August Flush, More Like

« November 2007 »

Memo to the readership: STOP AUGUST RUSH.

It's almost Thanksgiving. Which has many potential meanings for a left-leaning, politically-motivated web columnist. There's the whole genocide of the native peoples angle, but my stockpile of smallpox blanket jokes is a bit low.

There's the traditional critique of American overindulgence and consumerism, as exemplified by hormone-fed mutant industrial-farmed turkeys and Black Friday "doorbuster" sales, but I'm not actually a socialist when it comes to nonessential consumer goods, and I'm not exactly planning on a locally-farmed, slow-food feast come the morrow.

So what I'm really thankful for is that Hollywood loves to release movies on Thanksgiving weekend, and that Hollywood hates America.

Lest you check you browser's address bar in shock, or check your calendar to see if you forgot Opposite Day again this year, I don't mean it like crazy wingnuts mean it. I just assume that Hollywood hates America because it keeps trying to convince us that shitty movies are actually meaningful and award-worthy explorations of the human spirit. Remember "A Beautiful Mind"? They gave an Oscar to Akiva Fucking Goldsman for that steaming pile. And now we get August Rush.

If you love trite, melodramatic crap, this movie has it all. To start off with, it's the tale of the rise of a child music prodigy. Now, you could make an entire bad movie out of that alone. Let's face it - the trials and tribulations faced by twelve year old orchestra conductors are precisely the kind of thing audiences eat up, even though it may be the least universally relatable character concept ever.

I mean, your average audience member is more likely to identify with Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal Smith, or even just plain Hannibal than with a preteen Amadeus. So maybe that's why the bastards behind August Rush upped the ante.

He's not just a preteen prodigy, he's a preteen prodigy separated from his family! It's like those movies where the pets get stranded and have to walk across the country via every major landmark to get home. Only this time, the animals have an innate grasp of syncopation and were the love child of a rock star and a cellist, abandoned at birth. And he doesn't swim across a river. I don't think.

Not only is our prodigy separated from his family, but it appears that they get reunited through some previously undocumented mystical power of music. I'd love to see if the movie takes a position on whether ALL music has this power. Can death metal and that Crazy Frog ringtone also traverse the psychic bond that apparently binds us via our genetic material? Because that would be funny.

But I won't see it, and neither should you, and neither should those you care about. In fact, consider warning off complete strangers and your worst enemies. Because even the magic power of culturally approved classical and gospel music weren't enough for these people. They went the extra mile to ensure reverse peristalsis.

Robin Williams. As an eccentric homeless dude. An eccentric homeless dude who mentors the prodigy. Who, in fact, mentors an entire band, literal and figurative, of musically-inclined urchins. Oh, and his name is "Wizard". And "August Rush" is what he names the kid, because apparently there is no end to the shameless depravity of Nick Castle, James V. Hart, and Kristen Sheridan.

Prevent people from seeing this movie. Physically, if you have to. I know it sounds extreme, but I think you'll agree that it's ultimately in the best interest of art and society. Both of which will end up much the worse for wear if Hollywood is encouraged to believe that shit like this is a good idea. I mean, FUCKING WIZARD?