Monday, October 23, 2006

Individuals and their families

Back home and all sorts of thoughts to catch up on. As well as roofing and nice things to eat, O. treated me to three movies – two of which I’d not seen before.

The Incredibles is great fun, though I was a bit spooked by how much its abolition-of-superheroism stuff reminded me of Watchmen. But it left me with all kinds of niggle.

Mr and Mrs Incredible live a tawdry suburban life and have put weight on in all the wrong places since the days when saving the world was still legal. And then a mad villain comes up with a plot which requires not just their combined wits to foil it. They also need to bring along their kids…

Slightly weirded out by the ending. The kids get to be heroes, and then immediately both consign themselves to mediocrity – not trying too hard against other children for fear of standing out and forgoing Goth for an Alice band. And this when the big lesson is hey, it’s okay to be different.

The clash of the amazing with the deadeningly ordinary does not sit entirely on the same seat. For all the family is full of kooky powers, it’s still very nuclear – a dull ideal like in an advert for gravy.

It seems it’s okay to be an individual so long as nobody else notices. In some ways it feels as if the kids’ extraordinariness is just an awkward phase they’re going through.

And though Mr I’s best mate is Samuel L Jackson, the Black-Ice Man appears only briefly and smacks a little of tokenism. This kind of thing has been better and more deeply handled – I thought especially of Tom Strong.

Then on to the Godfather Part 1, which was nothing like the patchwork of clips I’ve previously been exposed to. Long and slow and engrossing, I particularly liked the sequence of Pacino in Sicily, where we see where the five families came from and how their gangsterism came about.

Al Pacino brings a girl to his sister’s wedding and tries not to reveal too much about the family. People come to see Pacino’s dad to show respect and ask for favours. And the family teases Pacino for being above their mucky stuff. But when dad gets the disrespectful treatment and is shot while out buying veg, Al decides he’s gonna get his hands dirty…

Corleone’s insistence that family comes before any thought of morality reminded me of the noble Baroness, Lady Thatcher, declaring that there bain’t be no such wossname as society.

Her comments have been taken to mean an everyone-for-themselves kind of attitude, though she’s actually talking about how we all have social obligations to one another.

A decade before Mrs T became prime minister, Scorcese shows exactly why it’s no good just looking out for your own. The vicious greedy war that follows is a plague on everyone’s houses.

Brosnan in SpaceAnd then Mars Attacks!, which I now realise is a great lodestone to my scribbling.

It’s not just the funny and alien babble which I’ve pilfered as my own. Griffiths in the Time Travellers is clearly meant to be played by Pierce Brosnan.

11 comments:

AndrewT said...

I think Tom Jones is the classic bit of Mars Attacks. It's one of those feel good cheesy numbers, bit like Mrs Doubtfire, feel good sick on the sofa under the duvet films.

Andrew L said...

Three great films for lots of different reasons - I've loved Mars Attacks for many years now... Jack Nicholson's final futile scene always stands out in my mind...
But hey, that's not why I've left this message really, it's more to say "hello and how ya doing?" to a very old (well it seems that way to me) friend from what I believe is termed 'back in the day'... Obviously you haven't a clue who I am because I haven't told you yet and there are probably hundreds if not thousands of people I could be - as it is my name, like that of your previous commentator is Andrew and, without wishing to broadcast all my personal details across an unkown interweb, my surname begins with L. Would be great to catch up and have a chat sometime - that's if you can work it out from my obscure ramblings...

0tralala said...

I know exactly who you are, AndrewL! Even named a character in "The Coup" after you. You were performed by Jospeh Lidster.

Hello! How are things! Are those your own works of Silurian delight? How does one reach you?

Joseph Lidster said...

Nothing Tra La La...

Where fiction and reality converge...

Rob said...

Spooky - Templar used to be my handle of choice. Not that spooky I s'pose, as its obviousness and ubiquity is why I had to dump it when the internet got all popular...

Mars Attacks is massively overrated, sorry. All the critics who called it a pastiche of "Independence Day" just showed themselves up for so spectacularly failing to get "Independence Day". Tom was good, but what was "Cardiff, Wales" all about? Most of the jokes overcooked by Burton's obsession with the macabre. Talking of Burton, and relevant to your stuff about The Incredibles - take a look at the ending of "Beetlejuice" and then tell me Tim Burton is avant-garde.

The Godfather? I'm sure it's a great film. I'm equally sure I'll never see it. Just despise all that "noble criminal" guff. However you dress it up, Coppola, Scorcese et al are basically apologists. Humbug.

vkqmayoh, sez I.

Endo said...

I keep trying to change away from Templar for the very reasons Rob mentioned but unfortunately my family seem to be absolutely unable to remember anything else... In recent years anyone who is able to keep up with the times just calls me Endo... And the story behind that name is just to bizarre even for here...
I still rate Mars Attacks though - but I too am unlikely to ever watch The Godfather...

AndrewT said...

templar aint so bad. my email is agricola - wasn't too bad 8 years ago when i chose it - named after a roman general. I didn't bank on ending up working in archaeology 8 years later. kinda gets embarassing sometimes.

Endo said...

Coming from Southampton, being told I have the patience of a saint and being a huge fan of Leslie Charteris' character - Templar seemed more than appropriate for me... I haven't become a Saint though in the intervening years so I don't have the same problem as andrewt

0tralala said...

Blimey. Only turned my back on the list for a second...

Have emailed you now, Mr Templar. And will delete the post with your email address in it so as to save you from spam. Thus I am so helpful.

Rob, I am going to amaze you by not agreeing about the moofies. I think as Star Wars is criticised for the poor knock-off copies it spawned, I'd venture you are unhappy with glamorised misery in other films. Godfather makes things much more complicated.

And AndrewT can join the prestigous club of chums of mine who have Romano-email addresses.

AndrewT said...

Yay, a prestigous club that's accepted me without vetting first.

Rob said...

Nope, I've seen bits of The Godfather and it's guilty.

Re: Templar - another reason for changing was that people always assumed I was a Charteris fan, when I've never read one. I use the stickman character as a signature because my grandfather used to do it, and carrying on the tradition pleases my Mum.

awspbat to the lot you!