Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Three-Dollar Movie Review: The World's Most Annoying Kiwi

I don’t go to first-run movies. Exceptions made only for special birthday requests and Johnny Dep.

It’s not the price. It’s the packaging. The seats are uncomfortable. There’s always (a) someone seven feet eight with a cowboy hat sitting in front of me, (b) someone smelly, creepy, or too large for their own seat next to me, (c) a couple of teenage girls using their $10 tickets to talk really loudly about how they hate Jessica/Jeremy/Josiah/Joshua/other popular J-sounding, biblical (although their parents weren’t really sure because they never actually read the Bible) name, (d) an unsupervised ten-year-old boy kicking the back of my seat, or (e) a crying baby screaming in my good ear (actually, both are pretty nice).

I wouldn’t go to movies at all if it weren’t for two McMenamins brothers’ theaters nearby that have lots of room, 21-and-up-only crowds, and booze. The movies cost three bucks because they are second-run, but they make up the difference by selling burgers, salads and their own micro-brews and wines. For those of you outside of the Portland metro area and certain points east south and north, Portlanders pretty much love and bless the McMenamins for their tendency to take run-down, forgotten buildings and make them into warm, quirky places to drink some tasty beer and wine.

Now, back to my belated review of The World’s Fastest Indian (handy for you DVD renters who have forgotten the first-run reviews by now).

This movie is based on the true story of a New Zealander named (if I remember correctly) Burt Munroe who took an old Indian motorcycle and remade it into a racing bike with bits of cork, kitchen door hinges, and shoe polish, and tried to make his dream of racing it on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats come true.

Will the plucky New Zealander, played by plucky Englishman Anthony Hopkins, make it to the famous Bonneville Salt Flats racing thingy before he kicks the bucket? Will the neighbors kill him (no court in the land would convict them) before he gets enough Kiwi-bucks together to make the trip and/or kick the bucket? Will the Powers That Be bend the rules to allow him to enter the racing thingy before he kicks the bucket? Will the ride itself make him kick the bucket? You’ll just have to wait and see. Lots of nitroglycerin tablets are munched. Lots of ladies-of-a-certain-age are serviced. Lots of Americans shake their heads in puzzlement at the feisty old feller.

I found him obnoxious and clueless. However, I am guessing from the facts of the case, that the original Burt Munroe probably wasn't that obnoxious or he would not have gained so many friends and comrades along his journey. I think the blame has to go to Anthony Hopkins. I’ve never met a Kiwi who wasn’t charming in his own way. Hopkins does not play Munroe with the least bit of Kiwi charm. And isn’t it a little odd, seeing an Englishmen playing a Kiwi calling Englishmen “poms” (the opposite of a term of respect in Kiwi-speak)? Hopkins might be able to sound like a Kiwi, but I don’t think he knows how to act like one.

The motorcycle, however, was brilliant.

1 comment:

Drew said...

You're right, a Pommy Brit playing a rough and tough Kiwi motorcycle rider...should never have happened. Couldn't they find a good Kiwi actor to play the part? The beer and the bike however, they rocked it...good on ya.

Cpt A