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Is It Bada**ery? Or Bada**itude? And It Doesn't Matter, Because You'll Cry Anyway.

| 9 Comments

We saw two films in the last two days, and they couldn't have been more different - although both were just flat excellent.

'Book of Eli' needs no introduction. But we also saw (via streaming Netflix) 'The Way We Get By,' a brilliant documentary about...well about this:



I don't care how much of a badass you are, you'll cry when you see this movie, and then restart it and watch it again because it's simultaneously sad, humane, funny, and affirming. Amazing. rent it, see it, tell your friends.

Then we saw 'Book of Eli' last night. Littlest Guy dragged us there, but after seeing it I'll say that it's a film that I was happy to see on a big screen (even though it was shot with a Red camera and the colors are deliberately skewed). And I'd say it's a film well worth going out and seeing; it works on a bunch of levels - as one of the best post-Apocyolyptic stories I've seen (and, humorously, there was a poster from 'A Boy And His Dog' in one scene) - as a straight-up action film (hence the question in the title of this post...) - and as a genuine parable about faith.

It's been shelled by a lot of the mainstream critics, and I'm honestly not sure why. See it and judge for yourself.
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9 Comments

Actually, based on the interviews I've read with the directors, you couldn't pay me to see "Eli".
Here's the worst example

The interviewer tried to ask some basic (very basic at times) questions about the choices they made, and did a very poor job of indicating why they made them.

I'm not against seeing a Christian film, but I want a better understanding of why they made their directing choices. "Well, the script said..." just isn't good enough.

Alchemist, why do you care what the directors thought? that's kind of a 'Painted Word' view of things ... I just care about the work on the screen (or wall, or page...).

Marc

Because good movies don't happen by accident. If someone can't explain WHY they made it that way, I'm not going to gamble that they can explan that idea to a larger audience.

And since I can't afford many movies out anymore, (and I'm also movie snob) I either wait for the amazing spectacles (ie Avatar)... or for something that's really well put together.

But generally I don't watch most big budget films

Alchemist, are you saying that you wouldn't see the film because it's about Christian faith? I'm confused...

Marc

No, I'm perfectly willing to see Christianity (or pro-relgion films) as long as the director/screenplay had thought long and hard about what religion means to them, to society (and hopefully both + and -) to create a cohesive narrative in movie/book.

For example: "A canticle for liebowitz" is a post-apocalyptic catholic book that (based on reviews) has rough concept similar to Eli, but is much much denser (religion facing the apocalypse). Apparently readers argue whether it's for or against religion because the characters themselves are seeking clarification of their faith.

Based on the interview, I didn't get the sense that the directors in the movie had not thought long and hard about what the wanted the bible to represent. The bible sounds like it's used as a basic 'McGuffin' and that gives me low expectations. A rotten tomatoes meter reading of 45% doesn't help either.

That's funny, I was actually going to use "Canticle" as an example in commenting to you.

But...I'll suggest that the kind of inchoate question of faith that (I think) Eli really represents is a much more interesting way to talk about faith in today's era.

Really, see it. I'd love to hear what you think of it. If you hate it, I'll Paypal you the $10 it cost...

Marc

Hmmph. I guess I'll make an effort. But time is short, so I'm not sure when it'll happen.

For what it's worth, I actually haven't read Canticle yet, I've read a lot about it but I'm still waiting for it to be returned to the local library.

"Canticle" is dated, but really, really good...just don't read it with your 2010 eyes...use your 1980 eyes...

Marc

The last time I read Canticle was with my 1980 eyes, which were better judges of female backside than literature. I have a rather dismal memory of it, and this makes me want to revisit it.

I do remember the host of post-atomic novels from those years, of which my favorite was Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold.

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