Sunday, September 2, 2007

Holywood does right for once?

As an Arab kid growing up in the states, I have many of the same movie memories that any guy my age has: catching (original trilogy) Star Wars mania, sneaking into the movies to watch R rated classics like The Untouchables, crushing on various Hollywood starlets, etc, etc. But I also have vivid memories of feeling hated by the movies: see, practically every Arab I ever saw onscreen as a kid was being gleefully murdered by Chuck Norris, Schwarzenegger, et al. I think only Native Americans have had a cheaper, higher, more faceless body count in American movies.

Not a whole lot has changed since I've grown up, though nowadays Hollywood occasionally seems to feel obliged to include a token minor American-loving Arab good guy in its A-rab-kill-o-thons. Despite this "progress", my general sentiment toward Hollywood flicks that have anything to say about the Middle East is still best summed up by quoting Public Enemy.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my wife put me on to the upcoming movie Rendition. Now, don't get me wrong -- I can tell from the trailer alone that there are still some false and problematic assumptions here: an Arab man's life doesn't count until he marries a white girl, the government is still mostly good but there are some bad neocon apples, the US has a distaste for torture (ha!), but Arab governments love it, etc. Still, I never, ever thought that Hollywood would make a movie like the one advertised in the following trailer. I can't wait to see it.