One cold and drizzly Monday morning on a sodden rugby pitch in my 14th year, I was a scrawny excuse of a lad with the sporting prowess of a lame goat, failing miserably to keep warm (I can tell you’re grappling with the image given the Adonis I have become). I decided to give it my all and put some tackles in. To my pure luck and astonishment it paid off and I brought down the opposition’s prize scrum-half. Rarely has such a display been seen since Goliath’s scuffle with a young chap called David ended with his mates calling him ‘Cyclops’ for a fortnight.
My elation and future rugby career was brought to an abrupt and shocking end just moments later, though, when the offended scrum-half found an opportunity to put me on my arse and sealed the deal with a swift kick to my groin. As I lay there, cradling my rapidly bruising undercarriage with tears filling my eyes, my adversary peered down at me and growled ‘payback’s a bitch.’
This week it’s the cinema’s turn to utter those words. After the joy of The King’s Speech and 127 Hours last week, karma has swung its studded boot and levelled the score with two lukewarm offerings.
The Green Hornet film adaptation has been in gestation longer than the offspring of an elephant the size of Jupiter, starting off as a radio serial in the 30s, comics in the 40s, and a television show with Bruce Lee in the 60s it’s now the Hollywood plaything of current comedian du jour Seth Rogan and director Michel Gondry.
It’s important to try to keep an open mind about a film prior to watching. Sometimes that’s easy, sometimes not. This was a difficult one. Why? I’m not sure. It may have been because Seth Rogan has tried my patience once too often with the slob humour or that Cameron Diaz has done nothing remarkable for some time. It could have been having to wear those ridiculous 3D specs throughout for another pointless venture into the over-priced third dimension.
The important thing to take away is that for a multitude of reasons it was terrible. From the weak script papered over by an endless wave of gunfire to the lack of credible jokes (I counted three laughs) it disappointed in pretty much every category. Not even Christophe Waltz could save it as the villain, and he is one of the best things to happen to cinema in years. I definitely couldn’t love it, but even more frustrating was that I couldn’t hate it either and surely that’s got to be worse?
It continued to rain all week and I had to sit through Conviction in damp and gently steaming clothes. There’s nothing like the smell of wet reviewer to turn you off a film. It’s a true story of a man wrongly convicted of a murder in the 80s whose sister trains to be a lawyer just to prove his innocence. It has great performances from Sam Rockwell, Hilary Swank and Minnie Driver, but like my karmic moment on the rugby pitch it’s levelled out with a plodding pace and unoriginal direction. It is a remarkable story that deserves full attention, but if I’m lolling into the aisle shouting ‘Bored! Can I go home now!?’ in futile sobs at the screen, then somebody hasn’t done their job properly. It felt like a cheap television movie put on in the afternoon. At least I’d have had dry socks on.
As with life, sometimes you’re up, and sometimes you’re applying an ice pack. I’m not counting my chickens, but with The Black Swan to look forward to next week I reckon it’ll be me atop Mount Fate before long.