Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Token Update

Do those of you with your own blogs feel a burning compulsion to update a lot? I do, and I feel like I've been shirking my responsibility to fill this space. As in, nobody will read this stupid thing if I don't write in it. (Duh.) The blogosphere abhors a vacuum, I guess.

Lots of free time with games is one of the things I was most looking forward to after I left my job. So I'm disappointed (or ashamed?) to admit I haven't even touched a controller since I was last paid to do so -- though over the weekend I did get in one mission with Company of Heroes, which is rocking my socks off. (Totally late to the party, I know.)

No games yet, but I did finally see No Country for Old Men last night and really liked it. There's not much I can say about it that its Best Picture award didn't already say, but the Coens have got to be among the savviest filmmakers working these days. What an uncanny sense of narrative pacing those guys have, and they're successful in so many genres too. Also Javier Bardem can be one really creepy dude when he wants to be. The casting was pretty great in general -- Josh Brolin was especially convincing as the salt-of-the-earth, blue collar Texas badass -- but the movie lived and died by Bardem's ability to scare the hell out of you. That guy literally became the face of evil here.


If you haven't seen it you should stop reading now: the open ending left me hanging. I wanted to see less injustice and more resolution for the protagonists, largely because the filmmakers did such a good job getting you attached to the characters, but you just don't get it in this one. (In defense of this movie, however, I hear the book's conclusion didn't really differ at all.) It seems like the sort of ending I would have loved in my more pretentious pseudo-intellectual art-house college days, but instead it was really a bit unfulfilling.

Such a vast majority of movies use the more typical Hollywood style of ending -- the one where the hero offs all the villains, blows shit up, gets the hot chick, utters a one-liner, and flies off into the sunset clinging to a rope ladder dangling from an Apache or whatever. So it was kind of jarring to have the film just end with all these seemingly loose threads still hanging, and without the bad guy getting what I thought was coming to him. Maybe one's tastes tend more toward the mainstream as one gets older. Maybe it's really that hard to see bad people get away with doing bad things. Oh well, whatever -- sign me up for the next focus group.

9 comments:

Michael said...

Read the book. That's all I can say, really. The ending in the book is so fitting, so absolutely perfect. In the film... eh, not so much. The film is so remarkably different from the book, which is fine, but it has to be kept in context. Some of the scens and the ending in particular didn't quite gel with the rest of the film. It's hard to adapt high literature to the screen, and in terms of plot and characterization, the film was a resounding success. In terms of the ideas and themes of the novels, not so great.

Milkman519 said...

I saw No Country for Old Men about a week ago and LOVED it. By far, the best movie of 2007.

John said...

company of hereos is incredible; it seriously ate away at the time i was supposed to be spending on my dissertation. totally know what you mean about the updating the ol' blog thing. i haven't updated for a few days, i'm only letting myself down.

Kurt said...

Just to add to what Michael said, the book is all kinds of short. Honestly, it'd be worth the shipping fee to get it to you, it's that good. I should admit, in the interest of full disclosure, that I did pick up the book after seeing the movie, and that I did get the copy of the book with Javier on the cover, and that I did get it in an airport book store. That said, I will continue to laud it unreservedly.

Ross said...

THIS HAS A SPOILER-LIKE STATEMENT AT THE END!
i thought that the ending of the movie was actually quite good. The way that the Coen's could build up such a plot, and then just end it at that one second was amazing. I don't know if anyone else felt the same way, but was the ending kind of predictable? I just thought that as that last scene was going "hmm, they might do an ending just like the sopranos"... and they did

ORO X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ORO X said...

Blogging can become stressful, after a while the quiet voice compelling you to update your blog will develop into a megaphone equipped preacher who makes you feel guilty everytime you decide not to post. Watch out for him, he's dressed like a cowboy.

Rafael Desquitado Jr. said...

I loved the ending to NCFOM, I think it ended the way it should have. I have every intention of reading the book but want to wait a bit, I tried reading it right after I saw the flick and it was just too soon.

Aaron T said...

Spoilers of course:

The ending fits because it's like, the Old Man of the film survives. He decides it's too rough and gets out before he's also mowed down by this force of nature evil guy. It's not expected, but for me it worked. You have those kids even fighting over the money the badguy gives them toward the end, showing that the things that caused all this shit still spreads out, still messes things up. I thought the Sheriff admitting he was out of his league was even heroic. So, you know, if you drop the old "pretentious" bomb on a discussion, then you alienate some people and reinforce other people's stereotypes. Not sure how it served your opinion, I guess.