This is not a review of the movie 300, or a review of reactions to it, or a critique of the critics of the movie. This is about the Iranian-Americans who do not go to see the movie but talk about it in their eyid didani (New Year visits) and say such things as “padarsookhtaha oberomono bordan” (burnt fathers took our faces water). Why do they say ‘burnt father’ and consider themselves civilized, but at the same time they get mad at the movie’s portrayal of their distance ancestors? I don’t know. What I know is that I have never heard civilized Americans say ‘burnt fathers’ in my life, and I don’t consider saying “fuck you” to be in anyway uncivilized.
Are you not curious to see this movie with your own eyes? Why the hell you keep on reading these articles and talk about the movie if you don’t want to see it for yourself? Do you think by not spending $20 on a movie ticket,chos’e fil (popcorn), and snacks you are make a statement? Do you feel like you are Mahatma Gandhi spinning your own thread and making your own clothes as a protest?
To me aside from expensive tickets, Chos’e fil, candies, and soda are essential part of an overall movie going experience that could not be duplicated otherwise. There is no comparison between the salt on movie theater popcorns and the salt from Indian Ocean that the Indians produced to oppose the British rule.
Allow me to elaborate, let’s say you decide to hurt the USA entertainment Empire where it hurts the most, financially, and make your own chos’a fil at home and with your sharik’e zendegi (partner in crime) manage to hide it in your overcoats and her oversized purse along with some ice packed soda cans and M&M’s when you go to the movies. Do you really think this would be the same experience as making salt from ocean? I don’t think so. These assorted items when bought expensively at the movie theatres enhance the movie watching experience, and the more expensive they are the better. I once paid almost three dollars for a pack of king-size M&M’s, which caused me to give the worst review of the movie Home Alone. Do you know why? Because the more money you spend at the movies the more it highlights your pain of seeing the movie.
On the other hand, I once went to see the movie Dumb and Dumber with a date and bought an expensive large and long hotdog. That thing was so big and expensive that I was not able to finish it and did not wish to throw it away, so I asked my date if she wanted to eat my hotdog. Next thing I know she unzipped my pants and began to eat! What do you think about that, hah? I was so exited I screamed! Luckily at that exact moment there was a funny seen on the screen and my cry of exultation was muted with audience’s laughter. One a scale on 1 to 10, I gave that movie the highest rating possible, a 15. That movie forever is going to be the best movie I almost saw, and the name of it is so befitting. Do you think Gandhi ever had this kind of excitement again once he boycotted the British movies?
Don’t get me wrong here I am not a chauvinist. You could be a female moviegoer and still have a memorable movie experience and eat a hotdog too. It does not matter how badly the Persians are portrayed in this movie, as long as one gets to eat a hotdog, or be eaten by a hotdog, I would say that is a good movie. Of course this movie 300 is so popular and packed with audience that I would say hotdog eating would be out of question in this movie for awhile. But there are other reasons beside hotdogs to see this movie.
If you are into leftist social class struggle you can go to see this movie for its depiction of slavery in that era, and conclude that proletarian in Iran are being exploited! Although there is hardly any Iranian-American working class in the USA, and most of us have one or two PhDs, one can always pretend that he/she has some inner understanding of struggling working class in Iran who waste away their lives for slavery wages.
If you are a kooni (faggot), koonkon (the dude that sticks his dodol into the kooni), or beh khod mashkook (undecided bi-curious) you would also get a lot of joy out of this movie. There are so much sexual deviancy, homosexuality, and handsomely sculptured bodies in this movie that it would forever emancipate you from your irrational sexual limitations, and this is the highest complement I can give to a none pornographic movie.
If you like freedom and glory this is “the” movie you must see. Forget about Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. If you are a Marine type of a guy, or G.I. Jane kind of a gal, you would love this movie. It makes you so hyped up for liberty, justice, and preservation of the way of life that you have no hesitation what so ever to pull the trigger when you are called upon to go to war. Of course we all know that we Iranian-Americans are not like Mujahadin’e Khalgh who are willing to pull triggers in a war against their own country, but I am just conveying the feel of the movie to you. Do you remember how it was when we went to the movies in Iran and the whole theatre was filled with cigarette smoke even though there were sigar keshidan mamno (No Smoking) signs all over the place? This movie is like that. The theatre atmosphere gets filled with yearning for democracy very quickly; even though all the signs say don’t democratize. I once throw up in a cinema in Iran because of the cigarette smoke. I almost did the same thing with this movie.
And if you are somehow under the illusion that you are in someway in solidarity with Iranian’s woman’s movement, as Farah Pahlavi is, there is something in this movie for you too. There is a strong Spartan female character in this movie that gets fucked outside her marriage and is betrayed by her fucker. At the end she redeems herself by killing him, which is exactly what a lot of married women want to do with their lovers when they find out the romance was only about sex.
And if you are a meli maz’habi (Arabs and Persians are equally important to Iranians), Monarchist (Achaemenids were benevolent envaders), or a jomhorikhah (Sparta and Persia were not jomhori, therefore jomhori is good) there are also things for you to see in this movie.
I used to go to the movies with an ideological point of view and critiqued the movies accordingly. For example I thought Deer Hunter was a “bad” movie because it demonized the Vietnamese struggle for liberation. On the other hand I thought China Syndrome was a “great” movie because it exposed the corruption in the nuclear industry. Although both of those movies were great, I go to movies for ideological reasons no more. Over the years I have learned that the money I spend at the movies is for them to keep me interested continually for about 90 minutes. If I get bored and lose interest that movie is not worth it. If I want to learn about history I read books, for social analysis I go to lectures, for uneducated people I do the lecturing myself. If I want to find out about motives behind production of this movie I would study the writer and Executive Producer Frank Miller, the Director Zack Snyder, the Screenwriter Kurt Johnstab, and the Producers Gianni Nunnari, and Mark Canton, which I have not seen any Iranian intellectual analyze and write about.
So much for that, here is may rating of this movie (although this is not about critiquing the movie) for their attempt to keep me interested for 117 minutes: on a numerical and star scale of 1 to 10 I give it an average of 5. On academic grading scale I give it a mediocre C. For those who like rating movies by show of belokh (thumb) I give those people who made this movie one thumb up their ass and one thumb down their throat.
I only wish I had a hungry hotdog loving date and a half empty theater when I went to see this movie. Go see it anyway.
Mohsen Tabari is a movie buff and an amateur movie critic.