Who Bought It?: We’re not sure.
Why?: It most likely was Megan, but she has no recollection of buying it or having it given to her. She didn’t even know what it was about. Max had seen it before, but he didn’t think he bought it. It was probably Megan…
Non-Buyer’s Response: *shrug*
Another Non-Buyer’s Response: THERE WAS A FIRE FIGHT!
Max told me this is a “popcorn action” movie but I wholeheartedly disagree. To me, a “popcorn action” movie is something you’d find on the summer release list. Movies like Transformers or any Marvel movie or Jurassic Park/World/Galaxy (galaxy is next, right? Alien dinosaurs are the next logical step in the franchise. Max’s Note: Shut up and take my money) This movie had action, but it also had a ton of gore and frankly, “popcorn action” movies don’t make you question if you understand morality. Which The Boondocks Saints does. Repeatedly.
The Boondocks Saints is about brothers Connor and Murphy MacMannus (played by Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus, respectively) as they set out to rid Boston of all evil people while they’re chased by FBI Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe.) And by “rid” I mean brutally murder them.
I didn’t enjoy watching this movie. It was too gory for me, too much violence and I’ll admit I didn’t believe that what set the brothers in motion was enough to warrant such a…career change. I wasn’t convinced. That, and the constant fade ins/outs which were hella distracting. Max commented, and I agree, that it feels like the structure of this movie was found in the editing room. And while it worked well, it was a little choppy for my taste and felt like a series of vignettes strung together.
What I enjoyed was the discussion The Boondocks Saints sparked between Max and I after the movie. We were rooting for the MacMannus brothers, we wanted them to live, and yet they killed a lot of people. But all the people they killed were bad. But, does that make the brothers “good?” What does “good” and “bad” mean and how can you quantify them? Is it “less bad” to murder someone who is a “bad person” vs a “good person.” How did they decide these people were “bad?” And so on and so forth down the rabbit hole.
Do I want to watch this movie again? Was there something in it that I’d reference later in life that would warrant me keeping this DVD in our collection? I’m not sure. I’m glad I saw it, but I’d be comfortable saying I’d never choose to watch this movie again. But if that’s the case, I should probably say that I’d vote to toss it. Even though Willem did a great little river dance moment that almost won me out.
There was a fire fight! This is a loud, unsubtle and vibrant flick. The kind that, as Megan wrote, makes you want to discuss the nature of good and evil and like…things…man. When it’s time for the initial shootout, we don’t get anything sophisticated, we get a couple of goofs fighting in the HVAC system before dropping in for a nonuple homicide like two Spidermen.
When it’s time for the usual “hero’s heal themselves up for the final battle” scene, The Boondocks Saints gives us an operatic montage of sweaty men, holding each other down and cauterizing wounds in slow motion. When Connor and Murph smoke cigarettes, they end up with a dozen full ashtrays in their apartment.
The point: There’s nothing subtle here. And I appreciate that. The good guys call themselves good, and they call the bad guys bad. And then they shoot them. There’s a ton of religious imagery and symbolism and South Boston-ness, but that feels like window-dressing. This is straight vigilante porn. And it works.
Two things were striking to me on this, my third watch of The Boondocks Saints. 1) It is downright miraculous that Il Duce and The MacMannus Brothers don’t kill each other in the “THERE WAS A FIRE FIGHT!” scene. I think that’s the point. They fired several world wars worth of bullets at each other. 2) It is very rare that a movie asks such an existential question as “What is good and evil really?” and still attempts to answer that question.
In The Boondocks Saints universe, or maybe more accurately, in the eyes of the MacMannus Brothers, it is very clear. Evil is gangsterism, is selling out your friends, is selling drugs, pimping, being in a jerk-off booth, and being Ron Jeremy. But no women and children.
Maybe most accurately, Good is the MacMannus Brothers. Them deciding someone is evil makes them Evil. Because throughout the movie, the MacMannus Brothers are never wrong. This is very black and white movie. Moreover, this is a movie that seems incredibly aware that it is, in fact, a movie. Both Murph and Connor make reference to how different real killing is to movie killing. There’s always a guy behind the couch.
But in The Boondocks Saints, there’s no one behind the couch (until there’s a guy in the bathroom). Just righteous vengeance.
Why? Tell ’em, Agent Smecker.
The MacMannus Brothers have no real morality. They are good and what is against them and their friends is evil. All they know is what has been fed to them. Their two favourite meals: TV and The Bible.
It felt a little choppy and unevenly paced this time through (my first watch as a real adult who pays bills and uses Excel and other grown-up things), but I still stand by what I said. This movie is simple, it is fun, and it is popcorn. KEEP despite Norman Reedus’ truly horrific Irish accent.