Putative US President Donald Trump mocked Parasite's Oscar sweep at a political rally in Colorado Springs and literally has an American President never talked so much out his ass about art and popular culture in the history of our now-fragile republic. So make yourself a big ol' bowl of tasty Ram-Don and settle in while we talk about this.
"How bad were the Academy Awards this year, did you see? 'And the winner is … a movie from South Korea.' What the hell was that all about? We've got enough problems with South Korea with trade, on top of it they give them the best movie of the year?"
Yes, readers, Trump's problems with countries on the Korean peninsula revolve around SOUTH Korea, not North Korea, and include "trade." Yes, a staunch ally and technically advanced country who is our 7th largest trading parnter is a real problem. And Trump's problem is you using a Samsung phone, listening to BTS, and enjoying the immortal films of Bong Joon Ho. . . and then waaaaay down the list is the oppressive military dictatorship developing nuclear weapons who is still, technically, at war with the US in the north. Because Trump and Kim Jong Un are buddies! (Game recognizes game when it comes to garbage people enriching themselves while violating the rule of law.) But, yes, Donald, please tell us more about your opinion on which movies are good!
I'm looking for, like, let's get 'Gone with the Wind' — can we get like 'Gone with the Wind' back, please? 'Sunset Boulevard,' so many great movies.
Okay, first, there's probably no way Trump has ever seen either of those two movies either. But, of course, Trump pulls out Gone With the Wind, because his aging, racist base of support loves that shit. Genteel southerners afflicted by yankee invaders! Slaves who knew their place and didn't really have it so bad! Rhett Butler dressed up in Confederate grey!
As for pulling Sunset Boulevard out of his ass, I really have to wonder if Trump knows anything about that film or Billy Wilder, who himself was not American. (No doubt Trump doesn't care about the Austrian-born Wilder's foreign bona fides, because he's white.) Perhaps Trump identifies with the aging (and delusional and sociopathic) Norma Desmond. Both are obsessed with the camera and the spotlight and their former lives (Desmond as a silent film star, Trump as a reality tv star) and live their lives surrounded by sycophants who keep them in the dark about reality. And no doubt when the police finally swoop in to arrest Trump and his entire corrupt family, he'll smile for the cameras and say "I'm ready for my close-up!"But this is perhaps the worst misread of a film since. . . well, Elon Musk said Parasite was his favorite movie of 2019.
To be fair, there are legitimate reasons for Trump to not like Parasite. At its core, it's an indictment of inequality and the superficiality of the ultra-rich, how they exist only by exploiting and dehumanizing those of lower socio-economic status, and the excesses of capitalism. Not like a billionaire con man whose only major accomplishment in his first term a a massive tax cut for the rich would be worried about a film like that.
But what's especially tasty is Trump either doesn't know or won't bring himself to say Parasite, as though it's "Voldemort" and if he says it then he's somehow giving it power. It's certainly not that saying Parasite three times will summon Bong Joon Ho to your side because I've tried that and a very disappointed because I just want to talk about Snowpiercer (another movie Trump has definitely not seen, but if he did would totally take the wrong message from).
But not content to only stir up nativist grievance about mean ol' librul Hollywood, Trump also took umbrage at Brad Pitt, who made an oblique, but effective, swipe at Trump's corruption and its coverup in the Senate impeachment trial in his acceptance speech:
They told me I only had 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I'm thinking maybe Quentin (Tarantino) does a movie about it and in the end the adults do the right thing.
Overreacting to the mildest of criticism (which is very on-brand for the notoriously thin-skinned and small-fingered Trump), he went after Pitt, one of America's most beloved actors.
I was never a big fan of his. He got up, said a little wise-guy statement. Little wise guy, he's a little wise guy.
Ahhem. . . Brad Pitt is 6 feet tall and still basically looks like he did 20 years ago, which is far more than Trump can say, who day by day looks like he is the painting Dorian Grey keeps in his attic. The actual "little wise guy" was Trump's fellow-nominated Joe Pesci, and Trump really should learn some respect. Like, Trump definitely saw Goodfellas, right? Ehhhh. . . maybe not. Trump seems far more like the guy who pretends he saw that movie everyone is talking about, but has no interest in any art form that doesn't celebrate him and his glory.
Not to be outdone, Parasite's distributor Neon tweeted the truth about why Trump doesn't like the film:
— NEON (@neonrated) February 21, 2020
Normally movie distributors don't deliver such sick burns on social media, but given the awesomeness of Parasite and the awfulness of Trump, this is entirely warranted. Game on to A24 and Blumhouse: I fully expect to see similar tweets about Bloomberg and First Cow or The Hunt, respectively. (Because, 100% Bloomberg and Bezos and Zuckerberg have an island where they re-enact The Most Dangerous Game, right?)
Missing in all of this coverage of Trump's Academy Awards rant is what likely sticks most in his orange craw is pure jealousy. His last four years have been about undoing everything Barack Obama did (because who wants health care, clean air and water, and peace with a non-nuclear Iran, amirite?) but with the win of American Factory for Best Documentary, Barack and Michelle Obama now have something Trump can't take away and will never match: an Oscar. As Executive Producers for the doc about a Chinese company who takes over an American glass-manufacturing plant in Ohio, the Obamas share in the Oscar win, much the same way Trump Treasury Secretary/Evil Billionaire Steve Mnuchin has an Academy Award as an Executive Producer for Suicide Squad, a fact I will never not mention.
But Trump can't say he's insecure about that fact that he is a historically unpopular president and Barack Obama is one of the most beloved and the man whose shadow he will always be in just won an Oscar. he especially can't admit this in front of a crowd of his cult followers, and so instead he'll beat up on the Academy Awards for rewarding one of the actual best films of the year (instead of the bullshit they normally pull *cough cough* Green Book *cough*).
But important to remember in all of this is just how petty and racist all of this is. Trump rejects all foreign films as somehow inferior to American movies. So, throw that copy of Vertigo out, destroy your copies of 8 1/2, Seven Samurai, and Bicycle Thieves. Because we all know what Trump's favorite movie if 2019 was, and we should all bow down before the majesty of Joker.
A reminder that Tuesday, November 3, 2020 is Election Day in America, and you can register to vote now. While I have personal preferences of who should replace Trump, literally any of the people running against him will not throw giant rallies to their ego like some twisted version of Triumph of the Will (a film Trump also no doubt has not seen because it would require reading) or Citizen Kane. Please vote and end this four year national embarrassment and stain. And hopefully the end of Trump is the same as so many mob movies, with the entire crime family carried away in handcuffs.
But Trump should really stay away from Parasite. It's way out of his league.