Movies - Quotes postsSaturday October 04, 2014
Talking Back at the Screen: The Equalizer
We get a lot of dumb lines masquerading as wisdom in “The Equalizer,” directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Olympus Has Fallen”) and written by Richard Wenk (“The Expendables 2”), which gives the movie an air of a bloody Bill Cosby action movie, if you can imagine such a beast. “You gotta be who you are in this world, no matter what,” spoken to a child prostitute, is one of those lines.
Here's another. It had me talking back at the screen. In my head, I mean. I don't talk out loud at movies. (Although I might groan occasionally.)
Robert McCall (Denzel) is a former super-espionage agent trying to live out the rest of his life with a quiet warehouse job. It's a friendly place, and he's friendly there, and he tries to help an overweight Hispanic worker, Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis), become the security guard he always wanted to be. So he keeps him on his diet and trains him on weekends. He has him pull tires at a local park. (This exercise will come in handy later in the movie.) But Ralphie keeps giving up on himself.
Here's the line and here's what I answered back:
Denzel: Hey, don't doubt yourself. Doubt kills.
Me: So does certainty.
I was thinking specifically of the certainty, the hubris, of the Bush adminstration, and all of the people who died as a result. They were certain it made sense to demote Richard Clarke, terrorism czar, to a deputy position, and 9/11 happened. Then they were certain it made sense to invade Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein. They could nation-build in a matter of months—they were certain of that—and get out cleanly. And their certainy killed. It goes on killing, even after they've long left the scene.
Of course, we go to the movies for the very certainty someone like Denzel projects. That's part of the wish-fulfillment-fantasy bargain. We're fearful and doubtful. He's brave and certain, and in the end he'll save the day. It's great to see up on the screen. If only it stayed there.
Certainty, about to do some killing.
A Born Liar, Now Convicted
“The idea that the [Obama] administration would be in any way 'rattled' by D’Souza’s documentary is highly unlikely. '2016' spins a cockamamie theory that President Obama is using his power to diminish America’s standing in the world in order to fulfill the aspirations of the father he never knew. It’s a derp-fest for the high-brow anti-Obama zealot who believes the president is a “Third World anti-colonial” and also demands slick production values.”
-- Simon Malloy, “The Right's Favorite Criminal: Inside the hopeless obsession with Dinesh D'Souza,” on Salon.com.
I particularly like “derp-fest.” But not as much as I like the schadenfreude of D'Souza's troubles.
What Billy Martin said of both Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner can now be said of just D'Souza: a born liar, now convicted.
Quote of the Day
“Stefania, mother and woman, you're 53 with a life in tatters like the rest of us. Instead of acting superior and treating us with contempt, you should look at us with affection. We're all on the brink of despair, all we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little...Don't you agree?”
-- Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) in Paolo Sorrentino's “La Grand Bellezza” (“The Greaty Beauty”), which is currently playing at the Varsity Theater in the U District in Seattle.
Krugman Does Montoya
“I do not think that word 'compromise' means what Mr. Ryan thinks it means.”
-- Paul Krugman in his column, “The Dixiecrat Solution,” about You Know What. The rest of the piece focuses on “How does America become governable again?” Read that part, too.
For more on movie quotes and why Krugman's works, here.
Quote Quiz: Fill in the Blank with the Movie Title
“The film shrewdly touches contemporary nerves. Our society is pervaded by a conviction of powerlessness. ___________ makes it possible for all of us, in the darkness of the movie house, to become powerful. It plays upon our inner fantasies, not only on the criminal inside each of us but on our secret admiration for men who get what they want, whose propositions no one dares turn down.”
-- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.