The Book of Eli

Erica Hill was wearing a thin necklace as she did the news reports on the CBS Early Show yesterday.  I liked the jewelry, except for the fact that you couldn’t see all of it in the shots where she was reading the news.  I didn’t watch all of the second hour of the show because I had to go out to work.  I did see the feature on how to keep from having a kitchen fire on Thanksgiving.  I already know how to do that.  You cook your food the day before Thanksgiving.  That way you can have the kitchen fire and still have enough time to order some food.  I’m not sure how to deal with the smell of the charred kitchen, however.  I don’t have all the answers.  I listened to Linda Ronstadt’s “Living in the U.S.A.” album as I waited for someone to come and open the front door so I could start work.  I liked the songs “White Rhythm and Blues” and “Ooh Baby Baby.”  I went out to the Wells Fargo bank to get change for a $20 bill, and the morning air was chilly.  The morning was quiet because a lot of people had already left town to get a start on the holiday weekend.  I got a lot done in the peaceful atmosphere, and I was happy to leave at one o’clock.   I got home and put a burrito in the microwave oven.

I got a Major League Baseball holiday catalog in the mail.  I can get a replica jersey for $80.  I browsed through the record store for a while.  I wanted to get a Truffaut DVD box set but thought I should show some restraint at least for a couple of days.  When I got back home, I watched Harry Smith on the evening news.  One of the main stories was the conflict between North and South Korea.    I’m becoming more afraid of North Korea by the day, I think.

I watched the DVD of “The Book of Eli.”  I can’t say I liked it too much.  I wouldn’t say that it was bad at all, but it was irritating.  It was a combination of “The Omega Man,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and various samurai movies.  I thought it was rather goofy that Eli walked around with an iPod, and pretentious that he was listening to Al Green’s “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”  I guess it would have been uncool for him to listen to the Bee Gees’ original.

I couldn’t stand the heavy-handed Christian content.  It was worse than C.S. Lewis.  Eli is walking around in this post-apocalyptic world like Caine in “Kung Fu.”  I could not believe that Denzel Washington could have the skills with weapons he was supposed to have.  He was an aging man slicing and dicing his enemies like potatoes.  It’s like watching Brett Favre.

He’s carrying an important book with him, and I absolutely, for the life of me, could not guess in a million years what it was.  Gary Oldman plays an evil guy named Carnegie who is in pursuit of that book.  Eli has the only copy, because all the others were burned for being the cause of the holocaust.  Whatever happened to all the digital copies?  I kept wondering why Eli didn’t have a copy of this very important book in his iPod.

I didn’t like any of the acting performances in this film, from Denzel Washington to Gary Oldman to Tom Waits.  Denzel Washington was better in “Glory.”  Gary Oldman was better in “Sid and Nancy.”  Tom Waits was better in “Down By Law.”

I thought two of the funniest involved music.  At one point, Eli quotes the Johnny Cash song “Greystone Chapel.”  Also, when he encounters an elderly white couple, they play an old record, which turns out to be Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell.”  I found all of this extremely annoying, playing off racial differences between black and white.

I really hated some of these ideas.  When the book is opened up toward the end, there is a twist to the story which makes the whole movie seem like a bloated, two-hour episode of The Twilight Zone.  It just does not seem very likely.

Eli is headed west.  I don’t see why it takes 30 years of wandering around to finally get to his destination.  I liked the glimpse of the city where he ends up, and I looked around for signs of authenticity.  However, there is too much CGI in this film, which is predictable.  I did think it was a pleasant surprise that Malcolm McDowell makes an appearance late in the film.  The last time I recall seeing him in a futuristic film was “A Clockwork Orange.”

When the movie was over, I didn’t feel a sense of satisfaction.  I wished the script had shown more originality, and that Denzel Washington wasn’t made out to be some kind of hero.  I could feel this movie fading from my memory very quickly.

I watched another disc of the Simpsons shows from 1991, including a Halloween special and the story of Flaming Moe’s, with Aerosmith visiting Springfield.  I caught a visual reference to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

I heard that the Warriors lost another game.  I listened to the radio for more news about North Korea.  Jan Wahl reviewed a movie, but I didn’t catch what the title was.  The regular people weren’t on ESPN Radio, so I didn’t want to listen.  I prepared for a cold morning.  I bundled up and thought about how to spend my money until next payday.

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