Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Anti-Academic

Did I mention the jaw-clenching? Source
In addition to the many benefits of pursuing a Master's degree, there are a few down sides. Among these: you're less fun at parties, your pants don't fit as well as they used to, and you start using words like "monistic/emancipatory" in casual conversation.

For me, one of the great tragedies of higher education was never having time to go to the cinema. But this was addressed last night when my friends and I, in celebration of the completion of our studies, went to see the most non-academic movie we could think of.

If I had to describe Fast Five in one word, I think it would be "smashy." Yes, this was a great movie for smashing: people, cars, metaphors, the English language -- nothing escaped the director's penchant for pulverization. For two hours, things flew about and crashed together and emerged in a glorious, technicolor mess with a pulsing soundtrack. The movie was every bit as fast as the franchise title had promised. Also, furious.

Lest you think I have nothing positive to say about this movie, let me clarify: I found it highly entertaining. I thought the actors showed great range, drawing from an emotional spectrum that included everything from eye narrowing to jaw clenching. And the women proved to be adept at leaning forward whilst wearing tight clothing. Eric Rohmer it was not. But it was a fabulous vehicle for selling popcorn, and I enjoyed myself immensely.

I should turn this into a reflection on diplomacy somehow, or on the projection of American values via cinematic blockbusters. But it was recently brought to my attention by a concerned reader that my blog is far too academic and does not contain enough me-ness in it. So I'll leave it there for tonight, in the hopes of increasing my blogger bona fides by stepping away from academic navel gazing for a bit.


  1. Not academicy? How can you possibly doubt the academiciness of F&F and its inherent PD value. The first Fast and the Furious was Edward R. Murrow's favorite movie ever, and had Vin Diesel made Special Envoy to the USSR. Carl T. Rowan made the USIA staff refer to him as 2 Carl 2 Rowan after the sequel appeared. Tokyo Drift became a staple of Radio Free Asia broadcasts. Edward Z. Wick personally recruited Vin Diesel to return to the silver screen for the fourth, by promising him a Chuck Norris Medal of Valor, the highest honor bestowed on a civilian actor.

  2. "Chuck Norris sneezes with his eyes open."

  3. err. Charles Z. Wick. Thanks JB, for keeping me honest, of sorts.

  4. actually, I see where my confusion came in. Edward Zwick is a film director who did "Legends of the Fall" and "The Siege", although did not lead USIA.

  5. Also, Chuck Norris ended apartheid, with a roundhouse kick. That one was cool in South Africa when I was there.