Monday, 21 July 2008

Murdering the Oxford Murders

I took my class out to the Ultimate Picture Palace to see the Oxford Murders last night, and I was pleasantly surprised. It's not good, per se, but it's one of those movies that is so artistically irregular that it imperceptibly starts to become good. (It's also one of those movies that whips out a bunch of surprises at the end, which makes you excuse or forget all the dodgy parts that took up the other hour and a half of the film.) John Hurt is surprisingly good, as are all the women in the film. And Elijah Wood is fascinating to watch, if only because he earnestly gives what has got to be the worst performance of his career. It's based on a Spanish novel and jointly produced by English, French, and Spanish studios, and Elijah Wood's dialogue in particular sounds like it was written in Spanish, pumped through Babelfish, and read verbatim. I tried not to offer any color commentary on the film with my students, but on the part where Elijah Wood eats spaghetti off of a woman's chest, I accidentally blurted out, "wow, that is not hot at all." (Except for the woman, who had piping hot spaghetti on her lady parts.) One of my students was like, "I did not understand anything that happened over the past two hours," and I was like, "um, that is not your fault." Still, I think they forgave me for taking them to a film that pivots on Wittgenstein, logical sequencing, and the history of surgery. Just to be safe, I'm making it up to them on Wednesday by explaining the idea of cultural capital with the extensive assistance of My Fair Lady and She's All That. Take that, math.

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