16 June 2008

How I Spent My Weekend Doing Nothing

The Mrs. went away on Friday to attend a close friend's baby shower, and she's due back later today. So what did I do with my weekend of freedom? Pretty much nothing. (Obviously I didn't post any new blog entries.) I mean, I cleaned up the kitchen so it would look tidy and presentable when she gets home, and I did some laundry yesterday, but other than that, I more or less watched movies of questionable quality for the better part of the past three days.

It's not like I haven't seen True Lies or Paycheck before. I've also seen Eraser, but I watched about half of that again too, fully aware that it's one of the most preposterously implausible movies ever made. I managed to lift my butt out of the chair long enough to walk the dog a couple of times, and to go to the Italian deli down the street for a salad and an order of chicken, ziti, and broccoli, which was more than enough food for Saturday's and Sunday's supper.

But it wasn't all drivel. I also watched the Beatles biopic Backbeat, which I had not seen since it came out in 1994. It's certainly several notches above those other movies in quality. And I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because it was on and because I don't think I'd seen it since it came out either. I have not seen the new one yet, so I figured this would get me in the mood. And the modern Ocean's Eleven is one of those movies I can watch over and over, any time it's on. Since by now I know the movie by heart, it's fun to step back and watch the assortment of techniques, lighting, and camera angles employed by Steven Soderbergh, or count the scenes where Brad Pitt's Rusty is eating something.

I watched an oldie from 1975, The Killer Elite, which was directed by Sam Peckinpah and stars James Caan and Robert Duvall. It's ostensibly an action movie about two friends who work for a shadowy organization that does things like contract killings for the CIA. There's definitely action, but by today's standards the movie chugs along for slightly more than two hours with lots of character and story exposition, occasionally interrupted by a gunfight, car chase, or hand-to-hand martial arts battle.

It was interesting, but I wouldn't exactly say I enjoyed it. I got the feeling Peckinpah was trying to evoke or mimic the Dirty Harry movies, due to the San Francisco setting and blunt violence, but without their social commentary or anything close to Eastwood's charisma, it felt like a curiosity, a cultural artifact, like finding a perfectly working 8-track machine at a yard sale: kind of cool once, but definitely outdated now.

No comments: