Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Toxic In Boxers

I lived in the deep south during an interesting time. I was bused from my Wonder Bread white neighborhood about 25 miles across town to a black neighborhood to go to school. Integration was what they called it. What did I care, it was a name and it meant absolutely nothing to me. I liked the bus ride, winding through the less populated, pine-dense parts of southern Alabama. I liked the new school and my new friends. They talked different but they listened to better music like the Isley Brothers, Ohio Players and Funkadelic. I still have music from those groups. On vinyl.

Black and white mixed easily inside the school. It was outside of the school that seemed to be the problem. The black parents threw bricks at our buses, while on the other side of town the white parents protested, often violently, sending their kids to 'that part of town' with 'those people'. It would be the first time I would hear the word nigger. It would be the first time I would experience the disgusting entity known as the KKK. To date, I can't hear either word without feeling a physical transformation in my stomach. I didn't understand the problem then. Still don't.

That said, I was reluctant to see this film because of its underlying neo-Nazi-skinhead theme, but it came highly recommended from Girlfriend X. We have exactly the same taste in film so I decided to detach myself emotionally and plug in.

American History X

Edward Norton gave up his normally muted, school-boy body to play a muscled-up skinhead leader hell-bent on pushing white supremacy. But something happens along the way to make him pause and re-evaluate. Afterwards he emerges on a slightly different path; one he will have to defend, one which will challenge him, one which will cause him to sacrifice to a new level. The theme of the film questions how much will you sacrifice to do the right thing and at what point will you break.

Norton was freaking awesome, it is simply his best performance. In the first half you will want to see him dead. But being the master of manipulation, aided by a good script and good direction, he completely flips the viewer into sympathizing with him.

There is one scene with Norton knealing in the middle of a street, dressed only in boxers, getting cuffed by the police, that is absolutely unnerving. His expression is that of pure evil, big black swasticka tatooed across his pec, wide-eyed sadastic grin and arrogant, stiff-backed determination. Its something I won't easily forget, it was exactly the look of jagged hate I saw in the eyes of adults, black and white, during Alabama's integration period.

Fair warning - this is not for the delicate and it may challenge even the strong.


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Blogger Ryan Charisma said...

Are you suggesting I sleep with Ed Norton?

10:58 AM

Blogger Jim said...

LOL. Yes Ryan, that was the whole point of the post. Please report back when you are done with him :)

5:56 PM

Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

This was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I loved Norton in're right, it was difficult to watch.

5:56 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Steve, I'm still surprised this one didnt get more press. And really surprised Norton didnt snag an award, he deserved it.

5:58 PM

Anonymous Jason said...

I caught this one a few years ago. I didn't realize how powerful a film it was going into it. Edward Norton is an underrated actor. I think he just needs to find the right material. His performance in Primal Fear still is one of my favs.

7:47 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Ah, now I'm going to have to drop Primal Fear into the Q!

10:19 PM

Blogger JC said...

I have seen this one too, it was a very thought provoking movie with a few unexpected twists least they caught me off guard

11:44 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Definitely some were unexpected, I liked the way the wrote those in and made them believable too!

7:07 AM


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