More Movies

I picked up a couple of DVDs from the library this weekend. I was going to see King Kong, but I figured I save that for next weekend. Our family has a tradition of watching a movie on Christmas Day. I figured, what better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than watching a semi-bestiality movie.

The first movie is the movie adaptation of William Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice". One of my regrets in life is not finding time to read Shakespeare's work. The story deals with anti-semitism in Europe at the time. Al Pacino was at his best playing Shylock, the Jew. Overall it's a great movie except I'm not good at understanding Old English, so I had to rewind some parts of it.

The second movie is the epic "Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom. I had low expectation about this movie. I figured it's another movie trying to cash-in on Lord of the Rings popularity. I mean, how many "defending the castle's wall" movie can they make? Also, rottentomatoes gave it a 40% rotten rating. But after seeing it, I don't think the movie was that bad. It's no LOTR, but it's much better than the Troy. I think Orlando Bloom has too much of a boyish look to play the lead role though. Viggo Mortensen would have fit the role perfectly. Overall, the movie was worth watching, especially when it's for free from your local library.

The third movie is "Iron Jawed Angels" from HBO. It's about Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and the suffragist movement who fought for women's rights to vote. I thought it would be a slow moving, but it's really entertaining and upbeat. The movie followed the women's movement and protests against Woodrow Wilson until they forced him to support the Suffrage Amendment. They used civil disobedience similar to those used by Suffragette movement in England. They were attacked and beaten by mobs of men who did not want women to vote. They were arrested for bogus charges, and, while in jail, were forced fed when they went on a hunger strike.

One thing that stood out in the movie was when they were labeled as traitors to their country when they protested for voting rights after the country entered World War I. Those who were against them claimed that they should support wartime presidents. This has an uncanny resemblance to those who question Americans who disagree with Bush. They claim that everybody should support Bush because we are at war.

The suffragist's counter argument of course is that we cannot defend democracy abroad by abandoning it at home. Wilson was preaching about how Germans need for self-govern at the time, yet he was against granting voting rights to half of Americans.

Funny how history repeats itself. During McCarthyism, Edward Murrow gave his famous comment of "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." And that same arguement is true today. We cannot claim to fight for freedom for Iraqis and security for Americans while our own President erode civil liberties and his advisers reveal identities of CIA agents for political reasons.


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