[Wednesday, August 22, 2001]

So just quickly, back to Christian Bale. Who is evidently in Captain Corelli's Mandolin, playing the partisan fisherman boyfriend whom Penelope Cruz dumps for Nicolas Cage.

Now first of all, I think it's important that we get this out in the open: I read periodicals for (part of) a living. I am more than aware that Captain Corelli's Mandolin has been critically panned and popularly ignored. However, I am dying to see it, partly because I love Greece and particularly Greek islands, and am all about the scenery, but also because I think that it has the potential to be the worst film of all time. Currently, that title is held, indisputably, by The Patriot, a film which became unsalvageably bad within a record-smashing six minutes and forty-eight seconds, and which, bravely, kept getting worse. To paraphrase the immortal Joe Queenan, the makers of The Patriot understood that it was not enough to have a single father raising his sturdy sons (and white-gowned, tousle-haired daughters) on a plantation curiously untouched by the outside world and slavery, it was not enough for the middle son to be coldly murdered by the British colonel, it was not enough for Mel Gibson to slaughter an entire detachment of regulars with the sole assistance of an eight-year-old. No, in order to make the worst film of all time it was necessary for Mel Gibson, a widower, of course, to have an odious love affair with, of all people, his sister-in-law; it was necessary for the eldest (by now, thanks to the Evil Colonel, "elder") of his sons to have a romance with the daughter of the local storekeeper, including a hideous subplot involving ink; it was necessary for the regulars to lock the storekeeper's daughter in a church with the rest of the town and burn them all to death; it was necessary to kill off Heath Ledger, the only attractive man in the film; and it was necessary for Mel Gibson, an Australian, to charge up a hill holding the American flag, screaming "Freedom". The line, "It's a free country—or it soon will be," said by the sister-in-law to Mel Gibson in response to the seemingly innocuous question, "May I sit down?", was not necessary, but it cemented the film in cinema history as a landmark of cultural vacuity.

The Patriot was one of two movies during which I have ever taken a cigarette break. The other was French and involved anal rape.

However, I think Captain Corelli's Mandolin could well be worse. For one thing, The Patriot did not involve mandolins in any capacity. For another, it did not involve Nicolas Cage in any capacity. I know that many people believe he is a talented and versatile actor, but I don't think those people saw the movie in which he played a Flying Elvis. Third, The Patriot was wholly without partisan fishermen. For these reasons, and several others, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is high on my list of ways in which to waste $9.00 this summer.

Ways in which you, too, can waste time if not money include, but are not limited to going here or here.