Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Fog of War and The Big Lebowski

I just finished watching The Fog of War, a documentary by Errol Morris, who made the amazing Gates of Heaven and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. FCandOOC remains one of my favorite films of all time. While TFOW will not end up on my all-time list, it was much more engaging and interesting than I thought it would be.

It is simply a film interviewing Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson. I had heard great things about this film, but I thought, "How good can an hour and a half interview be?" Well, it was pretty darn good. McNamara's life and opinions are certainly engaging, but the genius of the film was structuring it as eleven lessons McNamara had learned throughout his 85 years. Also, Morris's interesting camerawork never fails to engage the viewer in even the most mundane material. I would recommend this film, especially to those interested in history.

The second film I watched recently was The Big Lebowski. I first and only time I had seen this film was in the theater, but I was unimpressed. I guess I expected something different from the Coen Brothers--something exuberant like Raising Arizona or deep (impenetrably so) like Barton Fink.

Because so many of my friends have long stated their love for TBL, I thought I'd give it another try. I must admit, I was wrong. This film is funny, clever, beautifully shot, and an interesting allegory for the Bush I /Gulf War years. Further, John Goodman is outstanding. In fact, his best work has been in Coen Brothers' films--all three films mentioned above, plus The Hudsucker Proxy and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I'm glad you saw and liked The Fog of's one of my favorite docs. It's very interesting to learn about war-mongers like Curtis LeMay and how some men in power believe the US can improve it's position in the world through war...and even provoking war...preemptive war. What's old is new again! Also, didn't you think Philip S Hoffman kinda stole many scenes in The Big Lewbowski? He's a very under-rated actor in my book. Need proof? See "Capote". The Dude abides...I don't know about you but I take comfort in that.