Debbie Schlussel, DebbieSchlussel.com, Feb. 13, 2006
It’s bad enough that illegal immigrants in Mexican Army uniforms are attacking Border Patrol Agents. But now, Al Gore’s Harvard roommate is doing it, too.
Actor Tommy Lee Jones, who has been Gore’s friend since Harvard, directed and stars in “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.” This movie is an outrage.
Not only does the film portray illegal aliens as nice, innocent, abused people; but Border Patrol Agents are portrayed as evil, cold-blooded murderers of illegal aliens who do nothing else but masturbate to Hustler Magazine.
“Three Burials” began in limited release around the country, beginning last Friday. It is shown mostly in arthouse movie theaters.
But the damage is big. And the view of Americans is warped.
Jones plays ranch hand Pete Perkins, whose employee and friend, Melquiades Estrada, is a kind, gentle illegal alien from Mexico. He’s only here to get some work and make money for his family, whom he hasn’t seen in years. Estrada is so nice he even gifts his horse to Perkins and tells him he wants to be buried back in Mexico.
When we first see Estrada, he is a dead body being eaten by Coyotes. Border Patrol Agents and a local sheriff, played by Dwight Yoakam, don’t give a damn about him. Because he’s illegal, they don’t treat him like a human being. In real life, authorities in border towns know it’s the exact opposite.
Then we meet Border Patrol Agent Mike Norton. He’s a thug (and he works for the INS — someone forgot to send Tommy Lee Jones the memo: there is no longer an INS and hasn’t been since 2003). We get to see multiple scenes of him having sex in his Border Patrol uniform — both with his wife . . . and with himself while on the job.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt must have paid big bucks to Jones for product placement in “Three Burials”. His sleazy magazine has a starring role. We see Agent Norton with Hustler more than we see him with his wife, and that’s by design.
Agent Norton is shown on a secluded area of the border desert, in his Border Patrol uniform, masturbating to Hustler instead of watching for illegals. Melquiades Estrada commits the crime of disturbing Agent Norton’s pleasure session. Norton sees Estrada from a distance tending to his horse and kills him in cold blood.
I’m sure Tommy Lee Jones didn’t really mean to portray the Border Patrol this way. It was just an accident.
Perkins eventually learns that Border Patrol Agent Norton murdered his illegal Mexican friend. He kidnaps Agent Norton, beats and tortures him, and forces him to unbury Estrada and travel with Perkins to Mexico to bury Estrada there.
The trip to Mexico is almost the entire second half of the movie. And it, too, is filled with Jones’ “unique” moving-picture commentary on the Border Patrol. In one scene, a posse of Border Patrol Agents approach a house on the Mexican side of the border, where the kidnapper, the kidnapped agent, and the freshly dug-up dead body have been. The homeowner is blind, but the Border Patrol search party is portrayed as the truly blind. They are buffoons who can’t find anything or anyone.
We see multiple scenes of Border Patrol vehicles and helicopters right above and near the very visible, obtrusive party of kidnapped agent, kidnapper, dead body, and three horses. But they still can’t find them.
And Jones doesn’t stop there. He goes after the Border Patrol Agents’ wives, too . . . and all Americans. They are all evil and whorish, but for Jones’ Pete Perkins. Agent Norton’s wife is a heavy-smoking, slutty, ditzy blonde. The other female lead is a skanky, married waitress who regularly cheats on her husband with the local police and Jones’ Perkins. Dwight Yoakam’s cop is an impotent, sex-obsessed, incompetent. (Remember that, if you are a country music fan and like his “work.”)
“Three Burials’“ Mexicans, on the other hand, are portrayed as pure, kind, generous, innocent.
During the Mexican odyssey, the kidnapped Border Patrol Agent is bitten by a rattlesnake. A kindly Mexican guide leading illegal aliens to the U.S. border finds him and Perkins and offers to help them and take care of Norton’s wound. The kind woman who gives them food and treats the rattlesnake bit, just happens to be the very same woman whom the violent Agent Norton brutally beat while he was on Border Patrol duty back in Texas.
Nice contrast: Mexican illegal aliens — generous, kind, and humane; Border Patrol agents — brutal beaters and cold-blooded murderers of those aliens.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that the evil Border Patrol Agent is played by Canadian actor Barry Pepper. In “Enemy of the State,” he played an evil National Security Agency employee misusing government counter-terrorism surveillance measures to harass an innocent labor lawyer. And he will play one of the flag-raisers in Clint Eastwood’s negative “Flags of Our Fathers,” which portrays the heroic men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima as depressed, ridiculed men after they returned home to the U.S.
Negative portrayals of Border Patrol Agents, National Security Agents, and World War II heroes. Looks like Pepper has the Hollywood ethos down to a science.
This disgusting, anti-American movie is also known as “Les Trois Enterrements de Melchades Estrada” in France, where — surprise, surprise — it was a huge hit and won big at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it won “Best Screenplay” and Jones won “Best Actor“. Also not surprising, mainstream film critics all over America, including Roger Ebert, just loved “Three Burials.”
The only consolation is that this celluloid screed — which was considered an Oscar contender — didn’t get any Academy Awards nominations.
Thank Heaven for small miracles. To paraphrase one of my readers, I look forward to the “Three Burials of Liberal Hollywood Producers.”