Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Therapy, Lesson 2

First, open a bottle of wine. If you are lacking in wine ideas, try this one, Zancho Zabaco Zinfandel, 2002 Reserve. Moderately priced ($15) and a beautiful, spicy blend of deep blackberry and black pepper.

Next, make dinner. In this case cube up some apples, pears, Irish Cheddar cheese and Havarti with dill. Pour wine. Take wine and dinner upstairs to DVD watching room (the bedroom). Load DVD player with movies you haven't watched yet.

Press Play.


Gyllenhaal, look at him, go ahead. Aside from the Jake candy in this film, it was still decent. I noticed Gyllenhaal, in the last three films he did in 2005, is improving his acting ability steadily: Proof, utterly forgettable. Jarhead, moments of sheer genius combined with moments of mediocrity. Brokeback, sheer genius.

I read a snippet on moviephone that he had gone through a small workout program to get him into shape for Jarhead. Small? HA. Wait until the shower scene with full front and back shots. This was no small workout routine, this was 6 months of 3 hours a day of heavy lifting.

Jarhead gives a ground-up look at Desert Storm. Normally I don't care for war movies but this one was different. I liked that they didn't overwhelm the viewer with intense graphic violence and casualty. There is some, obviously, it is war afterall, but its presented without hysteria, without judgement, and without dramatic background music, just the sound of wind blowing against sand, much the way I would like it to sound, if I were there.

Somtimes wartime movies can be used as conduits for film maker's political statements. Not so in Jarhead. They have a few spankings to deliver to both ends of the political spectrum, otherwise the film focuses on the Marines and the losses they incur as human beings off the battlefield.

Jamie Foxx, who obviously was on the same "small" workout program as Gyllenhaal, delivers a very convincing role as the staff sarg.


Who makes a better criminal than a cop? Think about it, its much easier for a cop to throw other cops off track, its particularly easy when you are chief of police. 1970's apartheid Johannesburg, a horrible time and place in history, sets the stage for Stander. Its interesting that in the midst of human tragedy there emerges some comic relief and there is, albeit dark, quite a bit of humor in this film.

Stander is the chief of Jo-burg police but through a series of unsavory apartheid-related events (which, frankly, were nauseating to watch), he turns on the police department to become the most notorious bank robber in South Africa.

He is a criminal much like Robin Hood was one too. Although he robs banks, during his getaways he throws the money to some random black kid in the street. The reactions are priceless. He makes such a name for himself during this era that people are glad to be robbed by him. In one scene, after robbing a bank, the bank manager says "Hey, you're Stander!" Then the bank manager turns to the rest of the bank and says "Hey everyone we are being robbed by Stander!". Everyone smiles and looks at everyone else in a self-congratulatory way, as if they have all just been knighted by the Queen of England. Funny stuff.

There is a density of psychology going on throughout: Stander's emotional struggle between the responsibility he has to his job and his digust with apartheid. More struggles with frayed relationships with his father and the woman he married for the second time. The ending sums up the net result of those struggles but in true-to-life form, it is not storybook.

Amazingly, this is a true story.


Blogger The Persian said...

the thing about Jake's body is that for some reason, if the camera hits it wrong he looks weird and out of shape, which I know is not the case because in the next shot he is stellar.

like this one...

I'm serious and have noticed this a couple times already, the definition is not drastic enough or something.

I dunno, he's a beautiful man in any case :)

9:05 PM

Blogger Sangroncito said...

I never would have recognized him in that photo.
yet more films I need to see but never do....

2:22 AM

Blogger Jim said...

I will be checking out Stander and your recommendation for the wine. :) I saw Jarhead and enjoyed it too, for the most part.

3:08 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Definitely he is, Jim. But that linked picture makes him look chubby. Oh, and it appears as though he's missing an arm too :)

4:48 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Ah Sangroncito, if you lived in more boring city you would find time for those films :)

4:56 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Enjoy your wine and movie night, Jimbo, I hope you enjoy both!

5:02 PM


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