Thursday, August 03, 2006

They're Not Nearly As Scary As The IRS

Comcast OnDemand is running Blown Away in the free movie section this month. As cheesy and full of plot holes as that movie is, I have a soft spot in my heart for it. Once upon a time, in my previous life, I lived on a sailboat in the Charlestown Navy Yard. One day someone towed a rickety old Russian fishing trawler into one of the abandoned dry docks and proceeded to tear down the superstructure straight down to the bare hull. One drunken night early in the retrofitting Marty and I snuck onto it. It was pretty disappointing, there was nothing to see. Eventually there would be something to see. The boat was rebuilt as a hollow balsawood and aluminum shell full of alcohol and dynamite and finally towed across the harbor to where they eventually blew it up.

Boston was abuzz with motion picture magic all summer. It was no secret that eventually that boat would be blown up for the movie. At first rumors were that it would be towed out of the harbor for the final scene. Luckily those rumors were less accurate then a drunk in a bar. One Friday after work, I came home and there were all these helicopters buzzing around the mouth of the Mystic. I knew it was going to be the day and I knew they were waiting for magic hour. I called my girlfriend and we waited at the end of the dock, less then 100 yards from ground zero. A horn went off then silence. Then fire 100 feet high, the water in the harbor flattened out we heard it at the exact moment we felt the heat and shock.

Blown Away, despite it's hokey story and plot holes and location anomalies* works because not too long ago the IRA really did make bombs out of their own urine in an attempt to drive the English out of Ireland. For much of the 70's and 80's the Irish engaged in terrorist activities against an oppressive occupying foreign army. Unlike the Middle East, they were right next door and close enough to bring their terrorist bombs into sleepy English towns like Ulster, Manchester and London. What did those smarmy Brits do about it? Maggie Thatcher tried to use them as an excuse to scare her subjects into submission and when that didn't work she sent double agents into the IRA to step up the terror. (Try Googling for "Stakeknife")

The thing is, those common Brits didn't just bend over and cry like a French woman in a Merchant Ivory film on The Hallmark Channel. They did the only clear and sane thing to do. They ignored it. They went about their lives like a bomb wasn't going to explode and kill dozens or hundreds of them at random. The terror didn't work. Maggie never quite got the rise out of her populace that she craved.

I wish we had the balls that those every day, ordinary Brits did. Maybe then we wouldn't be so easy to push around. Maybe then we'd demand less nanny-state and more Liberty. Or maybe we really do deserve neither Liberty or Safety.

(*Why would the Boston Bomb Squad respond to a call in Cambridge? They are two separate cities with their own police forces.)


Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

I used to live in Charlestown and always wondered if anyone lived on those boats.

Aug 2, 2006, 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

It's mostly divorced men who were given the choice, the boat or the house and kids. I was in my very early 20's at the time. I was trying to have all the experiences that the absence of, will cause a middle aged man to choose the boat over the house and kids.

Aug 3, 2006, 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Daren said...

And why, when responding to the Cambridge situation, did the Boston bomb squad emerge out of the Governement Center T stop...? :-)

Since it's free this month, I should probably check it out. I'm certain Jelena has never seen it.

Aug 3, 2006, 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

Gov't center t-stop is so tragic. More tragic than Community College.

Aug 3, 2006, 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous lisajsc said...

If you notice, the Boston Police sign is on the brick wall at the Gov't center T stop where it is not located in real life. Hollywood takes such liberties.

Aug 3, 2006, 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous PaulMc said...

lisajsc said...

If you notice, the Boston Police sign is on the brick wall at the Gov't center T stop where it is not located in real life. Hollywood takes such liberties.

Check out 'Next Stop Wonderland'. The Airport stop is *at* the airport, so they made fake Airport T station signs and hung them at one of the other stops (I don't remember which) because that stop had the airport as a backdrop.

Good for camera visuals - bad for people getting off at 'Airport' by accident...

Aug 3, 2006, 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

I think that the station with the airport in the distance is Orient Heights. I've only been on the Blue Line once in the last 8 years. Don't miss it.

Aug 3, 2006, 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Daren said...

Paul knows of which he speaks here, since he modestly fails to mention he was an extra on that day of shooting and saw the confusion first-hand.

Yes, I know they made Government Center station into "Boston Police Headquarters." Presumably because the station entrance looks like, well, a bunker.

Aug 3, 2006, 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

It's not good movie. My landlord at this time was a Teamster and driver on the sets of many movies, including this one.

He said Jeff Bridges was a really nice guy and he met the whole family.

I was happy to hear this becuase I like Jeff Bridges' work.

Aug 6, 2006, 1:15:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

Of course all this conversation misses the point. As badly as we Americans think we've got it, we really have no clue, as illustrated in our fictional romaticisms of the IRA struggle, of what it's like to live under the real and actual threat of terrorist bombings. What we have is the percieved but wholly unrealized idea of imminent danger and America, instead of saying "Fuck you IRA or Osamma I'm not going to fear your bomb at the Fish-n-chips Shop" we allow our daughters to be raped by a metal detector wand at the airport.

Aug 6, 2006, 3:08:00 PM  

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