Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Georgetown's School of Foreign Service Presents Its Hallowe'en Horror Movie

You can’t say Georgetown University isn’t predictable. The nursery for future State Department Hive Workers never strays far from its text, no matter how far it may stray from home.

Thus The Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar has a film series for its faculty this term. And for a Hallowe’en trick-or-treat party they are showing The Situation, purportedly a look at the situation in Iraq post-Saddam. Given what we know about our State Department workers’ general sentiments about things American, the emotional tenor of this film should come as no surprise.

The American State Department is not your friend.

Here’s one review of The Situation:
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The situation is this: “The Situation” is a pretty lousy war movie.

It’s also a pretty lousy movie in general, though it’s the film’s somewhat accusatory Iraq War subject matter that’s getting it some attention — deserved or not — that makes the whole thing a little distasteful.

But to be fair, at least the film is a slight cut above the noxious Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, “Home of the Brave,” another Iraq War drama that was apparently buried by the studio. (If you’d seen it, you’d know why.)

This particular film’s title refers to the suspicious deaths of some Iraqi youths, which has the locals up in arms. U.S. Army troops may have been involved in their deaths, an angle that American journalist Anna Molyneux (Connie Nielsen) is investigating.

Anna’s personal life is equally tumultuous. She finds she’s torn between her well-intentioned CIA agent boyfriend, Dan (Damian Lewis), and Zaid (Mido Hamada), an Iraqi photographer.

Director Philip Haas and screenwriter Wendell Steavenson had some good ideas, but the love triangle concept isn’t one of them. If anything, it makes the wishy-washy Anna less sympathetic, since she continues to string the two men along.

Nielsen’s flat performance doesn’t help, either. But she’s not alone in that regard. John Slattery is one-note as a military commander, as is Said Amadis, who plays a corrupt Iraqi official.

Both characters are stock villains, but this type of material doesn’t need either of them. So instead, Haas and Steavenson wind up undercutting themselves as well as the film.

“The Situation” is not rated but would probably receive an R for strong scenes of war violence (shootings, as well as vehicular and explosive mayhem), strong sexual language (profanity and other suggestive talk), simulated sex, brief gore and slurs based on ethnicity and nationality…

Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 37% rating, which puts it firmly in the “rotten” category. The good reviews come from the usual anti-American suspects, while the rest, like the one above by Jeff Vice of The Desert Morning News (Salt Lake City, Utah) are more firmly in touch with reality.

You can see why the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, no matter where it is located, would choose this for its Hallowe’en horror entertainment.

You can also see why they’ll never show a John Wayne movie at the school in Qatar. However, since the State Department is all about dialogue unto the death, you’d think they’d be running, say, My Dinner with Andre. One reviewer, Coley Smith calls this film, “witty, urbane, original and very dated.” Just like Foggy Bottom!

Boo to them. Somebody should toilet paper the building in keeping with the spirit of the evening.

Hat tip SDH


Francis W. Porretto said...

Indeed, it would be unreasonable to expect the State Department to be pro-American. The array of forces that push it in the other direction is staggering.

Anonymous said...

It is also unreasonable to expect the current US President and his Government to be pro-American... This film might be pure crap (the review is convincing), but I consider opposition to the Iraq War an act of American patriotism, not vice versa.

History Snark said...

Lauri, that's idiotic. I thought the problem was that Bushitler acted solely as an American, without caring about our allies. Now you've changed the rules again?

I suspect you also believe the famous Jefferson quote "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism", right? Cuz all the lefties believe it, and if Jefferson said it, that gives a bit of extra cachet.

Except of course that Jefferson didn't say it.

Patriotism, in my world at least, is supporting your country. You know, the whole "my country: May she always be in the right, but my country-right or wrong".

You have the right to your opinion, but I have to say that I'm completely disgusted by it.

Homophobic Horse said...

Bush is closer to Lenin then he is to Hitler.

Take the term "Islam-o-fascism"

Since to identify the enemy correctly, as Islam, would mean the end of the liberal/neocon belief in a SINGLE UNIFIED HUMANITY (a belief you no doubt share incidently), the neocons create a fictional enemy for us to fight called Islamic fascism.

Why can't they make a negative judgement of a non-western group? Because they believe all peoples, religions and cultures are equal and can join each other at the table of universal brotherhood and democracy. There's a word for this: MULTICULTURALISM.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 10/31/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Dymphna said...


Bush is closer to Lenin because...why? Did he arrive at the White House in a sealed railroad car or something? Please do not drop these clinkers in the comments without explaining them.

Islaomfascist is a useful word if you believe that not every Muslim is panting for kafir blood. To tar them all with the same brush is to lose the individual differences.

Your comment is confusing to say the least: you pass summary judgment on one group --Muslims --and then take the multiculturalists to task for doing the same thing...

Dymphna said...

lauri olavi says--
I consider opposition to the Iraq War an act of American patriotism...

And I disagree with you. I'll go with Michael Yon's position: that we made a lot of mistakes but on the whole, it's been positive.

Unfortunately, this is not a double-blind study: we can't know what would have happened had America stayed quiescent. My guess is that things would be in worse shape.

One's view of the state of affairs in Iraq is not a matter of patriotism but of figuring out the best thing to do given the circumstances.

I R A Darth Aggie said...

My guess is that things would be in worse shape.

Indeed. How do you think a Sadaam Hussien, left alone and still in power, would feel about a nuclear armed Iran? he'd have no choice but to attempt to disrupt them, in some fashion or form.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Dymphna, They may not all be panting for kafir blood but the percentage of those who would actively prevent it approaches the single digits IMHO.

PRCalDude said...

Leonidas makes the point Robert Spencer makes, I think.

They often don't work against it because of pronunciations of takfir on whoever does, but also because the Qur'an supports it.

With re: to Iraq, we're there now so let's stop second-guessing ourselves. Patreus is largely responsible for the success their now. We should support him.

Consul-At-Arms said...

Your basic error here is the common misconception that the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, part of Jesuit-run Georgetown University, is part of the U.S. Department of State.

While I'm sure that there are Georgetown grads in the U.S. Foreign Service, including some from their School of Foreign Service, there are probably more alumni from George Washington University (it's closer to Foggy Bottom) at State than ex-Hoyas.

REAL U.S. diplomats get their REAL training at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center of the Foreign Service Institute, located on the site of the former Arlington Hall Station (of WWII and Cold War fame and legend).

Don't blame our State Dept. for a private university's academic and ideological foibles. Take at look at which foreign princes are donating how much money there instead.

John Wheelock said...

The moral relativism should not be surprising for Hollywood, but is should be viewed as dangerous for future State Department workers to embrace. The underlying theme of movies of this ilk is that our "enemies" only want peace, and if we would only withdraw and leave them to their own culture, we would have it. It blurs the line between those who are the real enemies of freedom, and our soldiers, the vast majority of whom are doing their best to ensure freedom. It naive to assume that the world's problems are our mostly our fault, and therefore easily controlled.

For some other essays, please check out my blog if you are interested: