Wednesday, September 10, 2008

on tombstone and not the untouchables.

Despite my nerdtastic knowledge of music, movies and comic books, there's this odd disparity in my life: a lot of the things that most people my age know really well (all the lyrics to [in my opinion] terrible old rap songs) seem to have passed me over completely. I didn't get to watch The Godfather until my best friends at college sufficiently man-shamed me into sitting and dedicating an entire weekend to it. (This was all started because, it should be noted, these same guys watched the series at least 147 times. I'm not kidding. They were obsessed.) Anyway, because of this edge missing in my life, and because I'm otherwise pretty complete in all the requisite pop-culture ways, it oftentimes surprises people when I tell them, "Oh yeah, I haven't seen that," or, "No, I've never heard this song in my life." Which is not to say that I know everything. Rather, it's an admission on my part that I'm missing some parts that pretty much everyone around me thinks are pretty standard. It can be pretty embarrassing.

For this reason, my Netflix Queue oftentimes reads like a best-of for everyone else. The films and movies that everyone else loves and has fond memories of from their childhood are littered throughout my list, in a desperate attempt to catch up and finally understand what people are talking about.

In regards to this catching up, over the course of this week, I've watched two films that people had previously said nothing but good things about to me. The first was The Untouchables and, seriously, I'm not going to spend any more time on that movie other than to say this: anyone who says this is compulsory viewing must be out of their damn mind. It was beyond just bad, it was pretty mind-blowingly terrible. I can't understand how it gets the press it does. While I understand the appeal of stories about Elliot Ness, this one was just poorly told. And just because the subject matter is good doesn't mean the story's well told. Boo.

On the other hand, I was supremely impressed by Tombstone. I say this without any malice at all, but it was seriously the first time that I'd thought of Val Kilmer as a serious actor - and in my memory, he used to get that press all the time! I never understood it growing up, probably because I'd never seen Tombstone. (And no, Top Gun doesn't count! Just because girls like to ogle the pictures doesn't mean it's a good acting job.) But Kilmer as Doc Holliday? A genius turn of acting! Really, the whole story was well-told, the conflicts drove the story in just the right direction, the characters were well-developed and pretty believable in all of their actions and the resolution was satisfying; what more do you want from a flick? (As a sidenote, here, since I just remembered it: one of the details that I was super-happy about, watching Tombstone, since I was comparing it in my head so heavy to The Untouchables, was the decent use of music. Tombstone's soundtrack flowed with the events of the movie and never seemed out of place. Literally every single time the music began in The Untouchables, it jerked me out of the scene and made me wonder if anyone had actually been in the Editing Room for this film's final cut. How anyone could hear that jarring music and think that it played well is beyond me.)

So there you have it folks: if you haven't seen Tombstone, go check it out. If anyone tells you that The Untouchables is a must-see...well...consider abandoning their friendship in favor of an animal or a plant.

1 comment:

Brando said...

Word, my parents rented untouchables and I left pretty early on because I was annoyed. Plus prohibition was like the worst decision we ever made, let's never speak of it again.