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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Expecting a Miracle, Anna Flops

I walked into the Boston Common Theater after being rained on for two hours in my search around Boston and Cambridge for a copy of Bob Dylan’s Tarantula, a book that I felt would represent the new vision and preternatural understanding of poetry and literature I had been yearning for. Sitting down in my seat, with my more-water-than-fabric hoodie next to me, I munched on complimentary popcorn from a clerk-friend as I turned the pages of Dylan’s work with pruned fingers until the lights dimmed and Spike Lee’s own creation came on. Miracle at St. Anna: an examination of World War II from the black soldier’s perspective; a viewpoint that Lee felt was heretofore absent from the war films saturated by Clint Eastwood and Saving Private Ryan. This was Lee’s vision, his epic, his revolution.

I struggled with the first ten minutes of the movie, which seemed to bear no relation to what was purportedly a film about war. The ambiguously motivated and unnamed characters (including a brief but all-too-long cameo by John Leguizamo) shuffled around for the dubious plot to unravel. Everything finally settled in to the tempestuous forays of the greatest conflict in modern history.

We join a platoon of ethnic stereotypes – the very thing the Spike Lee had vowed to combat during his tenure in what he deemed the overly white cinema – as they fight amongst each other. In just short of three hours, each character remains embarrassingly shallow and underdeveloped – and hated not simply for their stain on the continual rags of moth-eaten black mythology, but for their sheer despicability, save a few.

White people are portrayed unevenly as the powdered terror that propagated all wars, all racism, and the fall of jazz. The script does, however, portray humanity evenly as fumble-mouthed, useless puppets. Furthermore, the plot remains nothing but laughable. The battle scenes are less than compelling, and feel like nothing better than a cheap B-film.

I fought the temptation to walk out of the theater like so many of my proper-minded compatriots had. I endured the stereotypes, abysmal writing, tasteless nudity, and an ending in the palm of the God of the Machine. The only true miracle about this film is that it got made without a noble crew member shouting, “Hey, Spike, this is complete shit!”

The cold from my soaked clothes had finally sunk in, and I had gotten the chills. I put on my drenched hoodie and walked out into the rain, mentally drained from the visual and audible assault on my better senses. Spike Lee had failed to live up to the revolution he had promised. But, in my backpack, I still had a hero of mine to comfort me. I looked beyond the clouds to find a ray of happiness; I knew I could always rely on Bob Dylan to give me shelter from the storm.