The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Gosford Park

Gosford Park is a fine film. Well acted, exquisitely shot, with dialogue that rolls off of the tongues of the various characters as easily as a baby's spittle.

Unfortunately, it's also extremely boring.

I got this pair of boxers for Christmas. Really great underwear. Soft, light blue color, almost sky blue, yet slightly faded, so as to not stand out. On this background, they have drawn an unending series of shuttlecocks. The shuttlecocks are arranged in columns of three. Each column compliments the angle of the previous column, with one column showing the shuttlecocks listing at a 45 degree angle to the left, followed by a column of shuttlecocks rotated 45 degrees to the right. The shuttlecocks themselves look like quality shuttlecocks, off-white in color, and yet certainly ready for use. The elastic in the waistband, as would be expected from a fresh pair of boxers, has all of its elasticity, and easily springs back into shape when I stretch the band while donning the boxers. In all, it is quality underwear, and I'm very proud to own them.

Gosford Park is a lot like my description of the shuttlecock boxers. Very detailed, very well presented, very uninteresting.

The plot, involves a group of people who gather at an English estate for the weekend. One of them winds up dead.

That's the plot. But that's not what the movie is about.

The movie is about the class system. We meet about fifty-million characters, some of whom are the privileged class, and the rest of whom are the servants who work at the estate. There are all sorts of clever bits about the difference in the class system. About as interesting as a detailed textbook.

Don't let anyone tell you this is about a murder. The murder doesn't take place until easily half way through the movie, and then no one seems to care that it even took place. Oh sure, there's an inspector who comes by, but he the most useless police inspector ever introduced in cinema. He's there, mainly, to create more poignant bits on the topic of the class system. Solve the case? Hardly.

So why is this movie being heralded as a triumph? Why is it getting a bunch of major awards? Why are people whispering that it may be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar?

Because they're all lemmings.

The movie is obviously trying to be intelligent. Critics want to seem intelligent as well, so they heap a bunch of praise on what amounts to over two hours of time better spent taking a nap.

There are those who will say this movie is a brilliant look into the reality of the class struggle of the time. To them I say, poppycock! Any sense of realism in this film fell by the wayside the moment they gave us the bumbling, buffoonish police inspector. Well acted and nicely written, the character belongs in a Looney Tunes cartoon or an Ace Ventura movie.

There are those who will praise the attention to detail and the development of characters. To them I say, fiddlesticks! The movie has over twenty-five main characters. I dare anyone to accurately describe more than four or five.

There are those who like the movie. Don't listen to them, because they are lame.

Director Robert Altman has made some darned fine movies in his day. Gosford Park is not one of them. Unfortunately, when you've directed for as long as he has, been as critically successful as he has, and have garnered the stunning reputation that he has, the movie industry lets you get away with crap. Robert Altman could write and direct a feature film about a hard-boiled egg and critics would love it. Sure, it'll be brilliantly directed, well written and amazingly well acted by Steve Buscemi, as the egg, but in the end, it's a damn movie about a damn egg and who the heck cares!!!

Gosford Park gets 1 4/5 Babylons. No one directly involved need feel ashamed to have worked on the film, for everyone did a marvelous job. It's not their fault the movie's a complete waste of time.

Editor's Note:

Is it me or is the SMC getting a bit more cerebral? I'm a bit confused. I'd better find Boris. He may be behind this.

Gosford Park
Rated: R
Directed By: Robert Altman
Starring: Michael Gambon, Krisitn Scott Thomas, Camilla Rutherford, Maggie Smith, Charles Dance, Geraldine Somerville, Tom Hollander, Natasha Wightman, James Wilby, Claudie Blakley, Laurence Fox, Trent Ford, Jeremy Northam, Bob Balaban, Alan Bates, Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, Derek Jacobi, Emily Watson, Richard E. Grant, Jeeremy Swift, Meg Wynn Owen, Sophie Thompson, Stephen Fry, Ryan Phillippe, Clive Owen, Kelly Macdonald, Ron Webster and some other people that are equally as important to the film but I'm just plum tired of writing everybody's name. Might be easier to tell you who isn't in it.

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