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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Blogs Must Be Lazy

That picture of the resident bushman in the upper right-hand corner isn’t me. It’s been up there for several months, and I’ve had a couple acquaintances say they thought at first that it was me, your lowly author for this blog, but such is far from being the case. I was a bushman in another life, though… just not this one. Plus, I’m not quite that tan. And I don’t generally carry a spear around with me. (that is, unless it’s bacon hunting season at the meat market, in which case all bets are off) And there aren’t any nudist cliffs in Oregon that I’m aware of. But other than that, I can see how I could be easily confused with a bushman.

The still photo is taken from a scene in the 1981 moving picture “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” which is a delightful story (or insert other canned phrase here) in its own right. And incredibly if not unpredictably, the sequel is just as good, if not better. It’s a down-to-earth account of civilizations in different forms of advancement, with the presentation sometimes reflective and mostly funny, while not so much in the ha-ha sense, but rather in the “life is funny” sense where you might have a silly grin on your face, not a bust-up laughing type, though a couple of those are sparsely thrown in there for good measure as well. It’s offbeat, unconventional, unpretentious, original, educational and entertaining. What’s not to like? I give it an enthusiastic eight thumbs up. And you know when thumbs are enthusiastic, that’s got to mean something special.

In this particular scene, the protagonist, Xi (makes it easier to sign his name), is looking to throw the Coke bottle off the edge of the earth, because it has caused his village much strife since it was found. That it fell from the sky leads us to infer that they would muse the gods must be crazy.

I won’t give anything away except to say that the cameo by Michael J. Fox in Bermuda shorts was extremely misplaced. No, that was another movie… I hate when that happens. And I always get Antonio Banderas and that other guy mixed up. I once sat through two-thirds of a movie thinking he was that other guy. Anyway, this cinematic event was produced in South Africa, and revolves around some more quote-unquote “civilized” people crossing paths with a primitive bushman tribe of the Kalahari Desert.

The scenery is pleasant without being extravagant, and you get quaint close-ups of the wildlife, so you feel like you’re planted right in the movie, without it screaming at you, “Watch me!!” (I'm really put out when movies do that)

It’s hard to explain what the film is like without your actually having seen it. Explanations just don’t do it the proper justice, including its day in court and a trial before a jury of its peers. It sounds either more blasé than it is, or cornier than it is, or something else less impressive, or the reincarnation of Mommie Dearest, none of which are true.

Do you ever have things in life like that which are too hard to explain to people if they haven’t experienced it? Doesn’t work so well. You have to be there to fully appreciate it. In the theatrical realm, sometimes humor or interest pervades through the atmosphere it’s presented in, or in other words, the context. To try to recapture that dynamic within an appraisal of any length would fail to give it its due.

TGMBC is a humble, low-budget film that subtly meanders about, weaving an intriguing story and making your tummy tickle, while schizophrenically being neither strictly a comedy or a drama.

I’m often fond of movies that are unlike other movies, and this one is that. Not being molded through the formulaic Hollywood machine, it develops its own completely likeable personality.

Once you’ve seen the first one, you ought to also see the sequel (cleverly named “The Gods Must Be Crazy II”) at some point too. I thought the follow-up brought added depth with it and got even funnier, with a few of the characters becoming more developed. Many of the main actors change, but Xi is a constant.

Now that I’ve been reminiscing about these hidden gems, it makes me want to watch them again. I saw #2 about a year ago, and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen the first one.

But I wasn’t trying to write a movie review. I merely wanted to show the difference between a shot of Africa and of the Oregon coast. And how I came that close to starring in a blockbuster hit. I could’ve been a star…

1 comment:

Jeff Crandall said...

Nobody, but NOBODY know M. Ward's masterpiece "Chinese Translation." This explains so much...

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