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Kino Korner October 31, 2002
The Road To Turdition
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 2 of 3
"John's sick too?" I asked.

"He's not doing too well," Katherine said.

Amazingly enough, John ran to the phone during a vomit intermission to tell me that he was ill and probably wouldn't be able to write that day either.

"Don't worry, let's just get healthy," I groaned.

Before he could respond, the phone rattled with one of his Jell-O tub-rattling vomit heaves. I always thought that I was a loud and dramatic vomiter, but I think Dr. Dolan would give me a pretty good run for my money if we were to ever have a competition.

It was such a horrible case of food poisoning that Dr. Dolan said the next day, when we'd started to recover, "If someone held a syringe of what I had yesterday up to my arm, I'd tell them everything. Everything they wanted to know. I'd sell everyone out."

By six in the evening, I could hold water down. By eight, I was sipping soup. By eleven, I'd dropped an Imovane, and, welp, here I am.

Pretty excitin' stuff, eh?

So what does this have to do with movies?

Not a lot. See, the fact is that I didn't preview one single cotton-pickin' movie playing the next two weeks in Moscow. I fucked up. I let you down. I'm sorry. First I was too high, then I got violently ill.

It gave me a chance to watch a lot of Russian television. And I have to tell ya, folks. In spite of the clampdown on the Russian media, the range of opinions aired, particularly on NTV, was far, far more impressive and courageous than what I saw in America after 9/11. Which is a pretty scary thought. I mean I know we write all the time that the American media is just perfected Soviet propaganda, but the fact is, I don't want to believe that. It's humiliating. But facts are facts: I don't remember a single American getting on television and saying, "This is all the result of our corrupt, hypocritical, brutal policies in the Middle East. We should negotiate with Al Qaeda and adjust our policies or else it's going to happen again." But the Russians were all over the place on live television, from militarist to pacifist, melodramatic to tedious. Boris Kagarlitsky was my favorite, perfectly articulate, provocative and reasonable, even if I didn't agree with him.

The footage shown all day Saturday, when I was puking, was amazing vomit garnish. Those Chechen women sitting in the back row with that Kenny's-dead expression on their faces, one eye rolled in the back of the head, the other half-shut...Why bother watching a movie?

So I didn't. So here's my truthful review. Moscow has the honor of welcoming Tom Hanks in a drama called Road To Perdition that's so excruciatingly slow a Zaporazhets could ride circles around it; a Spasibo-Gitler! could make it to Krasnodar and back and you'd still be watching Hanks having a "moment" with his little shit of a son. It's the kind of film that features what the Beigeists consider morally-ambiguous heroes -- ya gots ta have yer morally ambiguous heroes these days if you wants Oscar rumors. Which the movie done gots. But you won't get me to see a Tom Hanks movie. Nuh-huh. No way, Jose!

My brother did. So I called him in Venice Beach, California to interview him for this special spooky edition of the Kino Korner. He was asleep. It was 10 p.m. Cali time, 9 a.m. my time. I hadn't slept all night. He was passed out on his couch.

"Road to Perdition?" he snarled. "More like Road to 7-11. It was boring... slow...and who gives a shit? The guy who made it was a loser and didn't do it right as a movie. None of the characters were interesting. I mean normally I fucking hate Tom Hanks but was just nothing, boring..."

The central drama: father and son don't really talk to each other much. This seems to be another one of the vile Baby Boomer obsessions: regret first of all for not appreciating their parents' sacrifice, then regret not having the same kind of mawkish breakthroughs that Baby Boomers expect out of each other. If I can just interrupt here and make a suggestion to the Baby Boomers. Um... LEAVE YOUR FUCKING PARENTS ALONE ALREADY! LET 'EM DIE IN PEACE! QUIT FETISHIZING THE POOR BASTARDS! YOU'VE EMBARRASSED THEM ENOUGH AS IT IS!

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