The Constant Gardener

I was exhausted after I got off work yesterday.  I came home and tried to watch the bonus disc of “Easter Parade” but fell asleep.  When I awoke, I heard the postman knocking at my door.  He left me a box that had the Elvis Presley CD box set in it.  The only problem I found after opening it was that the CDs weren’t in it!  I had to use the computer to send an e-mail to the seller.  The box and the booklet were in such good condition that I won’t mind waiting several extra days for the CDs to arrive in the mail.  I have plenty of other Elvis CDs to listen to in the meantime.

Another item that came in the mail was the DVD of “The Doors Collection.”  One of my favorite Doors songs is “Break On Through.”

I watched “The Constant Gardener” on DVD.  Rachel Weisz’s character Tessa Quayle makes such a disagreeable entrance into the picture that it’s hard to have any sympathy for her or for her cause.  We also have to wonder what drove Ralph Fiennes’ character, a British diplomat named Justin Quayle, to marry her.

I thought about movies in which stars like Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe would make grand entrances that would instantly show their beauty in their first scenes.  Times have really changed for the movies when we were Rachel Weisz’s character yakking away mindlessly, then sitting down to cry.

Tessa is so mouthy and obnoxious that it’s just unbearable to listen to her.  A room full of people walks out on her.  I guess the suggestion is that the movie audience should be more patient and tolerant.  What makes it worse is that her ranting involves politics, and she goes prattling on nonstop like one of those wackos yelling about Jesus Christ or the Iraq War out on the street.

It’s incredible that Justin doesn’t simply walk away from this person and out of her life forever, but in fact marries her.  It’s unbelievable how many other characters in this film claim to love her.  Whatever those lovable qualities are, I don’t see them.  She doesn’t seem to be the slightest bit of fun to be around, and she keeps opening her mouth and causing a scene, and not showing much judgment in avoiding trouble.  Is she a person who would literally die for?  My answer to that is no, which is why Justin seems like a complete fool right up through the last moments of this movie.

I couldn’t stand the filming and editing style of the film.  There was way too much of the moving camera and quick cutting.  We barely get a chance to see many of the images, and we rarely get to see clearly anyone’s facial expression.  Whatever happened to the days of carefully chosen images in the movies, instead of just indiscriminately throwing everything up there on the screen?

Underneath these terribly annoying qualities, there’s a story of some interest.  I wasn’t bored.  However, I didn’t care too deeply about what was going on, or what the outcome would be.  I gave up trying to keep track of people’s names.  Only a few people seemed at all important in the story.  For a story that involves the African people, we barely get to know any of them, or feel anything towards any of them, outside of a couple of children who are in danger.

Have any John le Carre novels been made into good movies?  I can only remember seeing “The Little Drummer Girl” in the 80’s, with Diane Keaton going crazy and running around firing automatic weapons for some reason.  I guess there was also “The Russia House,” which had actors speaking in fake Russian accents, but I don’t remember at all what happened in that one.  I think I might prefer watching either of those a second time to watching “The Constant Gardener” again.

After I finished the movie, I caught the end of “Dancing with the Stars.”  It seemed that the judges gave Marlee Matlin pretty respectable scores, and Kristi Yamaguchi appeared to do quite well in her routine, also.

I listened to the bonus disc of Elvis Costello’s “The Juliet Letters.”   There wasn’t that much that I liked as much as “This Offer is Unrepeatable” or “The Birds Will Still Be Singing,” but there were enjoyable renditions of “Pills and Soap” and “God Only Knows.”

On the late news, they showed that the Warriors had lost to the Lakers in overtime.  I didn’t hear whether or not the Denver Nuggets also played a game last night.

The A’s slogan for this year is “100% Baseball.”  Their slogans never make any sense.  I would not mistake the game they play as being something like 50% Baseball and 50% Football.

David Letterman’s Top Ten was the Top Ten Signs the Government is Spying on You.  I thought it was an undistinguished list.  I didn’t laugh even once.

I woke up rather late and missed the A’s score from Japan.  I read that they went ahead 2-0 in the first inning, but fell behind 3-2 in the sixth inning.

I watched some of the special features of the “Superbad” DVD.  One of the funniest bits had the cops talking about a semen-covered world.  It seemed to show how the actors hone and craft their semen lines.  I also liked watching the filming of the opening title sequence, with all the dancing in silhouette.  I thought the preview of “Pineapple Express” didn’t look all that promising.  The way that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg keep churning out these screenplays, you figure they may be running low on fresh ideas.  How many more vagina jokes do they have in them?  “The Vag-Tastic Voyage” was kind of amusing.  It was almost like a movie within a movie, but not quite like something from Truffaut.  The feature on the making of the film was kind of fun, although I couldn’t stand it when the actors made references to “improv,” because it reminded me too much of a moment out of “Garden State.”

It’s Elton John’s birthday.  Maybe I’ll listen to a couple of CDs from the “To Be Continued” box set later today.

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