Monday, May 4, 2009

The Lieutenant of Really, You Loved That?

Whenever I encounter something that has been widely praised and I don't like it, I wonder if it's me or them that's off. In the case of movies, it's probably them. I mean, if you're a movie reviewer and you really, really loved The Stepford Wives (the 2004 version, I mean), then I happen to know that you have no idea what you're doing, because that was objectively one of the worst movies ever made. On the other hand, I can see reasonable minds differing on something like Role Models - a funny, if instantly forgettable, movie that someone could like or dislike easily.

But now we come to the play The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which I saw yesterday at the Berkeley Rep. I had been eagerly wanting to see this, based on reviews like this one in the New York Times and this one in the SF Chron. Unfortunately, at the end, I was all "Huh? Really? You loved that?"

Here's basically what you need to know: the play is shockingly gory, like violently over-the-top gory, and that's fine if it's serving a bigger message and makes sense in context but here, the takeaway message is "The Troubles in Ireland were pointless." That may be a valid message, and one certainly worth exploring, but here, there's virtually zero nuance in the way the message is delivered.

I guess I should have known. Martin McDonagh, the playwright, is the same guy who wrote In Bruges, and I thought that movie was wildly overrated too. So I don't know, maybe it's me. I mean, I admire the deftness of language that McDonagh deploys, but it seems like it's used for its own sake and just sits there and doesn't advance any larger goal w/r/t the story.

On the other hand, if you've never seen corpses dismembered onstage, you shouldn't miss this!

What else happened this weekend? Oh, went to 500 Club and Lone Palm and the Latin American Club on Saturday evening with Stephen and Jessica in our own little impromptu Mission pub crawl. We also went out to eat, but we all hated the place and I don't want to make this blog post one big hatefest. So I'll leave this crappy restaurant alone.

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