Monday Morning Critic – 11.9

On tap this week:
— Fast times with tech support
— Prince of the Caribbean?
— The Wrestler: Deconstructed
And slightly much more!

There’s something to be said about a late night drink with the guys, and usually Tuesday night is bar night for me. The men’s soccer league I play in is filled with some really great guys, and hanging out for a couple hours and downing a pint or five is usually a good time. It’s tradition in sports, I think, but the best parts are usually reserved for the conversations. At first, when I started playing with these guys eons ago, I thought the horrible things that some of them said were just an act, as they were busting the chops of the new guy. But after a month I realized that this was no act and the horrible things I said wouldn’t be all that bad.

This week, after a thrilling 2-1 defeat, five of us headed out to Finn’s. Finn’s is our hangout and we even have a usual seat and a waitress who makes sure she has our table. For all the amusing things she has to over hear, we tip her well enough to make it worth it I suppose. It was Dave the lawyer, English-bred Indian Rav, myself, Irish soccer hooligan Rich and Mike. Mike’s the reigning master of the filthily inappropriate joke, and even found a way to be more offensive to the handicapped then my “little bit of the tard” bit from months ago. It is possible and it is so vile and it can’t be published.

The three of them are all IT and software engineer types, and when you get IT guys together usually they start talking about IT stuffs. Me, I can barely turn my computer on so this is all Greek to me. It is fascinating to listen to, though, as it’s almost like listening to foreign language speakers in a language that’s enough like English where you think it is, but after a minute you realize it isn’t. Last Tuesday was one of them, as they started discussing the fun filled “quirks” of Microsoft Windows. Apparently the trick is to get the first help desk guy to use the word anomaly or bug because then you don’t have to pay for the call.

So Mike and Rav start railing on the initial tech support, which is based out of India. Apparently Rav found that the guys in Dallas, TX, are Microsoft’s top guys and you ought to try and get to them quickly. The rest will waste your time with a manual of things to do that any competent IT person will have done already. But the amusing thing was hearing Rav, whose family immigrated to England (and then America), rant and rave about how crappy tech support is in other parts of the world. Apparently the Indians and Chinese can be very difficult to understand do to English being their second language and it struck me.

We had witnessed a miracle.

I looked at Dave and mentioned this, and he goes “How?” Dave’s an older guy who’s willing to humor me on things like this.

“We just heard an Indian guy complain about tech support.”

Thoughts like that I imagine would keep me out of the good colleges in Bombay.

Random Thoughts of the Week

You know, I respect Jerry Bruckheimer for what he’s done. He’s tapped into the vein of what people want in a summer blockbuster and delivers it, no questions asked. He doesn’t want any awards, nor does he throw the weight of his producer’s touch behind anything that doesn’t make money. It’s Americana at its best. But watching the new trailer for Prince of Persia, one can’t help but think that he’s gotten complacent.

Click here to watch it.

The one thing that keeps bugging me, outside of Jake Gyllenhaal’s English accent in ancient Persia, is that the film is desperately trying to capture magic that his main franchise of the last decade (Pirates of the Caribbean) had. And it’s kind of sad, really, because this franchise ought to try and find its own magic.

Bruckheimer isn’t exactly the king of originality, far from it, but he’s always been someone who bases his franchises with different sorts of vibes. National Treasure is his action thriller with delusions of history, Pirates is his costume piece. Bad Boys is his crime thriller, and Beverly Hills Cop is his action comedy series. One would think that Prince of Persia would be more of a swords and sandals in the Middle East epic, as opposed to going for another costume period piece.

It’s hard to judge the quality of a film from its trailer, but you can tell a film’s vibe from it. And there’s nothing original about the vibe from this film, as it just reeks of “hey, Jake is doing his Persian Johnny Depp” and everything’s supposed to be ok. It’s not.

I don’t expect much from Bruckheimer besides stuff being blown up, but I do expect at least an attempt at making something different. His movies may have all the same tendencies, but they all have their own universe and vibe. And it’s disappointing to see that he’s just doing a copy and paste of his past.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s Film – The Wrestler


Mickey Rourke has had an amazing run over the last couple years. Sin City was a hit and he was the best part of it. He had a small part in Man on Fire and knocked it out of the part. Next summer he looks to be a part of a hit franchise in Iron Man 2. What happened in the meantime?

The Wrestler

As Randy “The Ram” Robinson, Rourke is a washed up professional wrestler on the downside of his career. Going from headlining Madison Square Garden to bingo halls along the East Coast, Robinson’s mid-life heart attack forces him to examine a life he’s led. That means getting in touch with the daughter he pretty much abandoned (Evan Rachel Wood) and the stripper (Marissa Tomei) with whom he shares a connection with. As he deals with a life that has passed him by, and of being a has-been trying to hold on to what little fame he has left, Robinson is middle-aged and living in a trailer.

This isn’t a great film by any stretch, despite its heavy award profiles, but it is one of a blisteringly good performance out of its main star. Rourke had a once in a lifetime role with a once in a lifetime script, with a director (Darren Aronofsky) who knew exactly how to direct him. He carries this film in a way he never has done before, nor will he ever do it again, and it’s breath-taking. Rourke hits every line and in the ring looks like an old ring warrior. It’s authentic, which is the highest compliment you can give to an actor (I think).

Nic Cage originally had the role and watching it now, Rourke is the only guy who could’ve been in this role. There are certain parts that in retrospect only one actor could’ve done. Arnold is the Terminator, Stallone was Rocky, Carrell was Andy the Virgin, Newman was Fast Eddie and Rourke is Randy the wrestler. There is no else who would’ve been acceptable in those roles in retrospect and Rourke has gained entry into the “Iconic Character Hall of Fame” on this one. It’s rare to get in and he managed to pull it off in a performance that should’ve earned him an Oscar.

But the problem is that this isn’t a very good film. It’s trite and cliché about a man past his prime wanting once more to shine in the spotlight. You can see where Aronofsky is going throughout the film, as it’s an assembly line film about a pro wrestler trying to hold onto the spotlight and it’s rather pathetic the way he continues to do so, holding a part time job and working small shows for small payouts. It’s sad in a way, especially with a song like “Don’t know what you got” by Cinderella is used early on.

Solid recommendation for Rourke’s iconic, brilliant performance.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

2012 – Roland Emmerich destroys the world, again.

See it – It will be god-awful, we all know it, but a film like this only works on the big screen.

Pirate Radio – P.S Hoffman is a wacky American radio DJ trying to get rock and roll music onto British airwaves.

See it – Hoffman is always good for one awesomely quirky film every other year and this looks like it’ll be it.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds..

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