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Movies I’ve Watched Recently 3/9/10

Movies - by - March 9, 2010 - 15:11 UTC - Be first to Comment!

The Motorcycle Diaries

At some point, and I’m not sure when that was, I became really interested in Latin America cinema. Probably not coincidentally, some of the movies I have enjoyed watching from Latin America this past decade (This movie, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Amores Perros) have starred Gael Garcia Bernal, the best young actor in the Spanish-Speaking world. He’s been a part of some really incredible roles, but it’s his role as young Che Guevara that always stands out in my mind.

I love the movie’s suddenness. It’s a story about a 7,000 mile trip, and with it, you think you’re in for a long run, but then you see them run off the road and into a roadside ditch with their motorcycle. Or flee from a party in Chile when Che tries to go home with his mechanic’s wife. The most moving suddenness, however, is when Che starts meeting the migrant members of “Suramerica” in northern Chile and into Peru. It’s certain to think that before he took the trip that he would find out new things about the world, but when he realizes what those new things are, and how they warp the perception of the reality that has been presented to him on his continent, you see him change his demeanor the further on they go. He grows in confidence, grows in honesty, grows in enlightening his world view. While he had been handcuffed, so to speak, in Buenos Aires, the trip he had been planning for a decade had opened his eyes to a world much bigger than any one he was a part of back home.

His birthday night at the leper colony in the Peruvian Amazon brings it all together, obviously, with a speech that brings up applause amongst his fellow doctors (Che was a semester away from finishing medical school before leaving) but even with that, he swims the south bank to spend the rest of the evening with the lepers who had been segregated, as he says, from the doctors on the north bank, even though they aren’t contagious. There’s a part earlier where they were taking the first trip over, and he is offered gloves. He declines them simply because he wants to show them that even though he is a doctor, that he is human just like them and wants to improve their way of life in more ways than just medicine.

Of course, the legacy of Che after this trip is something that has turned into the lore of revolutionary minds across the world, although his philosophy as he progressed in life became an argument that has been made over and over again since his death in 1967. I do want to point out that at the end of the film, while recounting what happened in the lives of both men after they got to Caracas, Venezuela, their final destination, it is explicitly stated that Che was not killed by CIA operatives, but murdered, an interesting piece of commentary to say the least, as it is widely known that Che was executed in a schoolyard.

While Che’s legacy after he became a noted revolutionary might be cause for argument, I don’t think there’s anyone who would disagree at the motives he showed after his interactions with those less fortunate in his home land on his journey across South America. His idea of bringing compassion and equal rights to those who have been basically forgotten amongst his people is something that I don’t think should be argued at all, and for a bunch of “communist” ideas, sounds pretty democratic to me.

Old School

I wrote about this in Part 1 of my favorite movies of the decade, but it’s still great and will continue to be great for a long time. Even edited on cable, it’s worth a look.

Tin Cup

I know Costner gets a bad rap for all of his works, but good lord, he has been a part of some of the better sports movies ever. “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams” are classic sports movies, and “For Love of the Game” is absolutely underrated, even if I can’t stand Kelly Preston in it. This movie is right up there. The part in the movie where he wins his clubs back playing with a bunch of yard items and a “pink lady” is great, and includes the great lost line of the movie after the dude he’s playing hits a good shot: “You hear that Romeo? Boone was being profound!” I still turn it on if there’s nothing good on TV, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t entertain me every time I watch it.

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut

I had to set aside about 200 minutes of my life (215 to be exact) to sit through this incarnation of the much argued movie that was adapted from arguably the greatest graphic novel written in the English language. Compared to the theatrical version, this is so much more in line with the book (although the end, as it was in all the movie versions, is different from the end of the book, and in my opinion, much better, although giant squids still scare the crap out of me) and is really about as full an experience as you’ll see.

I hadn’t seen it in full in almost a year, but there were some great parts in there that I remember. The majority of Rorshach’s parts, especially when he was in jail (where they said he couldn’t be left for fear of his safety due to all the people he put IN that jail) were outstanding. Dr. Manhattan’s plight is always a great one to watch; having attained his god-like powers and his vision of time in all its relevancy, he loses his grip on humanity due to his vision the size of our universe, only to re-emerge as someone who understands the plight of humanity as not just a speck in the universe, but as part of that universe nonetheless.

It’s well acted, it hardly strays from the book (although it does show Zach Snyder’s tendencies for copious amounts of grisly violence; you WILL see broken bones in spectacular fashion, among other things) and the animated “Curse of the Black Freighter” scenes that were taken from the comic book inside the comic book were interspersed very well.

Perhaps the biggest thing for fans of the book is the divide it caused between the book’s author, Alan Moore and it’s artist, Dave Gibbons. Gibbons enthusiastically helped piece together Snyder’s vision and was instrumental in many of the scenes that were taken directly from his cells, but Moore vehemently wanted nothing to do with a film project of his work, with him saying “I’m never going to watch this fucking thing.”

Personally, as I understand Moore wanting to keep his original work intact as the only incarantion of his vision, I doubt he’d be disappointed if he ever turns around and watches it one of these days. While not perfect, I think it’s about the best adaptation of his novel that anybody will ever make.

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