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Capone chimes in on Terrence Malick's transcendent THE TREE OF LIFE!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

So here's the thing. If you've been reading reviews of writer-director Terrence Malick's years-in-the-making THE TREE OF LIFE, you've probably seen critics tripping over themselves attempting to interpret what the film and its characters represent. Is this Malick's attempt to confirm his atheism by showing up evolution and dinosaurs? Or is this a lesson on God versus darker influences on our lives beginning as children? I've read words like "grace" tossed around this film as often as words like "surreal," "impressionistic" and "existential." Everyone thinks they've got it figured out, or at least is going to attempt to convince you that they do. But here's the truth: they're all wrong. And in equal measure, they are all right.

And that's because THE TREE OF LIFE is a film that cannot be pinned down to any one explanation or meaning. It's a film meant to wash over you and leave you thinking about it days or weeks after you've seen it. But most of all, it's a work left deliberately vague so that discussion will ensue after it's been viewed. Those are my favorite kinds of film. When I hear someone tell me a day or two after they've seen a thought-provoking film that they still don't know what they thought of it, my response is always some variation of, "The fact that you're still thinking about it probably means you liked it." Not always the case, I know, but I think that's usually right.

While others may search for deeper meaning in THE TREE OF LIFE, on my first viewing I chose to take the film at face value, and it certainly works on both levels. But even if you end up giggling a bit at the presence of dinosaurs here, there is no denying that this is a story about family and how the relationship (or lack thereof) with our parents molds us with a relentless fire.

The family in question is the O'Briens, living in Texas during the 1950s, a time considered by many to be America's last Golden Age, although no one in this family would probably agree with you. Mr. & Mrs. O'Brien (a relentless Brad Pitt and almost angelic Jessica Chastain) are raising three sons. But when we meet them, they have lost a child, presumably to war. And it's at this point where the inevitability of this moment in time becomes clear.

Without any real explanation why (that's a good thing), Malick transports is back to the beginning of time, to the Big Bang and continues on to trace the history of the earth and of humankind straight back to when the O'Brien children were younger and all alive, being raised by a stern but loving father and a mother that was sometimes permissive to a fault. THE TREE OF LIFE is not a traditionally constructed story, so much as it is a series of moments in the life of young Jack O'Brien (Hunter McCracken), who is briefly seen as an adult played by Sean Penn.

For some reason, I couldn't help but equate the relationship between Jack and his father to that of Bruce Springsteen's best-known, on-stage stories about his tumultuous emotional connection to his dad. He claims at one time to have hated his father, but it's clear that as he got older, being a success in his father's eyes was paramount. Jack (like the other O'Brien boys) is clearly scared of his dad, but doing well and being recognized by his fathers seems to be the thing Jack strives for.

Most of you will likely recognize the version of Mr. O'Brien that Pitt gives us. The world has wronged him in so many ways, and the only place he has to vent that frustration and anger is in the direction of his family. But O'Brien isn't a bad man; we see what is worth admiring and loving about him. In may ways, he's a weak man in the body of a strong one.

And then there's Mrs. O'Brien. If her husband represents forcing their children to grow up before their time, then she embodies the very essence of staying a child for as long as one can. When dad travels, it's like the circus comes to town in their tiny home. The kids (with mom right there with them) are free to run around, slam doors and play--a sharp contrast to the life lessons about fighting, manners and hard work that dad embraces. It's difficult to tell if mom is as scared of Mr. O'Brien as the kids are; he rarely aims his intimidation in her direction. But there is something off about her, and I couldn't help but think that she probably had a father much like her husband, so she is just better at handling him.

What's particularly fascinating about the way this story is told is that we're seeing everything from Jack's perspective. It's as if the film isn't meant to be an accurate account of the events as they took place. Instead, we're getting flashes of a very limited world as seen through this child's eyes. When you are young, your world doesn't often extend past your front lawn and your school. But when I was growing up, I remember school being like a vacation and home being the real world. And that's the marvelous thing about THE TREE OF LIFE--it forces you to think in those terms. It's greatest gift is its universality. Most everyone will find some element in this movie that will trigger a flood of emotions and scattered memories.

I'm not convinced God figures into this film at all. Would you find it weird that in the audience I saw this film with were a priest and a nun? That sounds like the set up to a bad joke: "A priest and a nun go to a Terrence Malick movie..." That said, there are large heaps of spirituality as far as the eye can see. It's clear that life and evolution and natural science (as well as his ever-present nature) are Malick's religion and that he gets a spiritual rapture from simply contemplating them. I can't think of another filmmaker who embraces pure existence as much as Malick.

Malick also manages to evoke the air and heat and grass and trees of the O'Brien's yard and neighborhood. At many points in the film, the camera feel like it's floating on the wind. These may be idealized versions of nature (again, as remembered by Jack), but when you contrast them with the few shots of Jack (as played by Penn, who unfortunately barely registers in this film due to lack of screentime) later in life, surrounded by cold skyscrapers in some unnamed metropolis, you start to crave that smalltown version of nature.

THE TREE OF LIFE is not a simple, straight-forward work, but it's not confusing or so intent on being different that it makes it impossible to understand. My advice is to let the images take hold, and don't worry so much about piecing them together or attempting to interpret them until the film is done. My guess is that your analysis will never quite be complete until you see it a second time. You will absolutely take something away from The Tree of Life, and that doesn't happen nearly enough in movies any more. Cherish the moment.

-- Capone
capone@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback
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  • June 3, 2011, 2 a.m. CST

    I'm expecting a powerful experience at the theater

    by RichardLuzT

    just as the only other Terrence Malick film I've seen at it: The New World. Even if my old man falls asleep again!

  • June 3, 2011, 2:10 a.m. CST

    Like a thousand of those, pal

    by RichardLuzT

    and massive tits bangin' together. Such is the beauty of nature, that Malick captures so well.

  • June 3, 2011, 2:20 a.m. CST

    A priest and a nun go to a Terrence Malick movie...

    by No Respectable Gentleman

    The priest says, "Was it about God?" The nun says, "Was it about nature?" The usher says, "No, it was about 138 minutes." HA-CHA-CHA-CHA!

  • June 3, 2011, 4:22 a.m. CST

    Fuck Icon Distribution

    by syn_flood

    for borking the UK release date >:( I must see this film!

  • June 3, 2011, 7:42 a.m. CST

    Claxdog - it's okay to be stupid

    by Rex Carsalot

    The world need ditch diggers, too.

  • June 3, 2011, 7:43 a.m. CST

    there he goes again

    by koie

    He tried this existential mumbo jumbo with A Thin Red Line and look where that got him? I'll wait til it hits video.

  • Just like 2001: A boring incoherent turd in space odyssey

  • June 3, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    claxdog, I'm sure Fast Five is still playing somewhere you utter twat

    by golden tribw

  • June 3, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    And this is the single worst review of ToL I've read yet.

    by golden tribw

    It's so unrewarding to read. Literally every review that came out after the Cannes screening was poetry by comparison.

  • ...normal criticism. This film is beyond mainstream, Hollywood movies. This film is on a level so high that only a select few can truly appreciate it's genius! If you saw this film and didn't like it, it's because you do not have the intellectual ability to understand it!

  • June 3, 2011, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Don't tell me how to watch a movie.

    by JumpinJehosaphat

    I'm a big boy and can make up my own mind as to what the film is or isn't.

  • June 3, 2011, 10:36 a.m. CST

    yep sounds like a Malick movie

    by D o o d

    and I quote:- "Malick also manages to evoke the air and heat and grass and trees of the O'Brien's yard and neighborhood." I'm bored just reading that!

  • June 3, 2011, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Actually, the biggest challenge in watching Tree of Life...

    by Mazzer

    ...is finding one damn theater that's showing it!

  • June 3, 2011, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Greatest parody filmmaker ever.

    by Flip63Hole

    The Wayans' "Scary Movie" franchise has nothing on this pretentious hack's output. Proper titles for Malick's last sevral movies: "Pretentious Movie", "Pretentious Movie 2", "Pretentious Movie 3" and so on...

  • June 3, 2011, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Loved this movie so much.

    by WriteForTheEdit

    It is achingly beautiful, and very engrossing. I would have loved to have cut out all the sequences with Sean Penn, including the finale. (Not about Penn hate, just felt it was all unnecessary). Brad Pitt gets an Oscar nomination, guaranteed. And the lead boy should, too.

  • June 3, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST

    And I loved "Fast Five," too, so there.

    by WriteForTheEdit

  • June 3, 2011, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Jumpinjehosaphat, you need to be told how to watch a movie!

    by Arafel

    Look, no offense, but you don't sound like a movie critic. You need someone who actually knows how to watch a movie tell you how to do it. You can't simply sit in a movie theater and "watch" a movie. That is what average people do. A movie must be analyzed scene by scene in order to properly understand it. Unfortunately, average movie viewers like yourself just don't have the knowledge needed to see a movie and understand it. You just have to accept the fact that a film directed by Terrence Malick is beyond your ability to fully understand.

  • June 3, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Malick movies are boring, unwatchable nonsense.

    by BigTuna

    Film geeks pretend to love it because they're so Anti-Hollywood.

  • June 3, 2011, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Arafel. You may be a redneck if....

    by AlexDecay

    you think that a person's ability to enjoy a movie are based on their intellectual ability. "You can't simply sit in a movie theater and "watch" a movie. That is what average people do. A movie must be analyzed scene by scene in order to properly understand it. " Are you stupid? Or ignorant? You are not a genius. If you were, you'd understand a simple truth of life: the enjoyment a person derives from doing something is entirely dependant on that person's preference. That's a presumption. And to presume that an 'everyman' doesn't have the life experience, intuition, instinct, depth of memory, cognitive reasoning capabilities or a pulse required to "watch" a movie is pathetic. There were MANY geniuses before movies came out. Are you claiming that these geniuses "...don't have the knowledge needed to see a movie and understand it" ? Congratulations on asserting yourself as an above-average viewer of movies. That's like being the greatest JANITOR in the world: You didn't design, build, decorate or fund the building, but you can definitely complain about cleaning it. Janitor.

  • June 3, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    My favorite movie dinosaurs.

    by cookylamoo

    Were the two unfortunate lizards who had fins attached to their backs and then were set loose to fight each other in the same clip that appeared in about fifty different movies and tv shows.

  • June 3, 2011, 12:40 p.m. CST

    clax....any one who points to their IQ

    by Raskolnikov_was_framed

    as some kind of proof of intelligence is not intelligent and is probably lying about their IQ to begin with....people with high IQs don't tell people what their IQ is because they are intelligent enough to know nobody gives a shit

  • June 3, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST

    raskolnikov_was_framed - Thank you.

    by AlexDecay

    If a high IQ is worth something, how did G.W. Bush become president? Why aren't all high IQ people millionaires? Why are most high IQ people probably virgins? They're intelligent.... but they're not SMART.

  • there is a visceral beauty to that film that truly makes it art. I don't think Malick has ever reached that, the last 5 minutes of Days of Heaven was completely enthralling.

  • June 3, 2011, 1:12 p.m. CST

    I just re-watched THE THIN RED LINE, and

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    all you fucktards saying it's "slow" or "boring" must not have watched the same fucking movie. Sure, it has its moments where it lingers on the natural beauty of the setting, and it has the spiritual/philosophical narration, but those things work in the context of the movie. THAT SAID, make no fucking mistake: this is a war movie, one that's thrilling, visceral and devastating and with better action sequences that are better than most of the stuff we see these days from supposed "action movie directors."

  • June 3, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    *with action sequences that are better*

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    derp derp derp

  • June 3, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Alex Decay, you hit it right on the head!!!

    by Arafel

    Alex, you are correct and I quote, "...an 'everyman' doesn't have the life experience, intuition, instinct, depth of memory, cognitive reasoning capabilities or a pulse required to 'watch' a movie..." That is 100% true. I also liked your comparison of movie critics to janitors. It was unique when you said, "...like being the greatest JANITOR in the world: You didn't design, build, decorate or fund the building, but you can definitely complain about cleaning it." Exactly, I have seen so many bad movies that it does feel like I am a JANITOR, and I am forced to clean them to make them presentable to the average, everyman movie watcher. They just can't grasp or even hope to understand a movie like TREE OF LIFE without someone, like me, explaining it to them. We are definately close to the same way of thinking. I am still way up there, but we are close...

  • June 3, 2011, 3:44 p.m. CST

    claxdog

    by shodan6672

    Please don't speak for everyone else. According to your logic, 2001 sucked because it was abstract and open to interpretation.

  • June 3, 2011, 10:10 p.m. CST

    cookylamoo

    by slone13

    I love those guys

  • June 3, 2011, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Capone...why would Malick be trying to confirm his "atheism"...

    by tritium

    when, by all acounts, he is decidedly NOT an atheist. From my understanding, he is a rather devout Christian. So, if that is the preface and foundation of your entire critique, count me pretty confused. Like Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings", Malick does not beat anyone over the head with it's subtle, yet fundamentally "Christian" sub-text, but it is still apparent if you have any wits about you.

  • June 4, 2011, 1:05 a.m. CST

    Wow, that was great.

    by Rhuragh

    It wasn't quite as good as I was expecting (but seriously, my expectations were somewhere around the level of the second coming...except, instead of Christ, we got Elvis). (Ugh, that's a horrible example due to having to talk down to my audience. I'm an atheist, so don't believe in fairy tales, and I hate pop music, so don't give a flying fuck about Elvis. If I were to use names that mean something to me, I'd say expecting Dmitri Shostakovich to come back, but getting Alfred Schnittke instead.) The Tree of Life has an even more disjointed narrative than Malick's two prior works. Imagine an hour and a half of scenes consisting of Train's narration scenes in The Thin Red Line and the "glory of nature" scenes in that film and The New World. It's stunningly lyrical and beautiful stuff. Note the word lyrical. It was fair to call The New World a poem; it's even fairer to describe The Tree of Life like that. I have to stop here or I'll never sleep tonight. Essentially, I loved it. I can't wait to go back to see it again. There so much material here, so much depth, that the film can be, and should be, watched multiple times to gain a full appreciation and understanding of the film. Oh, I saw this at the Landmark in Chicago (the only theater presently showing the film in the city). There were multiple 7'ish and 8'ish showings sold out this evening. If you're planning to see it, buy tickets early, and get seats early, or you'll be stuck at the very front of the theater with your neck tilted back at a 45° angle.

  • June 4, 2011, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Mr. Capone, I have never known you to be selfish.

    by BuffyFaithtribyeah

    All the critics are wrong except for you the all knowing. Well if an that dosent tickle my tingler! So every one else has misinterpreted the narative and you get it right than this web site is actually called Caponeitcool news!!! Hallaujah!

  • June 4, 2011, 5:57 p.m. CST

    I thought it was unlike anything else out there, but not perfect

    by Winston Smith

    As usual I feel like I've seen a different film than most people, at least regarding Malick. Even most Malick fans feel his films have very little "story", and I just don't find that to be the case. Maybe it's not a traditional narrative, but you always get a feel for the characters. You see a real arc, real literal conflicts. In The Thin Red Line, you have an older general who hasn't really seen war because he rose through the ranks between wars, and now he's in over his head and not sure what to do as he orders men half his age to their deaths, even though they've seen as much of war as himself. You also have a story of a man's wife at home who he thinks of often, and she's having an affair. Days of Heaven, my personal favorite Malick film, has a complete 3 act plot beginning to end. I think it's just because the images are pretty and theme and character often take front seat to plot twists, that it's assumed his films are purely "tone poems" or whatever you hip kids call it. So with The Tree of Life, in some ways I can say it exceeded my expectations. The story of the family is quite compelling. The father's struggles with the concept of success and making your own path are things I think a lot of us struggle with nowadays. Pride, and success, and love. He's a 3-dimensional character, never made into the villain he could have easily become. The actors are all very good, Jessica Chastain gives a wonderful performance, as does Brad Pitt. However, Chastain's role is probably the hardest because it's the most understated. I also found the main idea of the film, that there is the way of nature and the way of grace, to be surprisingly compelling, and it really cements the movie together. It's not about good and evil, but about selflessness and selfishness, and selfishness isn't always bad. It's in our nature to want to survive, to want to find happiness. And the father's reasoning that if you're "too good" people will take advantage of you does hold truth. I think The Tree of Life presented some very real and interesting human conflicts and followed through with them, progressing these stories forward and through specific narrative beats. However, yes, the film in many ways does feel like a collection of memories, but they're well edited memories, memories that aren't purely random or without literal purpose. I also think that Malick has been working up to this film his entire career. Part of what is so impressive is that this film FEELS LIKE human memories put right onto screen. In that, it's about 90% actual events, but like our own memories, we will have fantastical visions that are our hopes and worries in literal form. There's a scene with the mother in a glass cage in the forest that really demonstrates this, along with a lot of other moments (including swimming through a bedroom and a floating and swirling character in the front yard). The other thing I loved about the way the film was structured is also, like memories, sometimes a glimpse of something will remind us of something totally unrelated. The way a person takes a step, or the way sunlight hits something, we'll quickly flash to an earlier moment and flash back. There's a lot of great uses of this, and I think this may be what confuses some people, but I felt the film never lost track. It's like remembering a specific event: the basics are there, but occasionally it'll lead you to another moment, or you'll take a moment and have a flight of fancy in the way you regard your emotions to that event. **BIGGEST SPOILERS BELOW** Sometimes I wonder if even Malick fans really listen to the dialogue and the story in his films, because this is where I get to my issues with the film. The biggest is simply, and some spoilers are here so don't read ahead if you don't want anything spoiled, but we open about 10 years after the majority of the family stuff with the death of one of the children (I'm assuming a war time death with the telegram, like Vietnam maybe?) However, we're not yet attached to this family, so you get a powerful performance that doesn't really mean much. The film should have just opened with Sean Penn, the older brother as an adult, and we see he's clearly mourning the loss of someone (lights the candle, his voice-over, etc.) But we don't know who or how or what. I would have saved the scene of the death - well more the reaction to the death - for the end. Sure, maybe that's a bit more typical storytelling device, but it would have had more impact, and I don't think anyone would ever accuse this film of doing anything cliche regarding plot points. I would have saved the opening moments for near the end, when we end up on the beach of memories (love the way this old trope is visualized) and I would have returned to the dinosaurs, to bring that back in. The birth of the universe and of life on Earth stuff is incredible, but I felt like we needed a bit more of it at the end. I think it could have worked to have seen the death of the dinosaurs now from their perspective on Earth as the comet strikes down, and intercut that with Chastain on the beach with her young son again. This also would have helped to involve the audience a bit more in the film, I think. I'll admit, it took me about 25 minutes before I began to become invested in the story and the characters. It does happen, but the beginning has a lot of dramatic weight that hasn't yet been earned. With this said, though, this film completely lived up to my expectations, and in some ways surpassed them. It may be a diamond in the rough but it's still a diamond, something completely bold and unique, and probably the most accurate recreation of the human memory and the way our memories work ever put to screen. And yes, the audience I saw it with was very mixed, with some people clapping at the end, and others walking out. An older couple walked out about 30 minutes in when the dinosaurs show up, loudly stating to her annoyed husband, "what a waste of time, this is the stupidest movie ever made." I was kinda shocked, I mean, these two were here on opening day, I would have assumed they would have a vague idea what they were getting into. In fact, they were old enough that they probably walked out of 2001 back in 1968. "How did the bone turn into a spaceship, stupidest movie ever made!" Who leaves during the DINOSAURS?!?

  • June 4, 2011, 6 p.m. CST

    "Film geeks pretend to love it because they're so Anti-Hollywood."

    by Winston Smith

    This argument is so tired and stale. Can we please retire it? Whenever a divisive NON superhero movie comes out, there's always a shrill cry of "people only like it because they're anti-Hollywood." Please. Plus, The Tree of Life has Brad FUCKING Pitt. By definition it can't be that anti-Hollywood if it has BRAD FUCKING PITT in it. And then there's Sean Penn. Oh and I assume Doug Trumbell has NOTHING to do with big budget Hollywood filmmaking. You might as well say people only like Cars 2 because they are so anti-Nascar. You know, it's possible to be even more pretentious than the most snooty "film connoisseur" by just acting like anything that's remotely different than the common blockbuster is automatically only liked by hipsters.

  • June 4, 2011, 6:03 p.m. CST

    the_choppah

    by Winston Smith

    Not sure if you're being sarcastic, but if you're not I completely agree. The Thin Red Line is a visceral film, WITH A PLOT, with specific characters in specific dilemmas, and it's very entertaining on just a basic level (at least as much as any war film can be.) Are you telling me that when future Jesus is surrounded by all the soldiers, that that's just "some lyrical ass" moment that has no meaning to the story? Jesus. So to speak.

  • June 4, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    I'm anti-pop music...

    by Winston Smith

    That's why I listen to Lady Gaga and not that HACK Britney Spears. I'm sorry, but sentiments like Mr. Bigtuna's really come across as idiotic to the nth degree. It's like people who think there's a liberal media out there (yeah because most talk radio and TV hosts are liberal, er...) or that India is just another third world country. It just has absolutely no basis in reality.

  • June 5, 2011, 12:17 a.m. CST

    halfbreedqueen2

    by Rhuragh

    Thanks for your comments on The Tree of Life. You make me happy I decided to go to bed last night rather than spend the next few hours typing up an 1100+ word review, like you did. :) Particularly since you did so much better a job of it than I would have. I think your comment having the O'Brien's learning about their son's death having more weight in the film if it had been edited to occur towards the end of the film as being entirely accurate. It also makes me wonder if (and this may be a little cliche) it might have worked better if we had learned that the reason Jack (Sean Penn's Jack) was reminiscing about his youth was that, perhaps Ikiru style, he knew that he was dying himself. Or perhaps not. I think Malick enjoys challenging his audience. Giving a clear progression of events (Jack learns he is dying, Jack reflects on his life and comes to an understanding of how he became the man he is today) mirrored and intercut with the story of the natural world, the birth of the solar system, the birth and death of life on macro and micro scales (the dinosaurs, his brother), and the death of the solar system, would be perhaps too on-the-nose. Too explicit. Anyway, thanks for your comments.

  • June 5, 2011, 10:26 a.m. CST

    halfbreedqueen brings it, particularly @ 6:00:26.

    by Subtitles_Off

    But, that's the cultural state America finds itself in, at this moment in time. Dumb, garish and loud are Good because they appeal to "all" of us. Thoughtful, artful and contemplative are Bad because only people who think they are smart like that boring s#!t. (Note: They only think they are smart. "All" of us are smarter, as exemplified by, um, our enjoyment of dumb, garish and loud crap.) It's the rationalization of dull, young boys. Experiencing = good. Interpreting = bad. Blending in = downright American. Standing out = elitism. "I'm a Talkbacker. I hate film students. Except for the wholly average or really lousy ones." Hmm, I wonder if Nolan considers himself an artist or an entertainer? Spielberg? Might he call himself a student of film? Didn't Michael Effin' Bay take some classes? Granted, Cameron's a drop out. Sometimes the dull and stupid are just lucky.

  • June 5, 2011, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Like it or not,

    by Subtitles_Off

    a man's interpretation of the possibility of God does not God's physical existence prove. No more than a disbeliever's disprove. And, of course, Christian God would have to figure into a Christian film-maker's contemplation on the meaning of life. And, of course, you needn't share that point-of-view to appreciate the film, either. I've never encountered a werewolf, but I can get a shock when one pops out of the screen at me.

  • June 5, 2011, 3:35 p.m. CST

    I'm anti-pop music, too. That's why

    by Subtitles_Off

    I know there's no distinction between Lady GaGa and Britney Spears. Other than that, halfbreedqueen, you bring it!

  • Yes, perhaps, but this also assumes that all people who are "religious" believe in the same way and interpret their own religion in the exact same manner. Some people take their religion very literally, others are more in-tune to the general ideas and themes of a religious belief rather than specific events/places. For example, I'd argue it's people taking religions literally that causes all the problems in the world. NOT the overall existence of religion, which is pretty much a given for humanity. Religion will exist, even if the specifics of that religion change. And to subtitles_off, I know it's not really the content of this website, but I personally know people who argue a Britney vs. Lady Gaga argument the way people here argue about Terrence Malick or George Lucas or Michael Bay or something. People always blame nerds for being "overly picky," but you'll find that's really just fandom. People are overly argumentative about everything. Politics, religions, movies, music, motorcycles, food, wine, beer, I'm sure even fucking knitting and the quality of yarn. (Oh, you're using fuchsia, how "pretentious.") I have a friend who hates Bud Light and other "popular" brands of beer like people here hate Michael Bay. And I'm not even hating on this particular fact, this friend brews great homemade beer himself and Michael Bay is almost intolerable because of his love for middle school humor. My point is, we aren't as alone as we think, AICNers.

  • June 5, 2011, 5:35 p.m. CST

    I wanna retire the word "hating"

    by Subtitles_Off

    used to dismiss any criticism. The hip-hop context of the word, from where it derives its current popularity, more accurately denotes "jealousy." Nobody's jealous of Bud Light. Well, maybe Coors. "Overly picky" nerds are the most passionate fans of any particular thing. More power to them. They are correct. The rest of us are just posers. On another topic, entirely, I don't think religion is the root of ALL the world's problems. Money. Or Male Ego. One of those is. Religion, which has been one of the excuses for a whole lot of the terrible evils throughout world history, is undeniably also a source of some real good. I'm not particularly religious, and I wouldn't claim authority on the balance, but I do believe it is only when the recipe includes Power and Money that the spice of Religion changes and turns acidic.

  • June 5, 2011, 8:18 p.m. CST

    subtitles_off - "hating"

    by JuntMonkey

    Completely agree. The "haters gonna hate" meme especially has been hijacked by people who just use it against any criticism whatsoever, of anything. It's like, a site posts a scathing critique of some random current overrated movie or video game, and people post "haters gonna hate" in response. No, that's not being a hater. If it is, then in ANY context where any person dislikes anything including raspberry Bubble Yum, they are "haters", which clearly is ridiculous and voids the term of its meaning. Now, if a site posted an article about what an a-hole Uwe Boll is and how he doesn't deserve his fame or money or women or whatever, THAT'S "haters gonna hate". Even if every single one of his movies is terrible, you can't hate on him for somehow being successful anyway. Guy is just doing his thang, you know?

  • June 5, 2011, 8:26 p.m. CST

    The Thin Red Line is an exciting war movie

    by JuntMonkey

    I just watched the Blu-Ray of The Thin Red Line, and as has been stated earlier, it is not just some slow dull meditation on war. For the bulk of it, it is an intense and action-packed war movie.

  • June 5, 2011, 10:06 p.m. CST

    religion's just a tool, like any other

    by Winston Smith

    Can be used for good or bad. I think it all boils down to one thing: greed. All the other sins filter into that. Life is naturally greedy because of the will to survive. But I see it like cholesterol. There's good greed and bad greed. Good greed is like, following your ambitions, seeking what makes you happy (but not to the detriment of others), setting goals, wanting to provide for yourself and/or family, etc. Bad greed is, well, you know. Technically even murder and sadism and all that is greed. It's people indulging in their baser emotions, often for a goal that will benefit them. The lines do get hazy, but as a whole, it amazes me the awful things people do to each other for what in the end is so little. Hell, our lives are so short, it seems like some things just aren't worth it. You're not gonna live forever, so why commit sins that are bad enough to echo forever?

  • June 5, 2011, 10:08 p.m. CST

    on hating

    by Winston Smith

    "The hip-hop context of the word, from where it derives its current popularity, more accurately denotes jealousy." Yeah, I love it. A bastardization of already slang.

  • June 6, 2011, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Hating and Hatred of Twilight is a part of life.

    by Arafel

    I have the right to hate anything or anyone I want. For example, I hate the Twilight movies. If I could, I would wipe them all out of existance, and then imprison anyone who was responsible for their creation. I would imprison most of the actors in the Twilight movies too, expect for Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and the actor who played Bella's dad. I would also go after the Twilight books, and burn all of them in a giant bonfire. I would then make it illegal to own a copy of any Twilight book, and anyone caught with one would receive time in prison. Once in prison, they would be forced to enter into a re-education program that would cure them of their Twilight addiction.

  • June 6, 2011, 6:19 p.m. CST

    "I have the right to hate anything or anyone I want."

    by Winston Smith

    Let us be clear. We're not talking about legal stuff here. No one's going to be arrested for anything. We're simply talking about what attitudes annoy us or make someone seem to be an asshole or a "douche" or whatever you young hip kids say nowadays. Twilight, for example. Do I hate it? No. I don't give a shit about it. I haven't read the books or seen the movies. I don't care - I'm not the target audience. But I'm certainly not gonna tell someone they're a moron for liking Twilight or Katy Perry or whatever the fuck it is because that's not my cup of tea. Because we all have guilty pleasures. I mean, I may not give a shit about Twilight, but I certainly do enjoy a good dumb blockbuster like, say, Bad Boys II. And lord knows that's a shit movie. Shitty as they come. That's the equivalent of Twilight, just different audience. And thank you Hot Fuzz for immortalizing Bad Boys... II... forever.

  • June 6, 2011, 6:21 p.m. CST

    As long as we're talking Bad Boys II

    by Winston Smith

    And by we I mean I, may I please put up for consideration that it has the best product placement of all time. Cars are toppling over and you clearly see CGI bottles of seven-up (or sprite) fall out of them and bounce about on the road. Genius I say!

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