“Hotel Rwanda,” is too sad.
I love hotel movies. Kubrick’s “The Shining,” Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” Somebody’s “Hotel for Dogs,” Somebody else’s “Dunston Checks In.” Just like any good hotel stay, these movies will leave you feeling refreshed, re-invigorated, and covered in other people’s mysteriously invisible body fluids.
Be careful, though. Not all hotel movies are toe-tappers. Recently, while accidentally cycling off my depression medication, I watched the 2004 film “Hotel Rwanda.” I was surprised to find that although this movie does take place mostly in a hotel, it is actually really scary, sad, and way less fun than, for example, “Weekend at Bernie’s II” (another beloved cult-classic of the ‘Hotel film’ genre.)
Don’t get me wrong.”Hotel Rwanda,” has a lot going for it, and it was exciting to see Tim Meadows working outside of comedy for a change, but this movie needs a lot of cheering up. After all, this is the movie about the Rwandan Genocide, so let’s make it pop. Let’s have fun with it. Here are 5 ways “Hotel Rwanda,” could be a happier movie:
1. Take Nick Nolte out and put Russel Crowe in.
Everyone loves Nick Nolte, and by everybody I mean the ten people left who remember “The Prince of Tides,” and my mom. So, actually, eleven sad-asses love Nick Nolte. To me, he’s the most spiritually bankrupt actor still working. In “Hotel Rwanda,” Nolte plays a U.N. worker who does nothing but grumble and avoid touching Africans for two hours. Boo hoo. Let’s control-x him and control-v Russel Crowe in. Why Russel Crowe? Because the Rwanda Genocide began on July 7, 1994, the same day as Crowe’s 30th birthday. Instant movie trivia. That makes me happy.
2. Put the internet in.
There was internet in 1994, but it sucked. So part of the challenge in watching “Hotel Rwanda,” is reminding yourself every five minutes that Seamless and Grub Hub weren’t around yet. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the starvation in Africa in the 90s came from substandard takeout delivery services. Also, a hotel without streaming video? Boring. So, even though it doesn’t make sense, let’s put some internet in this movie. It will lighten things up and make the mass murder stuff less dreary. Also, the social media scenes could be really powerful. Recently orphaned children on Snapchat, fresh widows on Instagram. Viral potential is the cousin of Joy itself.
3. Make it black and white.
I hate missed opportunities. Why was this movie shot in color? Everybody knows that the real serious artsy movies have to be in black and white. Color is great for Lego, superheros, Ben Affleck. Fine. But Casey Affleck should always be shot in black and white (this is why “Manchester by the Sea,” was such a flop). If you want us to think “Holy shit, I’m such a smart person sitting here watching this movie about the Rwandan genocide,” it’s gotta be B&W. No excuses. Nothing makes people happier than feeling smart and discerning, and nothing is more smart than a smartly serious old-person movie in old-timey black and white.
4. Sex scenes, please.
The TL;DR of the Rwandan genocide is that it was mostly because the Hutu ethnic group was racist against the Tutsi people. The Hutu generally thought Tutsi’s shouldn’t be alive and/or have heads anymore. And, but, in my opinion this actually does not make a lot of sense because both ethnic groups are basically just black people. So let’s leave race-hate to us cracker-jacks, amirite guyz? I think this movie could show how ridiculous the whole thing was simply by showing more fucking. Hutu on Hutu, Tutsi on Tutsi, Tutsi on Hutu, a no-holds-barred humpfest, blurring the artificially imposed racial categories imposed by Belgian colonialism with buckets of cum.
And they get so close! At the end of each day in “Hotel Rwanda,” Tim Meadows and his Tutsi wife return to a nice hotel room drink red wine and Heinekin, because nothing rounds the edges of tragedy like imported Dutch beer. We get all ingredients of a great sex scene. 1. hotel room 2. hot Tutsi woman and Hutu man 3. booze. And yet, everyone still has their clothes on like nervous 8th graders. More like “Hotel Boner-deflator.”
5. Put a Luau scene in.
I get that overall the story has to be sad. Tim Meadows keeps all these Tutsi mommies and babies in his hotel with no medicine or food or wifi or fidget spinners because that’s actually what happened. But Rwanda is a hot place, and only inches away from being a tropical paradise. So why not put it over the top with a few hundred tiki torches and grass skirts. I recently put two in my living room, and now it feels like I’m living in St. Maarten. A little goes a long way.
Unlike The Holocaust, everything is pretty much o.k. at the end of this movie, even though like almost a million people die. I don’t want to undersell the pain and suffering they endured, I’m just saying that a poi and suckling pig scene would really round things out. After all, it’s hard to grieve for your nation with a mouth full of delicious pork. I know this from experience.