Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fair Game (2010)

Fair Game (2010)
seen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY

I've written about former President George W. Bush and the undeclared war he dragged America into before. I remember a cold February day in 2003 when I was one of millions worldwide who protested against the impending war. Here in New York we were gathered in the vicinity of the United Nations, although the crowd was so huge I ended up closer to 59th Street, next to the Queensborough Bridge. I wrote about the experience afterwards (I had an online comics column at the time) and I got into a huge debate with one of my readers. He was arguing that Sadaam Hussein absolutely needed to be removed from power in Iraq, which I didn't challenge, but my point was that it was still quite questionable whether Hussein actually had weapons of mass destruction or not, and what the hell did he have to do with the events of September 11, anyway? My reader wasn't willing to concede that point. Fortunately, other readers did, and they chimed in.

The tumultuousness of that period between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war cannot be understated. Suddenly it was more important than ever to be seen as a loyal patriot, but "patriotism" clearly meant different things to different people. I know it was hard at times for me to hold on to my convictions, but the more I saw and read, the more I believed this impending war was a bad idea and that people needed to say something about it...

...which makes what happened to Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson so hard to believe. To be punished for speaking out against government policy doesn't sound like something that could happen in America... and yet it did. As I watched the movie Fair Game yesterday, I had to remind myself of that fact, because seeing it up on the big screen (and as it happens, I saw it on a very big screen) can fool you.

I remember feeling a great amount of trepidation before I wrote my column against the war. Did I have the right to bring up politics in a pop culture column? Could I say the things I needed to say in a halfway-intelligent manner? Was I ready to face possible disagreement? Or should I stick to complaining about the latest storyline in Amazing Spider-Man? In the end, I believed something like this was too important to ignore, and that I should trust myself to be able to speak articulately enough. I mostly stuck to describing the protest in Manhattan, describing everything I saw and heard and felt. It turned out to be enough.

My screening of Fair Game was at 6 PM, and there were about a half dozen people total in the theater, which I might not have noticed if it hadn't have been in the big auditorium at the Kew. I was distracted by the rumble of the Long Island Railroad, which I could feel shaking the seats. When I saw The Kids Are All Right in this same auditorium, I didn't notice the train, but maybe more trains were running because it was rush hour. It's the first time I've ever noticed it at the Kew, and I hope I won't have to deal with it too much, because the rattle of the trains was as bad as it is at the Angelika, if not worse!

Naomi Watts looks a lot like Nicole Kidman.

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