Movie Diary 9/5/2022

Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven, 1997). I’m thinking about sci-fi and I hadn’t seen this since it came out. And I tried to watch it this time hoping that Verhoeven’s alleged satirical viewpoint – in which the action is actually sending up gung-ho militaristic cliches instead of embodying them – would make itself evident. But laying on some fascistic imagery is not the same as subverting the material (the early-internet news reports are funny in a RoboCop kind of way, to be sure), and I couldn’t help thinking how many MAGA households had greedily devoured this movie over the years, exulting in its unabashed platoon-movie emotional beats. If it is meant to be satire, complete with wooden lead actors as avatars of vapid American enthusiasm, then Verhoeven is playing too complex a game of 4D chess for me. But then I think Showgirls is straightforwardly bad, too.

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