Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Giving up the profit motive.

It had to happen eventually. My time may not be as important as some others', but I do value it. That's why Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind is the first movie that I gave up on this year. I made it about 22 minutes.

Abigail has fond memories of her father stopping at every single roadside plaque that he'd come across, but her memories, if I remember correctly, are always of her and her siblings becoming furious at being forced into such a dreadfully boring activity.

I'm guilty, too, of stopping at many of these signposts. They are admittedly interesting at times, but I couldn't handle a feature film's worth of consecutive still images of stationary signs. It's an interesting idea, but makes for bad cinema. There may be a cumulative argument to these pictures, but I don't buy it. I want my 22 minutes back.

On the other hand, I enjoyed all 135 minutes that I sacrificed on the raceway of Speed Racer.

I was more than a little bit suspicious when (a small minority of) serious critics started calling Speed Racer one of the most important films of the year, gaining enough mentions (2) to earn a place on the iW Critics Poll '08, about 30 places behind the above mentioned execrable Profit Motive.

It IS visually inventive, but, more importantly, it is impossibly Fun. The plot is a simple and straightforward good guys vs. bad guys set-up, but everything is acted in a spirit of whimsy. "Maybe a nonja" had me rolling with laughter- easily one of the best lines of the past few years, perfectly delivered by an hilarious John Goodman. The "corporations are evil" plot may be undermined by the excessive commercialization inherent in a Speed Racer project, but no more or less so than Wall-E's similar message from last year. I'm not going to put Speed Racer on any "best of" lists, but I do greatly appreciate it for making me smile a whole lot, especially after having experienced an over-serious Whispering Wind.

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