My life, thankfully, has involved little violence, and my speech a minimal amount of foul language. My movie taste normally conforms to this. I do not like violent movies. I do not like movies chock full of unnecessary profanity.
So how do you explain “The Big Lebowski”? You cannot imagine a movie with fouler language. And when I watched it about a dozen friends last week (don’t ask me why I watched it with a dozen friends; haven’t you ever been to a Memorial Day party where someone decided that after dinner, we should all watch “The Big Lebowski”?), I realized that this is not a movie to be shared with a group of non-consenting adults. While some of them laughed at the funny stuff, there were a number of grunts of disgust.
But I like the movie. I ignore the language (or rather, the language, which is so much a part of the film, doesn’t seem to bother me). The movie transcends the trashy talk.
So then, I thought, have I ever had the same experience with a violent film? And the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. The movie is “Straw Dogs”, an old Sam Peckinpaugh, filmed over 35 years ago, with Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. This movie is extraordinarily violent. People who don’t mind violence often hated this film because it was too violent.
I loved “Straw Dogs”. And the reason was the same. I thought that it transcended the violence.
What is the lesson learned from this? Damned if I know.