Comfortable and Furious

White House Down (2013)

I love movies. I always have. All sorts of movies, from totally weird shit like Eraserhead from David Lynch all the way down to Harry effing Potter, I love ‘m all. The one category of films that brought me by far the most pleasure over the years is the Big, Loud, Dumb Action-movie. There’s just something about cracking open a cold one, smoking a big fat joint, turning the thinking parts of your brain off and just having fun for an hour or two. I mean, that’s how I found this very good review-site of yours in the first place: 80’s Action! I’ve read that whole catalog from A to Z multiple times, and it cracks me up, every time. I must admit that I never before saw hilarious homoeroticism in those movies, but now that I’ve read about it here at Ruthless, I will never see Arnie and his rolling biceps in the same way…

I have an older brother with whom I used to watch a lot of those movies back in the day, and I love the big man to death, but I have to admit, he’s a bit more of a caveman than me. When he sees Stallone drive a tank into a big Russian helicopter and crawling out alive afterwards, he really believes that shit, you know? When I’m in a more cynical state of mind I like to imagine telling him about what sexy Sly and that bulky Russian Spetsnaz-commando more likely really did, down in that cave in the Afghan desert, but then he’ll probably just grunt something and hit me over the head with a beer bottle. An empty one, that is.

Of course, as time progresses, so does technology, and over the years movies just got better and better, and my favorite ones just got bigger, louder, and dumber. So, here we are then, with White House Down, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggy Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke and the always mesmerizing James Woods. (Did you know this guy has an IQ of 184? I mean, holy crap. That’s higher than Einstein and on par, so it seems, with Leonardo da Vinci himself. And he’s just making movies!? What an a-hole! I mean, Leo invented all sorts of cool shit, like tanks and helicopters and airplanes, long before they were even technically possible, he painted that Vitruvius-dude, you know, with his arms and legs in those yoga-poses. And Mona fucking Lisa! He did all that, and so much more, and good old fucking James here, with his similar IQ, makes movies like The Specialist, with that same sultry Sly and that Beaver-Shot-woman, about exploding coffee-cups? I mean, come on, man…)

Anyway, White House Down. It’s about Channing playing John Cale, a wannabe Secret Service agent that botches his interview for the job, and so decides to take his daughter to the White House for a tour, on the same day that a bunch of evil fuckers decides to attack… well, the White House.

You Americans do love your ceremonial our-President-is-the-best-in-the-world-attitude. The movie opens with sweeping shots of Marine One and two accompanying helicopters flying over Washington, while the cool black President (I wonder where they got that idea…) tells stories about women’s voting rights, intersected by scenes of rooms full of state-of-the-art technology and highly trained man and woman dedicated to protect their number one. As a down to earth Dutch man, I love that shit. I don’t know if you know this, but in recent years our own President, Mr. Mark Rutte was seen cycling from home to his office. Can you imagine that? The President of a nation, on his bicycle on his way to work, saying ‘good morning’ to his fellow citizens. That’s the sort of country I live in. And the drugs here are CHEAP! And readily available! This must truly be, then, the best country in the world…

What follows is two hours of classic action-movie mayhem, and in the end, the good guys win. All the leads consist of excellent actors, big budgets ensure big special effects and the whole thing is guided by Roland Emmerich, who loves blowing the White House to smithereens every few years anyway, so that’s all good.

Is White House Down a good movie? That depends on how you look at it. And what your tastes are. And how, where, when and why you grew up. Did you have a good and easy life? Or was it a trip through a living hell, interspersed with brief moments of fleeting luck, love and pleasure? Are you insane? Did you, as a kid, like to pull the wings off of insects? Or fry them, maybe, between the two poles of an electric battery? Watching, with big eyes and an open, slightly salivating mouth, how those frail and fragile wings are slowly glowing, then turn black and curl up, somewhere in the unsupervised bowls of some rat-infested orphanage, somewhere on the dark, stark fringes of society…?

Well, I liked it.



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