Punished Innocence

I wish I could write that I was shocked or surprised by the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. But I’m not. Anyone in this country who is surprised by a mass shooting hasn’t been paying much attention the last thirty years. Mass shootings, and the grief and death they bring with them, are a part of American life now, occurring with more frequency than the Super Bowl. So no, I’m not shocked or surprised. I’m disgusted. But as the days go by, I’m more and more horrified at shooter Adam Lanza’s choice of victims. I would like to pretend that all life has equal value, that a mass shooting at an elementary school would be no more tragic than at a factory or retirement home, but that’s just not the case. Not one of the child victims of this shooting was over the age of seven. Most were six. The beauty of youthful innocence is not in its lack of sin, but in its capacity for unpunished naiveté. The hard lessons of life have yet to be learned for most children the ages of the Newtown victims. We look at young children and can’t help but remember how blissfully unaware we were at that age of the cruelty with which we dance as adults. Continue reading “Punished Innocence”

The Empty Balcony: Savages

SavagesTaylor Kitsch just had a bad year. He starred in three major release films. How can that possibly be bad? The three films were Battleship, John Carter, and Oliver Stone’s latest ham-fisted effort, Savages. Three films, three disappointments, and Mr. Kitsch has suddenly moved into Ryan Reynolds territory as the latest bankable star that turned out to be not so bankable. It isn’t all his fault, though. John Carter was doomed from the start, and Battleship was so awful, a cavalcade of thespians from the Royal Shakespeare Company couldn’t have saved it.

Which leads us to Savages.

Occasionally Oliver Stone gets an itch to make an over-the-top movie full of extreme violence and outrageous criminality. When that has happened in the past, he gave us Natural Born Killers and the screenplay to Scarface. This year it was Savages, adapted from the novel by Don Winslow, which tells the tale of a California airhead and the two drug dealers who love her. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Savages”