All right. Tonight was the practically first time in 2 and a half years that I went to a movie theater and actually paid to see a movie here in town. Since my move to Brazil, Alexandre and I have watched one American movie together at a film festival in São Paulo. Oh, and my first week here, I went to watch Kite Runner by myself because I was bored. That's it. I've successfully avoided the theater until now, but I was out with dear buddy Bruna and our other plans fell through so we decided to watch Salt. (At our three-screen theater, it was either that, Inception, or Despicable Me dubbed, and I don't do dubbed.)
Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm some kind of robot who doesn't like movies. I'm just a snob and I don't like most of the American Hollywood crap that makes its way into Brazilian small-town theaters. And the fun kids movies like Alice and Wonderland or Toy Story 3 are always dubbed. (4-year-olds don't know how to reaaaaad!)
If any of you Americans are living here in Brazil and you're feeling homesick, I suggest going to watch one of these cookie-cutter action movies to remember why you had no qualms about leaving America in the first place.
I mean. Okay. I know movies require a certain suspension of disbelief, but I have my limits, and they're low enough as it is. But Lee Harvey Oswald was actually a Russian orphan who was brainwashed into seeming American but hating America, who learned perfect, accent-free English from anti-American Russian teachers?
I think the logic of these movies is to create this totally convoluted and unnecessarily complicated plot with vague, incorrect references to historical and political events. The plot is just messy enough that the masses won't notice any inconsistencies or unexplained subplots, especially with all the big explosions to distract them. It's also a terrible source of information for loser stoner Americans who don't believe the newspaper but who trust in these movies as reliable sources of information to confirm their crackpot conspiracy theories (because, just like the movie says, present-day Russia has such good reason and so many resources to infiltrate the American government and use their weapons to bomb the Middle East, causing the Middle East to bomb America back so that "America will be dead" (direct quote)).
But that's just the problem for the American audience. I'd like to argue that these movies are also detrimental to foreign audiences. I mean I just think about the kind of people I interact with here in Hickville sometimes, who are in their mid-twenties but have never ventured more than 3 hours from home except to go to the beach once a year (bypassing Sao Paulo all together). Not to mention the teenagers. It's a kind of ignorance that's hard for most of us to imagine. So this ignorance, combined with these kind of movies, explain why some people here have such ridiculous ideas about where I grew up.
Because according to movies like these, what is America?
It's the United States of America! The land of perfectly organized big cities, where it's just one big New York from coast to coast! Where the police always catch the bad guy (except for the elusive Angelina) and they drive giant shiny SUVs that can literally run over other cars in their way! Where a taxi stops for a woman with no shoes, where the hotels are all shiny and perfect, where someone with authority can just shout into the air for something to happen, and it happens! ("Put a net around New York!" "Barricade the highway!" "Get that picture out to all airports, bus stations, and train stations in the country!") And when you need a helicopter, it's always there. Waiting for you. Always.
Oh, beautiful women like Angelina Jolie don't bleed. Well, only a little.
I know, I know, it's a movie. That's what I think, too. Not all movies have to be documentaries. If you want it to be, it can be entertaining. I just can't help but feel a bit frustrated that my fellow small-town residents are absorbing these ideas without any bigger context. So it's my lone voice, my complicated, ambiguous explanations of how things are not as black and white as the Technicolor suggests, versus sugarplum dreams of explosions and Escalades.
I'm thinking about just giving up all together and turning in my badge as self-appointed ambassador. So I've prepared some new responses to popular comments (please excuse the spelling):
Mas você já se acostumou no brasil? É mesmo?
Sim, claro que me acostumei. Eu sou norte-americana então, posso sobreviver em qualquer situação. Em uma caverna no coreia do norte. No neve sem casaco. No meio do mar com algemas pelos tornozelos.
Mas você deveria estar gostando muito de aqui, como os americanos são tão frios e os brasileiros são tão alegres e abertos.
Sim, isso é verdade. Nos estados unidos, a gente mora a dentro de computadores grandes. Não temos nem família, nem amigos, nem feriados. Também não tem nenhum brasileiro que trata mal outra pessoa. Todos são gente boa. Você está certa em suas conclusões que você fez somente porque os americanos não se beijam para cumprimentar e porque seu amigo também já falou que a vizinha do amigo do primo dele já foi ao Orlando e ele disse que ela falou que os americanos são bem fechados mesmo.
Eu não sei se eu quero ir para os EUA para meu intercâmbio. Acho que prefiro a Austrália. Os americanos são muito arrogantes.
Sim, somos mesmo. Eu sou tão arrogante que eu nem sou afeitada pelos seus comentários, mesmo que um brasileiro ficaria ofendido se eu falasse a mesma coisa para ele. Bom, qualquer pessoa ficaria, menos os americanos, claro. Fique vontade, fale que quiser.
Mas por quê sua família não vem para brasil? Eles não querem conhecer o brasil? Não é caro, eles têm dólares.
É verdade. O dólar é mágico, que nem os bilhetes dourados do Willie Wonka. Mas é porque os americanos não se importam com suas famílias e também porque eles não se importam com conhecer outros países.
All right. Writing all that was tiring. But what do you guys think? Wanna try these answers with me?
My conclusion of the evening is that it's so much funnier to talk trash about things that I don't like instead of going all Thumper in the blog and just writing about birds and stuff. Hope you guys liked it.