Sunday, April 11, 2004

Tucker Carlson Sighting and other randomness 

Well, I am working pretty much around the clock these days - likely through next week and perhaps beyond. I am working on a pro bono asylum case which is teaching me a lot which I will - lucky for all of you - post about later (i.e., post about what I've learned, not the specific case).

This weekend I did go to Washington D.C. to visit my girlfriend's dad and step mom - and we went to a rather nice restaurant for Easter brunch. As I walked into the restaurant, who was walking out but Tucker Carlson. The only thing I want to say is that he was acting exactly as I would have pictured Tucker Carlson acting if he walked out of a restaurant. He was wearing a bow tie and he was yelling. I don't know what he was talking about, and it seemed he was with his family or friends. I just heard him say, "Look, I'm not criticizing, I'm just making an observation..." For all I know, he was talking about the omelets.

Also, I finally went to the FDR Memorial, which I'd never seen. Good God, it sucks. It's about as awe inspiring as the exhibit on prohibition that was in the Westerville, Ohio library. (And that wasn't very awe inspiring.) Couldn't they just build a really big thing in honor of the third greatest President? Why can't we do that anymore? And why is every new monument a fountain? (The new WWII Memorial - which isn't quite complete - is also a fountain and it did look very cool.) (Of course, after Saving Private Ryan, is it really necessary to build a monument to WWII veterans? Wasn't Tom Hanks dying on the battlefield and whispering "earn this" to Matt Damon enough?)

That reminds me - Saving Private Ryan was a very, very bad movie. For a good year or so this was an obsession of mine - trying to prove to people that this movie was bad. It never worked. This article from a 1999 Esquire captures perfectly, I think, the movie's glaring and obvious flaws. (Goldberg - I put this column up there with a certain Michael Kinsley article as far as brilliance.)

My favorite quotes:

"In a fallacy that, since Schindler's List, Spielberg has all but patented, to dislike his movie was to proclaim your snickering contempt for the hell that Dad (or Granddad) went through."

"... the celebrated opening is actually superfluous to the story. But it's a brilliant piece of showmanship, since the big number Spielberg pulls off up front half cows and half wows the audience into accepting that the whole movie has been made in the same somber, gritty spirit. It hasn't, of course; commercially speaking, he's not that big a fool."

"One enthusiastic write-up deemed Ryan's big finish 'almost unbearably thrilling,' which it is. But given the movie's pretensions, didn't it cross anyone's mind that maybe it shouldn't be?"

And my favorite...

"One reason the onscreen debates about the mission's value go in such circles is that the down-to-earth answer to the movie's big question - is one man's life worth risking eight - is so screamingly obvious: No."

Oh, one more...

"To call this an antiwar movie is lunacy; if I were seventeen, I'd have left the theater with a woody to enlist. Ryan's ending elevates a gallant death into the noblest of romantic destinies while transforming the grim necessity of defeating the Axis from a past test of national resolv - which indeed we did mee - into a mystical summons to future greatness: 'Earn it.'"
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