Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sean Connery Movie Sunday or The Excuse For More Videos With Toys

So I heard that one song by Meatloaf the other day, "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"

And because I have way too much time on my hands and a mind that wanders like five-year old let off their leash

I want to be FREEEEEE

What? Oh yeah, because of my dangerous habit of thinking too much about nonsensical things I began to wonder just what it is that Meatloaf won't do for love? I mean it's got to be a big deal because he'd do ANYTHING else for love. So what could it be? Maybe his lady wants to have a threesome with another dude. Or violate him in the rear area. Or maybe it's something totally mundane that he just doesn't like. Like taking out the trash or cleaning the gutters. Maybe he's willing to climb mountains, cross oceans, and even traverse fjords for love, but god dammit stop asking him to clean the gutters because it's all icky and nasty up there with leaves and squirrel poop and he hates setting up the rickety ladder, it's just such a pain. Look, he'd do anything for love, ANYTHING...But he won't do that.

...Yeah. Distraction! I doodled this not too long ago. Didn't scan it because I am lazy:

Picture is best viewed while humming the "One of these things is not like the other" song

Anyway, the only reason I am aware of this week's Sean Connery film is because of my Comedy and The Devil Literature class I took freshman year of college. The Name of The Rose is a book by this Italian writer, Umberto Eco.

Fun fact: he chose the title "The Name of The Rose" because he wanted a "truly neutral" title that had nothing whatsoever to do with the story. And probably because he liked to fuck with Literature's implied.

It's kind of like a meta-novel, because the story is about a monk who is a medieval stand-in for Sherlock Holmes (his name is William of Baskerville for crying out loud) wandering through a monastery trying to track down a murderer by using empirical evidence and deduction rather than waving his arms over his head and saying abra cadabra, but the underlying point is that the story is a metaphor for the way reader's read or absorb information from texts and deduce meanings based on their contexts. It's all very heady and post-modern (the English Lit phrase for "snooty and complicated"). The something else:

Because this just screams intellectual postmodernism

So it's kind of hard for me to describe the movie to you on it's own terms without getting all tangled up in the book. Especially since I wrote a paper on the issues between the book and film adaptation. Yeah that's right, I wrote a paper on Sean Connery, don't act like you're not jealous. Ahywhoo, to keep things sane, I'll focus on the movie as the movie and then get all huffy over the book differences later. So, the film begins with a voice-over from the old and wrinkly version of our hero, young Adso the monk, played by an itsy-bitsy Christian Slater in his first film role. Adso is the apprentice monk to the quirky William of Baskerville, played by Connery. After there is a shocking suicide/death/thingy at a Benedictine abbey and the monks are all freaking out and calling it Satan, William is called in to investigate because he's known as the sharpest monk in the tri-monastery area. He and Adso wander around the monastery while William continues to be all quirkily ahead-of-his-time with sayings like, "The only evidence I see of the antichrist here is everyone's desire to see him at work" and doing that "I know more than everybody else" shtick that Sean Connery does so well.

So he and Adso meet a colorful bunch of monks that are all kinda weird, ugly looking dudes who give William and Adso the stink-eye and generally are bizarre. Like Ron Perlman, in one his first movie roles as well, as Salvatore, the crazy hunchbacked monk who speaks only crazed gibberish. Was this typical for a monastery to be crawling with suspicious-looking nutballs? The biggest nutball by far though, is Jorge, an old blind monk who rants and raves and pretty much holds up a big sign proclaiming "Sup, I'm the evil dude"

Jorge: Bah! Laughter is evil! And so is Aristotle! I will totally kill the shit out of anyone who disagrees with me! Mwahahaha!!!

Adso: Um, William. Should we be concerned about this? I mean, we are looking for a crazed murderer and all...

William: Nonsense, Adso! He's just a harmless old blind man. He's not even wearing bad-guy eyeliner.

Things start to heat up when Inquisitor Bernardo Gui shows up, played by Connery's nemesis in Finding Forrester, F. Murray Abraham. Seriously, has he EVER played a good guy? Or at least not a dickhole? Anyway, he only exists to up the tension as more people are killed and he believes it is the work of El Diablo and tries to solve the case before William. And also burn people. He really likes burning people. So what would make sense at this point in a movie about monks, murder and the balancing of faith and science?

A sex scene, of course! Adso falls in love with a peasant girl, despite the fact that the two never say a word to each other. Actually, I don't think she can talk, she's portrayed as like this half-feral dog creature with boobs. It's weird. Also they have sex. And Christian Slater is like, 12 so it's super uncomfortable (ok, he's 15 but I still feel like some kind of pedo just by watching it). After that bit of nothing things head for the climax, which is all nice and climax-y:

Bernardo thinks Peasant Boobs is a witch! And also Ron Perlman! He wants to burn them!

Adso is sad!

William finds a secret library! Also it was Jorge killing dudes all along (no shit)!

The peasants totally let Ron Perlman die, but save Boobs! And kill Bernardo! Even though he is a legit historical figure who died of natural causes after a long and happy life of burning people!

Explosions occur and Sean Connery does a death fake-out that no one falls for!

Happy ending!

The end. It is a predictable but still interesting mystery thriller thing. The locations are cool and the characters are memorable and very distinctive. Despite being a munchkin, Christian Slater manages to hold his own with Connery and the others and I giggled quite a bit during the explosion sequence. One thing that really irritated me from a technical aspect though is that this movie is DARK. At times it is difficult as all hell to figure out what's going on. The lighting is just shit throughout a large portion of the film. Still, it's not a bad movie, it's just not an awesome one. Two and a half catapults out of five.

Rant time now:

AAAAARRRGGHH! Why even bother calling it The Name of The Rose, it's like a whole different story! The ENTIRE POINT of the book is that William's brilliant deductions are actually wrong and what looks like conspiracy in context is actually random coincidence. But the movie ignores that in favor of a Scooby-Doo ending. Also Bernardo survives, as is historically accurate and Boobs is taken away and presumably killed off-screen, as it were. The movie pretty much Hollywood-izes the story to ridiculous lengths and takes away what made the book unique and masterful. Here's a simplified breakdown:

Because why say it in an intellectual and mature manner when you can say it with children's toys?

That's all for tonight! See ya tomorrow, unless I turn up mysteriously dead in a Benedictine Abbey, which happens sometimes. 'Night!

(After Adso gets it on with Peasant Boobs, he asks William what God says about the ladies)

William: "Proverbs warns us, 'Woman takes possession of a man's precious soul', while Ecclesiastes tells us, 'More bitter than death is woman'."

Adso: "Yes, but what do you think, Master?"

William: "Well, of course I don't have the benefit of your experience, but I find it difficult to convince myself that God would have introduced such a foul being into creation without endowing her with *some* virtures. Hmm? How peaceful life would be without love, Adso, how safe, how tranquil, and how dull."


  1. I have been waiting for you to do this one.

    Like you have no idea.


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