Lion of the Blogosphere

Captain Fantastic

Viggo Mortensen is nominated for Best Actor for his role in Captain Fantastic as an ultra-liberal but in some ways also ultra-conservative father who raises his family in the woods of the Pacific Northwest without electricity or any other connection to the outside world except for his library of great works of literature and philosophy.

The conservative part of Mortensen’s philosophy is that he teaches his children to hunt and also trains them in hand-to-hand combat including knife fighting. They’ll be ready for the nuclear holocaust or whatever else causes the end of civilization! And he has six children: what kind of liberal has more than two kids?

The plot of the movie is that Mortensen gets word that his wife, who has been hospitalized for three months for mental illness, has died, and he takes his six children on a road trip to New Mexico to her funeral, where Mortensen and his family clash with his wife’s wealthy parents who want their grandchildren to be raised normally.

The movie very clearly shows some of the limitations of Mortensen’s child rearing philosophy. For example, when his oldest son meets a hot girl at the motor home park, he has no clue how to behave around her. If you want your sons to get married and give you grandchildren, I don’t think that raising them in the wilderness with no human contact outside of your immediate family is a good way to go.

Sorry to talk about the ending (spoiler alert!), but I feel very let down. It seems like a cop-out. After his daughter breaks some bones falling off the roof of his in-laws’ house, Mortensen has the realization that he’s not actually a good father and his children are not equipped to deal with civilization at all. So he leaves them with their grandparents and drives away. Thus the message here is that the ultra-liberal left has graduated from Utopia, radical anti-capitalism and Walden to become SWPLs who go to Ivy League schools and then work in self-actualizing careers, preferably in Manhattan. Right?

Nope! Wait a minute, that’s not what happens! Mortensen’s kids were hiding in the back of the bus, and then they steal their mother’s body from the cemetery to give her the proper Buddhist cremation that she wanted for herself, the oldest son goes off to Namibia instead of going to college (huh?) and the rest of the family goes back to the Pacific Northwest, but now they live in a small house with electricity instead of in the woods, and they go to school. What’s the point of that? Is that a happily-ever-after ending or something?

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Does Mortensen have any chance in hell of beating out Denzel Washington, Casey Affleck and Ryan Gosling for his role in a movie that’s probably too weird even for Hollywood? Not likely.

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Both of the older daughters are redheads. I tell you, redheaded women are suddenly a big thing. Emma Stone from La La Land. The foster mom played bye Nicole Kidman in Lion. The girl linguist in Arrival.

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I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to watch Hidden Figures or Hacksaw Ridge before the awards ceremony. Which I’m not even sure I want to watch because surely there will be a lot of Trump hatred on display.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Movies

25 Responses

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  1. Walden was a lot better than I thought it would be, especially the very long first chapter. Say what you want about Thoreau, he’s a hell of a writer and a lot of his themes about not living your life simply going through he motions to meet society’s expectations ring true even today.

    Unfortunately the later chapters suffer because he spends a lot of time talking about watching animals, which is boring to most people in the 21st century who have Netflix and Xbox and Twitter feeds.

    The book is probably not very prescriptive either in terms of living in a semi-isolated cabin being the way to go. Thoreau’s life was basically devoid of any sexual relationships with women.

    Jokah Macpherson

    February 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    • Watching animals, including if not especially dogs, is fun as most dog owners know.


      February 27, 2017 at 5:43 am

  2. “I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to watch Hidden Figures or Hacksaw Ridge before the awards ceremony. Which I’m not even sure I want to watch because surely there will be a lot of Trump hatred on display.”

    I like your idea of watching all the movies but there’s no reason I can see for a heterosexual male to watch the actual ceremony.

    Jokah Macpherson

    February 26, 2017 at 6:17 pm

  3. I haven’t seen any of these movies but have enjoyed your recaps and reviews of them; follow my example and ignore the Oscars and then read some blogger’s recap tomorrow!


    February 26, 2017 at 6:49 pm

  4. Name 5 self actualizing careers outside of the arts and academic environment partake by Manhattan SWPLites. Because I don’t know of any.


    February 26, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    • I know of one SWPL who is the director for a museum in Manhattan. That’s very self actualizing.

      But please Lion, BIGLAW and Wall St are self actualizing?


      February 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      • The term SWPL/Bobo often overlap with the less liberal/corporate, money oriented types known as yuppies, who often share the same residential zipcodes and social activities in centers like NYC.

        So how do LoftB commenters make a subtle distinction?


        February 26, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      • Spending your money in self-actualizing ways can be self-actualizing, no? Or in the end, is it really all for business connections?


        February 27, 2017 at 5:47 am

  5. Lion, O/T but backs up your theory on paying people to game:

    Simba of the Blogosphere

    February 26, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    • Lion thinks Staten Island guidos are gamers too. My hunch is that they aren’t. Guidos are a special type of proles, and video gaming and any form of geeky-tainment are beneath them. Guidos are out and about people having fun in a masculine way.


      February 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    • I think he copied that from a blog post from my old blog. It sucks to have all these original thoughts and then other people steal them and get the credit.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      February 26, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      • Frank Guan sounds likes a candidate for video gaming, and it makes sense given his surname, and the inherent stereotypes that come with it.


        February 27, 2017 at 12:19 am

      • All the greats steal. Shakespeare stole like crazy. I guess the key to success is the ability to scale up and monetize.


        February 27, 2017 at 5:51 am

  6. “Someone should do a movie about the nerdy white male engineers who made manned space travel possible.”

    This was my main reservation about Hidden Figures, which I still haven’t seen. I like the celebration of black people doing competent work but at the same time I wonder if this type of accomplishment would be film-worthy if it was done by a nerdy white guy (probably not; it would just be par for the course).

    Speaking of movies about white male engineers, Homer Hickam, the author of the book on which October Sky was based, spoke at my high school. I thought it would be interesting but he actually came across as kind of arrogant.

    Jokah Macpherson

    February 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    • Try from the Earth to the Moon.. Especially the episode called Spider. HBO miniseries. Companion to Apollo 13 the way Band of Brothers was a companion piece to Saving Private Ryan.


      February 27, 2017 at 11:33 am

    • I think it’s a big deal because the mathematicians of Hidden Figures were women moreso than their being Black.

      We White women weren’t exactly setting the world on fire ar NASA either.


      February 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

  7. Lion,

    Your definition of a “self-actualizing career” is too limited.

    SWPLs want a self-actualizing career that their family and friends will see as high-class.

    A SWPL may sincerely and powerfully want to self-actualize as a stock car racer, commercial airline pilot, or actuary — but those careers tracks would not be considered elite enough.

    Most SWPLs would, in those circumstances, turn down the self-actualizing job in favor a more acceptable one.


    February 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    • No one self-actualizes as an actuary.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      February 26, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      • That’s ironic.

        Jokah Macpherson

        February 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      • Really? I’ve always felt that you can get enjoyment from work (which may not be the same as self-actualizing) by simply being the best or better than others, almost no matter what that is, as long as there is some way to compare your performance with other people.


        February 27, 2017 at 5:58 am

    • An ideal, self actualizing career in SWPLand would have prestige, pays a living wage, comes across as enjoyable and philanthropic. The run in the mill corporate, wall st and legal, sociopathic stuff aren’t enjoyable and charitable.


      February 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

  8. Well all of you who were rooting for LaLa Land now see its not about talent its about politics. Its a Red Letter Day for Hollywood. Now that they dissed the favorite for blatant racial pandering, they can look forward to domestic terrorism by BLM and Muslims, race riots by blacks in general with Hispanic gangs killing them for violating their territories and of course the magic of bankruptcy filings and empty hopes of anyone buying these money pits of failure.
    Why would these artistes care what the hoi polloi say after all? What are you to them? Money? A Career? Why that pales in comparison to being a marginalised community of fruits and nuts that spend half their lives in rehab. When you do it for art, people say you’re stupid, but when you do it for politics, they might just shoot you. Of course it might all be about money, but now they’re going to go broke.
    The Brass Dildo Awards ladies and gentlemen and celebrities.

    Joshua Sinistar

    February 27, 2017 at 1:41 am

  9. I think you’ve inadvertently conflated the titles of Walden and On Golden Pond. Henry David Thoreau’s work is titled simply Walden. Then there was a famous 1981 movie about old people starring Henry Fonda called On Golden Pond.


    February 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

    • Well it is Oscars night. And wasn’t there a pond there?

      But yes you are right that the title of the book is wrong. I need an editor.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      February 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

  10. The movie was an incredibly subversive piece of anti-white family propaganda.


    February 28, 2017 at 11:33 pm

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