Friday, September 30, 2011

Sept 30

Watched Kobayashi's excellent Samurai Rebellion this week.  A pacifist and something of a gentle cynic, Kobayashi makes movies about the failures and inconsistencies of the samurai code. In Samurai Rebellion, for example, the injustness and capriciousness of the daimyo (the lord of a particular region) ultimately pushes one of his followers (played here by T Mifune) into open rebellion.  The inciting incident involves a courtesan whom the daimyo has grown tired of. Wanting a new lover, he forces the courtesan to leave his house and asks Mifune to marry her to his son. Mifune demurs at first but then, reluctantly, agrees (he had intended to choose his son's bride for himself and resents having to take a 'fallen woman' into his household.) The courtesan and the son eventually fall deeply in love, at which time the daimyo changes his mind and calls the courtesan back to his court. At this, Mifune balks. Ultimately, a mini-war breaks out, with predictably deleterious consequences.  The movie traces out Mifune's growing disillusionment and resentment toward not only his daimyo but the whole system which supports him. Really, really excellent.  (Harakiri, also by Kobayashi, is similarly great.)

Have been watching 30 Rock in syndication at night of late; it’s on twice here at 11:30 and 12. Surprised to find how poorly it holds up, how much less good it seems now than it once did. Not sure exactly why and would like to figure it out. A few great episodes, of course, but... hmm.  It's a lot less funny than I remember.  Also Tina Fey is starting to wear thin. The fact that she frames herself as a klutz who eats all the time when she’s in fact thin, pretty, and successful may be part of it. Feels all like a ruse of some sort, I don’t know.


Johannes said...

That war has "predictably deleterious consequences" is a really funny line. Also I think you're wrong about 30 Rock. It holds up because it's not plot driven, so the episodes to me are a string of jokes and one-liners that I had forgot about and get to enjoy again.

"I'm a real paramedic. This man has acute strawberry poisoning. We need to saw off his hands to get the poison out!"

I do agree about Tina Fey being too unlike her character to be believable. Also some seasons are better than others.

ANCIANT said...

You're right, Johannes, about the plot, but I actually think that makes it hold up less. It's the difference between early SImpsons and current Simpsons. Once all you're left with is the jokes they become somehow less compelling. Also, the jokes themselves don't hold up as well as I thought they would.

Don't get me wrong--I still watch it. It's still GOOD. It's just, in my memory, many of the episodes are GREAT. But in reality I'm not sure a lot of them are.

Kenneth and Jack are the most consistently funny characters. Jenna is the most consistently UNfunny. Not sure even what she's in the show for.

Although there are some very funny lines:

"Dr Spaceman is an excellent doctor. And, a damn fine dentist."

"You trained your dog to poop in a box?
"Bianca did. But I want that box."

"I renounce Verdukianism!"