1999's American Beauty gets a lot of heat for being pozzed, since it has queer Kevin Spacey playing straight Lester Burnham, and Chris Cooper playing the repressed homosexual Col. Frank Fitts who gets really mad at Lester for not making out with him. And the hero is ✡Thora Birch who hates her parents for being European (sic) because the world is
Fair enough, but try to see American Beauty from a different angle: the precursor to the men's rights internet movements that were sown to reap the plausible Trump rebellion. Besides all of its civilizationally-subversive stuff, which was run of the mill for its time, the film presents for the first time in a sympathetic light, among its contemporaries, the resistance of the "average white man" (sic) against the exploitative harridan wife. Annette Bening portrays the unfaithful, scheming, vile white wife, and Mena Suvari the lying, treacherous white girl, both whores who try to manipulate Spacey. Concealing this image amongst all the normal 1990s homophiliac propaganda made it easy to swallow; Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts is so obviously deplorable and repressed that American Beauty was able to lay part of the social groundwork for a gradual change (still not systematic) in the "women as perpetual victim" narrative that had formerly been selected for cultural domination. There was even a slam against lesbians: the bitter, unattractive lesbian couple (contrasted with the utterly perfect, fit and friendly male homosexual couple) disparages the home Annette Bening's realty-agent character was trying to sell, sparking Bening's tantrum and turn to infidelity and violent thoughts.
(American Beauty also sets up the spate of mainstream corporate-office based entertainment, with Lester reverse-employing sexual harassment policies to scam his boss out of money, in a controlled defiance sort of Office and Office Space and et cetera release routes. Cathy was the first big power permitted to go after corporate culture, courtesy of the female and feminist perspectives, while Dilbert [little sterile weenie perspective] was allowed to trail along, but neither of those got to bring it beyond newspaper strips and paperback book collections until after the American Beauty opener that set up all the TV shows and movies and widespread acceptance.)
While we're in the 1990s, let's talk about Gene Hackman. What a perfect shabbos goy for the decade. Like Gore throwing the fight to Bush for the Iraq invasion in the next decade, they must've given Hackman some major compensation awards for playing the Most Evil White Goy ever to White. 1988, Mississippi Burning, Hackman gets to start out as a good goy, investigating the Klan, but then his agedness made him the perfect establishment evildoer. 1993, The Firm, he helps John Grisham show that the mafia was actually all about white Germanics, and had nothing whatsoever to do with baggy-eyed, curvy-nosed, jutting-chinned Marranos masquerading as "Italians" beginning in the New York laundry, waste management, prostitution, and law business. In 1995, Hackman does his bit on Crimson Tide, showing how peaceful, thoughtful African men save the world from trigger-happy European wackjobs, and only a year later in 1996, he's emblematic in The Birdcage as the cruel white Senator with a terrible, fraudulent traditional family, who hypocritically attempts to repress a homosexual Jewish couple after his closest and whitest friend (statutorily) rapes a young black girl. 1998, he's all ready for the future with Enemy of the State, playing the evil techno overlord trying to crush a heroic black man using advanced technology stolen from indigenous Jews and Native Americans.
In retrospect, the shooters of the 1980s, under the same stage-lights as the Reagan presidency, seem to have been designed as the perfect counterpoint to what was coming in the 1990s: the cheesy, steroid-drenched, exorbitantly macho full-auto-in-each-hand body-count shooters of the 1980s, portraying white men killing Arabs and the occasional rapist black, happened so close to the 1990s period of white men being absolutely evil and black men being absolutely unfairly victimized, that a sudden change of heart and perspective on Hollywood's part can't be the explanation. Rather, it seems more likely that all of the plot-lite 1970s-80s gun-fests were spread across the fossil record in order that later anthropologists would be able to define Eurocentrism and masculinity and patriarchy, not using the actions and words of real people, but using the fact that the 1970s-80s spate of bloody movies made lots of money, and were therefore popular and culturally indicative. Confronted with several dozen major hits involving large Europeans shooting cowardly darkies for the most superficially contrived reasons--which deliberately did not jive with history even as it was known then--a person in the 1990s, watching movies about evil white goys, would be inclined to think, "Yeah, this is basically how they are in the real world." Contrasted with Predator, a narrative such as Crimson Tide seems like historical reenactment. Lacking that setup, there might've been some offense taken, but the sugar of the 1980s made the medicine of the 1990s go down smooth.
Which brings us back to American Beauty (it's called foreshadowing, it's how you know something is good literature), and how the contrasting role of 1990s-2000s movies--white men always being bad, queers always being the sanest people in the room while perpetually surrounded by hypocritical bigot shits obsessed with spoiling their lives, wise Nubians or Indians waiting in the background to offer spiritual guidance, etc.--will be necessary for the next big phase in movies. What is that phase going to be, I wonder? The "good-natured middle aged rejection of corporate strictures" stuff played big in the late 1990s-2000s, but the soulless action movies of the earlier period were regressed, during the 1990s-2000s, into the "juvenile-based soulless action movies," and movies got more violent, but less viscerally so, in the process of selling empty crap more to children and childlike adults than to just adults. It's not necessarily harmful for a person to watch, say, Robocop, but for a person to watch Transformers--an even emptier dose of exponentially more artificialized, significantly less meaningful violence--is a different sort of problem. Ironically, like boxing gloves and football pads, the long-term effects of squishy Pixar-esque violence will prove more damning than Rambo's splattery M-16, to adults as well as children.
What we seem to be seeing now is a shrinking of the cell in the form of historical fables replacing admitted fantasy. Period pieces are always popular in some form, but failure to identify with a genre is now more producer-perilous than ever. Accordingly, low fantasy replaces high, and the greatest of our fantasy tales--Game of Thrones and Walking Dead--are set in admitted or non-admitted Europe or America, respectively speaking. Computer simulations of otherworlds, with normal, boring, suicidal Earth just an exit button away, destroy the medium's hopes for a space story that doesn't include homo sapiens sapiens. The theme of useless despair built up during the 1990s-2000s remains, and what seems due to replace it, mathematically speaking, is naive optimism, perhaps with bluntly overdone triumphalism and perceived historical reclamation thrown in. CG stories where moral civilizational lessons, rather than degenerative ones, trick overgrown children into believing there's definitely value in sitting through 90 minute children's films themselves...period pieces where some kind of modernized version of traditionalism permits straight men, too, to nod in approval at 15 minute country dance scenes...banal revenge fantasies with ample breasts and the snobby guy getting punched into the punchbowl...this one won't much know, because this one won't be watching, but hell, do what you gotta do, it's 3 years until another Election Eve. And don't pretend you're going to care about the midterms as much as the real Black Friday itself, because you never do. You always say that, but it's not true, you never do, you never keep your resolutions. I know, I know, this time it's different, most important ever. Jesus, $19.50 for a ticket and no outside drinks?