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Friday, August 7, 2009

SEAGAL

crow in space



What was billed as the hottest day of the year didn't quite make it. I'm so glad the television doesn't ever get turned on here. There was a time before it went digital that sometimes we'd turn on the tv weather at 5:15, watch until the weather was over and turn it off. I couldn't spend any time here if he had to have the tv going. We have similar indifference to anything that's on. I'm a movie watcher and Jr is not. I can watch almost any movie, and Jr can't watch any. When he was a kid, he and Joe Blum, who grew up on the next farm, would walk to Sparta to see a movie. He wasn't impressed. There was nothing to it as far as he could see. Made up stories that never happened. He never took an interest in any movie, and all he ever cared about on tv was the Flatt & Scruggs early morning show.


I heard myself say I could watch almost any movie, and have to admit that is not so. There are more movies I cannot watch than can. Teen slasher flicks don't trip my trigger. I don't want to see films made from best-selling serial killer novels where a deranged white man kidnaps, torments and kills teenage babes. Thrillers I think they're called. I don't want that filth in my head. Just about anything with a Hollywood star I don't care to see. If the names are the same as any of them on Yahoo entertainment headlines, I have no interest. Just about anything made in Hollywood or Hong Kong, I don't care to see unless made by people independent of the glitz and riches wealth studios where average is the Big A.


I'd say with netflix I watch at least one foreign language film to one English language film. Maybe more. Sometimes I watch English language films with subtitles. Because of muttering. There's always muttering and whispering. Syriana I only watch with subtitles. I like Steven Seagal films with subtitles too. Muttering and I like the script in a lot of his films, maybe half. Some are pathetic and some are good films. Patriot was one that was pathetic. My personal favorite is Mercenary for Justice. It has our hero exercising his intelligence as a martial art in itself.


The first one I saw was maybe 15 or so years ago. A guy I knew liked the action genre and told me about Steven Seagal. We rented and saw Out for Justice. The only thing I remembered from it was blowing a guy's leg off with a shotgun. That's how I identified the film years later when I knew I'd seen one Seagal film, but the title slid off my indifference. I remember finding it a film that made me give some credit to the action genre. Not enough to want to see it again.


My friend Debi, Tom Pruitt's great niece, took up working at Una's next door to my shop. We got reacquainted after 25 at least years while she was away. She was a Steven Seagal freak. She kept saying to me, you gotta see...whichever one she was telling about. I like a men with guns movie from time to time. Two I found in the library. The rest I found at netflix. So far, I've seen them all. I like the character he makes. He's like Charles Bronson, the Next Generation.


Seagal grew up in Japan learning martial arts to an advanced degree. I like about his character, there being only one with different names, the Seagal persona, that he is a conscious man. Even when he's down and out, he is still conscious. The three I like best all have Justice in the title, meaning they're revenge stories. "When I find out who killed Bobby Lupo, I'm gonna kill him." Out for Justice, a Brooklyn cop, devout catholic. He doesn't like it when his priest gets killed. He just about loses his baby-doll wife, but gets her back. Lots of shooting. The man who does it his way. Out there by himself with no reins.


His character is devout in the religion of whatever part of the world he's playing in. In Thailand and Japan he's a Buddhist who has a personal relationship with the abbot of a monastery, a seeker. In America he's a devout Catholic. At the end of Out For Justice, he says, "You gotta admit, God has a strange sense of humor." Often he saves a cute little girl or a ravishing babe from harm, sometimes both. A couple of times the babe didn't make it. Mostly he saves her. And the babe can be any race with Seagal. Every race of a girlfriend throughout the films.


His form of martial art he uses I can't remember, but it's one of minimal movement, though swift. One of the best demonstrations of his martial arts choreography is in Out For Justice, a saloon fight. Everybody in the place vs. Mr. Bad. They all lost. One guy he popped in the face with his elbow and that was it. It's a truth that when somebody goes at him with an implement of some sort, pool cue, wrench, bat, Seagal takes it away from him and uses it on the guy. I like it that he uses real martial arts moves, not just flashy kicks and spins. At the end, the guy that killed Bobby Lupo went at Seagal with a corkscrew. Wrong thing to do. Seagal took it from him and plunged it into his forehead. Then shot him three times. The man doesn't mess around.


And he's an ethical man. In film you don't often run across an ethical man unless he's making a point. Seagal doesn't make a point of anything with his ethics. He's a man whose life is guided by real values. He's often a hitman or involved in the underworld of killing, often CIA, the Company. His priest friends are all sympathetic with him, though they don't see the way he lives his life the way he does. He's the baddest of the bad, he and everybody else knows it. His name puts certain people on alert. He goes into every conflict knowing he's coming out standing up. A few times he almost didn't. I've been feeling a longing to see a Steven Seagal flick for some weeks. Every once in awhile I need one.

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