MOVIES ON THE BRAIN: “MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD”

1:01 – It’s not really a sailing movie unless Brian Doyle-Murray is around to insult Chris Elliot and there’s a tobacco-spitting cupcake.

1:03 – Sam Neill would warn you about approaching a mysterious island. He’s done so twice and not had a pleasant trip once.

1:04 – We’ve now entered the science portion of the film. Interestingly, this is easier to take if I imagine it as a flickering filmstrip like the classroom science films.

1:07 – The doctor must not have gotten permission for his field trip. Any third grader would tell you that without a permission-slip you can’t go with the rest of the class, even if your mom is a chaperone.

1:09 – Crowe is asking his crew if they want to wind up in the gallows of the French and I’m thinking this is something to be avoided at all costs, even if you have to dupe the piss-boy into impersonating you so you can run away.

1:12 – Such beautiful pristine water in this movie and all I can think of is the Hamm’s beer commercial with the tagline “From the land of the clear blue water”. Can you tell where my mind defaults to?

1:15 – I think Russell Crowe is wearing Seinfeld’s puffy shirt. Must have been a misunderstanding with a soft-talker.

1:16 – I had one assistant manager at the theater I worked at in high school that I just did not get along with. From the moment I first met him some voice in the back of my head instantly said, “This guy is a jackass”. I’d feel bad about this but that first impression proved pretty accurate.

1:18 – Fun Bobby’s getting flogged. Does this change his nickname to Flogged Bobby?

1:21 – “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophies.”

1:23 – An officer just committed suicide by jumping off the ship and now I’ve got Larry Miller’s speech from “Best in Show” running through my head.. “He hit a gargoyle on the way down and this guy gets his head caught in the gargoyle’s mouth.”

1:26 – I keep remembering Eric Idle’s performance in “Baron Munchausen”. “That sounds nasty. Is it contagious?”

1:27 – Everyone who didn’t see the doctor getting shot/stabbed/wounded in some way shape or form please stand on your head.

1:30 – As the doctor is laying there performing surgery on himself (which I’m not even dealing with right now) I can’t help but think of the scene from “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life” where Eric Idle has had his leg eaten by a tiger. “Keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you’re playing football or anything, try and favor the other leg.”

1:35 – If Russell Crowe comes across David Letterman trying to sell him a monkey this movie goes from good to great instantaneously.

1:40 – Good thing they didn’t stay on the island any longer: They might have come across Mel Gibson pissing off Anthony Hopkins.

1:45 – Speaking of Peter Ustinov, I remember renting the Disney movie “Blackbeard’s Ghost” when I was a kid. That was a great movie, with the dream cast of Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette. Not often you get a couple heavy hitters together like that.

1:47 – Nice rousing speech by Russell Crowe, but it’s not up there with Bill Pullman’s in “Independence Day”. (Did I actually just think that? What the hell?)

1:48 – For the last 20 minutes I’ve had “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” running through my mind.

1:51 – Looks like the chartered accountants aboard the Crimson Permanent Assurance are out for blood today.

1:53 – I think Peregrin Took just got shot. Merry is going to be very upset.

1:54 – No, he’s fine. Thank goodness. “Fool of a Took”.

1:56 – “Lucky Jack and the Fighting Doctor” sounds like it would make a great name for a comic book.

1:59 – I’m always a sucker for the exchange of swords scene after a historical battle. There’s just so much nobility in it that doesn’t get into movies about modern warfare or, I suspect, modern warfare itself.

2:00 – Anyone else see “Whale Rider” last year? For a smaller movie with a fraction of the budget and only a half-dozen characters it managed to achieve a much grander feel than this movie has so far.

2:03 – I’d never thought about war ships needing to carry extra paint. I guess I had assumed that after a battle the ship would simply head home for refitting. Shows how much I paid attention during History class.

2:07 – Which actor is more ridiculous as a real-life rock star: Keanu Reeves or Russell Crowe? I’d have to go with Reeves since it seems like remaining upright is such a chore for him that to add playing an instrument to that strikes me as too much.

PARTING THOUGHTS – Pretty good movie. Interestingly, the most epic-feeling portions of it occurred in the smaller, more character driven moments. Crowe had a few scenes that actually had him acting, which is a plus. I also liked the fact that until the French ship was boarded, we never saw their faces. Nice touch that added to the sense of fighting something that seemed to be a phantom. Overall I enjoyed this one.

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Chris Thilk has an easier time remembering lines from movies he hasn’t seen in five years than he does the birthdays of people close to him. For his column this is actually a good thing. He is easily scared by snakes, low-clearance bridges and the rantings of weblog writers.

Let Chris know what’s on your brain at Back Talk>>>




Posted on May 5, 2004 in Features by

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