ED CURTIN—But Vincent, responding to Gauguin, a former stock broker, when he urged him to paint slowly and methodically, said, “I need to be out of control. I don’t want to calm down.” He knew that to be fully alive was to be vulnerable, to not hold back, to always be slipping away, and to be threatened with annihilation at any moment. When painting, he was intoxicated with a creative joy that belies the popular image of him as always depressed. “I find joy in sorrow,” he said, echoing in a paradoxical way Albert Camus, who said, “I have always felt that I lived on the high seas, threatened, at the heart of a royal happiness.”
ARTS & FILM
PHILIPPE BASTIEN—Ranging from savage to frankly humorous, critics are giving Gotti, a mess that aspires to be a memorable addition to the mob genre, not only a failing grade, but a distinction that could make it some day a midnite cult: one of the worst movies ever made. Watch out Ed Wood, here come Kevin Connolly and Randall Emmett.
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PAUL EDWARDS—American movie audiences have long loved violent heroes who, in morally iffy circumstances, cut through insoluble complexities of relentless evil by ending them in more or less justifiable murder.
In the more intelligent, ethical versions, these heroes are good men, trying to do the right thing until they run out of options and have to kill. It ends for them, not in triumph or exaltation, but in an emotional downdraft that looks much like regret or remorse.
- AMERICAN STUDIESARTS & FILM
JOANNE LAURIER—For its humanistic, anti-racialist message—the elementary notion that white and black people can get along—Green Book has been well received by audiences. Predictably, for the same reason, it has also aroused hostility from those who live and breathe identity politics. Typical headlines originating from that crowd read: “Green Book Is a Poorly Titled White Savior Film,” “Green Book is Another Unneeded White People’s Guide to Racism” and “Is Green Book ‘Woke’ Enough?”