4Iron Man 2: Tony Stark and Ayn Rand
What You Think You're Watching
A superhero movie based on the comic book character Iron Man. In this sequel, Tony Stark faces an enemy who has built his own version of the Iron Man suit, as well as a douchey rival weapons manufacturer.
Iron Man is the ultimate objectivist hero, fighting for private property rights against the vulturelike thieves known as "the government." In other words, Ayn Rand's wet dream.
We're legitimately sorry for that mental image.
In Rand's 1,200-page love letter to capitalism, Atlas Shrugged, you have a protagonist named Francisco d'Anconia, a brilliant businessman who runs his inherited family business. D'Anconia deliberately maintains an image as a worthless playboy in order to avoid the growing culture of government theft depicted in Rand's novel.
The protagonist of the Iron Man series is Tony Stark, a brilliant businessman who has also inherited his father's business. Until the end of the first Iron Man film, Stark deliberately maintains an image as a worthless playboy in order to hide his superhero identity.
Man, no one could have called that.
Then in Rand's novel we have Hank Rearden, another protagonist who got super-rich by inventing a valuable metal alloy whose formula he continues to keep secret. The government, sensing the metal's usefulness, tries to forcibly take the rights to Rearden's alloy away from him.
Stark also gains massive amounts power by inventing, among other things, a gold-titanium alloy for use in the Iron Man suit, whose design he continues to keep a secret. The government, sensing its usefulness, tries to take the rights to Stark's suit.
"My God, Stevens. Think of how many rednecks we could trick into believing in aliens with that thing."
In Atlas Shrugged, Rearden is hauled into court for breaking government regulations relating to his steel company. He gives a wildly popular speech in court about his property rights, telling his accusers: "I am fighting for my property!" He humiliates his opponents by winning over the crowd and concludes by telling them: "I work for nothing but my own profit."
In Iron Man 2, Stark is hauled into a Senate hearing, during which a senator demands he hand over his designs.
Stark responds by giving a wildly popular speech about his property rights, telling his accusers: "You want my property? You can't have it!" He humiliates his opponents by winning over the crowd and concludes by telling them: "I will serve this great nation at the pleasure of myself."
The bad guys, too, are uncannily similar. Atlas Shrugged's government lobbyist cozies up to the government in lieu of actual talent. Iron Man 2's main antagonist keeps trying to steal Stark's work with the help of substantial government contracts. There's also Iron Man's other nemesis in the film, Ivan Vanko, who is Russian. You know what else comes from Russia? Communism, that's what.
Plus, in a documentary on the DVD for the first film, Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee flat out says that he created a capitalist, commie-fighting, industrialist, weapon-manufacturing superhero as a way to deliberately antagonize hippie-leaning comic book fans. Anti-military sentiment was high back in the 60s, and Lee wanted to challenge himself by creating a character he could force them to like.
So many good things have come from fucking with comic book nerds.
The result is that Iron Man 2 would be identical to Atlas Shrugged, if only it contained no humor and concluded with the bad guys unanimously standing down after Stark gave a 25 minute speech.
"Your fancy orating touched my ticker."
3The Shining: Jack Nicholson Doesn't Care About Indian People
What You Think You're Watching
A horror film about a frustrated writer who loses his marbles while working at an isolated hotel in Colorado. Said writer tries to kill his family as he cackles a catchphrase from a popular American talk show.
The caretaker's wife and son come to represent Native Americans, and murderous Jack Torrance is whitey.
According to some theorists, Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining is brimming with messages about violence against Native Americans. Right from the beginning, the manager of the Overlook Hotel lets us know, yeah, the hotel was totally built over the massacred bodies of indigenous people. In fact, we're told that builders actually had to fight off Indians while it was being constructed in 1907, despite the fact that the likelihood of anyone having to battle Indians in Colorado in 1907 would have been about as high as the likelihood of having to fight off Sasquatch.
Unless there was some sort of territorial spat with a nearby casino.
So there's that. But then as you watch the movie, you can't help but notice that the entire place is decorated with a Native American motif, including a Navajo wall hanging that has a decapitated bison head right next to it. And Jack Nicholson's character has a fun time repeatedly throwing a ball at the hanging, just in case you didn't get the hint that he's there to symbolically fuck Indians over.
"Fuck you, indigenous peoples!"
But maybe that's just a coincidence. That stuff was probably just there in the hotel they shot the movie in. But we're not done.
In the first half of the film, when Torrance is still relatively free of Hotel Ghost Syndrome, both his wife and son dress in a series of outfits that all prominently feature patriotic shades of red and blue.
But once Torance starts going loco, his wardrobe becomes red and blue ...
When they remake it, Torrance will dress up as a cavalryman and his wife will catch smallpox.
... while his wife's suddenly morphs into more earthy colors, with the exception of her screaming-yellow TEEPEE JACKET:
The wife and child, who entered as Americans, have been transformed by the hotel's epic vengeance issues into victims. Meanwhile, crazified Torrance wanders into a (ghost) party, where he randomly repeats the words "white man's burden" to the bartender before going into the red-and-white striped bathroom ...
... and making racist comments with the former (ghost) caretaker. After that, it doesn't take long until Torrance is running after his family with an ax and murdering the movie's only nonwhite character:
His family, having learned a valuable lesson about violence and clothing-based patriotism, escapes. Meanwhile, according to the film's final scene, Torrance is living on in his hotel ball. Forever.
Oh, and one more patriotic touch for the psychotic Torrance. Note the date: