Sunday, November 12, 2006

On Borat… And this does not seem to be the popular opinion... So you should probably not read it. Please don’t. I’ll post about food next time.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m loosing my edge. You know, the coolness factor. No, I’ve never actually been cool, not at school at least. (How many math geeks are cool? No, really? I’d like the number? ) But I’m usually on top of hip movies and music, and news.

And now… What’s the hippest coolest movie out? Borat, naturally. The whole world seems to know that. And I went to the movies on Friday night, and guess what I went to see? It wasn’t Borat. No. Even though it seemed like the rest of humanity was lining up for “the cultural learnings…” I was lining up to see “Stranger than fiction.” A nice romantic thoughtful movie… Nothing “cultural” or “cool” about it.

What is wrong with me? Why am I not going crazy over the whole Borat thing? I saw the previews, and found them funny… But I just can’t bring myself to watch it. I keep making up excuses of the type “the movie is too popular, will be too crowded, and I need air…” But in reality I just don’t think I want to watch it.

Maybe if he picked a fake nation. Like Krakozhia in “The Terminal” (in which, surprisingly everyone spoke Russian… but I guess when Hollywood wants to come up with a screwed up fake country, their imagination is still stalled somewhere in the Cold War zone).

But he picked a real country. And there is something nasty about that. Just something that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Cause I honestly doubt that many people know that Kazakhstan is a normal modern country. How many people in North America have even heard of it before? (What, “no publicity is bad publicity” argument? Yah? Then what happened to the glorious career of Michael Jackson? Not enough publicity?) Even the news that deal with Borat rarely add anything to the statement that Kazakhstan is a former Soviet Republic. Well, it also happens to be worlds 9th largest country by size. And Kazakhs don’t look anything like Borat, by the way. Majority of the population actually looks Asian. The movie footage was shot in Romania. But I guess too many people know Romania to use it as a prop.

No, I don’t think the movie is all bad. As I said, I haven’t watched it yet. So I can’t pass that judgment. In fact, apart from the country reference, it might actually be good…

But picking on a little country (politically speaking) even if the intent is to make fun of a big one, is kind of low. Since mostly everything about Kazakhstan was invented why not also invent a dummy country? Is that so hard? Besides, Hollywood already has a “Krakozhia” somewhere in the imaginary Eastern Europe. I’m sure "Boratia" would've been a very happy neighbor.

There are opinions out there that Borat’s point is making fun of ignorant people that would actually believe all this nonsense. I agree. Any intelligent person would understand that people don’t drink horse urine or celebrate their sister’s rank in prostitution. But not everyone is intelligent. Flip the news channel any day, and you’ll see proof of that. This is like saying that “***** (fill in the blank) eat babies.” Of course intelligent people would never believe that. But there are enough jerks out there who do, or pretend they do. A movie like that would supply them with more nasty comments then they need.

And besides, even though many people won’t believe the ridiculous assertions, nevertheless plenty will walk out of the cinema thinking that Kazakhstan is at least a “backwards” country. You know, one of those “former Soviet Republics” that is probably drugging its existence in the realm of nothingness compared to the “Great First World West”.

And that, frankly, p***s me off.

PS: Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. And I fully intend to get back to cooking. Really. Next post is going to be all about food. I promise.

Posted by vasilisa @ 2:25 a.m.

Read or Post a Comment

Borat is definitely not for every one ... it is indeed mean at times, and extremely crude, but it is effective in holding up a mirror to Americans, and it is extremely funny ... I liked Stranger than Fiction even more though .. that one is just charming

Posted by Blogger Reel Fanatic @ 5:47 a.m. #

i don't really understand why everybody is going nuts about borat. don't get me wrong, i think sacha baron cohen is a talented actor/commedian but i also think that the implementation of his humour is quite drastic. it takes quite some time to get used to his crazy characters. i was not very fond of ali g, i don't think borat is all that funny.

mr cohen also developed a character called bruno, a gay austrian fashion show presenter who is somewhat of a nazi. there already was media coverage in austria concerning this character. mr cohen is supposedly even planning a movie about bruno.

and believe me, austrians are already worried about that! i am sure he will depicts austrians in an equally stereotypical manner and not everyone will get his satirical approach.

if mr cohen holds up a mirror to americans through these characters than maybe you only really find him funny if you actually ARE an american.

if you are on the other end of the stick i am sure it will not be remotely as funny.

we will see.

in 2008 when "bruno - the movie" hits the big screen and austrians will be the aide in his questinable humouristic techniques ...

Posted by Blogger tschoerda @ 10:21 a.m. #

I have no desire to see Borat. I think it looks stupid and I know that I wouldn't find it funny at all. I judge people based on their movie choices; when I am talking to someone and they mention how funny a certain movie is (40yr old virgin, for instance) I re-evaluate how I feel about them. Truly. And it's often not nice. Movies like Borat are a good way to engage people in garbage that has no bearing on the 'real world' and therefore does not facilitate any sort of positive change. But that's just my opinion :)

Posted by Blogger Judy @ 12:01 p.m. #

Oh yeah, I wanted to mention that I hated the Terminal in every way possible. I wanted to like it but it was just too stupid. It portrayed foreigners as dummies with no people skills who yell at the TV. That's not cool.

Posted by Blogger Judy @ 12:03 p.m. #

I would love to see "Stranger Than Fiction." It looks great.

The movie I can't wait to see is the new Christopher Guest movie, "For Your Consideration."

Posted by Anonymous Leslie @ 12:30 p.m. #

Finally someone with sense speaks about Borat. I applaud your opinion. I think people are too afraid to really have one and they side with popular opinion. Many people see Borat because it's popular, not because it's good. There is still an inherent need in people to belong and that's really the saddest aspect of this whole thing. People can't think for themselves.

There are a number of films that are so over-hyped and are NOT very good. Napoleon Dynamite being one on a very long list.

I saw Sasha Cohen on a talk show and he was so grating that I couldn't stomach watching a whole movie of him. I'd rather have root canal.

There are so many examples of filmmakers lying just to make a film, Ron Howard, (A Beautiful Mind) Oliver Stone, (every film he makes) and countless others. It's the ugly side of the filmmaking. Filmmakers don't think of how their film will affect others, it's all about the box-office receipts.

Touché on this whole post, especially the Michael Jackson point. Publicity killed Tom Cruise's career too.

P.S. I think it's way cool to have an opinion. You're alright in my book.

Posted by Blogger Alexys Fairfield @ 10:44 p.m. #

I saw Borat on the opening weekend.

It was probably the funniest movie that I have ever seen.

It was also one of the saddest movies that I have ever seen.

Baron-Cohen did a fine job with the humor, although it is much cruder than I normally enjoy, but what was most important to me, is what some other commentors have said: It held a mirror up to my countrymen and showed somethings about them (us) that I didn't like.

I suggest that all Americans see the film. MAybe we'll learn something about ourselves (and maybe not).

I also suggest that Canadians see the film. It will give them even more reason to feel smug and culturally superior about Americans.

Posted by Blogger Gunfighter @ 7:37 a.m. #

Somehow Borat irritates me! Is he funny or just obnoxious? Can't decide!:D

Posted by Blogger Foodie's Hope @ 10:09 a.m. #

Borat is tricky. I saw it the night it opened, and I put up a blog post about it twice, but I took the post down each time after about 5 minutes. Because it IS is tricky issue, and I can definitely sympathize with the arguments against it.

Personally, I really enjoyed it, but I cringed the whole way through it. The joke is definitely on the Americans, the racists, the sexists, and the anti-Semites, but I can see how not everyone wants their humor delivered in this particular vehicle. It's not benign humor.

I completely respect the opinions of people who didn't enjoy Borat. I'm not one of those people saying, "you just didn't get it" or anything like that. I can see how someone could "get it" and still be turned-off.

Posted by Blogger Kelley @ 3:43 p.m. #

I have not seen the movie, but I must admit the commercials seem funny to me. But I can relate to what you are saying. Growing up Asian in America sure has been an interesting experience. I can't tell you how many times someone has asked me if I know kung-fu. Obviously, if the Asians in a movie know kung-fu, I must know kung-fu too.

Posted by Anonymous Daddy Forever @ 8:43 p.m. #

Reel Fanatic: I generally prefer charming over crude… Though I do agree that some points need to be gotten across more radically. I’m just not all happy about the particular choice of vehicle in this case.

Tshoerda: “if mr cohen holds up a mirror to americans through these characters than maybe you only really find him funny if you actually ARE an american. if you are on the other end of the stick i am sure it will not be remotely as funny.” I wish I wrote that. I totally second that.

Judy: I don’t generally find that kind of humour amusing either. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I judge people based on movies they like… (I mean, my husband loves “The Godfather”, a movie I’ve never been able to manage past the first 20 minutes). But I do find that likes in movies can reveal things about a person you’d never suspect a priori.

Leslie: It was a great movie. Highly recommended.

Alexys: I think filmakers have some kind of responsibility when they make a movie that they present as “truth”. I remember really liking “Beautiful Mind”, and then finding out that in real life the wife has left a long time ago… I felt manipulated. Why not just say then that it’s a fiction? I don’t mind movies that are fiction presenting themselves as fiction, regardless of how far-fetched they are… But movies that pretend to tell a “true story” and then completely invent it make me feel tricked. And in this particular movie, (Borat), I’m annoyed that he used a real country as a prop for the outrageous character. Inventing one wasn’t all that difficult. And would’ve been more honest.

Gunfighter: We already feel superior ;-) (just kidding…) I can see your point… I just wish he didn’t use others as props…

Asha: I’d say obnoxious :-)

Kelley: Some people just don’t like crude humour. It’s not about getting it. It’s about not liking the delivery style, you know? I get the part that it’s a satire, and that it’s meant to point out negatives in the society. I just don’t like the method… (But I totally respect your right to have a different opinion…)

Daddy Forever: Don’t people just love stereotyping? I can’t even begin to think about all the Russian stereotypes I’ve heard… I’m mafia… and communist… and drink all the time… But I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if I was an immigrant from Kazachstan and currently in highschool… Ouch…

Posted by Blogger vasilisa @ 1:11 a.m. #
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I'm a 29 year old mom of two! A toddler (kiddo one) and a new baby (kiddo junior). I am also the most horrible (as in I barely ever do it) cook that I have met in my life. This blog is a diary of my attempts to feed my hungry growing family

PS: My name is not actually Vasilisa... But I find that honest reporting comes easier when there is a shred of anonymity. (Apparently, posting pics of my sons doesn't count...)

PPS: For those of you wondering where on the planet I am: I'm cosily tacked away in the Torontonian suburbia of the Great White North (Canada).

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