Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Two Really Different British Films: Run Fatboy Run and Endgame
I've previously mentioned my theory about one's inability to fully grasp or accurately remember major events in a 20-year span around your birth (obviously you don't remember things before you were born, but people don't feel the need to educate you about them either, it's somehow assumed knowledge). I do remember the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1994, and I can recall learning a bit more about him, and the definition of apartheid, but I'm sure I never understood how its end came about. The recent Masterpiece Contemporary piece on PBS was Endgame, with William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Johnny Lee Miller ("Eli Stone") and Clarke Peters ("The Wire"), depicts the conferences and conversations and covert discussions that helped bring an end to Mandela's imprisonment and eventually a new government. As I understood it, Miller's character, Michael Young, approached Ejiofor's Mbeki (future President Mbeki) on behalf of a mining company to begin discussions of how to begin discussions with others to change the South African government. They recruit Hurt's Professor Will Esterhuyse, an Africaaner who preached social justice. Along with other influential people, they met frequently in England to discuss what was needed from all parties to begin changing their world. It's a pretty good movie, particularly the acting, but as an ignorant American, I was often confused by who was trying to subvert the actions of the others. I do recommend seeing this, both for its historically fascinating part (if you were born in the late '70s, you're allowed ignorance) and the terrific acting. 3.5 of 5 Lambs
If you'd like a British movie that does nothing to educate you, but will make you laugh and reinforce your correct feeling that marathons aren't a good idea. Run, Fatboy, Run, directed by David Schwimmer, stars the amazing Simon Pegg as a immature ne'er-do-well who left Thandie Newton pregnant at the altar. Five years later, Newton has started dating a serious, weathly American marathoner, Hank Azaria, and wants Pegg to help her convince their son that it's a good idea. Pegg, who is actually a great dad, decides to prove to Newton that he can be as good as Azaria and says he'll run a marathon with him in a few weeks. Pegg's gambler cousin bets that Pegg will finish the marathon and becomes his coach, along with his landlord, Mr. Goshdashtidar (Harish Patel - also found on No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency), a really funny Indian man who rides his scooter threatening Pegg with a spatula to run faster. Not a perfectly crafted film, but remarkably funny for a movie that puts its main joke right in the title.
4 of 5 Lambs
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