Friday, October 02, 2009
Did Brian David Mitchell receive pointers or inspiration from Roman Polanski? I bet he came up with all of the religious stuff (including the robes and veils) and multiple rapes per day on his own, though. Perhaps if Elizabeth Smart wasn't from Salt Lake City, and Mitchell didn't vaguely appear to be some kind of crazy fundamentalist 19th Century quasi-LDS figure, Hollywood would be rushing to his defense, too.
I'd like to see Polanski rot in prison for the rest of his useless life (as a famous child molester, he'll probably be dead within a month), but I have to concede what Mitchell did was quite a bit worse.
I'm puzzled about the "competent to stand trial" business. Why does mental competence matter?
I've worked in the criminal justice system for well over three decades and am always amazed at how friggin lucid a supposed emotionally disabled person (aka "EDP", the current term of the month for someone short some marbles) becomes when they let their guard down.
Chinatown has one of the best scripts ever, and for me its Jack Nicholson's best role ever -- he's not just being Jack chewing the furniture. Jack does an interesting existential twist on the Jake Gittes character: he's only a "soft boiled" detective, maybe too smart for his job, and cares when he shouldn't.
Yelburton: My goodness, what happened to your nose?
Jake Gittes: I cut myself shaving.
Yelburton: You ought to be more careful. That must really smart.
Jake Gittes: Only when I breathe.
Evelyn Mulwray: Hollis seems to think you're an innocent man.
Jake Gittes: Well, I've been accused of a lot of things before, Mrs. Mulwray, but never that.
[an anonymous caller has telephoned Gittes]
Ida Sessions: Are you alone?
Jake Gittes: Isn't everybody?
Lt. Escobar: How'd you get past the guard?
Jake Gittes: Well, to tell you the truth, I lied a little.
Some of the biggest crimes are public corruption right out there in the open.
Noah Cross: Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water.
Noah Cross: You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't.
Noah Cross: Why is that funny?
Jake Gittes: That's what the District Attorney used to tell me in Chinatown.
Morty: Can you believe it? We're in the middle of a drought, and the water commissioner drowns. Only in L.A.
There are other crimes too. I'm not excusing Polanski for his child rape, but the man has found himself put on the dark side that I hope me or my children never have to see.
Jake Gittes: How much are you worth?
Noah Cross: I have no idea. How much do you want?
Jake Gittes: I just wanna know what you're worth. More than 10 million?
Noah Cross: Oh my, yes!
Jake Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can't already afford?
Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gitts! The future. Now, where's the girl? I want the only daughter I've got left. As you found out, Evelyn was lost to me a long time ago.
Jake Gittes: Who do you blame for that? Her?
Noah Cross: I don't blame myself. You see, Mr. Gitts, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of ANYTHING.
Chinatown fit the 1970s. Some of it still fits today.