Daily Archives: January 29, 2013

“Zero Dark Thirty” is fabulous, and shows torture doesn’t really work. An awesome “South Park” correction. And an incredible high school basketball shot


I saw “Zero Dark Thirty” on Sunday.

Never have I been in a quieter movie theater. Every single person watching it was pretty much silent throughout the 2 1/2 hour running time, and when it was over, most of us stood up slowly, still wrapped up in Katherine Bigelow’s extraordinary film.

You’ve probably heard a lot about this movie, and much of it from people who haven’t even seen it. So let me dispel a few myths you might have, before I urge to definitely see it:

— It’s not a documentary, and should not be viewed as one. Yes, it’s based on real events, and real scenes of interrogation and torture as the CIA spent eight years hunting for Osama bin Laden. But so many people have politicized it and searched for deeper meaning and a point of view. It’s a movie, people.
— Contrary to what you may have heard, it does not in any way endorse torture as the reason Osama was eventually found. Torture was shown to not work in this movie, clearly. This is NOT a pro-torture movie. Without giving too much away, I frankly cannot understand how so many reviewers seem to see “ZDT” as an endorsement of torture’s effectiveness.
— If you’re squeamish about seeing it because of the torture scenes, not to worry. They’re brief and contained to the first half-hour of the film, and while they’re disturbing, they are vital to the plot and the reality of what went on.
— The final 45 minutes, when the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan is shown, through the grainy color of green night-vision goggles, is as thrilling as any action scene you will watch. Just tremendous acting and directing.

I know a lot of people still don’t think America tortured possible terrorists, who think “waterboarding” and “enhanced interrogation” were necessary in the war on terror. I vehemently disagree with those people, and I defy them to watch “Zero Dark Thirty” and not be faced with the reality that the U.S. committed terrible war crimes, and that all that torture didn’t really accomplish much, except stain our reputation in the world.

See “Zero Dark Thirty.” It’s an important, gripping film that doesn’t shy away from scary truths about who we are.


**I’m not a big “South Park” fan; watched a few episodes the first season, thought it was mildly funny, and even though a ton of smart people I know swear by the show, it’s just never been for me.

I am, however as you know, a huge fan of entertaining newspaper corrections, and this one, from a David Carr story in the New York Times, absolutely cracked me up.
Here goes:

“An earlier version of this column misstated a plot point in “South Park.” While the character Kenny was once killed in every episode, that is no longer the case. The earlier version also misstated the circumstances of his repeated deaths. While he has met his fate in a variety of ways over the years, he was not routinely “ritually sacrificed.”

Well, glad we cleared THAT up.

**Finally, check this out: Bracken Barga, a 5-foot-8 guard from Monroe Central (Ind.) High School, did something pretty amazing the other night in a high school basketball game. It doesn’t look possible, but it’s real and has been verified by people at the game.

Way to go, kid. And can you teach me how you did that?