Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Does Jack Reacher Have to Do with Connecticut? Absolutely Nothing.

I went to see Jack Reacher at a matinee today. I spent my $4 with a heavy heart, assuming it would be a total waste of my money, that the movie would be execrable, and that a series of blood baths would leave me disgusted and bored. I felt justified in my trepidation. All the reviews of the movie linked it to Connecticut and talked about how horrible and immoral it was.  After watching Jack Reacher, I’m pretty sure the mainstream media reviewers did NOT watch the film, and were using it to score easy political points. Jack Reacher has nothing to do with Connecticut, but it does have a takedown of the liberal soccer mom reaction to Connecticut.

The plot moved at a decent clip. The movie wasn’t a modern gory thriller. It was gunfights, fist fights, and car chases. It reminded me of the Die Hard franchise. It would have been a perfect movie for a matinee on a hot July day when you’re looking for a good action movie, excellent air conditioning, and free refills on your Dr. Pepper.  I would have happily paid to see this movie when I was 16. I might even have happily paid to see it now, if I was someone who liked going to the movies at the theater. As it is, I typically only pay to see movies if they start out with a hopping desk lamp. I’m that sort of exciting, minivan driving, homeschooling nerd-mom.

Anyway, it was a pretty decent movie, the fight scenes were entertaining, and the characters were fun. So why did critics attack Jack Reacher as an evil and insensitive paean to gun violence? Because it had Robert Duvall. 

To be fair, I love Robert Duvall. He’s one of those actors who make me lean forward in my seat and pay attention. He can make any movie more interesting. In Jack Reacher, he served to undermine the ‘ban all guns because they’re scary!’ argument that the left has been pushing since Connecticut. Ultimately, I think this is why the main stream media has been so hard on Jack Reacher.
Duvall’s character is an ex-marine who runs a gun range. People go there to shoot. His store sells ammo and displays taxidermy. On a poster in the background, you see a nefarious reference to an upcoming Turkey Shoot!* Those poor, defenseless birds! We’ve entered Sarah Palin’s America, folks, and it’s really scary!

Except, it’s not. Duvall’s character is a stand-up guy, most of his customers are pretty boring, and Jack Reacher uses the occasion as an excuse to rip the sort of suburban moms who freak out because someone nearby may have once shot a gun, but who don’t pay attention to their swimming pools and their cleaning chemicals, which are both more dangerous to children than a neighbor who occasionally goes target shooting.

And that’s why this film is inappropriate after Connecticut. Because in Jack Reacher, guns aren’t evil. They’re just tools, and bad guys can use baseball bats, knives, and fists just as easily as guns. At a time when our elites are pushing the ‘guns are evil and turn men into insane killers of children’ meme, Jack Reacher is dangerously subversive. And that’s why no one should see this film, or say anything positive about it, or admit that it was a good, fun popcorn movie in dark times. Because if people saw it and started wondering if guns were really more pressing issue than budgets and Benghazi…? Well, THAT would be an atrocity.

*Note – I live in rural Indiana, so I am aware that a Turkey shoot is a contest of marksmanship where the PRIZE is a turkey, for dinner. Which still saddens me, since I was really amused by the idea of a ham shoot, which they also have around here. I pictured it as sort of like skeet shooting, but tastier…