Liking It So You Don’t Have To #1 - Mission: Impossible III

One thing which this blog delights in doing is jumping straight from the sublime to the ridiculous. So, with Godot safety in the bag, get a load of this!

I had this idea for an occasional series of posts. My thinking went something along these lines:

It’s all too easy to write about things we hate – and I hate doing that (… thinks, is there a future post in that?).

It’s also quite easy to blog about things which practically everybody likes, “This 'breathing' lark is quite good isn’t it?” or "Underwear Rawks Dude"...

So I thought it would be fun to come up with some stuff that I like but which most other people probably won’t.



So here goes with a little movie for starters…

As a little Irish geezer, I used to love ‘Mission Impossible’ on the telly. All that ‘Dun-dun-dun-dun’ theme music, improbably-easy rubber masks and… hell, just the quiet efficiency with which the team always got through their objectives.

Yup, ‘Quiet efficiency’ was one of my big things, back when I was five years old.

So when I heard the movie was coming out, I was quite excited… and then I was disappointed.

Brian De Palma didn’t quite carry it off, for me and then came John Woo with the second installment and that just didn’t do it either. All that graceful slow-mo gun-fighting and iconic doves sailing around everywhere.

Doves!! 'Bleedin’ rats-with-wings, if you ask me.

So I didn’t hold out any hope for ‘M:I III’. None at all. Then, to make matters worse, Tom Cruise started acting the maggot all over Oprah’s couch and the critics got to dissing it badly and the audiences went ‘meh’. So I did what I usually do anyway – I waited for the DVD...

...

Oh My God!! What a great action movie this is!

If you haven’t seen it, go get it, it’s simply a blast from start to finish. Easily the best of the three, director JJ Abrams (yes, he of ‘Lost’) directs a fast-moving, involving and even occasionally touching bit of cinematic fluff.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is just the very best ‘Bad Guy’ I’ve seen in ages. He simply oozes menace and he is written to be bad-to-the-bone, which is what we need to see in these things.

There’s a great mission set-piece in and around the Vatican (no, no nazis in sight, Caledonian Jim), there’s some very impressive non-CGI stunt work and, there’s even a bit-of-a-story to follow.

And there is, I believe, a truly great piece of screenwriting right slap bang in the middle of the show. I won’t give it away but, as Ethan enters a high tech skyscraper to complete the next part of his mission, the screenwriter give us a little master class in how to get out of a scene early.

Quite brilliant, watch for it.

So there it is, something I like that you might well not.

I mean, it ain’t ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Bicycle Thieves’ but, if you fancy a lively entertaining DVD-night-in, you could do a lot worse.

Now, what’s next?

30 comments:

Susan said...

Great stuff! I spent childhood summers singing da-da-da-da to that theme song with friends, dressed in black with woolly hats to tiptoe up on the neighbours' front gardens and SWOOP down to rearrange ornaments and gnomes, HA HA before making the getaway!! Seems lame now, but it was fun then.

Then I wandered off the path as I grew up, ending up in fantasy paperbacks instead of thrillers... so give me Princess Bride and Galaxy Quest for films instead.

Loved this post,anyhow!
You're so right about the things-I-hate theme getting old.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Hey Ken--what a striking header graphic image you've got there! I love it!

Question: You think Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a better villain than Heath Ledger in Batman Begins? Or haven't you seen Batman Begins yet?

OK, I was avoiding MI:III, but on your street cred, I'll order it from Netflix.

Still, Citizen Kane, which I just saw recently, was NOT that great of a movie. I think it keeps getting points for nostalgia. They made movies different back then. American Beauty is a far better movie than Citizen Kane could ever hope to be.

Cheers!

Ken Armstrong said...

Hi Susan - Yeah! We used to do that too - the tree was a lift shaft... we used to do showjumping too, 'cos there was nothing else on the telly - I was always Raymondo D'enzeo! :)

It *is* a good header Matt, you should meet the guy who did it, he likes rafting and ABBA and... oh, wait, bugger! :)

See, I *haven't* seen Dark Knight yet - my twelve year old refused to bring me to it. I know Heath is going to be good - better than this - but PSH is a subtle actor and he brings something to this... but there's good stuff in the writing too. All right, the end gets a little silly and the rubber masks are *never* convincing, are they? But worth a shot I think.

It never fails to un-nerve me that you buy DVD's on my word - can't you just 'rent' it or something? :)

Thanks for the 'thing'- you are waaaay too kind.

Alan Gay and Straight said...

Tom Cruise.........No Thanks.

I'll skip this one...and his next one.

hope said...

Ah Ken, we are ruining your premise. I liked MI III better than the first two. I really think it had to do with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who was skin crawling "evil" compared to most roles he takes!

Tis odd to compare the childhood version of cool, no-nonsense Peter Graves vs. Tom Man of Action. Points to Cruise, who claims to do all his own stunts.

Trivia for you: Peter Graves had an equally famous actor brother...do you know who?

Matt, thank you for the "Citizen Kane" comment. After seeing it, I thought nostalgia was bigger than the entertainment value.

Ken Armstrong said...

That's the idea, Alan, 'I like it so you don't have to' - thanks for playing :)

Hi Hope (Hi Hope it's off to work we go... never mind) James Arness! Marshall Dillon, Marshall Dillon... I remember him better for his part in a TV series called How The West Was One...

I skipped Matt's Citizen Kane comment accidentally, so excited was I on other matters. CK, for me, is one of the single most over-rated movies of all time...

... and Rosebud was his sled... so there!! :)

fragileheart said...

Well, its official - you and my bf would get along. I don't hate these movies because they are well done but I *hate* Tom Cruise.

And uh Phillip Seymour Hoffman kicks ass in everything I've seen him in (after Almost Famous).

Jim Murdoch said...

A while ago I was trying to think of films I'd walked out on and I suppose I should've included films I'd switched off on TV. The first Mission Impossible was one of them. Yup, pretty much hated it. So, I've never seen the sequel (and, since I also turned off Face/Off that was a no-brainer) and the third installment hasn't reached me yet. Based on your recommendation I'd have a look at it so you've done your job. It's not that I hate action films because I don't – I watched all the Die Hards several times over – but as a genre it can get a bit samey. That said, I've never actually got around to The Bicycle Thieves either so there you go. I should hang my head in shame for that.

Dave King said...

I probable will watch it - though without your recommendation I never would have.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Well, technically, Rosebud was the "manufacturer" of the sled. Kind of like American Flyer, in a competing company kind of way.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Oh, and Netflix is a DVD "rental" company. I'm not buying DVDs anymore...OK, I just lied. I just ordered "Stardust" from Amazon. I think Stardust is an awesome story, a "Princess Bride" for adults. Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Deniro are incredible in it.

Ken Armstrong said...

Fragileheart: I'm sure BF and I would get on just fine after a few pints and a rousing chorus of some faintly belligerent rebel song. :)

Jim: If you switched off on M:I One, then you may have missed the ending which was the worst bit of all - well done you. Wait for this on telly, it should be along fairly soon, I would think.

Hi Dave: I'm not wishing to be judgmental but there is a chance that this one is not going to be a hit with you. Remember, with this post I am going out of my way to find things that I like but which nobody else may. So this isn't a Bona Fide recommendation Per Se.

Hey! Linguistic gymnastics. :)

Ken Armstrong said...

Matt! You jumped in there and I missed you. :)

'Rosebud' was also, allegedly William Randolph Hearst's nickname for something precious to him and it didn't amuse him to see the reference turn up in the movie.

Glad you're renting, see caveats above. :)

hope said...

I knew a movie guy would know an actor's brother. :) I'd be glad to mail you the DVD I made the mistake of purchasing, which you adored: Cloverfield. It was watched once. That was enough.

You do know your trivia! I'd read the same story about Hearst & "Rosebud". :)

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Ah...I didn't know that piece of history about Rosebud and William Randolph Hearst.

I don't think the sled was precious to Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, I think it was his childhood. Now the references make sense.

And the movie makes more sense. With all that Citizen Kane acquired in his life, what was precious to him was the innocence of childhood.

OK, maybe the movie has gone up a few notches in my estimation now. However, one thing is clear, without knowing the historical references, the movie can't stand on its own, and that's a flaw in the film making.

A great movie contains all the information you need to understand the movie within it's frames. If a movie has to rely on cultural literacy and an understanding of current events, it will lose relevance over time.

That's why Disney's Aladdin was so brilliant when it came out, but why it won't stand the test of time. All of Robin Williams' ad libs will lose their meaning as time goes on. However, Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, Mulan, Hercules, etc....they don't stray outside the story and the film, so they'll continue to be timeless.

It's also why WALL-E, perhaps the most brilliant Pixar film, will lose relevance over time if our global society actually decides to deal with environmental issues. But until then, WALL-E will reign.

Cheers!

Ken Armstrong said...

Good reply Matt - Aladdin was Brilliant when it first came out but, as you say, time will take its toll on it - as it will with anything which is especially 'of its time'.

Hi again Hope - I surely do know my trivia, alas. I played Trivial
Pursuit as a part of a team with my German Brother-in-Law (svaga) once and, after we won he complimented me by saying 'how can one brain hold so much s*it? :)

Do I detect a slight 'accusatory' tone to that Cloverfield offer? (only kidding) Sorry about that bum steer though. :)

Francis Scudellari said...

I went to see this one in the theater with low expectations, and I have to admit that it was much better than anticipated. Hoffman is a favorite actor.

Also, switching topics, I have shared a blog award with you.

Alan Gay and Straight said...

Since I don't see a contact link here....
thanks you inspired me for my latest post :)

Ken Armstrong said...

@Alan: laffed til I cried... cheers mate (check it out guys, funny)

Cecilia Sherrard said...

Such a guy!

I adore Tom, even though he's a maggot? I don't see him as a real person or his issues while he's on the screen. That tells me he's good at what he does.

Why don't you grab The Enchanted Cottage... Watch it with your 12 year old. Let me know when the review is up...

*Clicks away humming the music to MI-*

hope said...

It wasn't your fault...I was disappointed with "Cloverfield" because I figured JJ Abrams would make it great. He made it shaky. :)

The worst part of the film was listening to hubby yell at the scream every few minutes, "Hold the damn camera steady how about it! This is giving me a headache".

I thought the DVD might have a happier home with you than living its life in obscurity on the shelf, never to be taken down again, even for dusting. ;)

jenn said...

Hi I gave you an award on Dragonfly Poems

Ken Armstrong said...

I would take you up on that, Hope, I really would but your Yankee DVD's won't work in my emerald green Oirish DVD player - sad but true. 'Kind offer though.

Cecelia : Big smile for you :)

When you say 'what a guy' you are referring, of course, to me and not Tom Cruise. Of course.

I will indeed grab 'enchanted cottage' (don't know it). Friday nights are a struggle to find movies we can share.

jena isle said...

Hi Ken,

If it's a Tom Cruise movie, it is always good, because I'm a fan. lol. but the plot was indeed great, fancy creating a plot like that! I hope I can one day when the creative juices will be back again.

You do have a ken I mean knack of convincing people to watch a movie. Kudos to you.

Jenn Thorson said...

I haven't seen this one yet, as I'd been annoyed at the first film's "All About Tom Cruise" take on the MI folks. I mean, the whole fun of Mission Impossible on TV was the team element-- rooting the various folks on. And then here was the All Tom Cruise Coolness Squad of One in the films.

I hear this new film is different in that way. I probably should Netflix it.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Ken...Nice blog of the day you've got displayed on your entrecard...it adds a nice splash of color, don't you think?

Rachel Fox said...

Is it just me or does TC look like John Barrowman in that picture?
x

Ken Armstrong said...

Jena: what? Your creative juices have gone somewhere? This must be a new development because I find you to be consistently creative. Perhaps those juices are in the fridge door - that's where my juices are! :)

You're right Jen, the movies were less about the 'team' in action, much more TC the superhero.

Hi Matt: You know, I was thinking that too - I was saying, 'doesn't Matt's piccie fit nice on the page? Like Feng Sui for the blog.

Hi Rachel: I'm definitely with you on this one. I think John Barrowman can look astonishingly like TC and that he does it quite regularly. I quite like JB when he's not in 'Game Show Panel' mode - he's incredibly irreverent and nobody belts out 'Sunset Boulevard' better :)

Rachel Fox said...

Maybe they're the same person. Have you ever seen them both in the same place at the same time?

Drolgerg said...

Totally agree. We also watched it on DVD - in a hotel room in Christchurch NZ of all places - & loved it. As an action movie it's terrific, & Cruise is also terrific. Also anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman in it has to be worth a look-in