I know the election is eight days away. That somewhere around 47 bazillion people saw Barack Obama in Albuquerque last Saturday. That somewhere between 8 and 23 people saw John McCain in Albuquerque Saturday. That the stock & commodities markets are collapsing, gyrating at hyper-speed. That the U.S. is evidently invading Syria, Pakistan, and Canada (okay, I made that last one up, I think).
It’s a crazy, action-packed time for our city, state, nation, world. And I should probably waste some of your time writing about one or more of these action-packed subjects. In fact, it would be a colossal misuse of the internet airwaves to ignore these fascinating subjects. Only an idiot would avoid touching on these myriad hot button issues this fine morning.
So let’s talk Jackie Chan movie.
This week my little school will be the shooting location for the upcoming Jackie Chan movie. As near as I can tell, this Thursday & Friday (and yeah, Halloween is Friday) the halls will be filled with lights, cameras and poorly scripted, kung fu action. Students are being inveigled into becoming “extras” through some hazy selection process involving birth certificates, GPA scores and genetics. Students are supposedly being paid to be “extras”. My little school is supposedly going to get a nice, fat check for its inconvenience. My little school is also, supposedly, going to have its school marquee and other distinguishing features appear in the final cut of the film.
Many at the school, particularly my principal and every single student, are thrilled by these developments.
A few of us, horrible curmudgeons incapable of laughter, fun or even a wry smile, are pissed off. Of course we are teachers, and hence quite familiar with being horrible curmudgeons. Still, the gap between the wanton glee of our principal/student-body, and a few of our most curmudgeonly teachers is vast. A not-so-grand canyon, one might say.
I stand at the North Rim of that canyon. The far less-populated, wintry rim. I see the Jackie Chan movie as an example of a school prostituting itself. I see a school throwing its lot, and students, in with morally bankrupt Hollywood. And no, I don’t mean “morally bankrupt” in the sense of making dirty movies with unmarried pregnant women. I mean “morally bankrupt” as in Hollywood: makers of vapid, crappy movies that value film quality last and box office first and only.
I am the school’s “film teacher”. As such, I get the impression I am supposed to embrace the Jackie Chan movie. As if I am to somehow integrate it into my curriculum, revel in this “brush with filmic greatness”, tell my students “if you work really hard, maybe you can make a Jackie Chan movie someday”.
Pesonally, I would rather my film students smash their DV cameras on the ground, and vow to become anything but Hollywood movie schlubs. I would rather they get careers as politicians or commodity traders over working in a Hollywood film crew, perhaps making claymation movies on the side designed for nothing more than obscure YouTube viewing and maybe, just maybe a one-time-only showing at the Guild during a “stopmotion festival”.
But I’m, as I mentioned above, a curmudgeon. I’m the outlier. I’m the “get off my lawn” old guy screaming at a sea of gleeful, Hollywood-laced zombies. I’m an old stick-in-the-mud. I’m the crazed shirtless guy with the “The End is Near” sign standing at Harvard and Central, while passersby try to determine whether to throw pennies at me or not.
That’s okay though. I’m a teacher. I’m used to it.
Have a good work week everybody. Jackie Chan included.