' ' Cinema Romantico: First Man: Flag Quotient

Thursday, September 20, 2018

First Man: Flag Quotient

You might recall that a few weeks back, after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the forthcoming Damien Chazelle film “First Man”, chronicling the fairly familiar tale of Neil Armstrong becoming, ahem, the first man to walk on the moon, The Saturday Evening Post’s chief film critic Marco Rubio took said film to task, sight unseen, mind you, for its refusal to show the moment in which Mr. Armstrong planted an American flag on the lunar surface. Rubio tweeted the following: “This is total lunacy.” (Pun?!) “And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. The American people paid for that mission,on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission.”

And yet, this past weekend I happened to catch the new TV spot for “First Man”, which conspicuously hit airwaves not long after the aforementioned brou-ha-ha, and proceeded to count not one-

-not two-

-but three American flags.

Three American flags in a 30 second spot! That is one American flag every 10 seconds! That is an American flag ratio one normally associates with Michael Bay, the salt of the earth’s own! And while I would like nothing more than to imply these three American flags rebut Mr. Rubio’s argument, well, it is merely a TV spot, and I have yet to see the movie, meaning I cannot place any of these flags, accounted for or not, in proper context. I would like to think someone holding as prestigious a postion as The Saturday Evening Post’s chief film critic might agree, but apparently not. And if upon seeing the movie, he chooses to reverse course, well, this wouldn’t be the first time Mr. Rubio made a proclamation only to actually discover the evidence ruled his original proclamation out of order.

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