Wednesday, March 26, 2008

National Treasure 2 Bucks

There are only a few more days left before the LaGrange Theatre mercilessly jacks its ticket prices from two dollars to three fifty. So, I thought I might as well try to squeeze one more cheap movie out of them before the next time I want to patronize their establishment, when I will have to choose to either feed my family or celebrate le cinema.

What were my choices tonight for 9-ish features at the LaGrange?

No Country For Old Men - I actually saw this in a first-run theater, and didn't feel like watching it again.

I Am Legend - I saw this one at a first-run theater too! What the hell, am I a cinematic butterfly or what?

National Treasure: Book of Secrets - Alright, I'm game!

Wow, is Nicolas Cage looking sexy or what?!! No? Okay, sorry.

So, I must confess I was actually looking forward to seeing this movie a bit. Despite my self-loathing, schmuckish self, I actually kind of enjoyed the first National Treasure movie. I mean, it was kinda silly stupid, and I wanted that Riley Poole dweebo sidekick to get hit by a meteor, but I had fun watching it.

In addition to this, a major role is played by Jon Voight, who was something like a patron saint at the Davis Theater, the cheap moviehouse in my old Chicago stomping grounds. Don't believe me? Hey, the truth is out there -- I even made a bar graph about the man.

There was actually a brand new Goofy cartoon that preceded the movie. Guess who hates Goofy? Yes, you're right! It's me! Now please don't misunderstand me -- I greatly admire a movie studio willing to devote time and resources to bring the public an original work of animation. It's definitely an artform to be cherished. But... I hate Goofy! Eff you, Goofy!

We then slide into the movie, which starts in the past, in the days following the end of the Civil War. We see an ancestor of our protagonist Ben Gates translating a page from John Wilkes Booth's diary, and blah blah blah, Lincoln is shot, Gates' ancestor realizes the person he is translating for is a member of some nefarious treasure-hunting organization (it was called Kentucky Fried Chicken, or something remarkably similar to KFC) and tries to destroy part of the diary, only to be shot by the KFC man.

Back in the present day, Ed Harris shows up with a page of the diary to interrupt Ben Gates' (Nicolas Cage) stupid lecture about Lincoln, brandishing a missing page from Booth's diary. Because the name of Gates' ancestor is written on the diary with other Lincoln assassination co-conspirators, people immediately assume that Gates was the mastermind behind the assassination. This is supposed to be the motivating factor ... y'know what? I'm done recounting the plot. It's stupid. It's a stupid, stupid plot. Do you want to know how stupid the plot is? The screenwriters that are attributed to this movie are listed in the credits as "The Wibberleys".

So, in the end after a lot of hokum and nonsense, they end up finding a golden city under Mount Rushmore. Somehow this proves that Gates' ancestor didn't help kill Lincoln. I'm sure it's all very logical when you diagram it all out.

Here's some random observations.

Ed Harris is the bad guy in this movie, but he seems to wildly vacillate from being a noble man and a dickhead. I realize there are noble dickheads out there, but his nice and dickish parts didn't seem to fit together well -- it was more like the director said, "Ed, in this scene you are Jackson Pollock on a bender!" Or, "Ed, you're in mission control talking to the guys up in the Apollo 13, and you have a styling flat-top haircut!".

Ed Harris has some henchmen that follow him around for part of the movie. One guy's sole purpose seems to be to pull people from their car so he can get in, drive and crash into things.

In this movie, we get to meet Ben Gates' mom (and the elder Gates' ex-wife). So, Gates' dad is played by Jon Voight. Who are they going to get to play the mom? Why it's none other than Helen Mirren, celebrated British actor and star of Prime Suspect, a detective series I have been frantically Netflixing! I didn't know whether to feel happy or sad for her role in this movie, so I chose to feel nothing. I FELT NOTHING.

Harvey Keitel, who had a relatively small part as an FBI-agent-who-is-also-a-Freemason in the first film, also makes a small appearance in the sequel. In the original movie he flashes a little subtle Freemason jewelry, but as he is introduced in this movie, I believe the man is wearing Freemason suspenders. I'm not kidding.

So the movie ends and I decide to sneak over to catch the last few minutes of No Country For Old Men. When I had seen it the first time, the ending kinda confused me. It seemed a bit abrupt and stupid. I did confirm, yes, the ending is a bit abrupt and stupid.

The next review I do from the LaGrange will cost me $3.50! Please donate any spare quarters to the Two Buck Schmuck fund, to allow us to continue the richly entertaining commentary you have come to expect from this hallowed blog.



Freida Bee said...

Oh, this is the best movie review I have ever read! (many apologies to those who may be reading who write their own poignant reviews.) But, seriously, after the bar graph link (I may truly have to lift that bar graph for my statistics class!) I fully expected you to deliver the goods on the plot diagram you refer to.

Randal Graves said...

If it's as messy as he says and his skull explodes from the trauma of diagramming such a shoddy piece of plottery, well, who's going to review these movies so we don't have to?

Fran said...

The We Are family saw this first run and even 11 year old stepdaughter was bored to the point of annoyance. We all were but we are not the walk out of the movie types.

Now,I am not going to say much about a man called Splotchy stone cold hatin' on a character called Goofy.

Eff you Goofy, like WTF is that about?

Boldly Serving Up Wheat Grass said...

I believe Keitel's character actually had Freemason boxers as well.

Manx said...

I'm glad you pointed out his odd appearance in the poster.

Ever since that turd of a movie, Ghost Rider, I have this sneaking suspicion Nick Cage died about 7-8 years ago and they replaced him with a puppet or CGI.

They can't seem to get his appearance right though. He looks more and more blocky as the years pass.