Secret Pop

Dec 12, 2003

The Great Waste

I didn't mean to catch Swept Away on late night pay television, but I did. And it was the most egregious waste of time I have committed in recent history. Lord, what a horrible movie. It spends thirty too many minutes establishing for you that Madonna's character (Amber) is a bitch. And you've long since accepted the fact. You also marvel at how unattractive she looks. After all the music videos she's looked hot in, you can't get past her steroid-striated face and arms. And there's something too -- I don't know -- blonde about her face. Maybe because of the need to later try and portray her as not wearing make-up while stranded on a deserted island. They don't pull it off.

Giancarlo Giannini's son looks too much like Valeria Golino circa Hot Shots Part Deux, and he's not likable either. It never makes sense that they fall for each other. Or that they spend a month stranded on this island but his facial hair never grows. And their clothes are still clean and untattered. Or that they don't end up together in the end, because they give you no reason at all to believe that she would feel compelled to stay with her knob of a husband.

And there's SO MUCH TALKING. You scan the credits in the end to see if George Lucas wrote it. Oh, and it's never EVER funny. Not once. I think it was billed as a romantic comedy, but maybe that's just because there isn't a standard category called "boring will-to-live-drainer."

So much disappointment in the cinema. If I had paid to see this film, I would have wanted to kill myself and someone sitting next to me. I would have wanted to leave before they even got off the ship. But I probably wouldn't have, because I never walk out of movies. Once, in college, I went with friends from the debate team (true) to see a German film of Charles Bukowski's Love Is a Dog from Hell, and Susanna Soo (we called her Sue Soo) wanted to leave during the first of the three vignettes, which portrayed randy young boys engaging in sexy voyeurism at a vulnerable age, so she left and Mike (was his last name Davis?) left with her, I assume because he was a gentleman. I was confused. And glad that I wasn't also being asked to go. I also saw a couple walk out of Pulp Fiction when it first came out, and I was seeing it at a Landmark in Hillcrest, a theater I imagine seldom provokes the walk-out. It's just not that kind of neighborhood. I went to see a Bollywood thing there called The Music Room, and I wished we'd walked out, but we stayed till the end and then went to the City Deli and talked long into the night about how little actually ever happened.

I haven't been to the movies much lately. But I think I'm capable of extrapolating the disappointment for the vast majority of flicks currently on the marquee. I'm not entirely given to cynicism, but there's a certain component of live-and-learn. I can admit to looking forward to seeing Big Fish. I also want to take my dad to see The Last Samurai. And whatever new Denzel Washington film happens to be out. If you don't know this firsthand, my dad has a crush on Denzel Washington. He likes him in everything. Even Virtuosity. I had planned to see Love, Actually, but that's looking more and more like it will come to me on the small screen. And of course I will go see The Return of the King. I'm no fool.

Perhaps that's where I will leave things. I often feel that I could go on writing for hours. Just sort of randomly vomiting it onto the page. It surprises me where that sort of stream-of-consciousness approach takes me. Sometimes I just keep going hoping that something cool will come out. I feel like I'm treading water right now, waiting for just that. But it's late. And there will be time for this on other nights. As many things as I feel I can never be certain of, that's one thing that doesn't change.

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