was to be quiet and keep his thoughts to himself. This is due to the fact that his father had told him to “keep his head down and not speak up” during times of opposition because it can lead to other conflicts.

The Nazi’s should definitely be allowed to march as long as they are not harming anyone. This would never fly in todays world and I would say that this “protection” is unconstitutional and goes against human nature.

This debate is somewhat related to what is currently happening with the freedom fighters in Iran. They are protesting and speaking their minds to support Democracy in a chaotic state. If we put them in the Nazi’s position during the 1930’s, we see two groups who are presenting their thoughts and ideas. Forget the fact that one is fighting for freedom and one for extinction, the big picture is; is that people are always going to be held responsible for what they say or do and it is their prerogative to engage in a protest or not. They should not be restricted in doing this as the debate states in the Nazi’s case nor should they be killed or injured as in the Iran case.

We are all composed of the same matter and our differences only exist within the mind. Yes, granted; the Nazi’s should not have marched in New York because it is a slap in the face of America’s and can potentially have detrimental effects, but we cannot deny the fact that humans can say whatever they want simply because we have the ability to do so. I think the main misconception that people have in regard to freedom of speech is that it should apply to everyone! It should apply even if the speech has evil or sinister qualities. If Nazi’s marched in New York tomorrow I would not be outraged or question if they should be doing it; I would just not attend it.

Political Cartoon 6

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

-Nick Anderson(middle)

This cartoon is an interesting one indeed. It is an illustration that portrays a patriotic fellow, representing America, falling upon the destruction of Haiti and a newspaper article. He has a shocked look on his face from the headline which states, “What does it take for the world to notice us?” I picked this particular cartoon because I do not necessarily agree with it. I think its trying to depict that America would feel guilty if they had not have helped with the crisis. Another problem with this cartoon is the headline itself. It gives me the implication that this crisis was self-induced by a cry for attention, and we know that this is not the case here.

America should not feel obligated to other nations in times of crisis, rather they should be helpful and caring unconditionally. Haiti is one of the most poverty-stricken countries on Earth, and I see how Anderson is trying to express that notion here. He is trying to walk in Haiti’s shoes and say, “Oh now you’re going to help?!” Another interesting observation I made is that the debris and rubble of Haiti in this picture is quite similar to the the remains of the World Trade Center. This serves as a tool for sympathy and that America should feel their pain. The article on the newspaper is directed towards the world,as stated, but America is the only personification present in the picture. This expresses the notion that America took the most initiative in this catastrophe and that they did it out of pity.I don’t think Anderson was right in this cartoon because it is directed towards America and not the world as the newspaper headline states.This cartoon discusses the ongoing dilemma in Haiti and if fortunate countries will help them after the earthquake jive subsides.

Political Cartoon 5

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

-Nick Anderson(middle)

This cartoon is a perfect example of a well thought political statement. Texas has the highest rate of executions and this cartoon helps us understand why. Anderson presents us with a family of tourists staring at a welcome to Texas sign that states that it is the execution capital of America. Proud of its murderous heritage, the sign asks people to not ask if any of the convicted felons were innocent. This statement is in parenthesis because Texas citizens have been wrongfully executed due to flaws within the Judicial system.

This cartoon discusses a variety of problems. Should people be executed at all? Why does Texas have the most amount of them? Should people be exposed to this phenomena? Are Texans proud of their execution status? Execution is a gruesome and tragic way of ending a life, but if that very life has been successfully proven guilty of an intense crime; then I say go for it. I do see this as a problem though, Texas couldn’t possibly executed more people for the right reasons; or maybe they could. I think the defining predicament lays within the Judicial system and how it operates. If people are being put to death for crimes that they have not done, then there is a serious problem within our courts. This cartoon did not offend me at all. Anderson is merely presenting us with a fact about Texas and how innocent people are being executed in this wonderful country. He is completely right for depicting the image this way and I really like how he incorporated the most symbolic execution device of all, the cross.

Political Cartoon 4

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

-Nick Anderson(middle)

This wonderful cartoon is directed towards the lack of intelligence that Sarah Palin radiates. The cartoon shows us a shower scene in which Sarah Palin is staring at her hand with simple directions needed to cleanse herself properly.The words  “Lather,Rinse,Repeat” was drawn on her hand to illustrate Palin’s horrible memory and/or her ignorance towards simple routines. This cartoon was created because of an incident where Palin was giving a speech and was spotted looking at her hand, in which she wrote tax cuts and energy on.

I don’t think that the shower itself is relevant to Anderson’s claim. He could have drawn a completely different cartoon with the same message by supplying any type instructions on Palin’s hand. The only thing I can think of is that the idea of Sarah Palin in the shower makes me happy. Anderson is trying to expose Palin’s weakness, common sense. The lady doesn’t even read the newspaper, how can she be worthy of Presidency? This cartoon did not offend me and Anderson is right for depicting the image in this manner. If i drew it up, I probably would have shown some more skin; just to make up for the lacking of her other physical properties, such as a brain.

Political Cartoon 3

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

-Nick Anderson(middle)

This cartoon is interesting because it tackles idea of homosexuality in the military and the effect it can have on a soldier. “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” insists that a gay man in the military has to either lie or keep his mouth closed about his sexual preference. The picture illustrates and army general-like figure talking to one of his soldiers, while the armed “gay” soldier is literally enclosed in a closet. This exaggeration insists that a soldier probably feels isolated and blind when he cannot express his true self. The general states, “Maybe he could fight better if we let him out.” This statement demolishes the idea of “don’t as don’t tell” by revealing that a soldier would be more efficient and feel more comfortable if he was free from the closet that they forced onto him.

I do not support homosexuality nor do I oppose, but the situation still frustrates me. A person should be equal, especially in the military, to exercise their rights as an individual. The cartoon did not offend me in any way, shape, or form; rather it reinforced my understanding of how this country works. Anderson was spot on with his portrayal and I truly appreciate his work.

Political Cartoon 2

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010

-Nick Anderson(middle)

This cartoon must be controversial, because anything that goes against the Catholic Church is. If I had it my way, I would post this cartoon on the doors of every single church in this world. Anyway, this cartoon is divided into two parts. The first picture shows us a father his son proposing an idea to a priest. The father calmly states that “Priests should be allowed to marry and have kids”, and the priest gingerly responds “Why?”. We already know where this one is going. The second picture presents us with bold letters with a red background as the father screams and holds up a newspaper shouting, “Because then you might be able to understand our anger!” The newspapers headline, “Pedophile Scandal” shocks the priest as his eyes burst out of his head. I assume that the father’s son has fell victim to the disgusting old man mainly because of his silent and unchanging presence in the cartoon.

I am not offended by this cartoon at all. I am actually thankful that art/propaganda like this exists. This cartoon discusses the abstinent nature of a priest and how it is a catalyst towards a priest’s disturbing actions. The artist was efficient and right for depicting the cartoon this way. Although, I still wish that we could have seen a verbal reaction from the priest rather than a silent one. The cartoon also covers how priests do not understand the hardship that the catholic church has produced. Besides their fairy tale lies that they spew to the public via brainwashing, they have to parade around raping little boys too? This father is clearly mad and that’s how it relates to the public’s common mindset.

Political Cartoon 1

Posted in Uncategorized by jmac90 on May 5, 2010
-Nick Anderson(middle)
This particular cartoon is divided into two parts. The first picture depicts a police officer, possibly from Arizona, asking a Mexican man to see his immigration papers because his activities are suspicious. when we slide to the right and experience the second picture, we realize that the Mexican is ironically mowing the police officer’s lawn. The mexican then spitefully states, “Before or after I finish your lawn?” This cartoon is discussing immigration policy as well as the importance of illegal/legal immigrant labor.In the second picture, the cop seems as if he swallowed his tongue. He now realizes that this Mexican man is not as expendable as he thought. I guess we can say that cheap labor transcends the law to certain degree.

This cartoon did not offend me, nor should it offend anyone; including Mexican. It is a harmless cartoon that presents us with many important conventions that we should either change or at-least recognize. The stereotyped Mexican mustache man is simply doing his job to accumulate some money, while the stereotyped fat sun glassed cop is simply doing his job as well. The artist is trying to say that Mexicans serve a great purpose in our society and that we should be a little more lenient with their inhabitance. Yes, the artist is right for depicting the image this way because it is not offensive and presents us with a real-life situation. It could have been improved if there was a third picture which would have showed us the outcome. I would have liked to see the cop say, “Wow, I am so sorry. Would you like a glass of lemonade? My Mexican maid just squeezed some!”