Saturday, May 22, 2010

The talkies: A short note on Robin Hood 

I saw Robin Hood last night. Yes, it exceeds the basic requirement that it be "better than the Kevin Costner version," but I'm going to climb out on a limb and say that neither Russell Crowe nor Ridley Scott improved their personal brand equity with this film. The plot was, at best, incoherent, and Crowe's Robin was not nearly inspirational enough to rally all of England against an invasion from France. Maximus mailed in, I would say. Still, there were a lot of arrows and more than enough gurgling shots through the throat to keep me engaged, if only the story were not so offensive to history in the little things. Now, I'm not really troubled by battles that did not happen or a wholly ridiculous conception of French monarchical power or amphibious landing craft that looked like they might have stormed ashore on D-Day, but that they were wooden. All of that is well within traditional Hollywood license. No, I'm referring to Marion Loxley's great worry that they would not be able to plant crops because they had no "seed corn." Really? They worried about a corn shortage in England 300 years before Columbus sailed? Was there not one person on the Robin Hood set who did not know that freaking corn is a New World crop?

Goddamn. See it only if your date is cute.

UPDATE: I stand corrected on the corn point. It hurts, but we are nothing if we do not admit our mistakes.


By Anonymous John Foster, at Sat May 22, 08:31:00 PM:

In England, "corn" means wheat or other cereals, not necessarily maize, e.g., the Corn Laws. Princeton (sigh).  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sat May 22, 11:24:00 PM:

"England and America are two countries separated by a common language."

George Bernard Shaw

The Corn Laws were mercantilist tariffs enacted in the early 19th Century, post-Columbian by 300+ years, but point well made.  

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at Sun May 23, 12:31:00 AM:

John Barleycorn must die, TH. 'nuff said.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun May 23, 12:36:00 AM:

Saw the film last weekend. Fell asleep after watching men run around the forest for 20 minutes...awoke later to the sounds of more men running around the forest...back asleep...awoke one last time to see the same guys running around the same forest.

Guess you had to be there. My wife said it was entertaining. I'll take her word for it.  

By Blogger AmPowerBlog, at Sun May 23, 09:26:00 AM:

Great review. Mistakes are half of what make a great blog.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sun May 23, 10:43:00 AM:

Marian: Why, you speak treason! ... Robin: Fluently. ...

There's only one "Robin Hood." Erroll Flynn was born to play Robin Hood. In 1938, it was also the first-ever Hollywood movie made in color ... the Avatar of its day.

My son enlightened me about the new Robin Hood. He didn't want to see it because the kid buzz is that "the script sucked." Seems they started top-down with the idea "let's re-invent Robin Hood" and never got the script right. QED

Ridley Scott should know better ... Alien and Gladiator were great because they had brilliant scripts. Alien is a genre bender. Gladiator is more than a rehash of Spartacus.

Thank god they'll never try to remake Gunga Din.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 23, 10:52:00 AM:


Only put in a blender to come up with "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Sun May 23, 01:03:00 PM:

I made a mistake last night and it felt good to admit it, explain it, and say "I'm genuinely sorry." Edison's boast was that he was wrong 99% of the time - to blog is to innovate "Edisonly."

I walked out toward the end but will catch the rest on cable.

Here is what is so horrible to me - they felt the need to replace the rich noble with a poor "grunt" who pretends to be the rich noble. Why? It's this Hollywood meme that the poor are going to teach the rich a lesson in virtue? Or that the thought of a nobleman fighting for the oppressed is not marketable? Or rich people are mean to poor people so they could not possibly fight in common cause against oppression? [The anti-tea party film.] But at least Richard and the real Loxley were portrayed well enough.

Robin Hood defended the free enterprise system, it's employees and their families, and it's tax payees against the government. Independently speaking for my part, his is the Republican cause.

The ultimate Ayn Rand movie now is Iron Man 2 ... it's Atlas Shrugged revisted ... I thought it was great.  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Sun May 23, 01:05:00 PM:

I forgot to include this ... it was such an awkward device to have it be a pretend Loxley - a twist that was horribly done and horribly conceived. It threw off the plot.  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Sun May 23, 01:15:00 PM:

And if the seed is so important why is it outside the gate where a bunch of juvenile deliquents can steal it as if they were knocking over a gum-ball machine?

You woke the Film-Critic Beast.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 23, 06:43:00 PM:

...amphibious landing craft that looked like they might have stormed ashore on D-Day, but that they were wooden.


Most of the landing raft were Higgins Boats, and those were mostly made of wood:


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun May 23, 10:43:00 PM:

Thank goodness I don't go to movies to learn history!

You left out an important point, for the ladies, is it worth seeing to look at Russel Crowe?


By Anonymous Lycidas, at Sun May 23, 11:05:00 PM:

This is a wonderful history of "corn" in England:


From none other, TH, than Iowa (though admittedly, Iowa State -- but that's what land grant colleges are there for.


By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Mon May 24, 02:59:00 AM:

"The ultimate Ayn Rand movie now is Iron Man 2 ... it's Atlas Shrugged revisted ... I thought it was great."

Ayn Rand of course was Jewish, and though nonobservant she was a strong defender of Israel:

Ayn Rand on Israel

We evil Zionist Jooooos are in yer mind, PD, takin' it over fer our werld domination bwahahahaha! We're so fiendishly clever! But to be honest, it wasn't a tough job.  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Mon May 24, 10:40:00 PM:

It's fine to be pro-Israel ... I merely insist you do your own fighting and dying to defend it instead of depending on the USA's soldiers, workers and taxpayers.

I admire the achievements of many Jews and Zionists (Theodore Herzl for example) ... I might have liked Hitler's postcards, too; Lenin's strategems; or Mao's axioms. The point is not to equate them by any means but to demonstrate discernment amongst issues.  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Mon May 24, 10:45:00 PM:

By the way, Zionists are also racists, terrorists, and murderers of men, women, and children despite Ms. Rand's mistaken distinction. [Cf. my previous posts.]  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Tue May 25, 01:55:00 AM:

"I admire the achievements of many Jews and Zionists"

"Zionists are also racists, terrorists, and murderers of men, women, and children"

Do you think you're fooling anyone with this crap? Like I said, thanks once again for proving that antisemites are nitwits, misfucks and born losers. In another thread I said I was proud that idiots like you are antisemites. Let me rephrase that. I'm DAMNED proud that idiots like you are antisemites.  

By Blogger Progressively Defensive, at Tue May 25, 08:59:00 AM:

To be clear again: I am not anti-Semitic. I don't want the US armed forces fighting and dying for the Zionist cause; Zionists can fight and die for Israel on their own.

That you find a contradiction is your intellectual failing; and indicative of a dangerous narrative that I hope the US citizenry is well-informed enough to ignore.  

By Anonymous Ruth, at Tue May 25, 09:13:00 AM:

Progressively Antisemite,

I dare you: When exactly have US soldiers fought for Zionist causes?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 27, 04:04:00 PM:

Please, please don't let your dislike of Costner (I'm guessing that's mostly what's at issue here) to color your enjoyment of his Robin Hood movie. What was not to like about it?

Great forests, sets and cinematography - check.

Morgan Freeman - check.

Alan Rickman playing the Sheriff for laughs - check.

Witches and Celts - check.

And ... Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio!!!! Geez, you are hard to please.  

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