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Sunday 20 November 2011

Tower Heist

I had to watch two trailers for Tower Heist because the first trailer was a bunch of 40ish guys being taught to shoplift by Eddie Murphy, but without context.  The second trailer brought clarity to what the film was really about: stealing back from one who stole, or an eye for an eye, or breaking the law to seek justice... Sadly, the reality of our society (and the films that we see) promote revenge and contradict all Judeo-Christian ethics. Or is this movie really just a metaphor for the Occupy Movement?  The 99% seeking revenge on the 1% that has been sticking it to the 99%?

I will give my humble, marginally informed opinion on Occupy and get back to judging this film by its trailer(s).

Arab Spring had a purpose: overthrow the Egyptian government. I get it.  It worked.  It's done - yet there is still conflict.  From my limited understanding, the Occupy moverment is about overthrowing the 1% that holds the 99% of the wealth?  What exactly is the objective? Further, how do they propose to make change happen?  (If someone has a link to the manifesto, please send it to me). 

Today, I heard on the radio that the Occupy movement in D.C. wants an old school that used to be a homeless shelter turned back to a homeless shelter.  Good idea, but is that what the Occupy Movement is about? Is the movement now advocacy in tents?  I know there are organizations all over North America trying to address the homeless issue - NYC's Common Ground is doing an amazing job.  I saw the work, first hand, a few years ago and it was very impressive.  I digress.

Will Tower Heist make Occupy people feel good?   The trailer didn't make me feel good. Nor did it make me laugh, nor anything, really.  Well, not true.  I hate to hear about pension money being pissed away by greedy assholes.

So, here we have a cast of actors that haven't done much of note lately - at least in my opinion.  Stiller had so much promise and then gave us Zoolander - Tropic Thunder was fun, though.  Broderick is likeable but hasn't replicated his Ferris Bueller screen presence in anything I've seen him in, since. Casey Affleck is versatile.  Michael Pena is a solid actor but isn't in enough movies.   Eddie Murphy peaked with Beverly Hills Cop, though I loved him in Bowfinger, he hasn't really made a decent film in a long time. 

Tower Heist is a sort of reflection of our times.  Pensions misappropriated, unstable economy, white collar crimes perpetrated by the 1%, not brought to justice and the working stiffs doing the wrong things for the right reasons to seek revenge... It's kind of sad to think that in the real world it's the working stiff that gets stiffed the most.  Yeah, I get the occupy thing.  I just don't know if it's going to be effective.

Tower Heist. Don't get me wrong, I like Eddie Murphy, as I do the cast of this film.  I just don't think it will deliver.  That said, I'll likely see it on a big screen at The Rainbow on a Tuesday. For $4, most of us 99% can afford to see a movie once in a while.


  1. Greggie, the Curmudgeon21 November 2011 at 09:54

    Haven’t seen the trailer for Tower Heist, but here’s my two cents on the economy and the Occupy movement. Manifestos are not what we need but rather a multitude of voices that:

    * actively engage in a peaceful reclamation of democratic spaces;
    * move the debate beyond the market;
    * sing in solidarity with movements across the world;
    * denounce governments that only bend to the wishes/demands of the market – not the people;
    * shout from the top of their lungs on issues that are continuously ignored by political reps (regardless of stripe) like: astronomically high (youth) unemployment, lip service on climate change, commodification of natural resources (like water), privatization of social services, toxic environments (literal and metaphorical), development of the tar sands, and the list goes on and on…

    I think this is about a reclamation of democracy. Casting a ballot in an isolated booth does not a democracy make. And what does it really matter to youth anyway when none of their issues are represented – and no matter how you vote, you get the same parties (over and over), the ones that bend to the market?

    This is really exciting – and sure, they don’t know where they’re headed yet, but you gotta start somewhere right? We’ve all got a little Howard (‘I’m mad as hell’) Beale in us, so let’s use it before we turn into mad prophets…

    Markets or businesses internalize profits and nationalize debt – that’s the way it’s currently structured. And it always falls on the back of the people – hitting the most vulnerable particularly hard. We don’t need quick fixes, minor adjustments, or money tossed in (more flames to the fire). We need to rethink the entire process and that, I think, is what the Occupy movements are about in part. If they had a motto, I think it might be: people before profit.

    Check out the Occupy Toronto movement:

    And if keen at all, there’s an interesting documentary, Beyond Elections, on the ever-so cool movements in participatory democracy in South America (which in no doubt is feeding the Occupy movements):

  2. Thanks for the insight and info, Greggie.

    I had a quick look at the first link "occupyto." The spirit of the movement is honourable and even necessary given the gobal economic crisis and who is allegedly responsible, but "demonstrating to discuss" i.e. average joes like us asking to sit at the same table as the decision makers is kind of like a child holding its' breath. It isn't taken seriously and it likely will not get it's way and give up trying.

    I'm all for change. I agree that our economies have been manipulated and plundered, but unless the common goal is something like drastic like overthrow the government or, more realistic, the 99% will collectively stop using banks and credit for 30 days (or something), I'm just not sure anything tangible will come of this.

    Keep fighting the good fight.


  3. Greggie, the Curmudgeon21 November 2011 at 14:20

    Hhhmmm…‘demonstrating to discuss’…could the same be said to Gandhi? And while that empire-busting guru is far too lofty for this lovely, chaotic, organic process of peaceful protest, the analogy is apt only so far as: the movement does not give up (seems to be the impetus); the movement develops a broader, cultural ethos (tough with corporate-controlled media but where there’s a will, there’s a www-way); and it kicks in with some cool ideas like yours to boycott banks.

    It’s said that revolutions won’t go anywhere without the middle class (note that the harder cops come down on protestors, the more former complacent or oblivious folks join the chorus – as in New York and Occupy Wall Street), so if we can spread the word, encourage debate, write a blog, paint a banner, graffitize a building, sing a song, pen a play, do what we can to keep it alive – we’re on our way.

    And maybe keep the lovely Margaret Mead in our back pocket: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”