Monday, January 11, 2010
Other movies, randomly
In comment 33 of this exactly-three-month-old thread, Elliot Tarabour asks,
Just when are we going to get around to discussing “Inglorious Basterds”?
Why, that moment is now! I finally saw it this weekend, and OMG. I had pretty much given up on Mr. Tarantino, and even the glowing reviews didn’t move me. But what the hell happened? Did he start taking Ritalin? Doing Vipassana meditation? Where did this “focus” come from? The movie is ridiculously well done, and I’m even tempted to use words like “disciplined” and “polished.” There must be half-a-dozen Great Staredowns that never get silly or mock-epic; the intense closeup of the cream on the strudel is a great touch (and he does this kind of thing a couple of times, always effectively); Shoshanna’s revenge fantasy is sweet and delicious; the hommages aren’t heavy-handed; and the performances are terrific. Why didn’t you all tell me about this?
On New Year’s Day, Tim McGovern kicked off a thread with this:
I won’t do a thing you say until you give your review of the new Sherlock Holmes movie. The Exiled and Lance Mannion gave it some fine reviews, and I won’t stop mocking wHorowitz until you give in to my demands!
In the ensuing 132-comment scholarly discussion of the term “teabag” and its many variants, I forgot to take umbrage at the term “wHorowitz.” Shame on you, Mr. McGovern, for associating sex workers with the David Horowitz Freedom Center! But shame on me for not offering my review of the new Sherlock Holmes movie and thereby compelling you to do my bidding.
All right, my review is this: Jude Law and Robert Downey make a great team, and it’s clear that they know it too. I’m almost at the point at which I could watch the two of them eat oatmeal for 90 minutes and be content. But I’m sorry. Guy Ritchie is Teh. Most. Annoying. Director. At least since I stopped paying attention to Oliver Stone after the epilepsy-inducing experience of Any Given Sunday. And did we really need voiceovers to let us know that the brilliant Holmes thought about the punches he would throw before he threw them?
And finally, no one has ever asked me, “Michael, what do you think of Smokey and the Bandit?”
Well, it happened to be on cable Saturday night, so I watched a good chunk of it, and I do appreciate its central position in American culture, poised precisely halfway between Moonrunners (1975) and its famous TV progeny, The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). But I had totally forgotten that the film was a 90-minute product placement ad for Coors. WTF? At least in Moonrunners the contraband in question is real likker.
And now it’s time for an Overdue Admission. That remark I made in comment 11 of the New Year’s Day thread? The one about “creating ‘avatars’ that can communicate with the Palinistanian people using their own language and physiognomy,” using “advanced technologies such as ‘weights,’ ‘pulleys,’ and ‘levers’ to control these avatars from remote sites, with the aim of winning the hearts and minds of ‘the people’”? I totally stole that from Nick. Well, half-totally. Over the Molochmas break, one of my teenaged nephews was talking about Thanksgiving and genocide, and I solemnly reminded him that the Mayflower pilgrims did not in fact exterminate the Native peoples. Rather, I said, they created “avatars” to blend in with the indigenous North Americans and learn their ways. “Using advanced technologies such as ‘weights,’ ‘pulleys,’ and ‘levers,’” added Nick, taking it to The Next Level and cracking me up in the process. Credit were credit is due, my son. That was totally funny. So I had to steal it.
And how ‘bout them Jets?