Monday, June 25, 2007

Why Rocky Is Better than the Entire Summer of 2007

Amy and I went to go see Oceans 13 yesterday.

I'm a sucker for caper movies – why Ron Bass hasn't made a movie based on The Perfect Thief is beyond me, by the way. A piece of the gag in Perfect Thief (Voleur lives in two different worlds at the same time) made its way into Passion of Mind, a Demi Moore movie a few years back. I've seen most of Bass's movies, but I admit I never Passion -- nor did too many other people, apparently, so I don't think Bass's reuse of that gag would prevent him from going back to the source and making one of the great caper movies ever …

Caper movies don't particularly have to make sense – making sense is a bonus in caper movies, not an absolute requirement. (If I remember, I'll post a list of my favorite caper movies somewhere down the road.) Oceans 13 doesn't make sense – it's a downright stupid movie filled with downright stupid people – but the movie and the people are gorgeous, and you'll forgive me if I just rolled over and went to sleep afterwards.

It hasn't been a great movie summer. Spiderman 3 sucked except for Toby Maguire's dance scene, I didn't bother to go see Pirates of the Caribbean – and I love Johnny Depp and like pirates.

(Though in recent years I keep noting that people don't wear patches the way real people wear one – the dude on Lost had the thong tying his patch down twisted up in several shots. No one who wears a patch all day long would have left that thong twisted like that – it'd rub a spot on your forehead.

(Digression on a digression -- if you google "Lost" and "eye patch" the first couple links are about the TV show Lost and the eyepatch wearing dude, but the third one down is – if you know anyone struggling with an eye problem, that's a community with a lot of resources on how to cope with the loss of vision in one eye -- or the actual loss of the eye – and how to protect the remaining eye. Good people.

(My eye's stabilized. At one point I was worried I'd lose the physical orb – plenty of people over at have – and I was determined to deal with it with style, if it happened – I'm talking eyeball with a Lakers logo. Exiting recursive digression ...)

Back to the summer … this summer we got part 3 of Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek 3, and the Oceans franchise – who's have guessed, going in, that fluffy little Oceans 13 would be the best of the bunch? I have low hopes for "Live Free or Die Hard," by the way, though I'm probably going to go see it on opening night. Of course – I had low hopes for Rocky Balboa last year too, and it turned out to be a superb movie. If you go to the "Memorable Quotes" page for Rocky Balboa, you'll find this – I sat in the movie theater with a tape recorder on my third trip to go see Rocky, and tape recorded this piece and typed it into IMDB. (And yes, to the intellectual property crowd, I know I'm going to hell – and I expect to enjoy the company there.)

Rocky Balboa: Yo, don't I got some rights?
Boxing Commissioner: What rights do you think you're referring to?
Rocky Balboa: Rights, like in that official piece of paper they wrote down the street there?
Boxing Commissioner: That's the Bill of Rights.
Rocky Balboa: Yeah, yeah. Bill of Rights. Don't it say something about going after what makes you happy?
Boxing Commissioner: No, that's the pursuit of happiness. But what's your point?
Rocky Balboa: My point is I'm pursuing something and nobody looks too happy about it.
Boxing Commissioner: But... we're just looking out for your interests.
Rocky Balboa: I appreciate that, but maybe you're looking out for your interests just a little bit more. I mean you shouldn't be asking people to come down here and pay the freight on something they paid, it still ain't good enough, I mean you think that's right? I mean maybe you're doing your job but why you gotta stop me from doing mine? Cause if you're willing to go through all the battling you got to go through to get where you want to get, who's got the right to stop you? I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to someone, something... and you're told no, even after you paid your dues? Who's got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody! It's your right to listen to your gut, it ain't nobody's right to say no after you earned the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do!... You know, the older I get the more things I gotta leave behind, that's life. The only thing I'm asking you guys to leave on the table... is what's right.

Stallone wasted a lot of his career and his potential. But he made two Rocky movies, the first and the last, that are genuine works of art. (And that first Rambo movie's not bad.) Last summer we got Rocky and a Bond that rivaled Connery's. This summer, Clooney, Pitt, and Damon looking pretty.

OK, so life could be worse.

We're going to court tomorrow, again – this is going to go on for a while, I'm guessing. But Wednesday morning I'm going to try tracking down a human being at Bantam to talk about AI War. I'll let you all know what happens, all around.


Anonymous said...

I wanna see a Caper movie where Police are scrambling up the stairs after Our Hero Caperist and do an ass over teakettle Wile-E Coyote turn around as the Hero greets them at the top of the stairs with a Bazooka. That's got summer blockbuster all over it.

The AI Bantam chat is as welcome news as a winning Lotto ticket.

Damn near 20 years now since I first come to love the Uncatchable one.

I could stand to hear a little more.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the highlight release of this summer...Transformers. It'll probably be so bad that it's painful, but still, giant robots. Giant robots = entertainment. That's all that has to be said about that.

Good luck with Bantam.

Dan Moran said...

My sons -- 5, 8, 11 -- have only mentioned one movie to me all summer, and it wasn't Spidey, or Silver Surfer, or Shrek, or the Pirates movie ...

So I'm going. My tolerance for trashy adventure is really high, but in this case I just pray my remaining eye doesn't convulsively leap out of my skull. The last good thing Michael Bay directed was a Playboy video centerfold ...

Thomas said...

Pirates wasn't too bad, if you go in expecting something abysmal. I'm also a sucker for Disney, and while at the park the other month, we went on the Pirates ride no less than 3 times, and I had to be pulled back by my sons before I entered a 4th.

Be prepared for the last 30-40 minutes, however, as you'll be seriously rethinking the wisdom of drinking anything. That's one seriously long movie.

Re: Oceans. I enjoyed it, but it was definite fluff. And dammit if Ellen Barkin isn't the hottest thing over 50.

Anonymous said...

I hope to read AI War soon. It will give me something to do when I'm in Iraq. Read and reread your novels!


US Army

Dan Moran said...

Amy tells me Anne Groell is now the executive editor at Spectra. So I'll start by trying to get a hold of her.

Atergoboy said...

sounds great...looking forward to AI War

not a big movie-goer, but Transformers is one that needs to be seen on the big screen, i think

Off topic, do you have any advice for aspiring writers? such as how to get published?

Dan Moran said...

Anonymous -- good luck in Iraq, and thank you for serving. If you'll drop me an e-mail where you can be reached, I'll make sure you're notified when anything becomes available.

Atergoboy -- much too broad a question. What kind of writing?

If it's SF, do what I did -- write short fiction until you sell to the magazines. This will get you known well enough that agents will talk to you and editors will consider your longer-form work. Fortunately SF still has a short-fiction market.

If it's not SF, I'd need to know more.