Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yor! And More!

This time around, we'll start with the bad movie and go from there. I'm afraid that tonight's bad movie is Yor, the Hunter from the Future, which is your standard Italian-Turkish barbarian movie, with an exciting twist! It turns out that (spoiler alert) this epic tale takes place not in the prehistoric past, but in a barbaric post-nuclear future, which explains all the androids and ray guns in the last half hour or so of the movie. This would be a big surprise, except that the English-language title gives the whole game away before the film even starts. It's not clear how a nuclear war could have triggered the evolution of very fake-looking dinosaurs. And, um, the filmmakers would be wise to not let the lawyers at Lucasfilm see those sinister black-clad, black-helmeted androids. The movie's worth it just for its synth-heavy 80's new wave theme song. If you have a low tolerance for cinematic crappiness, but you're mildly curious and/or bored, you can get a pretty good feel for the movie by just watching the first 10 minutes or so. Besides the theme song, there's also a bit close to the beginning where Yor whips out his bow, shoots down what appears to be a giant moth, and uses it as a primitive hang glider to soar in and rescue the heroine. I bet you've never seen that before. If you manage to tough it out through the whole movie, towards the end there's a trapeze bit you don't want to miss. Yes, trapeze.

This movie is actually rated PG, with no nudity, and with violence so fake that nobody's likely to find it disturbing. Normally this makes for a very poor and tedious barbarian movie (like Ator, or Krull), but this one manages to be surreal enough to keep it interesting.

Apparently you can watch the whole thing on Veoh here if you install some sort of player. I haven't tried that, and I don't know what's involved in this player they're offering, so ymmv, caveat emptor, etc..

And since we're on the topic of barbarians and nuclear apocalypses, the Iran situation is heating up again. Certain Democrats with their eyes firmly set on 2008 are trying to position themselves to the right of Bush on the Iran nuclear issue, as if being to the right of George was actually possible. Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh have now gone on record saying that the administration isn't taking a sufficiently hard line against Iran. Someone ought to tell them this is not just another political game, and it's all not just a matter of positioning yourself properly for the next election cycle. Democrats in Congress lined up en masse to compete over who could take the hardest line against Saddam, figuring it was all business as usual, just another meaningless beltway charade. And as a result we got stuck with an ugly, unpopular, expensive, and apparently endless war that they'd all happily authorized. You'd think they'd have learned a thing or two by now, but I think they're still sitting around, utterly bewildered by what happened last time. Bush is so dangerous precisely because he's not all about business as usual, or insulating oneself from attack ads in the upcoming primary, or anything so mundane. He's got nothing but scorn for business as usual, DC style. Give him permission to start a war, and he really will start a war, and then you won't be in much of a tenable position to criticize him when the war goes badly. What's more, he's got Karl whispering in his ear, and Karl knows how to play the D's for fools. Look at them right now. Even with nearly 3 years of war in Iraq under our belts, they still think the safest political strategy is to steer themselves as far to the right as they possibly can, so that they're cheap imitations of "real" Republicans. Even now, war is incredibly easy in the political sense, it's by far the path of least resistance, and everyone's for it, in the usual DC abstract way where (even now) they assume it'll never actually happen. I expect that in the near future, George will "generously" grant the D's a chance to look really, really tough on national security issues, by giving him very explicit permission to spy on, detain, torture, and kill anyone he chooses, with no legal checks and balances whatsoever, and they'll happily give it to him. There is no part of the Constitution they won't throw overboard in a heartbeat if they think it'll help their reelection chances. I'd say they'd all been hypnotized, or replaced by pod people, except that they've been acting this way pretty much nonstop since around 1980.

And Congress is far from alone. I don't think that Ahmadinejad guy has any clue what he's started here. Iran's highly suspect nuclear program, combined with his, um, outspoken views about Israel, has given politicians across the western world a golden opportunity to talk tough without going out on a limb. Jacques Chirac, fresh off a year of continuous domestic problems -- failed referendums, riots, etc. -- would like to remind everyone that France has the bomb, and as president he's not afraid to use it if need be. Politicians in Germany are predictably outraged, but when you're trying to look tough, outraging foreign politicians is rarely a bad move.

Now, the Iran nuclear issue is certainly something to be concerned about, but right now it seems everyone's just cynically trying to exploit the thing to their own benefit. And I'd just like to point out, if I may, that the whole issue would be much simpler if there was no internationally-recognized "right" for a country to obtain and use "peaceful" nuclear technology. If you just drew a line in the sand and said that nuclear power was a mistake, period, and nobody ought to be using it, there'd be none of this game where everyone looks at a country's nuclear program and tries to figure out what it's really being used for. I mean, RTGs would still be OK, I guess (see previous post), but any big reactor would be immediate cause for alarm.

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