Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sean Connery Sunday/Renaissance Fair Highlights

Let's get one important thing straight: I am a college student. Not just a college student but an HONORS college student, which means I am a giant nerd. In being a giant nerd at my giant nerd school, I spend most of my time indoors, in front of a computer screen, studying my brains out as opposed to exposing myself to the angry yellow orb of doom and Vitamin D. So, despite how much sun I may have gotten over the summer, come winter I am paler than a ghost.


So, by springtime, I am basically one of the undead, only without the thirst for blood or desire to star in a series of terrible teen romance novels (Ba-zing!). The point of this whole diatribe is for you to get an idea of just how much of a stranger I have become to the sunlit world and then picture me running amok at the renaissance fair for seven hours on a beautiful, cloudless day.

Like this, but perhaps even crispier.

You could crack an egg on my face right now and I bet you it would sizzle, SIZZLE, I SAY! Ahem, anyway, yeah, hooray for skin cancer! The fair was still a lot of fun though, my costume came out pretty awesome considering I invested all of ten bucks in it (most of the awesomeness was from a pair of steampunk goggles I borrowed). I watched a couple jousts where me and my friends sat on the bad knight's side and were supposed to root for him, which we were totally fine with because he was hot and sounded like Gerard Butler in 300 when he yelled. Also the bad guy audience got to yell much more violent and bloodthirsty cheers than the good guy audience. I also saw Musical Macbeth, which is exactly how it sounds, and it was hilarious, especially the lightstaber fight at the end. All re-tellings of Shakespearean plays should employ lightstabers. Especially The Merchant of Venice.

Ain't no Venetian gonna screw with Shylock now!

Ok, now, on to the Sean Connery movie! This week: The Man Who Would Be King

It's the story of two horse-racing jockeys with a dream (it's not)

The Man Who Would Be King is the kind of movie critics at the time called "rollicking" which is fun to say in a British accent. Go ahead, try it. Don't tell my you didn't giggle a little. Liar. Anyway, rollicking (tee-hee) means that it's an adventure movie of the old school, where the men were MEN and the women...were generally delegating to unimportant, non-speaking roles. And The Man Who Would Be King is no exception! Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling, the movie centers on two former British soldiers, Danny played by Sean Connery and Peachy played by Michael Caine...yeah, apparently when men were MEN they were also Peachy. Good to know.

So Danny and...Peachy used to be soldiers fighting for England in British India but now make their living as con men and by being generally charming and British. They meet Rudyard Kipling, played by Christopher Plummer (who's from so many great movies, but to make things simple and easy, the voice of the bad guy in Up) on a train where he discovers their wacky charms and miscreant ways, actually they're kind of dicks to him but anyway, he meets them again at his office where they tell him that they are bored of being con men and that India is "too small for the likes of them." No, they're going to Kafristan, which apparently is big enough, and bringing a ton of guns with the plan of taking over some villages and setting themselves up as kings. Cause there's no way that can go wrong.

Danny and Peachy travel across the desert, being dicks to anyone who crosses their path until they find a small village and make an offer to the chief to conquer all his enemies, which is going pretty well until Danny takes an arrow to the chest, except not really and he's fine but the natives now think he's a magical god and so Danny and Peachy go along with it because, what's the worst that could happen? (The answer is that it could work so exceedingly well that Danny becomes a mega-douchebag and hurts Peachy's feelings and then when he tries to forcefully wed himself to the hottest lady in the land and she bites him in self-defense, the villagers realize from his wound that he's NOT a god and chase our heroes to a gorge to try to kill them horribly)

But seriously, what are the odds of that?

Told you so

The movie was directed by the incredibly mad genius that was John Huston, who directed Moby Dick, the original Moulin Rouge, Fat City, The Unforgiven, and the Red Badge of Courage, among others. He was the master of the rollicking adventure as well and it shows here. The Man Who Would Be King is an epic, wide-spanned movie full of great shots in awesome looking locations and lots of action. Connery and Caine are great together when it's just them, but whenever they interact with other people, it's hard to be sympathetic with their characters. They're really just kind of assholes. I get that they were supposed to the charming kind of asshole but I just didn't feel that. But, like I said, when it's just them, that's a whole different story. There's a scene where Peachy wants to leave the village and just go home before anything bad happens but Danny has become to wrapped up in his own myth. He imperiously tells Peachy to go ahead, but that he's staying to be king/god. On one hand, Caine just radiates the hurt and betrayal of so many years of friendship but also you can understand Danny, who's been living as Peachy's sidekick for so long and finally has the limelight. It's a great scene character-wise and also it was Bromance before there was Bromance. ;D

There's also this really awesome scene where Danny's on a rope bridge hanging above the aforementioned gorge and the villagers cut it to try to kill him but he JUMPS and it's super cool and even more so because Sean Connery did it himself, dropping around a hundred feet onto a pile of cardboard boxes. In the making of on the DVD you can watch them set it up and damn it is one hell of fall but that just helps further my already largely unhealthy hero worship. To the point: This is a great film. Some parts of it are slow or seemed stalled but the action is great, the vistas are sweeping and Connery and Caine are fun as hell to watch...when they aren't being tools to the natives anyway. Four catapults out of five. (Also, random trivia: the woman who Danny forcefully courts and who bites him on the face is played by Michael Caine's wife. How's that for awkward?)

Keep on rockin' in the free or otherwise authoritatively governed world!

Danny Dravot: "You are going to become soldiers. A soldier does not think. He only obeys. Do you really think that if a soldier thought twice he'd give his life for queen and country? Not bloody likely."

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