Friday, December 23, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #24


starring Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush, Ciarán Hinds

directed by Steven Spielberg (Amblin', Duel, Always)

Of all the genres of film there are out there for people to enjoy, I can say without reservation that my favorite is the woman-and-repairman-talk-in-double-entendres-and-then-do-it genre. Some people call this "pornography," but remember, they said the same thing about Elvis Presley. Prudes. They would remake the same film starring Pat Boone and in the end, instead of doing it, they would, like, let the repairman fix whatever was ostensibly broken or some shit. And then pray. Bo-ring. If I wanted to be bored about religion, I'd go see Narnia. But at least there I'd get talking animals.

My second favorite genre of films is the Israeli-hit-squad-exacting-bloody-revenge-on-Palestinian-terrorists genre. It's a much less prolific genre than the first one. Basically all we've got is Raid on Entebbe. Which I haven't actually seen. So my first-hand knowledge of this genre isn't all that extensive, but I'll tell you, it sounds like it would be fascinating.

This Munich is directed by Steven Spielberg, which seems great on the surface, but we have to keep in mind that there are two Steven Speilbergs. There is the one who makes exciting stuff with lots of blood, monsters and/or things blowing up (Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds). You know, stuff I could actually watch.

Then there's the other Spielberg, the "serious" Spielberg, who makes long, boring, ponderous message movies with crushingly depressing endings and little bits of horrifyingly uncomfortable bits of psychological terror sprinkled in for good effect (The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan) all washed down by a big, frothy glass of fully-aged schmaltz. They're generally hailed as modern masterpieces, but I always found them sort of disjointed and scattered and ultimately disappointing. It's like he thinks we don't need space-aliens to hold our interest. The height of Hollywood arrogance, in my opinion.

I've read several reviews of Munich and I have yet to find one single reference to space-aliens. The signs are not good.

Further, the screenplay was written by Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer prize winning (red flag!) playwright (two red flags!) responsible for gobbling up hours and hours of HBO screen-time that could have otherwise been spent re-running Sopranos episodes with his d-e-l-i-b-e-r-a-t-e talky-talky-talky Angels in America. I'm worried that Munich might drag a little bit during the 3-hour stretch in the middle where everyone sits around, completely motionless except for their mouths, jabbering about nothing, glorying in their own nauseating cleverness and then having gay sex.

Regular Bucketeers know that I am all about the gay sex movies, but somehow I don't think that's going to be the focus here.

The central character of this movie is played by Australian hunkaman Eric Bana, most famous for his roles in The Hulk and as Hector opposite Brad Pitt's dick in Troy. No word as to whether or not he gets stripped to the waist in Munich, but judging from that track record, I'd say the odds are at least 50-50. So that should draw the ladies.

But what's in it for me, the poor, downtrodden hetero white man besides the random messy deaths of foreign people who may or may not be terrorists? Even the deaths are supposed to be "meaningful" and "plot-related", which immediately dims my ardour. It's all supposed to be about the morality of revenge and crap like that.

The last thing I want to do in a movie is learn something. That's the same reason I walked out of Arachnophobia; not because I was terrified and perhaps--perhaps--had wet myself but because it kept trying to inform me about spider biology and stuff. If anything, I need to walk out of a movie theater less smart than when I walked in. That's the whole point of entertainment: to bring us all down to the same stupid, stupid level so we can be fed the same thing across the widest demographic base as possible. It's our patriotic duty. Remember after 9/11, the president didn't ask us to join the Army or volunteer for the Red Cross or anything like that. He asked us to consume. And we can't all do that if we have different tastes informed by different levels of education and interests.

So I have nothing but contempt for Mr. Spielberg and his Smart-Guy deep-feeling movie. And this is knowing that the cast includes Ciarán Hinds, HBO's Cæsar himself. I have no interest in examining the depths and nuances of the human soul. The moral ambiguity of revenge-killers against targets whose guilt or even complicity is ambiguous, well, it all just sounds so... ambiguous. Four syllables, that word. If you have to use that many syllables to describe it, count me out. You can't even put an exclamation point behind it: ambiguous! See? It just looks stupid.

No aliens, minus. No cartoony Indy Jones Nazis, minus. No genetically engineered dinosaurs, minus. Possible gay sex, plus. Talky talky talky, minus. Ambiguous... eh, either way.

Best I can do here:

Image hosted by One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

Your odds-on favorite for Best Picture then.



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