April 17, 2009, - 12:19 pm

Weekend Box Office: “State of Play” Collapses Under Anti-Blackwater, Anti-Blog, Anti-FOX News Propaganda; Congressman Ben Affleck? (OY)

By Debbie Schlussel
[Note: Because of Passover, I did not see “17 Again” and “Sin Nombre,” but will try to post reviews of those and another film I did see, “Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” later today.]
“Congressman Ben Affleck.” It’s enough to make you sick. It’s also hard to see pictures of Affleck in military fatigues and talk of his military service in the First Gulf War. As if.
But in “State of Play,” the smug, pasty-faced, chubby-cheeked, one-time paramour of J-Lo plays exactly the kind of Congressman he’d be in real life: an extremely liberal, arrogant, moralizing hypocrite who cheats on his wife (Mrs. Jeff Spicoli a/k/a Robin Wright Penn) and is far worse than the Blackwater-like outfit he claims to be upset about. The only great part of “Congressman Ben Affleck” in this movie is when he starts crying on national TV and real men on the street notice with disdain. Affleck’s sensitive man tears sure beat his over melodramatic screaming and whining, which got so bad I thought I was watching a chick flick.

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But don’t let my description of Congressman Affleck’s impersonation of an elected official/liberal hypocrite fool you. This movie is a hit-piece on Blackwater, blogs, and News Corp (which owns FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and assorted other media outlets around the globe). The propaganda and smug preaching and moralizing against these parties is so heavy in this movie, the film tumbles under its weight into a tangled mess. It’s a terribly substandard semi-ripoff of the far superior “Enemy of the State,” with a dash of “All of the President’s Men” thrown in the jumble.
Given that the U.S. government canceled its contracts with Blackwater, and that the liberal left is now in power in the corridors of Washington and failing miserably, this movies seems dated and a matter of piling on over an era that was better and is over. The movie’s attacks on blogs in favor of newsprint that will leave you with “smudged hands” is also passe, given that many newspapers have gone out of business and those that survived are mostly alive online.
This movie might have gone over better had it appeared in theaters a year or two ago, when its statements were still the weak arguments of the left. Now, it’s just yesterday’s trash and birdcage liner.
Plus, you know a movie is probably a stinker when media whores Chris Matthews and Lou Dobbs invade your escapism by their appearances on the big screen. They’ll do any movie. And any movie that asks them, ain’t all that.
Affleck is a Congressman holding hearings to investigation Pointcorp–this movie’s fictional name for Blackwater (now known as “Xe”), the private company with which our government had contracts to protect public officials in Iraq and to do other security duties not performed by and/or in conjunction with our soldiers. Blackwater, to its credit, never lost a single person it was protecting. It never failed in its security obligations. But it’s been unfairly vilified because how dare private enterprise–employing many retired military vets looking for extra money–actually shoot violent Iraqis out to kill them. And how dare Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince (also lampooned in “State of Play”), actually make money and get compensated for his company’s success.
Affleck lectures us on “Pointcorp”/Blackwater’s alleged view of its military vet contractors:

Innocent civilians are disposable lives and collateral damage.

But did Blackwater hire women to sleep with Congressmen and spy on them? Did it possibly hire hitmen to snuff out its Congressional critics’ mistresses when they refuse to continue to be double agents?
Well, despite absolutely no evidence that it ever did either, Blackwater, er . . . “Pointcorp,” perpetrates at least the former and perhaps the latter in this movie.
Congressman Affleck is cheating on his wife with his chief researcher in his hearings against Blackwater/”Pointcorp.” At the beginning of the movie, she has a mysterious fatal accident on the Washington subway on her way to work. The night before a pizza delivery man and another guy are also shot, one of them fatally. Are the two murders connected?
It appears that they are. And it also appears that this is the work of the evil Pointcorp, attempting to frame and blackmail its main Congressional critic.
Soon we learn that Pointcorp wants to take over 1/3 of the federal government by providing a standing army and taking over and privatizing the Department of Homeland Security.
Not that Blackwater ever tried to do that, but being something of an expert and critic on that bloated, incompetent agency, I ask: And if Blackwater replaced the Department of Homeland Security, this would be a bad thing because . . . ? PUH-LEEZE. If Blackwater ran ICE, illegal aliens would be eradicated from America. If Blackwater took over terrorism investigations and border security, America would be batting 1,000. And the Islamic terrorists who were afraid of Blackwater in Iraq would be afraid here. Yup, what a “horrible” prospect. I guarantee Blackwater wouldn’t waste DHS money and resources putting out “White Papers” about the “threat of right wingers.”
All of this is fleshed out by grizzled newspaper journalist Russell Crowe. He works for a newspaper, The Washington Globe, which has just been bought by “Media Corp” (the movie’s obvious take on Rupert Murdoch’s “New Corp”). Media Corp isn’t interested in real, substantiated journalism, but sensational stories that sell papers. Crowe’s editor, a feisty Helen Mirren, is wasted on this film, which is simply beneath her. But there is a cute sign about her on someone’s desk: “Never Trust an Editor.”
Crowe, by coincidence, is the former college roommate of Congressman Affleck, and also by coincidence, he’s investigating the murders of the pizza delivery guy and the other shooting victim. But unlike the gossip columnist blogger at the Globe (Rachel McAdams), he actually takes a long time to get his facts straight, whereas she just posts things every hour.
Soon, they are teaming up to report the story on Congressman Affleck’s dead girlfriend, the evil PointCorp, etc. And eventually, McAdams learns to appreciate that print journalists are the “real” journalists. And blogs are just crap. When they finally get the big story, McAdams declines his offer to put it on her blog page at the paper.

A story this big, people should probably have newsprint on their hands, don’t ya think?

Awww. No biggie that newspapers aren’t the ones doing the real investigative journalism and digging these days. That’s why the Detroit Newsistan had to follow my lead when I broke the story about how your tax money was funding Muslim foot baths at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Or why I had to point out what the Detroit Free Press consistently suppressed–the Shi’ite Muslims names and Hezbollah terrorist connections of arrested food stamp defrauders and cigarette smugglers. The only thing I get from my local newspapers are the newsprint smudge and some good recipes in the food section. Accurate information and original news reporting–the journalism part–just ain’t there.
As they investigate PointCorp, they realize that it has 14 or more other corporations with different names all allied through a fake umbrella company called MoFI–the Medal of Freedom Institute. The makers of this film might as well call it “MoFO,” since they make it very clear in the script that’s what they think of Blackwater, blogs, and News Corp. When Crowe and McAdams go to MoFI’s offices they find an empty suite–a front for what is obviously a shell.
I don’t recall Blackwater doing this over the last several years, but I do recall several Muslim lobbying organizations having such an arrangement–with several names when it was all really the same thing, terrorist fundraising at 555 Grove Street in one of Virginia’s Washington, DC suburbs. I also remember how money-laundering Grover Norquist, his Indian-defrauding lobbyist buddy Jack Abramoff, and their Islamofascist lobbying partner Khaled Saffuri had a similar arrangement. Saffuri headed something called the Islamic Free Market Institute at Grover’s Americans for Tax Reform offices and the three were connected in several mysterious lobbying organizations, including something called “The Lexington Group,” which also had empty offices in one of Virginia’s Washington, DC suburbs.
But don’t worry about a Congressman Ben Affleck movie ever going after or moralizing against extremist Muslims in our midst with their shell corporations and mysteriously empty office suites. They have a much more “worthy” target, in their minds, in Blackwater. And we know their point of view when Congressman Affleck waxes on angrily about Blackwater/”Pointcorp”‘s sole source of income as “The Muslim Terror Goldrush.”
The movie is long–just over two hours, mostly predictable, too preachy, and slow-moving. I’d give it FOUR MARXES, but because there is one great, thrilling escape scene in which Russell Crowe tries to evade a scary killer, and it has a scant few other interesting parts and lines in it, there is a mild entertainment factor. None of this is enough, though, to overcome the heavy-handed propaganda in this movie.
And so, it gets . . .
TWO-AND-A-HALF MARXES
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6 Responses

may or may not see this-I have no judgements with Blackwater, and am not sure if what they say is true.

mindy1 on April 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Must be the same writers that have written the crappy ’24’ this season with their Blackwater bad guy John Voigt. When is congress going to investigate why people like Affleck make more than $250K a year?

moc on April 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Clinton started the relationship with Blackwater and authorized many no-bid projects, Bush just continued the relationship.
Actually there aren’t many companies that can do what Blackwater can do.
According to Lou Dobbs he had been asked many times to appear in movies but was not permitted to due to his CNN contract.
In this case it was CNN that suggested that he appear.
By the way DS you are great, thanks for being there!

skater4fun on April 19, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Clinton started the relationship with Blackwater and authorized many no-bid projects, Bush just continued the relationship.
Actually there aren’t many companies that can do what Blackwater can do.
According to Lou Dobbs he had been asked many times to appear in movies but was not permitted to due to his CNN contract.
In this case it was CNN that suggested that he appear.
By the way DS you are great, thanks for being there!
[S: THANKS. BUT LOU DOBBS CHOSE TO BE IN THIS, WHICH MEANS HE ENDORSES THE CRAPPY BS MESSAGE WITHIN. HE’S NO SLOUCH. HE COULD HAVE SAID NO, BUT SAID YES. DS]

skater4fun on April 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

When was the last time Matt Damon’s boyfriend (Ben Affleck) actually made a watchable movie?
He did do a great spot-on impersonation of Keith Olbermann on Saturday Night Live though.

Ripper on April 20, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I can’t think Ben Affleck without seeing him holding his pinkie out while drinking a beer in Goodwill Hunting. Should he be sipping tea with the Queen or doing shots from Damon’s bartender wife, he is always refined with an extended pinkie! Wus.
I can only hope someone with security in mind would take over DHS too. Thank you for the review. I will now skip it with glee.

FeFe on May 3, 2009 at 7:26 pm

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