Things I Have Seen on My TV

1.  The Illusionist, which, when it came out in theaters, had the unfortunate luck to be an obvious rip-off of The Prestige, and released at basically the same time as The Prestige.  On my tv, it still had the unfortunate luck to be an obvious rip-off of The Prestige.  The other thing that’s weird about it is that it’s set in Germany, right?  But no one speaks German, obviously, right?  So why do they have weird distracting pseudo-German accents?  Just speak in plain English, if you’re not going to speak in plain German.  And

[Spoiler alert]

If there was no reason for the Crown Prince to kill himself–he was, after all, actually not a murderer–even if it were better for the country that he not ever be Emperor, why does the movie treat his suicide as no cause for concern?  Why are the main characters treated to an unironic happy ending?

2. The Devil’s Backbone.  I still have no idea why this movie is called “The Devil’s Backbone” but I’m going to pretend that it has something to do with more than just the dead-baby rum Dr. Casares sells to impotent men in town.  Maybe it’s a metaphor for something I don’t understand about the Spanish Civil War.

Aside from that, it’s an awesome film and I can’t recommend it enough.

One of the things that works so well in the movie is this.  You know how in most horror movies, when you actually get a good look at the ghost or monster or whatever it’s kind of a let-down because it’s never actually as scary as you’d like it to be and it’s motivations–to kill you ususually–become utterly apparent?  But the movie continues on as if the appearance of the ghost has made it more scary instead of less?

This movie does not do that!  This movie understands that once you know what something is it becomes less scary and this movie uses that knowledge to brilliant effect.  I love it.

3.  Gustav.  I just feel this terrible pit in my stomach.  I really, really hope this somehow sputters out over the Gulf, though, I know that’s impossible.  And yet, it’s hard not to watch.

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3 thoughts on “Things I Have Seen on My TV

  1. I just called my best friend from college who lives about 30 minutes east of N.O. She and her husband evacuated at 5:00 a.m. this morning and have just reached Mobile (usually a 1.5 hr drive took 6 hours). I’ve invited her up to stay with us, but I doubt she’ll take us up on the offer. I’m just glad they’re safe.

  2. I keep checking Gustav tracks on the national hurricane center website, hoping it will have magically vanished. It’s not cooperating.

  3. Re: the unironic happy ending of The Illusionist: Some friends have speculated that the whole ending is not necessarily the truth, but what the Paul Giamatti character speculates/wants the truth to be. I would have to see it again to be sure, but, IIRC, almost the entire “trick” of the happy ending is narrated by the Inspector, not something we see for ourselves.

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