The War With Grandpai manages some unmanageable things.
On one hand, it's impossible to make a film about old people, substantially because what old even means in the first place is that they don't exist in the specific manner of existence fiction absolutely requires, for being entirely derived from. All sorts and manner of items "exist", in the vegetative manner of existence that's never capable of having a film made about it, and old people's life is exactly circumscribed therein. They do have the excuse of being old, but excused or not they're still essentially lame. Therefore however whitewashed, misdirected or otherwise concealed, when it comes to the brass tacks of actual practice all films about old people without exception deploy some manner of bait and switch. They depict something that may be readily confused for an old person, but isn't ; then there's the reveal, leaving everyone wondering "hmm, where did that come from ?"
On the other hand, it's impossible to make a film with old actors. It'll be propaganda, it can't avoid going that way like making films with spoken parts for women can't avoid going that way. It'll necessarily morph into something quite like Gran Torino : the Calebs and Dashes of the world, yelling on mute at a demographic utterly disinterested in them or anything to do with themii that whatever, Biden really really won or somesuch nonsense.
The War With Grandpa manages to avoid the second problem by keeping the stakes infinitesimaliii and the first problem by the strongest of devices : the little girl called baby doll. Here it's played by a little boy, to avoid all the complicated infrastructure of playdo otherwise required ; but the principle's the same : a slave whore that's interested in the old man makes him not be an old man anymore without him having to not be an old man anymore in fact. It's enough if he's not an old man in her eyes. This being the immense benefit (to literature) of obscure devices from literary criticism being meanwhile mainlined into "society", or whatever, mass idiocy : all sorts of previously impossible fictions can now be approached by the popular press, allowing the production of such gems as The War with Grandpa through the traditional mechanisms!iv
Other than that, Uma Thurman's way shittier a Christina Applegate than Christina Applegate hereself, most of the scenes are poorly put toghether and barely thought outv and... well... Who wouldn't want to see very old Walken hanging out with very old De Niro ? God knows it's way the fuck better than that abomination with "mobsters" that memory has blessfuly long ago misplaced. This offering has no substantial merits, it's not a good film in any meaningful sense ; but it is quite the remarkable production for the student of pernicious evil in that it well illustrates just how versatile organized stupidity can actually get, just how insanely, elaborately capable of survival it ultimately is.vi———
- 2020, by Tim Hill, with Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Uma Thurman. [↩]
- Which makes them immensely interested in it, automatically. [↩]
- Really it's not even clear what exactly is in dispute, but it's self-evidently not worth thinking about, which is why the space for the film in the first place. [↩]
- This is no small matter, by the way. This same exact story of disputed bedding among an old white guy in Korea and a twelve year old local girl that objects to the former's presence in her mother's house until she "finds a way" or whatever, he finds his way into "her soul" (let's call it) is overwhelmingly scandalous even in scantest summary ; yet once faggots are people too and women have "careers" and whatnot suddenly it can be told about a little boy and everyone can happily "understand" nothing in particular they never thought about nor ever will, and, most importantly, not regret the portion of government scrip they returned to said government via Mosfilm Enterprises or whatever subsidiary thereof. [↩]
- There's about as many examples available as there's cuts in the print, but taking some randomly : there's no way in fuck a guy who spent his life building houses (and evidently owns the larger house he lives in) only to retire sometime in the 2010s can ever be in even the vaguest danger of being financially outmatched by some dweeby kid who settled down for "a career that brings in a stable income". Whatever the fuck Arty's making at the big boxes "design" co ain't enough to pay the interest on his wife's father's Tbills, and he sure as fuck ain't saving anything, so no, he's not "taking in an aging senior", forget about it. The concept of an adult taking apart a twelve year old's bed sits ill both out of (not like the kid put that together himself) and in-universe (how the hell is the kid's bed not his dad's property anyway). The "coincidental" happenstance that all schoolroom shots include a bunch of extremely well developed adolescent females sorta diffusely in the background (but elaborately decked in feminity-enhancing gear no 6th grade schoolroom ever permitted) is about as discredibly sophomoric as the impossible social situation where the aging senior in question tells the misfortunate son in law point blank and over the TV that he thinks he's a dweeb, and why exactly. Even if he did think so, and even if he did say so, the man would have definitely had the decency to do it in more appropriate circumstances, or else he built no houses for "a long time" or at all. Things just don't work this way, except in advertising, which is the proximate "career" of TV productions, which is the proximate endeavour of "cinema" in our meanwhile failed colonies ; everyone else has more than ten or thirty seconds to deal with capital issues in their life. Snakes don't ever charge people, they're not fucking dogs, they slither off ; drones don't survive being bashed against the wall, heck half the time clipping a leaf in a tree will be the end of that rotor ; neither rats nor electricity work that way, joint or several ; "emergency buttons" don't do anything, I mean absolutely anything at all, and so on ad nauseam. [↩]
- And also I suppose how ultimately pointless -- the freefall from the similiar offerings of the 90s (that one with Joe Pesci, or that other one with Walter Matthau) mirroring almost exactly the utter collapse in dollar value, purchase power or market offerings over the three decades since socialism burst forth through the wall. [↩]