The Candidate, Muslim style

The news from this week has been, well, unsettling. However, yesterday, I saw an article that reminded me of a 1972 movie with Robert Redford called "The Candidate." In the Candidate, Redford plays a candidate for a political office. Redford's character doesn't think he has a chance, but uses the campaign to get his issues out to the public, seeking to change the dialogue. The movie ends with the end of the campaign where Redford's character discovers that, although he never intended to and against all odds, he has won the campaign. Redford then turns to his campaign manager and utters one fantastic line: "What do we do now?"

Well, in bizzaro fashion, it appears life has imitated art. Yesterday, an article in the Jerusalem Post, a number of Hamas supporters and candidates were exceedingly forthcoming about their election by the Palestinian Arabs. For example, a Hamas leader in Nablus, a professor at An-Najah University who did not run, told the Post that many of the leaders were disappointed with the results. "We didn't want this, we didn't hope for this. We wanted to be in the opposition." He continued, "Now all the responsibility is on us." Another Palestinian Arab, Ahmed Doleh, who was a candidate, summed it up this way: "Instead of being an opposition in the Palestinian Authority, we are the PA."

As the Post recognized, Hamas apparently sought to be the opposition party in the Palestinian Legislative Council, continuing terror attacks on Israel, addressing Fatah corruption, and voting down any bills proposed that compromised its ideals, leaving Fatah to clean up the mess. Now, Hamas has to move from being terrorists and critics to being the government. So, Hamas members probably spent the day looking at each other with blank looks on their faces uttering the Arabic version of Redford's classic line, "What do we do now?"

Of course, neither Robert Redford nor his character admitted to terrorism, murder, and ethnocentricism. And while that would have certainly made for an interesting movie if it had been the case, when it's reality, it's just plain disturbing.

Personally, I'm disturbed, but not surprised. What did the world expect from a society that has been inculcated with a culture of hate and death, where Palestinian Arab children are encouraged to kill themselves in order to kill their neighbors? It should be anything but a shock that they picked murders and terrorists as their leaders. The real lesson is the same as the one that we apparently didn't learn from the Holocaust: A culture of hate anywhere is a threat everywhere.



Being a Southern Jew, I and a number of my Jewish friends had absolutely nothing to do on Christmas Eve other than watch It's a Wonderful Life for the 90th time, so we all got together for a Jew-crew Christmas Eve tradition: Chinese food and a movie. How our people survived for forty years in a desert without Chinese food, I'll never know.

For our Christmas Eve movie, we decided on Munich. For anyone who has been living in a hole for the past month, Munich tells the story of a group of former Israeli Mossad agents who are assigned to avenge the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics by the PLO (under the guise of the name "Black September"), a Palestinian-Arab terrorist group (that has now, thanks to the Oslo Accords, been granted legitimacy...good job Oslo). When I first heard the title of the movie, I was excited because I thought Spielberg was going to create a movie about the actual events of Munich. I've seen a number of documentaries about those events (since I was actually born after they happened, I couldn't witness them myself), and, frankly, a two and a half hour movie could easily be made about those events, the apathy of the international community, Germany's inconceivable series of blunders and fuck-ups that led to the Israeli athletes deaths, and how the Olympic response of having the games continue was "almost like having a dance at Dachau." The movie, however, is content to attempt to sum up those events in a series of flashbacks and focuses instead on Israel's purported response to this vicious public attack during an athletic event that is supposed to be a peaceful expression of athletic competition.

I say "purported" because, despite the events in Munich that led to the movie and Mossad's actual efforts to bring justice to the perpetrators of the crimes, the movie is a work of fiction. Like so many movies today, Munich is "based on" real events. I've learned to be apprehensive of this often-used phrase. After all, "The Terminal"--where Tom Hanks plays a foreign man who is trapped in an airport terminal for months where he learns English, falls in love, and creates an entire life for himself--is based on real events (probably that some guy was once trapped in an airline terminal overnight). "The Perfect Storm"--where George Clooney boldly leads a fishing crew into a "perfect" storm that results in their deaths--was so "based on" true events that it led Clooney's real-life character's family to sue the filmmakers for defamation. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was so loosely "based on real events" that the fine print that follows the movie states that the movie should not be considered accurate in any regard.

So, "based on" is pretty much an analogy for "bullshit."

But that wasn't my biggest problem with the movie. Neither was the incredibly controversy in the Jewish community that this movie has inspired. Nope. My issue was a bit more fundamental.

The movie sucked.

Call me crazy, but I'm of the absurd philosophy that if I spend two and a half hours of my time and nine dollars to see a movie, I should leave the movie entertained. I wasn't. My informal test of whether a movie is boring is how often I check my watch. Zero or one time (because, after all, some movies are long, but still entertaining), I was entertained. Two times, questionable. Three times, sub par.

I checked the time in this movie five times. That's right. Five times.


You'd think with a controversy surrounding it and Oscar buzz before the movie was even released, the movie wouldn't suck. Well, there goes that theory.

UPDATE: My powers of prognostication are quite impressive, if I do say so myself. Don't believe me? Take a look at this.

ANOTHER UPDATE: One of my favorite blogs, Jewlicious, recently ran a post pointing out the fictional-facts of the movie. While you can read the excellent post here, I couldn't help but repost the graphic originally created by ck and posted on the Jewlicious website. Man, I wish I knew how to make these things...


Actually seen at the movie theater...

In Maxim magazine, there is an ongoing "article" called "Found Porn," where readers submit unintentionally sexually suggestive pictures for publication. So here's my contribution...

While at the movie theater this holiday seeing Memoirs of a Geisha (which was excellent), I looked up at the electric marquee to see the following:

Fun with Dick 8:15

I knew I should have bought the phone with the good camera...

Happy New Year all!