Send in Your “Hate” to Jake Cannon by January 3rd, 2016

29 Dec

What I Hate About You

Have you ever hated something about me?  Do you perhaps strongly dislike something about me?

Maybe you hate my ultra-liberal politics.  Maybe you hate my abrasive honesty. Maybe you hate my last name.  I know I do.  Maybe you hate the fact that I’m always on my laptop (stacking paper, natch).  Maybe you hate my personality and you left an anonymous comment saying why on this same blog back in 2012 (that really happened and I still don’t know who it was).

Now is your chance to air your grievances in the style of Festivus – I will be appearing on the What I Hate About You Podcast!!!  We are recording on Sunday, January 3rd, so please get your hate in soon  You cannot submit anonymously.

You can find Jake Cannon on Twitter: @cannon_jake

The link to the Tumblr for the podcast is here.

I’m really looking forward to this!!! *Fake smiles!!!*

Tarantino and His Love Affair with the N Word and “Bitch” in The Hateful Eight

8 Dec
Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is now playing in theaters, and the film raises numerous questions about the director’s goals and messages intended in this work.  The film is being shown in 70 mm film, in line with Tarantino’s love of the medium, and it also stars several of Tarantino’s favorite recurring actors, including Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Samuel L. Jackson.  What I took away from this film is that Tarantino essentially wants his audience to be disgusted by the things they are amused by.  This includes the use of racially-tinged language, violence against women, and rape.  Tarantino wants us to look at ourselves in a way that he first hinted at in Inglourious Basterds.  Unlike the revenge films of Tarantino’s earlier canon, The Hateful Eight is modeled more on a mystery whodunit.

Many people are already saying that this film is racist and misogynist.  However, Tarantino’s message is exactly that our society is racist and misogynist.  The action of the film follows John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell), a bounty hunter who captures Daisy Damergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), for murder.  Ruth’s intention is to take Daisy to Red Rock to be hanged for her crime, but a blizzard impedes their travels, causing the two to have to seek shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery.  We never really learn any of the details of who Daisy killed, which is key to the understanding of how Daisy is supposed to function.  Leigh plays Daisy as a disgusting, foul-mouthed wretch, and within the first few minutes of the film, Ruth elbows her in the nose, calling her a “bitch” who needs to “shut up”.  This moment should frighten the audience.  Our hero character, Ruth, may not be trustworthy in this moment, and the remainder of the film is a slow-burning mystery that is not revealed completely until the last scenes.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this film is that the audience is made to feel uncomfortable in various ways.  The most obvious way is Tarantino’s use of the word “nigger,” which appears around seventy times in this film.  It’s not simply the use of the word that is bothersome, it is the comical and drawn-out manner in which the word is uttered by several of the actors that makes it unpalatable.  Several actors pronounce the word more like “niggaaaaahhh” to place strong emphasis on what they are saying.  This choice may appear to be insensitive, but I found it very purposeful and indicative of the way that Tarantino wants his filmgoers to question the use of language.

The treatment of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is also highly effective in drawing out Tarantino’s intended messages on misogyny.  We never learn the nature of the murder that Daisy commits, nor do we really know anything about who she is, except for small hints of a colorful personality.  John Ruth intends to take her to Red Rock to be hanged, but in the interim, Ruth has no problem with striking Daisy with brute force, calling her a “bitch” each time.  The first time Ruth hits Daisy, a game is established.  The other characters use Ruth as a punching bag.

Tarantino certainly does not hate women. He is not a misogynist by any means, as we can see that from the numerous examples of strong women in his previous films – Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, The Bride and O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, and Shoshanna Dreyfus in Inglorious Basterds all come to mind.  Tarantino worships these women, and his characters are strong and multi-faceted.  Daisy is no different, who is strong in her own way.

Near the end of the film, the crux of  the action is revealed by a character.  Oswaldo Mulberry (Tim Roth) delivers some very critical lines about justice versus frontier justice.  When speaking to Daisy, he explains that when there is a murder and a trial takes place, followed by a hanging, that is true justice.  However, if no trial takes place and the people take control of the matter, simply hanging the accused in the town square, that is “frontier justice”.  This film is thusly more about the application of “justice” and how we apply it to the violence of today.  Is it right to simply go ahead and hang someone without knowing their intentions or the validity of their guilt?  Or is it more wise to hold a trial and act fairly?  This is the question that the audience is left to ponder, and Tarantino is making a very valid point.  Should we flay the filmmaker for his use of jarring images and offensive words?  Or is he trying to deliver a deeper message?

This is a very difficult film made by a director and writer who does not shy away from difficult subject matter.  For hardcore Tarantino fans, this film will be appreciated as a part of his canon for years to come.

See Me Perform Live in Los Angeles at the Funny Women Festival

17 Nov

OFFICIAL PARTICIPANT IMAGE-01

On December 3rd at 11:55 PM, I will be partaking in the 3rd Annual Funny Women Festival at iOWest in Hollywood, California in the stand up competition.  Some of the other hilarious women performing in this festival include Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mo Collins, Kate Flannery, and Angela Kinsey!!!

Full details of the event can be found by clicking here.

I Know When that Hotline Bling, That Can Only Mean One Thing

21 Oct

Ugh, I love Drake. I love his face and his new, more muscular build, plus that beard.

“Hotline Bling,” for those of you who do not have access to the radio, television, or other mediums of entertainment communication, is the hottest song of the moment.  Even though the lyrics are being criticized as anti-feminist by numerous bloggers, the song is really little more than an ode to a hookup lost – something that anyone, man or woman, can easily relate to.

The line where Drake laments the fact that his former lover is now “Bendin’ over backwards for someone else…Doing things I taught you, gettin’ nasty for someone else” is perhaps the most poignant, because who hasn’t wondered about the current sexcapades of a former lover?  Ugh, Drake just needs to dance this off!!!

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 6.10.00 PM

Look how upset Drake is as he sings the following: ” Cause ever since I left the city, you / started wearing less and goin’ out more / Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor / Hangin’ with some girls I’ve never seen before”!!

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 6.10.26 PM

Gah, the pain!!! He just has to dance!!!

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 6.10.45 PM

The video features Drake dancing in several vibrantly-colored tableaus, and while most are calling Drake’s dancing, “dorky,” I find it totally endearing and indicative that he has a real personality. I mean, look at this cha-cha:

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 6.24.50 PM

Drake also does this funny move with his knees:

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 6.25.06 PM

Not to mention that this happens, laaaddiieeesss!!!:

Screen shot 2015-10-21 at 6.25.38 PM

You can watch the full video for “Hotline Bling” here.  10 out of 10.

I Just Watched the Complete Series of Six Feet Under and All I Got was This Lousy Sense of Existential Dread

11 Sep
Six Feet Under starring Rachel Griffiths, Peter Krause, Michael C.Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, Justina Machado, Jeremy Sisto and James Cromwell

Six Feet Under: starring Rachel Griffiths, Peter Krause, Michael C.Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, Justina Machado, Jeremy Sisto and James Cromwell.

I am not a traditional television binge watcher, but it took me a little over a month to watch all 63 episodes of the 2001-2005 HBO series Six Feet Under, and today, I can say that I am finished with the series.  The show, which follows the Fisher family, a multigenerational clam operating a funeral home in Los Angeles.  The show opens with the death of its patriarch, the mysterious Nathaniel Fisher, whose life remains somewhat of a mystery to his three children Nate (Peter Krause), David (Michael C. Hall) and Claire (Lauren Ambrose).  To me, the show was a bit dated and filled with references to things that no one speaks about now – Sarah McLachlan, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and old cellphones, but if you can move past that bit of weird frozen-in-time feeling, you will make it through the series.

One of the things that I believe makes the series very difficult to watch is the low likability of several of the main characters.  We often see some members of the Fisher family and their surrounding characters acting in very selfish and narrow-minded ways.  Rico (Freddy Rodriguez) is one of the characters who only continued to build in his self-righteous and self-preserving ways.  I will never understand why Rico continued his employ and later partnership with David and Nate – he always seemed ready to fight with nearly everyone.  Rico’s character also provides moral conflict when the supposedly upstanding religious father and husband begins an affair with Sophia, a stripper who apparently gives him the best BJ ever, placing his marriage in jeopardy.  This storyline eventually becomes so stale that there is no way audience can continue to support Rico, and his character essentially becomes tarnished for the remainder of the series.

The major theme of the series of course is death, and each episode of the series begins with a death that demonstrates the delicate nature of life and the possibility that death is always nearby and a very real possibility.  Of course, from the pilot opening with the death of Nathaniel Fisher (Richard Jenkins), and the final episode of the series imagining the future deaths of the major characters of the show, the series stays true to its theme.  Despite this strength, the series is marred by a parade of selfish, over-bearing characters who are concerned with nothing but themselves.  Perhaps this is the aspect of the show that is truest to life, as learning that most people are selfish by nature is a part of reality.

Nate Fisher (Peter Krause) is a character who never quite gets over the fact that there is little more to life than getting older, working a job that you probably don’t really care for, and having difficulties in personal relationships.  He is consistently selfish in his interactions with his longtime on-again/off-again girlfriend Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths), which leads me to believe that Nate is actually the unbalanced person in that relationship, and not the long-suffering Brenda.  A good portion of Nate’s storyline finds him struggling with the idea of death, especially when he learns that he has a medical condition known as AVM, an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain.  This will become important again later in the series.

Brenda, often portrayed as the “crazy one” on the series (alongside her brother), was formerly the subject of a psychology book studying her odd behavior as a child (Charlotte Light and Dark), is thoroughly damaged by her wealthy psychiatrist parents who were openly sexual in front of her and her brother Billy.  Billy Chenowith (Jeremy Sisto) is Brenda’ s bipolar artist brother who has a relationship with Claire early in the series and again once more later on.  Billy, seemingly forever unstable, later confesses to Brenda that he is in love with her – one of the few moments in the series that caused me to audibly gasp out loud.

Out of the more impressive performances in the series, Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher, the widowed matriarch, is followed on a near-endless series of romantic mishaps and frustrations.  It is interesting to see an older woman struggling to not only reconcile the death of her husband, but to also seek love in unlikely places.  We think that Ruth finds true happiness and love with George Sibley (James Cromwell), but we see how that relationship has its own flaws.  Ruth’s experiences serve as a mirror of reality for viewers, teaching them that although life is ultimately good, it is filled with endless challenges and surprises.  My favorite character on the show is David Fisher (Michael C. Hall), Nate’s initially closeted brother and the heir apparent of the Fisher and Sons funeral home.  This is the most genuine performance on the series, with David confronting nearly every fear and personal problem possible.  His tumultuous relationship with Keith (Matthew St. Patrick) is a major focus of the show, in addition to the couple’s struggles to have a child.  For a television show produced in the early aughts, this is groundbreaking writing and focus on a committed homosexual couple, which was really never seen before.  Michael C. Hall, who later went on to play Dexter Morgan on Showtime’s series about a moral serial killer, is a national treasure as far as I’m concerned.  There is, however, a very long storyline involving an incident in which David was held at gunpoint by a crazed stranger that continues to drag on far too long.

Overall, the series is a great precursor to Alan Ball’s later work, which of course includes another familiar HBO series, True Blood.   The subject matter of Six Feet Under is daring for the time in which it aired, bringing death, humanity, and sexuality to the forefront of paid cable television.  This is one of the original series that established HBO as a powerhouse, as it originally aired on Sundays, following The Sopranos.

My biggest criticism of the series is perhaps not a valid criticism at all, but I truly was annoyed by several characters on a regular basis.  The biggest offender of this was the character of Nate Fisher, Jr., who is also the protagonist of the series.  In his relationship with Brenda, I found him to be insufferably selfish, and when he later marries Lisa out of obligation (i.e., pregnancy), he becomes even more unbearably obnoxious.  I suppose the goal of Nate’s character was to show us that life really does not have to be something amazing that we imagine in our heads – it can simply be what we have, and our obligation is to enjoy it as best we can.  Nate’s narcissistic worldview that he was worth more than being a funeral director and worth more than being with Brenda was hard to watch.  If you make it to season five, some of Nate’s actions will leave you very upset, including a fateful scene in which Nate crosses the line.

If you can bear the thought of watching a show with the primary theme of death, Six Feet Under is worth watching.  However, be prepared to wallow in thoughts of death and dying for far too long during your day.  This series successfully explores the classic question of existentialism: what does it all mean?

Mistress America is Us; We are Mistress America

17 Aug

Brooke Cardinas

The new Noah Baumbach-directed comedy Mistress America is a hilarious reflection of our current narcissistically focused culture.  Written by Baumbach and his girlfriend Greta Gerwig, who takes a hilarious turn as the overwhelmed and thinly spread Brittany Cardinas, Mistress America is a quick-witted take on the life of a 30-year-old woman struggling to make something of herself.

We first meet Tracy, an 18-year-old Barnard student with aims of making the literary society.  She finally meets the inspiration she needs in the form of Brooke, who is due to become her stepsister when Tracy’s mother marries Brooke’s father.  After calling Brooke, the two meet up and Tracy becomes entranced by the confident and seemingly very worldly young woman who will become her stepsister.  Tracy begins researching Brooke, finding out that she moonlights as a SoulCycle instructor and schmoozes with the who’s who of New York’s creative scene, jumping onstage with bands and name-dropping people she knows.  Tracy’s fascination results with her writing a short story based on Brooke, describing her as a young woman “dragging the corpse” of her youth behind her as she tries to make something of herself.  The title of the short story lends itself to the title of the film.

Brooke’s focus for her future is an investment in a restaurant she wants to call Mom’s.  Her rich boyfriend Stavros, who never appears onscreen (lending to the possibility that he does not exist) is helping Brooke with her portion of the investment.  When Stavros pulls out of the investment, Brooke is left to scramble for $75,000.  She immediately consults a medium, who tells Brooke that she has unfinished business with someone with the initials M.C., who turns out to be Brooke’s former best friend, Mamie-Claire, who stole an idea for a flower print t-shirt from Brooke, reaping the profits, and also married Brooke’s former boyfriend, the very rich and Falstaffian Dylan.

Mistress America

The resolution of the plot comes following an extended scene in Mamie-Claire and Dylan’s modern manse in Greenwich, Connecticut, which Brooke deems as an awful place.  What is most impressive about this film is the committed performances by each actor, but most especially Greta Gerwig, who gives Brooke a boundless energy punctuated by ridiculous dialogue and wayward glances.  Lola Kirke, the younger sister of Girls actress Jemima Kirke, is capable in her role as Tracy.  Another highlight is Heather Lind as the clueless and rich Mamie-Claire, who admits to stealing Brooke’s t-shirt idea of a “hard flower” print.

The dialogue in Mistress America is nearly breathless, with each character, although especially Brooke, spouting endless gems.  At one point, Brooke, almost quite elegantly, describes how as time progresses, our wants become greater and the possibility of fulfilling those wants appears to become less likely.  Gerwig gives her character a moment of quite reflection as she stares off into the ether, saying that “all we have left is wants”.

Brooke Cardinas stands as a symbol for young women (and even some young men) who wish to do something with their lives, yet face endless challenges to getting on their feet.  Mistress America is really a portrait of the struggling millenial who hopes to one day make a living at something they love, yet continues to see that possibility shrink with each passing year.  We are all Brooke Cardinas, in some way.

Although Mistress America is out only four short months after Baumbach’s While We’re Young,  this film shows exactly the reach that he has as a director with his real-life girlfriend helping him with both the screenplay and her performance.  Alongside Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach is truly reaching his apex as a filmmaker.

Mistress America: 8.5 out of 10

Art Weingartner Lives On Forever: Rick Ducommun Dead at 62

20 Jun

Perhaps best known for playing nosy neighbor Art Wiengartner in the cult classic film The ‘Burbs, Rick Ducommun’s career started in stand up and lead to a string of supporting comedic roles in the 1980s and 1990s.  Rick Ducommun died on June 12, 2015 at the age of 62, due to complications from diabetes.  Ducommun’s performance as Art was a comedic triumph and a delight for anyone who saw The ‘Burbs.  Art Wiengartner was the perfect overzealous neighbor, inviting himself to eat at Ray Peterson’s house and sharing his theories on the new neighbors who move into the Klopeck house down the street.  Ducommun’s comedic timing was on point, especially with the delivery of his most quoted line: “Satan is good, Satan is our pal…”.

The Burbs - Art

Here is a best of compilation showing some of Art’s classic moments:

The ‘Burbs was a film favorite for me in my childhood, but Ducommun also appeared in movies like Little Monsters as the villain Snik, and as Gus, one of the bar patrons who spends his night with Phil Connors over and over again.  He also appeared as the limo driver in Blank Check.  Ducommun was also an accomplished stand up comedian, with an HBO special airing on HBO called “Rick Ducommun: Piece of Mind”.

Groundhog Day - Rick Ducommun

LITTLE MONSTERS, Rick Ducommun, Howie Mandel, 1989.

LITTLE MONSTERS, Rick Ducommun, Howie Mandel, 1989.

Rick Ducommun certainly had a huge stage presence, and he was a scene stealer in many of his roles.  His career never blew up like many of the stand-up comedians who went on to have their own sitcoms or starring film roles, but Ducommun is memorable, and I certainly count him among my comedic influences.

Pour one out for Rick Ducommun.

You Can Pry My Maxi Dresses Out of My Cold, Dead Hands

9 May

Quite recently, Sarah Miller of Jezebel attempted to argue that the maxi dress is an ugly item that no one needs to wear.  I have one thing to say to Sarah Miller: she can pry my maxi dresses out of my cold, dead, withered hands.  The maxi dress may not flatter every body type, and it looks less perfect on women of a shorter stature.  But for a tall woman, which is something I am familiar with being at 5’11”, the maxi dress is a godsend and the gift that keeps on giving.

The maxi dress burst onto the fashion scene most recently between 2007 and 2008.  At this time I was still a student at NYU, and every NYU girl was wearing the maxi dress.  Now, I live in Los Angeles and perform as a comedian.  The maxi dress is still a staple for Los Angeles women.  The maxi dress is here to stay.  Believed to have first appeared in 1968 as a part of an Oscar de la Renta collection, the maxi dress was popular throughout the 1970s but eventually fizzled out.  However, the maxi dress is holding strong as a staple of the last eight or nine years.

Perhaps the most flaws part of Miller’s argument is that she believes that women with her body type – tall and busty – do not look good in maxi dresses.  I am tall and busty, and I swear by the maxi dress.  Being tall and busty means that you sometimes cannot wear things that you would like to wear, just like every body type struggles at times.  For example, I would love to wear more button-up shirts.  Do they work on me?  Not really, because the buttons are oft pushed apart by my bustiness.  I would also like to wear more jeans, but a lot of jeans are not cut in a way that makes me feel good in them.  Maxi dresses are a universally flattering and fun piece that will most likely not cause any woman to bang her head against the proverbial fitting room of life.

However, some are trying to say that Miller’s piece was an attempt at satire.  If she was trying to be facetious, she chose the wrong thing to be facetious about, as a maxi dress is something I would protect with my life.  Now excuse me while I enjoy this May day in my maxi dress.  Today I am wearing this maxi dress by Felicity & Coco:

Felicity and Coco dress

 

Tra la la!!! I love maxi dresses and you pry mine out of my dead hands, Sarah Miller!

Question: Is Overboard the Greatest Movie of All Time?

24 Apr

Overboard

Answer: it is quite possible that Overboard is the greatest movie of all time.  There are several reasons for this, which will be outlined below in a convenient listicle.  For those readers who may be unfamiliar with the 1987 Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn comedy, I feel nothing but sorrow for you.  This is a film filled with hilarity, life lessons, and a great 1980s-style switcheroo plot. HBO Go was recently streaming Overboard, which means you have no excuse to not watch it immediately on some type of streaming platform. DO IT NOW.

For those of you who have not seen Overboard, the film tells the story of Dean Proffitt, a widower father of four crazed boys who works as a carpenter by day and in various odd jobs at night in order to support his family.

On a fateful day, Dean is called out for a job to build a closet on the yacht of a very wealthy couple, Joanna Stayton (Goldie Hawn, in her comedic and physical prime), and Dean Stayton (Edward Hermann).  Joanna, wearing some of the most ridiculous 1980’s fashions and constantly berating Dean, is a classic rich bitch.

After she refuses to pay Dean for not building her closet to her standards, Joanna falls OVERBOARD her yacht when she drops her wedding ring and attempts to retrieve it. Joanna is then found the next day, but she is suffering from amnesia and has no idea who she is.  Dean, seeing the news report on Joanna, goes to the hospital claiming that the woman is his wife, using knowledge of a birth mark he saw on Joanna’s bottom as proof that he knows her in the biblical sense.

Joanna, renamed Annie Proffitt, then learns the real hard knocks of life, including raising Dean’s kids, cooking, cleaning, and more.

Here are solid evidentiary reasons why Overboard just might be the greatest movie of all time:

1.  The reasoning behind the use of cedar closets, as told by Goldie Hawn’s character, Joanna Stayton, pre-amnesia:  “Because one would think that you would know that closets are made of cedar…the entire civilized world knows that ALL closets are made of cedar.”

2. “I’m a short, fat, slut”. – Goldie Hawn realizing her new reality as Annie Proffitt while wearing one of Annie’s oversized dresses.

3. Goldie Hawn’s outfits before she falls “overboard” her yacht.

Goldie Hawn as Joanna Stayton

4. Kurt Russell’s bulging muscles.

Kurt Russell

5. Amnesia – what was more funny in the 80’s than a good old-fashioned case of amnesia and the comedic effects of a switcheroo?  This is second only to body-swapping films of the 1980’s.  (Does anyone remember Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore in Like Father Like Son?)

When you really think about it, the plot of Overboard would really never happen, because what Dean did is kind of creepy…but he gets away with it because he’s hot.  Ah, the 80’s – a time I barely remember because I was an infant.  Please watch Overboard for a dose of nostalgia!

Going Clear and the Obvious Narcissism of L. Ron Hubbard

4 Apr

Tom Cruise Scientology Cover Photo

I just finished the new HBO documentary Going Clear, and all I can say is: my, oh my.  This terrifying documentary exposes more about Scientology than I ever knew.  What is most clear to me is that Scientology, as a whole, is a product of narcissistic abuse.  If I were to hypothesize anything about its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, it’s that he most likely qualified as someone suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder of the cerebral variety.  Hubbard, who started as a pulp fiction writer, eventually wrote Dianetics, which would become the basis of Scientology and an exploration of what Hubbard called “the modern science of mental health”.  This man made the presumption that his book could overturn centuries of development in the arena of mental health.  When that did not happen, he invented his own religion.

In the last year or so I have been in deep research mode of Narcissistic personality disorder.  The reason for this is because I was in a romantic relationship with someone who I very much believe to be a narcissist.  Within the first few minutes of this documentary, we hear excerpts of letters written about L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology by his second wife, Sara Northrup.  Sara asserted that she only married Hubbard because he had threatened suicide.  This is a very common manipulation tactic for narcissists to use in order to get their way.  She also detailed an account about how Hubbard awoke her from her sleep because she had been smiling, setting him off into a rage because he took it to mean she was thinking about another man.  After they had a daughter, Hubbard took the little girl with him and called Sara to tell her that he had chopped their daughter into tiny pieces and thrown her into a river.  It doesn’t get much more abusive than that.

Going Clear also touches on how the church’s two most famous members – John Travolta and Tom Cruise, became so involved with Scientology.  John Travolta was extremely young when he became involved, and he linked his success in acting with his involvement in Scientology.  The use of “auditing” also becomes very important in the case of Travolta, as it appears that the Church of Scientology threatens members with the release of their deepest secrets collected in such sessions.  Obviously the Church of Scientology has something pretty big on Travolta that keeps him there.

Scientology’s biggest star and supporter is Tom Cruise.  Cruise’s marriage to Nicole Kidman is a major focal point of his story in Scientology.  The documentary mentions that Nicole Kidman’s father was a prominent psychologist in Australia, which David Miscavige, the head of the Church of Scientology, viewed as a threat.  Any psychologist or mental health professional, or any person associated with a mental health professional is deemed to be a “suppressive person” by Scientology.  Scientologists therefore aim to “disconnect” from these suppressive people, of course at almost any cost. Nicole, therefore, was deemed a suppressive person, and her divorce from Cruise was apparently orchestrated by the Church of Scientology.  I have heard further rumors that Cruise’s marriage to Katie Holmes was staged and under contract, but the documentary goes no further than discussing an arranged relationship between Cruise and an actress named Nazanin Boniadi.  There were also rumors that one of the reasons why Holmes divorced Cruise was her fear of their daughter Suri becoming involved in Scientology.  Going Clear also notes that Cruise was not really involved in Scientology during his marriage to Kidman, but in recent years, he has been the absolute most treasured asset of the Church.  Cruise is one of the biggest movie stars of all time, if not the biggest, and Scientology depends on him in many ways.

Going Clear is a truly terrifying look at how Scientology is essentially the result of an egomaniac’s own desire to control others.  This documentary is one of the first looks at some of the extreme abuses allegedly committed by David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology.  Perhaps what is most revealing about the Church of Scientology is its financial value (over one billion dollars) and its real estate investment prowess.  I have driven by the Church of Scientology on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and it is a menacing sight.  A few people I know have gone inside to take the prerequisite personality tests “as a joke”.  After watching Going Clear, I can say with certainty that there is nothing funny about Scientology and its abuses of its members.