More Great Clooney? No.

Perhaps long-time readers will remember that George Clooney’s “Up in the Air” rocked my world. It rocked me like I haven’t been rocked since Daniel Day Lewis managed to make Tomas a million times better than anything Milan Kundera ever invented–in the movie version of “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

Then Clooney decided to go after the solitary-monk-with-bad-habits thing again last year. So I was pretty siked when “The American” DVD showed up at the local library.

Ever read Anna Karenina?
Two instants in the movie thrilled me:

1. The sound of the reports of a custom-built rifle cut the movie’s cloudy silence like music.

2. When it seemed for a second that the mystery of Clooney’s character’s identity and destiny might be revealed in a clever, intelligently plotted manner, I thought, ‘My gosh, Hitchcock has come back from the dead!’

But I hoped for too much. When all was said and done, I stared at the screen. “Seriously?” You’re not allowed to make movies that don’t make sense.

Then it occurred to me. A specific problem has ruined the movies: No one has retained the skill of film editing.

A film editor must hold himself utterly aloof from the production process. When the time comes to cut the endless reels into the shortest-possible feature, the editor must understand the future audience’s total ignorance of the whole business. The audience should not be required to have read beforehand about “what the director is trying to do.” The film editor bears the burden of relating to the ignorant masses.

Regrettably, no one bothers to shoulder this burden anymore. My theory: The problem arises from the fissiparation of movie watching as a coherent activity. Editors do not detain themselves with the art of producing a single movie that makes sense. After all, the market devours DVDs containing deleted scenes, “director’s cuts,” and “extended editions.” Sitting and watching the movie through once, just as it is—like we used to do in theaters—this act no longer provides the editing norm.

…By the by: Long-time readers may also recall our euphoria when Ernest Shackleton’s long-lost cases of whiskey were found encased in ice. The Scottish-distillery descendant of the original maker has now come out with a reproduction of the Antarctic bottles.

One thought on “More Great Clooney? No.

  1. Father Mark,

    On the movie: one problem is that “The American” is a bad movie (pardon my movie reviewer’s manner of speaking). Euphemistically, one might say that those of the age of Anna Magnani would be more fully appreciative of the genre’ for this movie. There is, however, a tie with the current season; I found the movie to be excruciating.

    Regarding faux Scotch bottles, I recently saw the Queen’s own collection of glass-plate photographs from Ernest Shackleton’s [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Shackleton ] expedition (and Scott’s) to Antarctica, in an exhibit in Christchurch, New Zealand (no, prior to the most-recent quake, and, no, I didn’t cause it). It was astounding to see the annals of these ventures into a then-new land. Shackleton’s feats of seamanship in the rescue of his stranded party from the Endurance is outdone by just one in British history — Captain William Bligh [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Bligh ], after he and a handfull of loyal sailors were set adrift as a result of the mutany on the HMS Bounty. And, Shackleton died of natural, and very prosaic causes, at a relatively young age, as he once-again turned toward Antarctic climes.

    Finally, fissiparation, we live in the age of the individual (which will be immediately followed by the age of chaos, destruction, and degradation). Each is the final judge of his own experience; and none accept the judgement of others. So, who’s surprised that “Director’s Cuts” are a hot item. The real issue of fissiparation is that which began on October 31st, 1517. Twenty years ago, I heard a USCCB futurist describe the religious landscape of 2020. The only thing which has changed since that talk (at an ecclesial setting in the Rockville, Maryland, by the way, the home of about 2,000 well-educated, well-heeled critics, and an odd assortment of others) is that the Catholic Church has gone a long way toward eccuminism, in joining their Protestant brothers in fissiparation.

    Isaiah 41:10 !

    LIH,

    joe

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