First up is "Stupidity", which is an attempted analysis of the "dumbing down" of mainstream culture, and the celebration of the foolish.
From trying in vain to define the term "stupid", to a discussion of how the words "idiot", "imbicile", and "moron" came to popular use, the film relies on heavy use of clips from other well known sources and interviews with various authors and academics to try to get to the bottom of it.
In making only a couple statements about how most of us feel threatened by higher intelligence and like to laugh at the misfortunes of others, I didn't really see anything in this film that furthered any serious discussion.
It did have some moments of humour, both from the antics of the examples and from an author, whose name escapes me (duh), who had ten easy steps to stop thinking, thusly creating a better life which will make all those miserable thinking types jealous.
I also found amusing a brief targeting of meditation, which commonly involves emptying the mind of all thought, but the reference was surely meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
Once Were Warriors contains elements that can please many viewers, for positive and negative outlooks alike.
Misogynists, misandrists (term included for Yum-Yum), and misanthropes will be delighted with the antics of "Jake the Muss" (the only good thing I have ever seen Temuera Morrison do on film), as he beats his wife, swills the beer, and terrorizes his children and community alike.
Indeed, Megan of Suburbia would chafe violently at the societal treatment of women as servants and sex objects. Every time Beth (Rena Owen) tries to stand up for herself, she gets the beats.
Indeed, even young Grace (Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell), just coming into the flower of womanhood is brutally violated by "Uncle Bully" (Cliff Curtis), with further tragic results.
Underlying it all are racial tensions in the community, and each of the children in the Heke family find different outlets for the rage fueled by poverty and conflict.
Optimists might find, in the end, a heartwarming story about a family sticking together under tremendously difficult pressure.
Pessimists may point out a chilling look at what modern society has in store for the outcasts.
Macabre cynics will get some laughs during it all, as some of the line delivery is funny and does distract from some crucial emotional moments. (Pete Smith as "Dooley" provides many of these unintentional laughs)
So, it's fun for everyone, but not quite up to the standard of a SS Spin '8', which is very much like a '10' in a journal written by a mere mortal. Again, I save 9's and 10's for those films which stand up over repeat viewings. I have watched "Once Were Warriors" at least 4 times now, and I like it very much, but 7 it is. It is more of a statement about how my ratings jump exponentially.
4 = reeks
5 = ok once, but not for me
6 = one view will do
7 = quality film that I recommend
8 = great movie.
9 = I will never get tired of it
10 = Favorites
Am I too tough? Who cares. As Jake the Muss drunkenly growls, stay the fuck out of my way. heh heh