Guest Writer: Ted Berg
I might be the wrong guy for this assignment because I don’t harbor any guilt over any of the movies I enjoy. Movies are made for entertainment, and pleasure is pleasure. Sure, a thought-provoking film might hold my attention after the credits stop rolling — entertaining me over a longer period of time — but a good blockbuster full of high-speed chases and tremendous explosions can provide a thorough and enrapturing aesthetic experience like few others.
I know a lot of European cinema supposedly developed in reaction to the escapism of Hollywood, but I don’t really understand the beef with escapism. I’ve seen a bunch of Italian Neorealist films, and nearly all of them bored me to sleep and not one featured a giant ape wrestling dinosaurs. Sure, Peter Jackson’s King Kong was a bit heavy-handed and hardly provoked introspection, but it held me in a vice grip throughout because, well, apes wrestling dinosaurs. And yeah, it might have lacked the subtleties of L’Avventura, but subtlety is for suckers. Give me movies that fully exploit the medium.
xXx opens with a suave dude in a tuxedo doing some spy stuff at an obvious bad-guy party featuring a Rammstein performance. His presence is too obvious and inexplicable in a mosh pit full off tattooed and pierced fire-breathers, and the leader-guy bad guys spot him swiftly and kill him handily. Then they light some drinks on fire to celebrate.