Apparently Oliver Stone didn’t get the memo that offering your opinion on the Breaking Bad finale is so two weeks ago (and Billy Zane already did it best), and that this week is all about fact-checking Gravity. Because at a press event for the Blu-Ray release of his Showtime documentary series, old white Spike Lee decided to weigh in on the saga of Walter White, apropos of nothing.
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.
“There’s too much violence in our movies – and it’s all unreal to me,” he said. “I don’t know if you saw the denouement [of Breaking Bad], I happen to not watch the series very much, but I happened to tune in and I saw the most ridiculous 15 minutes of a movie – it would be laughed off the screen.”
Stone pointedly critiqued Walter White’s method of handling the gang that kidnapped Jesse. “Nobody could park his car right then and there and could have a machine gun that could go off perfectly and kill all of the bad guys! It would be a joke,” he insisted. “It’s only in the movies that you find this kind of fantasy violence. And that’s infected the American culture; you young people believe all of this shit! Batman and Superman, you’ve lost your minds, and you don ‘t even know it! At least respect violence. I’m not saying don’t show violence, but show it with authenticity.
Now, before I crap all over him, it should be said that I don’t think he’s necessarily wrong. There’s nothing wrong with cartoony violence, but when you read backlash against critics who dared question the perfection of, say, The Dark Knight Rises, you do occasionally wonder if people have stopped being able to tell the difference between cartoony violence and realistic violence. And I do think Breaking Bad gets a pass on a lot of things by virtue of being serialized and addictive. You don’t want to question certain lame plot elements (and there have been some – the Mexican twins were “cool guys don’t look at explosions” personified and could’ve come straight out of a Michael Bay movie) because you’re too invested in the next episode (to the show’s credit, of course, it’s addictive because it’s mostly good).
That said, this complaint would hold a lot more water if it wasn’t being delivered by OLIVER STONE. You’re worried about violence? Call me when someone in the inner city gets shot by a drug dealer who doesn’t have at least a Scarface poster. Okay, so Stone only wrote Scarface. But he did direct Wall Street, an attempt at a cautionary tale that resulted in a generation of finance A-holes idolizing Gordon Gekko. It just seems like a weird criticism coming from Oliver Stone, given that glorifying sin is pretty much all he knows how to do.
[image via Getty]
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