Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Movie Day

Sunday, we decided we were taking a day off. We had a stack of movies we had rented and we never left the motel room except a quick trip to BC Pizza (more on that in another post). It was glorious.

We never saw King Kong when it was in the theaters, even though we had heard that was the best way to experience it. We decided to rent it, just so we could stop dealing with the incredulous stares every time we had to confess that, no, we hadn't seen the re-re-re-re-make of King Kong.

Well, I can say I saw it. I can also say that if I had paid $7-a-head to see it in the theater, I would have burned the place down. First, it's just too damn long. Now, understand I have nothing against long movies if the story warrants it. It takes three hours to even gloss the material in a Tolkien novel. However, it does not take three hours to tell this story. This has to be the slowest-paced action/adventure film in the history of film-making. We watched entire sections on fast forward and missed nothing because a) once on board the ship, there were exactly zero words of dialog outside of yelling, screams, and grunts, and b) the "action" was so damn slow that even at 2x, it still looked like slow motion. We were able to MST3K the final scenes while on fast forward and never had a problem keeping up.

Another thing this move lacked was plausibility. Now that may sound like a funny thing to say; after all this is a movie about a twenty-plus-foot gorilla on a lost island full of all sorts of improbable creatures. But while every movie involves a willful suspension of disbelief, every movie must establish its rules, then abide by them consistently. For example, Kong is fighting off a entire army of some sort of dinosaur, while simultaneously juggling Ann Darrow making repeating blind catches. OK, so Kong is super-perceptive and hyper-coordinated. Except that just a few minutes prior, he gets smashed in the head by a boulder that he cannot for some inexplicable reason see or hear crashing down the side of a hill. We are also supposed to believe that Darrow can be repeatedly smashed into the ground (shown lovingly in one of the dozen or so seemingly-endless slow motion sequences) and not only survive without a single bruise or scratch, but then reprise her vaudeville act, complete with pratfalls, on uneven, broken rock. And so on, and so on, through every scene in the movie.

The second movie we tried to watch was Capote, but after the Kong debacle, we couldn't take another slow movie. We ditched that in favor of another remake, Fun With Dick and Jane. I was prepared to not like this, just because it was a remake, but I also wanted to like it because I've been a sucker for Jim Carrey humor since he was on In Living Color. It turned out to be a good remake that retained enough of the original to be recognizable while making the changes necessary to fit current reality as well as fitting the style of the current actors.

The last movie of the day was Good Night and Good Luck, which I enjoyed immensely, but which bored N to tears. It's an important movie, but it is hard to make an action movie out of a story that takes place in the newsroom and in congressional hearings. If there is any hope of salvaging the scraps of our republic, then people have to recognize that the spirit of McCarthy is alive and well and living in the White House. But of course, I'm working at becoming totally mobile so I can leave the country on a moment's notice, so that pretty much tells you all you need to know about my expectations for these united states.

And that was the entire day.


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