Our old buddy Armond White has been writing for the conservative bible The National Review as of late, meaning the #HotTakes have been coming fast and furiously. In his most recent column “Across The Great Divide,” our favorite thesaurificent perspicassian cantankeramous, former chairman of the Bull Moose Moving Picture Society of the 1934 World’s Fair, takes down 20 films that supposedly typify this political divide. A rift that has existed since 2004, according to Armond, producing films that “effectively destroyed art, social unity, and spiritual confidence. They constitute a corrupt, carelessly politicized canon.”
It’s basically the perfect Armond White article. A sprinkling of dead-on skewering of sacred cows that need slaughtering, all hopelessly obscured by his reactionary conservatism and drenched in awesomely pompous bombast and tinfoil hat conspiracy theorism. “Jack and Jill because lizard people! Open your eyes!”
Here are some of its greatest hits, for those you who would call Armond “contrarian” (which he is sometimes, but only by accident):
5) Wall-E (2008) — Nihilism made cute for children of all ages who know nothing about cultural history or how to sustain it.
Cutest damn nihilistic robot love story featuring “Hello, Dolly” I’ve ever seen, I always say. (Nihilistic movies are always saving the planet at the end, aren’t they?)
15) Inglourious Basterds (2009) — Quentin Tarantino’s answer to Abu Ghraib, a cruel, jokey, ahistorical revision of WWII.
I absolute cannot get past “Tarantino’s answer to Abu Ghraib.” That is one of those beautifully incendiary, yet perfectly meaningless phrases only Armond White could write. I bet there aren’t 10 people in America who could unpack “Tarantino’s answer to Abu Ghraib,” and most of them have already been institutionalized.
17) Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) — Sarcastic violence is the new marriage equality, says Brangelina, Hollywood’s POTUS and FLOTUS.
Brangelina is Barackichelle! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!
20) Lincoln (2012) — Spielberg succumbs to Tony Kushner’s limousine-liberal cynicism to valorize Obama-era political chicanery.
I don’t know how he saw all that in a boring ass movie like Lincoln, but I included it here for proper use of the word “valorize.” You don’t get that on your average editorial page.
Some of his takedowns are much more deserving – 12 Years A Slave, Slumdog Millionaire, Precious – but he still manages to do it in such a way that the criticism is overshadowed by the Cult of Armond (which I’m happy to promote, the man is entertaining as hell).
11) Precious (2009) coincided with Obama’s first year in office to revive racial condescension with the audacity of nope.
THE AUDACITY OF NOPE! That’s so good! You know he was grinning like a Cheshire Cat when he banged that into an antique typewriter from the window seat of his customized “NOBAMA” pullman railway car.
That’s the beauty of Armond White: he isn’t a pure contrarian. He is an organic, volatile mix of contradictions, a black, NRA-supporting, Republican gay man living in New York City. Steep in academia until polysyllabic and serve ICE COLD, SON.
F*CK YOU I WON’T DO WHATCHA TELL ME! F*CK YOU I WON’T DO WHATCHA TELL ME! UNGH! Word to your mothers, Hoberman sucks, Armond out. *drops mic* *feedback noise*