"Bruno" sticks it to/in the man

With the Dog Days of Hockey Summer (aka the news-less abyss) rapidly approaching, we decided that Sunday will be a day of non-hockey talk at CLS. So every week until things start picking up, we’ll discuss a movie/TV show/bit of pop culture that is either especially relevant or culturally necessary. Hopefully you’ll enjoy these and maybe find new things to watch and enjoy.

Let’s face it: America really isn’t a place where rebellion is in the air anymore.

Honestly, the only hints of revolution come in the forms of Internet technology – but we all know the WWW mainly exists for porn and pirating software. A lot of cranky, bi-focaled people will point to some kind of generational drop-off in human quality, but they are as wrong as the parents who tired to obstruct Elvis were wrong.

We aren’t “The Greatest Generation” because a lot of the BIG wars already were waged. Racism may always exist, but at least we can all share the same disease-infested water fountains. Unpopular wars keep happening, but lazy college-aged kids don’t have to worry about being drafted. Aside from electronic music and heavy sampling, it seems like complaining about the lack of originality in music is both accurate and unfair: can you imagine what the “next big thing” could even sound like?

If you want to look at how rebel-less our peers are, just look at the so-formulaic-it-could-be-synthesized-into-a-paste nature of what is supposed to pass as “punk rock” today.


Indeed, the obvious battles were fought by previous generations (not to say that all of them were definitively “won” or “lost”). Instead, our greatest war is a social war. When historians and sociologists look back at the ’00 era, they will look at gay rights with the same stunned shame that we now look at segregation.

The inherent ignorance of gay bashing and homophobia is, in other words, the Elephant in the Room of our time.

We cannot say that these were the first thoughts that came to mind when we witnessed the hysterical/shocking onslaught of male genitalia that is “Bruno.” Perhaps shocking might not be the best choice of words: “Borat” set the obvious template for Sacha Baron Cohen’s ballsy, confrontational, Tom-Green-plus-brains shtick. In many ways, Bruno was only different from Borat in a way that changing nouns, verbs and adjectives can alter the way a person experiences Mad Libs.

Yet Bruno becomes an interesting social experiment when it is experienced in a packed house, especially in the more “conservative” venues in America. Some of the film’s most haunting/memorable/laugh-inducing moments come when Cohen bamboozles a meat head-laden crowd into witnessing graphic homosexual content under the guise of a mixed martial arts event*.

* – It’s probably a coincidence, but hats off to premiering the film during the same weekend as UFC 100.

We can assume that there will be many outraged audience members across America (not surprisingly, we saw quite a few people leave the movie). Sad to say, there are many people who would wear a “My asshole is only for shitting” T-shirt without even the slightest hint of irony. All one needs to understand this issue is to watch the senseless barrage of beer, debris and even chairs that cascade upon Cohen and his submissive assistant once the crowd of dentally challenged people realize they had been duped.

That – and not side splitting hilarity – is the reason that Bruno might be a vaguely important film.

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