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A boy and his rat

Nickey Hernandez

Who says the Hollywood elite can’t understand U.S. foreign policy?Seems to me that the remake of the 1971 rat pack classic, Willard, provides excellent insight into America’s checkered involvement in the Persian Gulf region.On one level, the film is about a pathetic loser who befriends a dashing rodent, then uses the furry guy’s connections to terrorize enemies. On another level, it explains why America is ready to rumble in the sand.As Baby Boomers might recall, the original Willard let viewers enjoy a rat feeding frenzy on Ernest Borgnine. That alone was worth the price of admission in ’71.The modern film is much better. Again, the story centers on a spineless mamma’s boy, who lives a hellish existence inside a spooky mansion with his crippled and crazed mother. Willard (Crispin Glover) is such a sorry sap that mom demands he change his name to Kent, because “that is handsome name and it may help you get a date.”Glover, who is known for bizarre and highly entertaining supporting performances, is perfect in this role. Glover is so dead on as the simpering Willard that you smile whenever he is on screen. Though Glover normally plays second fiddle in films, with Willard, he carries the movie and delivers the cheese.Willard’s homeland security changes for the better when he meets a friendly white rat in his cellar. The rodent follows all of Willard’s commands. The uber-rat, named Socrates, happens to head an army of angy vermin.Willard quickly uses these furry weapons of mass destruction for his own political purposes.Socrates, along with the rat world’s number two terrorist, a massive beast named Ben, move their army to the home of Willard’s cruel boss. Once there, they deliver a little bit of the ultra violence.Willard’s friendship with his violent-prone pets is not unlike America’s relationship with lesser countries. Just like Willard, America tends to rely on third-world vermin to handle our dirty jobs.As we all know, the United States once made nice with the biggest rats of all time, the infamous Middle East rapper known as “OBL.” Uncle Sam also hand fed Saddam Hussein all sorts of nasty weapons when crazed Iranians were the biggest ratfinks to scurry across the Middle East.The 9/11 parallels with Willard continue when we see thousands of trusty rats devour Willard’s Evil Empire boss. No need for Willard to dirty his hands when there’s a pack of furry mujahideen willing to carry out the task.The film could have ended happily right there, but Willard — in keeping with American blunders of the past turns his back on the rat killers, leavingBen to take the heat.Ben, just like “OBL,” does not cotton to double-crossing bipeds. Ben instantly put out a fatwa on Willard, then leads a four-legged jihad on the bastard’s house.Payback’s a bitch when it comes from the sewers.Willard survives the terror attack, but ends up in the booby hatch. Oddly enough (and this is true), the number on Willard’s mental ward cell door is 3-911.Pretty creepy, right?Until next time, Nickey Hernandez has left the theater to set traps.qNickey Hernandez is a former private investigator, who won’t eat cheese for no body.


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