Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Thumbs Up, Ten Toes, One Knee, and Pro'ly a Couple o' Elbows

More movie watching. Last night I ended up going with Run Lola Run, followed by You Don't Mess With the Zohan. Lola was good, a very cool movie based on a very cool concept. The editing was a little twitchy and over-caffeinated for my tastes, but the awesome techno soundtrack made up for it. If you're not familiar, the movie's rooted in chaos theory. Lola's boyfriend has 20 minutes to get 100,000 marks or he'll be killed. (This is a German movie, by the way, and a little older than the Euro. My assessment of Germany based on what's presented here - I wouldn't mind visiting the country and listening to the language, but I much prefer France and French.) Lola runs to him and tries to get the money along the way. She's too late and she doesn't have the money. So we rewind and watch things play out again, but with the slightest twist, which ends up changing everything. Nothing great, but worth watching.

You Don't Mess With the Zohan is absolutely as stupid as it looked in commercials. I rented it 1. Because I was amazed to find a recent, mainstream movie at the library, and 2. Because I generally like Adam Sandler movies. Don't get me wrong, the man has made some terrible movies (Click, Anger Management, Going Overboard...), but some of his dumber looking movies have managed to surprise me (did anyone expect Little Nicky to be good?). This one's pretty harmless and I got a few laughs out of it, but I can't really recommend it to anyone. It's American, but most of the characters are Israeli or Palestinian. It didn't make me want to visit America or Palestine, or speal in their languages. I might consider visit Israel based on its portrayal here, if not for the fact that I'm not a big fan of seeing Adam Sandler's naked butt, and apparently that's pretty common there.

Then we come to the movie I watched tonight. Funny Games. German director. There was an American version made a few years ago, but I watched the original Austrian version, and I can assure you that if this is what Austria is like, I never want to go there. The may be the most intense, brutal movie I've ever seen. It's hard to watch. It is not enjoyable. It's a work of genius.

Almost the whole time I was watching it, I was asking myself why. You just feel sick and disgusted. I wondered why I didn't just turn it off, but I didn't move, and I didn't know why. I kept trying to make sense of it the whole time I was watching, and I couldn't. I knew it had some meaning, but I couldn't figure it out. A few minutes after it was over, it all clicked.

It's a deconstruction of violence in movies. Maybe more. I think I'm losing some of the meaning again. The moment of clarity has passed. Jeez, this movie is crazy. One thing I did notice while watching it was that, while it is, as I said, one of the most intensely brutal movies I've ever seen, very little of the violence happens onscreen. What you do see is the build-up and the effect. The emotions of people affected by violence; the emotionless people who inflict it. It's a strange movie to write about. I don't want to give anything away in case any of you want to see it. It's so amazingly intelligent and meaningful and crafted, but it's also not consumable entertainment. This is not an easy, fun movie to watch. I'm so impressed by it, and glad I stuck around through the whole thing, but can I recommend it to anyone? I don't think so. I can tell you that it exists. If you choose to watch it... Your choice. I can't recommend it, and I can tell you that there are reasons you might not want to see it, but I also can't recommend not seeing it.

In other news, I bought a real bed today! No longer will a poorly made futon mangle my spine and cut off circulation to my legs!

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