Babel vs. Stranger Than Fiction [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-19-2007, 06:43 AM
So I rented these two movies this weekend and they made a nice little double feature. They contrasted nicely. One sucked, one didn't.

Babel absolutlely gargled my coinpurse. Now I'm not saying I didn't like it, but I found it to be frustrating and I'm ambivalent. It was cynical from the start and often went into full tilt nihilism. It relied on its own pretention to convince the audience that they were seeing something profound, when in reality they were not. Take the title for instance, Babel, it and the previews implied that the inability to comunicate was going to play a large role. But, much like Gone in 60 Seconds, wherein no car was actually stolen in 60 seconds, Babel never gets around to addressing its named theme.

In the preview, there is a notable scene where Brad Pitt is begging a driver of a van to pull over and help, but the driver (callously?) drives on apparently not understanding. But, in the movie, the later show the same driver being interviewed and explaining that he kept driving because Pitt was covered in blood and the driver was scared. Not a bad reaction, actually.

On the otherhand, Stranger than Fiction was optomistic and hopeful. It demonstrated how gaps can be closed with a little compassion and open-mindedness. At the sametime it actually had some pretty profound/interesting ideas about literature, death, and existentialism. It was just content to wrap those ideas in a candy coated sweetness. It didn't beg for your recognition. If you got to the deeper level, okay. If you passed it off as a "date movie" well, that's okay too.

Is this what Hollywood has come to? Cynasism equates to profundity. It seems that this is a whole new Oscar bait drama tactic. Lets have a bunch of unreasonable people with no character development doing irrational/cynical/nihilistic things with complete disregard and everyone will think we are being profound (i.e. Crash). I know the world can be an ugly place, but don't show me how ugly it can be and then act like your the first to figure that out.

Sorry, that got a little ranty. On the otherhand, Will Ferrell was great. :D

Dusty Chalk
03-19-2007, 08:35 AM
I know the world can be an ugly place, but don't show me how ugly it can be and then act like your the first to figure that out.Hey, that was really well phrased.
On the otherhand, Will Ferrell was great. :DAgreed. The whole cast didn't suck. I thought in particular Emma Thompson was fantastic, capturing an eccentricity that bordered on autism without (a) going there, and (b) without being too explicit about it (for example, having another character discuss her eccentricity). They just let her be eccentric without having to overexplain it to the audience.

03-21-2007, 05:15 AM
I saw "Babel" a couple of weeks ago and while I didn't have as averse reaction to it as you did I do find it's similarities to "Crash" to be more than a little obvious. However, I did find the stories in "Crash" to mean more to me as I've lived through many of those scenarios. I personally feel that we never see enough films that confront us with the reality of how ugly the world can be.

Movies are primarily "escapist fare" and I've no complaint about that. It's why we go.... it's why they're made. Sometimes we go to the movies to be "educated" but not often. Sometimes movies can entertain and educate.... take "Glory" as an example. But I feel that we, as a species, do not believe a problem exists until we "see" the problem. Black motorists weren't getting beaten by Cops in L.A. until the Rodney King video? No.. movies should entertain first, but I've no problem with being reminded how f**ked up the world is from time to time.

Da Worfster