Saturday, August 28, 2010

Irrefutable argument in favor of capital punishment

I watched about 15 mins. of Moulin Rouge (2001) yesterday. Somebody needs to pay for this crime against humanity. What a piece of crap. Hate to see Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman go - after all, they were only following orders. Maybe some kind of extended prison time under international guard for them.

I will no longer watch any movie in which "visually" is used as a selling point. You know, teasers like "This visually stunning..." I haven't seen Avatar and won't for that very reason.

In contrast, I revisited 1963's Hud a few weeks ago. No CGI - it has that LOL effect of people sitting in a car pretending to drive while scenery moves on a screen behind them. B&W. It's just good adaptation of a credible writer (based on Larry McMurtry's first novel), a lithe plot and most of all strong acting. Melvyn Douglas, playing an old guy before he was really old, and Patricia Neal projecting haggard and sexy at the same time, both won supporting actor Oscars for their roles. Paul Newman masterfully undercuts his good looks with a repulsive character. I wonder how much he drew on this to help Tom Cruise pull off a similar effect in The Color of Money.

It is entirely possible to create film that has the impact of a good stage play. Rod Serling, later of Twilight Zone fame, did this with Kraft Television Theatre. Heck, he did it with Twilight Zone, for that matter.

OK, winding down from rant. Football season is at hand so I will be less inclined to blunder into "visually stunning works of imagination" or other capital crimes.


The Archer of the Forest said...

Actually, I watched Avatar the other day, and I actually liked it. I was skeptical as well. It's basically Frank Herbert's Dune in a forest. (And they don't make any bones about this fact because the first thing you read when the credits roll at the end is "In association with Dune Entertainment.")

caheidelberger said...

I love Baz Luhrmann for many reasons. One is that his art does provoke such passionate reactions... rather like Bill Janklow.

When Moulin Rouge came out, I had no intention of seeing it. My lovely wife surprised me by urging me to watch it. She said it was a great movie... and a movie rife with Christian themes to boot.

What? Christ in a whorehouse? You've got to be kidding me!

My wife doesn't kid. We watched it together, discussed it extensively. Sure enough, she was right. It is balls-to-the-wall spectacle. It is unapologetic cultural mash-up, by turns hilarious, thrilling, and awesome in its re-appropriation of music from various genres. And it really is a story about redemption and salvation, a good framework for a conversation about Christian values.

I actually taught this film at Montrose in my senior English classes (after the junior-year o Child Left Behind tests, when Uncle Sam and the Department of Education couldn't touch us). Check out my essay questions here. There's lots to work with in this movie.

TLF+ said...

How are we ever going to have executions with bleeding hearts like you two on the review panel?

I guess I will have to give it another look with Cory's study guide in hand.

Archer, you owe me a sermon on it.

caheidelberger said...

No obligations, Tim—you may come out of a second viewing with an even stronger logical case for Moulin Rouge being the worst movie of the decade. I still would welcome a certified theologian's perspective on this secular humanist's meager attempt to get young people to identify Christian themes in pop culture. (Then, if you can bear it, take a swing at Luhrmann's Australia. My wife and I found it bold and Shakespearean... and it seems like everyone else hated it. Maybe we're just weird....)

And if Archer does that sermon, I might well listen to the podcast.

TLF+ said...

I have to admit that the way Montmartre appeared like the gate to hell was impressive - as was the way in which the gray, severe priest and chiding, moralistic father figure made it all the more alluring! So even though I was turning off rapidly to all the camp and goofy song lyrics (I can get that in 30 mins. on Family Guy), I found myself thinking - "Ah, there's a good point - grim Christians can not only make Christianity unattractive, they can make a path toward destruction look durn purty!"

I understand there's a strong love story to be found in the film, so I will have to pour some rum or tequila (never both) and try again.

The Archer of the Forest said...

I could do an analysis of Avatar and Frank Herbert's Dune. Dune is one of my specialties.

The Archer of the Forest said...

OK, I've written a sermon-ette analogy of Dune and Avatar on my blog. You can read it here: