Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Lions for Lambs (#382)

You know you've done something wrong when even your target audience rebels against your film.  Hollywood has a fairly conservative policy in filmmaking, but is mostly run by liberal-minded people.  When a film like Lions for Lambs (2007) comes around, it shouldn't come by surprise, but this one bends almost every rule by being, essentially, a talking points drama that it ended up baffling not only its intended audience, those who theoretically were already primed to hear the War on Terror discussed into a moral quagmire, but didn't even start a conversation.  Granted, audiences very quickly proved aversed to watching movies that took critical stances on current events, so it's no surprise that Lions for Lambs joined the garbage heap with little fanfare, but it was such a unique experiment, like The Vagina Monologues for the pundit set that you might have thought the reaction might have been a little different.  It just goes to show that the name "Robert Redford" doesn't mean what it used to.  Other big names attached include Meryl Streep (apparently a few years too early for all the ridiculous gushing praise for a career that has gotten full of itself and has now led to a historic three Best Actress honors at the Oscars) and Tom Cruise (waaay too early at this point for anyone to start admitting they still liked him), while Andrew Garfield, Derek Luke, and Michael Pena add some fresh voices to the mix.  To me, this was instantly one of the more important experiments, another classic viewpoint that could be interpreted either way you want it to (and that's probably what infuriated those who wanted it only one way, close- rather than open-ended).  So I've been looking to extend awareness of this curiosity.

Star Trek bonus!

L is for Locarno, Nicholas
(from Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Easily one of the more fascinating characters on Voyager was Tom Paris, who never quite had the ability to have the full arc of his story explored, given that his past was something he was trying to live down and his future would never really be resolved until the crew got home.  Played by Robert Duncan McNeill, Paris became an instant surrogate for anyone who remembered "The First Duty," which featured Nicholas Locarno, who was also played by McNeill and had a similar incident that was for most people the defining moment of an inglorious Starfleet career.  Paris wasn't Locarno, it should be stressed (though it'd be easier if there had ever been a definitive account of just how Paris ended up in that penal colony), but he was still one of the more intriguing characters in Star Trek, a rebel who played by his own rules and occasionally got burned because of it.  Locarno was just a self-serving jerk, who expected everyone to hide the truth of a mistake that ended in tragedy, and was disappointed when it didn't work.  Yeah, it would have been nice to see if anything ever came of him, but Paris quickly proved to be a more interesting variant, especially given his connection to Captain Janeway and the fact that his father was a Starfleet admiral.  Circumstances helped Paris stand out, his odd association with another character played by the same actor.  But don't make the mistake assuming that you know everything about him just because you saw "The First Duty."  Tom Paris is not Nicholas Locarno.

A-to-Z Challenge!


Spacerguy said...

Paris was Star Trek voyagers rogue element for sure. In the end Wesley was Locarno's weak link in the chain.

Gina said...

I didn't see Lions for Lambs and won't ever watch it; for some reason I can't explain it just doesn't attract me. At all. About Meryl Streep, I truly think she's an outstanding actress that deserved every bit of the fanfare she has received and is an excellent role model for girls everywhere that strong, opinionated women can be successful. I enjoyed you post!

From Diary of a Writer in Progress

T'Laina said...

I have never even heard of that movie, although I am sure that I will look into it now.

And Tom Paris was great - his life changed so much, as did his outlook.

(Tom and B'Elanna are one of my favorite couples... first being Sarek and Amanda, of course!)

Dif-tor heh smusma

- T'Laina

Tony Laplume, Scouring Monk said...

Streep's career has been so strange lately. I've been a fan of hers when she was doing truly rewarding work (Adaptation, The Manchurian Candidate, The Devil Wears Prada), but it just seems as if lately she's been going out of her way to be as flashy and frivolous as possible, just so she can get the attention she otherwise deserves, which in my mind works against her. Playing Julia Child or Margaret Thatcher certainly draws attention to what she's able to do, but it makes her a cartoon, and a great actress does not need to be a cartoon (when Robert De Niro does this sort of thing, everyone says it's beneath him). She's shown range before without having to resort to this. She commands attention anyway. And I didn't like her forced humility in recent interviews, like she feels entitled, rather than gracious.

Anyway, my two cents on her recent career and the reasons she won the Best Actress and why she shouldn't have.


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