Hail, Caesar

At my house we have decided that the evening of the Super Bowl is an excellent time to go see a film. There were a mere eight people in attendance, not counting the usher checking football scores on his phone.

From this film we learn a couple of things: Nothing in Hollywood is what it seems, Communism is really, really, boring, and we should all be grateful to the invisible money men that make Joel and Ethan’s efforts so memorable.

The combined insider’s view and juxtaposition of mundane with epic provided the best of the visual jokes in the movie. The fig leaf waxes heroic, especially at the scale of Roman statuary. There were also a couple of pretty good musical spectacles, the best of which was the extended sailor dance number with its homo-erotic sight gags.

The slowest and most tedious parts of the movie showed inept screenwriters embracing the Red menace and bungling it. It was disappointing, and not funny.

The crux of the movie, and pinnacle of George Clooney’s performance, was perhaps the best metaphor for a Super Bowl Sunday. Its message is simple: We should all hit our marks, deliver our lines, and remain eternally grateful that the money men still need us.

As steroid enhanced millionaires grapple with one another in dispute of a patch of artificial turf, a display of mock combat designed to sell razors, beer, and automobiles we applaud and cheer. As our institutions crumble and our social contract expires, all of us little people sit in the dark eating popcorn, embracing bread and circuses.

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3 Responses to Hail, Caesar

  1. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie after seeing the trailer. I’m also a Coen Brothers fan, even though not everything they deliver is worth the price of a theater ticket. (A Serious Man, which was filmed at the college I was working at—I’m looking at you.) You’re the third person I-sorta-know whose opinion of the film has been less than enthusiastic, however. I guess I’ll wait ’til this shows up on Netflix, but I am disappointed. The Coen Brothers wrote the screenplay as well, which maybe contributed to the lack of editing in the script.

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