Don’t lie to me

Dec 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

I think we may need to do an intervention on my dad. His “problem” used to be kind of funny, but it is starting to look like it has gotten serious, and now it looks like we’re just going to have to get help.

We were at lunch the other day, and he said he was NOT going to go see the new Clint Eastwood movie, “J. Edgar.” It was because he read a review wherein the critic revealed that there was a scene in which the titular FBI legend is seen wearing women’s clothing. Well, as any true history buff will tell you, or, more accurately, as my father will tell you, the business of J. Edgar Hoover wearing women’s clothing was part of a smear campaign devised by the mob; Hoover never wore women’s clothing, he says. Sometimes, I swear, I am amazed by the things my dad knows. And people wonder why I’m always looking for hidden cameras. Thanks, Dad!

Please don’t misconstrue this discourse as an effort to get you to go see that movie. I really don’t care about that. I think I could probably come up with a few dozen reasons to avoid the experience, but I am not going to take the time to see it in order to ruin it for you in advance, so you can do what you want, but I am not going to skip it because it is historically inaccurate. That’s crazy. And that’s why my dad needs intervention.

The last movie he refused to see based on its supposed divergence from factual human history was Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.” I guess I should have said “spoiler alert.” I guess if you had seen that movie, you might have thought that World War II had ended in 1940 when Adolf Hitler and all of his Nazi Party big wigs were murdered in a movie theater in France. And I’m, like, wondering if any of you know for sure if that’s not the way it really happened. I mean, I’ve heard stories about how WWII really went (supposedly), but I wasn’t there, and just because a lot of people agree on a version doesn’t mean it’s true, so who knows? Maybe it was the Golem after all!

Being factual wasn’t the issue with “Basterds.” The (supposed) factual discrepancies were the point. Wow, wouldn’t it have been great if that was the way it had really worked out? Further, it seems like the internal inconsistencies in that movie were put there on purpose as well.

So, I’m worried about my dad’s sudden inability to enjoy these light-based entertainments. He wasn’t always this way. He went to see one of those “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, for instance, and I am almost certain that those are not historically accurate. The one I saw, for instance, had zombies in it, and while I do not claim to have seen everything that is real, I am fairly certain that zombies do not exist, at least not the way they were presented in the Disney movie.

On the other hand, I have never seen a real pirate, so I can’t even be sure that they exist or if they ever did or if they would talk like Keith Richards. I heard about some pirates on the news a while back. They were kidnapping people, and there was a rescue involving some of them getting shot in the face, and, for some reason, I don’t think they were as funny as Johnny Depp.

I know, of course, that the movie franchise was not based on contemporary pirates; it was based on a ride at Disneyland. As such, it was not a very accurate representation of the actual, relevant human history upon which it is based. There were no zombies in the ride, for instance, and I know this for sure, because I saw it with my own eyes when I was 11 years old. My memory isn’t all that clear on some things that happened to me 35-plus years ago, so I guess there could have been zombies in it, but I am almost absolutely certain that Johnny Depp was not in it. I don’t think he is as old as I am, so he would have been in kindergarten around that time.

For further consideration: The Beatles’ catalog is very fine, but none of their songs are real. They made them up. Have you ever heard any real songs? (Thanks, Tom Willis!)