Remember that commercial where
Mike Mikee Cojuangco says that Dream service is “Anytime, anywhere”? It was never true. Even with the recent system upgrade, Dream satellite broadcast is still interrupted when it gets cloudy. Considering the amount of clouds and rains we’ve been getting during the past couple of days, it means when there’s a signal, we try to make the most of it. After all, we pay P890 per month for the service. And that was what I did on Tuesday. Watch TV until it rained in the afternoon and the overcast skies interrupted the signal. But not before I discovered some interesting trivia.
I’ve always thought I’ve seen all the Harry Callahan movies. When the Dream schedule said “Dead Pool” would be on at 9.00 a.m. on Tuesday, I didn’t even give it a second thought thinking it was a Harry Callahan movie I’d seen before where he delivered that famous line, “Go ahead, make my day.” I didn’t realize my mistake until I found nothing else interesting at 9.00 a.m. and I decided that re-watching a Harry Callahan movie wasn’t such a bad idea. Ten minutes into “Dead Pool” and I realized I had never seen it before. The “Go ahead, make my day” line was delivered in “Sudden Impact.”
What was it that glued me to the idiot box? Can’t be the story. Plots of Harry Callahan movies are not known for being profound. Was it the sight of Dirty Harry’s magnum? Not really; I’ve seen it too many times before. It was one scene that really caught my attention — one distorted face in one scene. A figure on the bed, reminiscent of Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”, then a heavily made-up skinny man singing and dancing around it like a rock star with no talent. I could swear it was Jim Carrey, the pretend rock star. And I almost switched channels like I always do when I come across a Jim Carrey movie. The only movie with Jim Carrey in it that I saw in its entirety was “Batman” and that’s only because, as The Riddler, Jim Carrey wore a mask. I just don’t like the guy and I really don’t find his exaggerated face-contorting brand of comedy entertaining.
So, why didn’t I watch something else when I saw Jim Carrey? Well, because his character died not five minutes later. Lucky me. Besides, another familiar face showed up — an appearance that I found interesting indeed. It was Liam Neeson.
I like Liam Neeson. I’ve always thought that he has the most “maamo” face that ever graced the movie screen. I’ve admired him as an actor long before he made it big in “Schindler’s List.” See, the first time I saw him was as Gawain in “Excalibur”, then in a relatively unknown film called “Under Suspicion” then again in “Krull”, a film I loved when I first saw it but could not remember anything about afterward except for the archetypal wedding dress that the heroine wore for most of the film. And remembering these three films — Excalibur, Under Suspicion and Krull — started me on a journey towards making a mental list of movies I’d like to see again. So, next to those three, I’d love to watch the following movies again.
1. The Slipper and the Rose. I’ve mentioned before that “Ever After” is the only Cinderella movie that I like with the spunky Danielle played by Drew Barrymore, but that’s because I had totally forgotten about “The Slipper and the Rose“, a 1976 film which did not get shown locally until years later. I was in college when I saw it, many of my classmates saw it and we talked about it between classes (I still remember the now famous Floy Quintos gushing over a headdress worn by the villain in the film). The music is lovely, I tell you, and quite unforgettable. I still remember lines from one song even after almost 30 years. I really hope I can find a DVD copy.
2. Good Night, and Good Luck. In black and white, directed by George Clooney and starring David Strathairn, Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and Frank Langella, among others. It is the story of journalist Edward R. Murrow and his resolve to expose U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy as a fear-monger. If you’ve never come across the term “McCarthyism” (a.k.a. political witch hunt) in Political Science 101, this film would be a nice introduction.
3. The Talented Mr. Ripley. Based on the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith, the 1999 film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow is the second film adaptation of the story of a man who murdered his weak-willed benefactor because he coveted the wealth and social stature he was not born into. A social climber, in other words, but the twists and turns transform the film into a nicely-executed thriller. But what’s really interesting is how the film (a limited genre compared to books) was able to explore the psyche of Tom Ripley, succeeding to a point to make him almost heroic and making almost acceptable the murder of Dickie Greenleaf (Law) because he was a no-good wealthy asshole. I have a DVD copy of the film; I am looking for a copy of the book.
4. The Human Stain. Based on the Philip Roth novel and starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, it is the story of a college professor who had lived his life as a white Jewish when, in fact, he was black. Or, at least, part black. The irony was that he was forced to resign from his teaching post after he was unjustly accused of racism when he called two black boys “spooks” because they were always absent from class.
5. The Gods Must Be Crazy. Recommended (or was it required?) by my Psychology teacher in college, when I first saw it I wondered if it wouldn’t have been more appropriate if my Sociology and Political Science teachers had instead required us to watch it. The narrative in the first part is already riveting with its suggestion that it is us who complicate our lives with modernity. It’s a comedy and a satire but it also digs deep into the question of whether modern Western civilization is doing more harm than good in insisting that tribes in remote areas hardly touched by modern civilization are not better off away from modern trappings. Of course, in the film, the contact with modern civilization was accidental (the Coke bottle that dropped from the sky) and that’s what makes it funny.
Okay, that ends the list. This piece has gotten so long that, when I had it in draft mode yesterday, I thought about submitting it for today’s column. But, there was this other issue — the trickling effect of the Lehman-Merill Lynch-AIG crisis on the Philippines — and I decided to write about it instead from an unusual approach.
Oh, and yes, it was Jim Carrey in “Dead Pool” although the credits referred to him as “James Carrey.”