Well *I* liked it

I’ve got to admit that the best film I saw this year was the new Bond film, Casino Royale. I’m not saying that it was the best executed, acted, written or produced… probably it wasn’t. But it was by far the most enjoyable and quite frankly, I’ve kind of given up on watching films which are supposed to trigger some sort of emotional or intellectual response.

This process began with Donnie Darko, a movie which was made for people like me (drop-out, pot-smoking philosophy students who listen to independent record labels). Anyway, lots of people I knew loved it and eagerly recommended it to me so I watched it and thought it was completely abysmal. It just seemed so pointless that I didn’t care enough to ‘unravel’ the ‘secrets’ of the film. Ooh the old lady and the tunnels and the rabbit… it’s all so cryptic and yet full of imagery!

I felt sorry for George Clooney when the press started going on about Syriana and saying it was an indictment of US petro-policy and so on. Well, I didn’t exactly feel sorry for him: he’s an incredibly wealthy movie star who can do whatever he likes. But I did think ‘Oh no, poor old George is going to have a lot to live up to after all this attention’. And I was right: Syriana, whatever it was intended to do or say, did and said nothing to me. It was a jumbled, waffly, trite, emotive work in mental masturbation. It said “See, we’ve made the world shit” in the way that only a $50 million movie can.

I’m afraid that I was also singularly underwhelmed by this year’s smash hit, Pan’s Labyrinth (El Labarinto del Fauno). This film was made half to appeal to me and half to appeal to mental people like Gemma’s cousin in C.R. who believe in pixies and fairies (which they insist on spelling ‘faeries’) and other such nonsense. The half that was supposed to appeal to me was the fact that it was set in post Civil War Spain and there were nasty Franquistas running about everywhere.

The thing is: this is one of the least talked about periods of recent history here. After the Civil War which you can argue about for decades and never agree, Franco formed a dictatorship and set about rebuilding a heavily traumatised Spain in his own image. I’ve never seen a film which dealt with this subject matter and was interested to see Pan’s Labyrinth and how it treated this delicate, fascinating subject matter. Thing is, the film is set then but doesn’t really say anything about it. The setting is pretty much irrelevant to the plot – and as such doesn’t interfere with the delicate, magical story surrounding the little girl who’s the main character. The problem is that I can’t abide mythical beasts or any of that stuff and so even though I got what was going on, I couldn’t stand it.

Bond, on the other hand, was great. Simple, manly action; beautiful, exotic women in low-cut dresses; a dab of betrayal and lost love. It’s not a film which will change the world but by heck, it was thrilling and that’s what it set out to be.

I used to love the more avant-garde, emotional, witty and moving films made by directors like Godard. Actually, I still do… thing is that no one’s making films like that these days and the closest alternative is the pseudo-art-movie. I’d rather eat fresh bangers and home made mash than a pre-cooked fancy ready-meal from Sainsbury.

4 thoughts on “Well *I* liked it

  1. I enjoyed it too. To my surprise, I’m even looking forward to the next one. But then Goldeneye, the first Brosnan film, was quite good but all the subsequent ones shite. Same director I think?
    Was thinking about a holiday trip to the movie theater this Christmas but this seasons offerings are truly abysmal. Santa Clause 3: The escape clause anyone? You know things are bad when Jackass 2 becomes a possibility.

  2. i completely agree with you on donnie darko. way overrated. that movie was awful. syriana too. worth the download, that’s about it. haven’t seen bond, and I am a big fan of the classics like from russia, dr no(i know, how obvious). i might check it out, if not i’ll wait for the dvd. and godard? he had style, but he’s repellent, and way too conceptual. i agree with you, sometimes you have to see stupid shit just to disconnect.

  3. I have a feeling that Jackass 2 will be pretty enjoyable. Who can really put their hand up and say they don’t like watching grown men push each other down staircases in shopping trolleys while simultaneously lighting farts and a dwarf runs around shouting? I’m just worried that the level of creativity and fun they managed to maintain in the first instalment will wane in a sequel which is simply ‘more of the same’.

    James Bond: I love Goldfinger and most of the other classics too. I also really enjoyed both A View To Kill and The Living Daylights, yeah the one with the cellist.

    As to Godard… I guess you’re referring to his politics. But it’s all of its time, I reckon. I’m just amazed to see that the old sod’s still alive!

  4. godard: i think he once said it’s important not to make political films, but to make films politically … as if that’s any different. it’s one of those post-modern mind fucks. i actually liked 1 1, but most anything else after that – and i haven’t seen much – i’ve watched because it’s godard, but in reality they’re unwatchable. he should’ve stayed away from politics, definitely.

    jackass is great. haven’t seen part 2 yet. that’s nice stupid entertainment.

    bond: on her majesty’s secret service is great, i forgot to mention that one. i don’t know about the newer ones. and as for the last one, with the amount of slickness and product placement lately i can’t help feeling insulted – i guess that’s my problem, i know, but i don’t like paying to see commercials

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