Digesting

August 8, 2006

I’ll keep this short, since I really don’t have much to say about these movies, but even though all of our Netflix dvd’s found themselves in the mail over the weekend and all of our homework was about to be due, we still managed to watch a couple of movies. One I recommend and one I don’t. Let’s start with don’t:

Kingdom of Heaven

Did you ever watch a movie that made you nostalgic for Gladiator? Then obviously you’ve never watched KOH. I’ll admit, my hopes were never high. I avoided it last summer, despite my sister’s fervent protestations that it “wasn’t that bad” and not nearly as racist as I had feared. I gave in this weekend because it was free from HBO On Demand and because, The OC notwithstanding, I’ve been using my brain way too much recently. I was hoping for a Gladiator redux, complete with ethnic singer and sexy overacting. Oddly enough, what I got was unsexy underacting and a herky jerky storyline in which there would good guys and bad guys, but our heroes decided they were neither. There’s the Christian side, and the Muslim side, which most normal men seemed perfectly able to choose between, but no, Orlando is on everyone’s side. That’s kind of my pet peeve of the moment: stories or journalists or whoevers that invent an imaginary third side to a conflict that somehow rises above the original conflict and demonstrates the third sider as more wise and virtuous than anyone so misguided as to wade into the real fray. I’m not thinking of any universally recognizable examples of this right now (unless you listen to NPR’s On the Media–that’s their favorite thing to do when addressing a potentially controversial topic), but maybe you’ve seen it too. It’s almost always a cop-out, and in this movie it felt like no exception.

And now the do:

The French Connection

This one also took us a couple of tries to get through, as it does not mix well with tired brains or mojitos. You need to be sharp for this one, because between the cop talk and the parade of foreign drug dealers there’s a lot to catch. Smarter critics than I have both praised and condemned this movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s tight, well-acted, and visually distinctive. I’d tell you not to miss the chase, the existential battle between Gene Hackman and the smelly French guy, but I don’t think you could. It’s kind of the whole point. Maybe a better point is that one need not analyze these drug cop movies too much, but isn’t it fun?

Okay, back to The OC. We should be wrapping up the first season tonight.

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One Response to “Digesting”

  1. Lauren Says:

    If you liked the French Connection (which I’ve only seen bits of, meaning I had absolutely no clue what was going on), you should check out The Conversation, also with Mr. Hackman.


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