Saturday, May 26, 2007

'He's a treacherous ... yeasty ... codpiece.'

CHICAGO -- Went to the downtown AMC today to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with the brothers, and who should be coming down the escalator as we go up? Barack Obama. In a White Sox cap. Without entourage or fanfare and without being noticed. He seemed to be with two guys, who kinda looked like security men in plainclothes. Was Barack moviegoing solo? Wonder what he saw. Didn't think to ask. Maybe Pirates.

Which was great, by the way. Close to perfect. A return to the grandness of the first one, even though I was never sure what was going on. But the Bloom-Knightley romance is resolved brilliantly and Geoffrey Rush is a treasure. What I have appreciated most about this trilogy is its celebration of language. Writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio have a field day with the florid discourse of piracy, spinning screenplays that are at once showy and elegant -- a tapestry of delicious verbiage. This is how blockbusters should be: sensational both in production and in writing. Here's a sample of words, phrases and sentences that I was compelled to scribble down during At World's End:

"Feculent maggots." "Divulgatory." "If I may lend a machete to your intellectual thicket..." "Our destinies have been entwined but never joined." "Utterly deceptive twaddlestick." And there's so much more. Maybe Barack should hire Elliott and Rossio as speechwriters. He'd be guaranteed the nomination if he referred to an opponent as a "treacherous ... yeasty ... codpiece."

9 comments:

Joe Valdez said...

New reader, new fan. Terrific blog, J.J.

Your comments about Pirates of the Caribbean were well articulated. I had an intense dislike for the original, cared nothing about the sequels, but am going to have to rent this again. Maybe that Xanax and tequila I had before I went to the theater interfered with my judgment.

Viewed, In 3 Words. Fuck In Hilarious.

That Parker Posey interview really makes her out to be a douchebag in person. Clearly, public relations is not a going concern with her. I found that hilarious.

Anyway, thanks for giving me much to read and squander my potential with!

J.J. said...

You're welcome, Joe.

Can't believe you don't like the first Pirates. One of my top 10 in 2003. It's sensational.

Alanna said...

I was so disoriented for the entire film, I can't say I really enjoyed it . The sentences you selected are good , except for the one about entwined destinies, which is cheesy.

If you want really florid prose, rent the Rome DVDs. Including such turns of phrase as "frog-spawned homunculus" and "Juno's cunt!"

J.J. said...

Cheesy but grand and so very appropripate for the jon-rah.

cattleworks said...

By coincidence, me and the Dr. saw AT WORLD'S END last night.
I didn't catch the first sequel but I was amazed by how much I enjoyed the first one, going into the theater merely thinking "a movie based on a RIDE?"
Yeah, the dialogue is very fun and I particularly remember that wonderfully long "... codpiece" bit.

I've yet to re-view the first one to check out one scene that sounded like it was all written in verse. The screenwriters certainly did seem to have a great time, really tried to wring the most out of an opportunity to write a pirate film.
Arguably, some of the big set-piece things scream blatant, arbitrary summer blockbuster set-piece things, like the "maelstrom," but I took it in the spirit of a sea yarn/fish tale.

They really cram a lot into this picture. And I mean CRAM.
Visually and storytelling-wise.
Sometimes I can't believe how much stuff is going on on-screen at once, in terms of action and set design. Part of me is going, man, this is a big budget film, look at all the art-direction going on here, there and everywhere.
And during that one swordfight with Capt. Jack Sparrow on top of a mast, we cut to another sub-plot, then when we get back to the sword-fight, I'm like, oh, yeah, we were in the middle of a swordfight several minutes ago! Insane!

I also was touched and moved a couple times during the film, like the scene when Elizabeth sees her father, or strangely, even when they see the Leviathan.

Plus, Depp's very first, close-up appearance in the film is delightfully, surreally, WTF awesome.

J.J. said...

I agree. The movie is teeming with stuff -- visuals, plot, language, whatever. It's soaked in it. Amazing that Verbinski was able to keep such control over all the pieces. And yes, I was moved at points too (mainly the resolution of the Bloom-Knightley romance). The first and third are ripping good yarns, and the second one has to be tolerated, I guess, as a necessary bridge.

Maria in Mostar said...

I don't agree with your high praise of Pirates, but, on the subject of that movie, I would like to say if Orlando Bloom and I could just meet each other, I know we'd fall passionately in love.

cattleworks said...

When we see a ship full of Capt. Jack Sparrows...
my wife softly said out loud:
"I'm in heaven..!"

Adi said...

Thank you for shared it.
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