A Sunday at the Movies

Last weekend after dinner at BP’s, Rob and I engaged in that trailer park tradition of trolling the dvd bargain bins at our local crap peddling box store because we were too tired to make the drive to the suburbs and muster the inner reserves to deal with the Saturday nite hordes at the multiplex.

After rearranging two bins brimming with theatric cast-offs we settled on two of the $5 selections: Fever Pitch and In the Name of the King. We watched the former that night. It’s a remake of a British film starring Colin Firth that was adapted from a book of short stories by Nick Hornsby. I sorta wish we could have seen the original because this version, while cute and rom-comish, was predictable and even Drew Barrymore’s patent cuteness couldn’t spark any sort of believable chemistry with the Jimmy Fallon character. It did evoke memories of my late husband who was a professional sports team fanatic like Fallon’s character although Will lived and died for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the character in the film was a Red Sox fan. Here’s a peek at the Firth version:

One wouldn’t believe it but there is an upside to involvement with a lunatic pro-ball follower;  they are easy to buy presents for and a girl is always guaranteed time to do things her boyfriend/husband would have ruined with his petulance. In my case it was Sunday afternoons from September through December when I could wander bookstores or window shop or just curl up with a good book. Will always encouraged me to go out with girlfriends and couldn’t understand my preferring time off on my own, but he was almost incapable of being left to his own devices – something Dee has inherited, and Rob and I have worked hard to eradicate. My job plunked me in the thick of crowds of children and daily collaboration with other adults. I cherished any social decompression I could get and I learned to be alone in crowds or in public in order to facilitate recharging.

Last night we watched the second film, In the Name of the King, which turned out to be based on a video game. It was awful. How awful? Burt Reynolds was the King in question – ’nuff said.

I am not certain why video games need to be made less passive as entertainment by turning them into movies in the same way I am puzzled by the need to ruin perfectly good novels by filming them. There were a few interesting elements which a better writer (there were three listed in the credits – never a good sign), less cheesy CGI and better casting could have made more of, but the film was doomed from the opening.

I guessed most of the plot turns well before they happened and when Rob noted,

“This is just a bad knock-off of Lord of the Rings.”

I had to point out that “Everything is an inferior knock of Tolkien.” Which is why it was so easy to predict events well before they happened. It is curious though because there are certain elements that always show up and yet don’t make much sense:

1) The enemy army is always made up of subhumans.

2) The hero is fatherless but has male role models aplenty which makes one wonder – why not just give the kid a dad?

3) Women are mostly absent.

4) Power derived from ruling people/countries is less corrupting than the ability to work magic.

In the Name of the King might be a video game of worth (though I question the idea that video games are worthy of any amount of time), but it sucked as a movie. But as always, decide for yourself.

3 responses to “A Sunday at the Movies

  1. I’m a big Nick Hornby fan and have to say that you didn’t miss much by not seeing the Colin Firth version. The book was great because 90% of it is about the sport and 10% about relationships. Both movies reverse that ratio to only middling success.

    Poor Burt. Head glue and wigs don’t grow on trees.

  2. i couldn’t even finish the trailer for “In the Name of the King”. Burt Reynolds? i might invest in the video game for a chance to hit him with a sword…

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