Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Second Look at "American Beauty" (1999)

Remember Kevin Spacey's instant classic, American Beauty?

The film was fodder for much conversation, and chock full of breakout images. Some people remember the flying plastic bag, the roses, or the pistol in a handbag.

I would like to meditate on the Marine colonel dad, however. His name was Col. Frank Fitts, USMC. Remember him? He was raising his son next door to Kevin Spacey's family. Kevin Spacey played the wisecracking, sardonic Everyman named Lester.

Frank Fitts is a bit of a sadist, a fascist, and a homophobic bigot -- everything Hollywood wanted to associate with the Marines during the Clinton era. This was before the War on Terror and the gay movement's momentum against Don't Ask Don't Tell--two Bush era trends that forced the left to feign interest in the military, so they could capitalize on Iraq vets against the war and gay men who just wanted to serve their country openly.