Monday, April 25, 2011

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!

Herewith my review of Atlas Shrugged:

Picture yourself on a train in a station. This is just a warm-up exercise. Hum "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" if it helps.

Okay, now picture the cast of Gossip Girl performing King Lear. No--that's too flattering a mental image. I kind of like some of the kids on Gossip Girl. Picture instead the cast of One Tree Hill doing King Lear.

Ahhh, that's the ticket.

Actually, the guy who plays the evil father on One Tree Hill plays John Galt in the new Atlas Shrugged movie. And he directs too! Smart move. Imagine my alarm at finding the answer to the question "Who is John Galt?" to be somebody by the name of Paul Johansson.

Me? I'd have gone with Scarlett instead of Paul and shot for something more like As You Like It.

Anyway, putting Rand and my generally positive thoughts about the novel aside for the moment, I can honestly say the movie, from a purely technical point of view (acting, directing, writing, shooting, just to name a few), was the worst thing I have ever seen in a movie theater. Kind of a shame, really. Some of the train footage was cool.

A friend of mine gave it a four (on a scale of 10). I'm giving it half a point. That is to say, .5 on a scale of 10. And that's only because I want to keep my grading options open in case I ever see a worse movie. Which I'm sure I will not, but just the same.

So I was sitting there watching the thing at the big multiplex on the south side of 42nd Street, and manomanoman, dear reader, let me tell you the urge to walk out was palpable. Visceral. I didn't, because that's a quitter's mentality. But I did observe a continuous trickle of people, ones and twos, leaving the theater. O lucky souls.

Ebert's biggest complaint when he reviewed it was that they didn't even have the courtesy to throw in some gratuitous nudity. The actress who plays Dagny Taggart was sort of pretty (although she displayed the acting range of one of those Japanese blow-up sex dolls you can buy online), and, to paraphrase the Bard, a little bit of sugar always makes the medicine go down.
You think that's Shakespeare?
Who else would it be?
I don't know. Rogers and Hammerstein?
P.G.Wodehouse?
J.R.R. Tolkein?
Well, it was somebody.
Anyway, the movie sucked completely. And then there was a big surprise.

Imagine this, old friends. With Dagny Taggart standing on the hill above the burning oil field, howling at the sky like Lear howling into the teeth of the storm, with the music coming up and the credits starting to roll, at least half the audience burst into applause. Applause. Some stood while doing so.

I looked around, thinking perhaps Sarah Palin had appeared from behind a curtain and was going to offer some extemporaneous thoughts on Objectivism and the liberal media.

All by way of saying that, as of this writing, my favorite annotation on my Ayn Rand painting reads:
Rand means well enough ... but she lacks the intellectual firepower of Sarah Palin.
These are difficult times, friends. So it's good to be able to smile once in a while.

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