The Opposite of Pinocchio

Out of all your grad school heroes, Beowulf seems to be the most Beo-loved. No one remembers Gilgamesh, Achilles is screwy in the moral compass arena, and Samson is a sort of shaggy Biblical body-builder with poor taste in women. It's no wonder that it would have been brought to the screen — we're hardwired to react to the darn thing, first to groan when we're assigned a paper on ("500 words on what is heroic by Monday") and then to wax nostalgic about it when we're far from school ("I read that in college, great poem"). I have reached the latter stage, and I'm a huge Ray Winstone fan, so I went and saw it this weekend, 3D 'n all. Never mind that the movie seems to have been turned into a morality tale about adultery (don't make it with a monster, people, no matter how pillowy her... er... lips are). It's also a bit like watching Ye Olde Sims — with the faces of actors you sort of recognize. The process of motion capture, or mocap (doesn't Mocap sound like Grendel's brother?), is basically a means of capturing live actors and turning them into computer generations. The method by which this is accomplished is actually fascinating (read the New York Times on it here) — how else would the hunky (yet burly) Ray Winstone become a garden variety glistening six pack — but is there any one else out there that thinks it's sort of sad? It put me in mind of another, better, morality tale — Pinocchio, the poor puppet that so badly wanted to be a Real Boy. It leaves me feeling somewhat empty to find that in the twenty first century, all the Real Boys are yearning to be puppets. Sigh. Maybe I'll look more like Angelina Jolie as a puppet.

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The movie was awful, was it supposed to be for kids?

Sent by Marji | 6:03 PM | 11-19-2007

A few weeks ago my wife and I organized our own private Ray Winstone retrospective. Though we threw in Sexy Beast for good measure, we focused mostly from his teen acting days, including Quadrophenia and the two versions of Scum - the BBC TV version that was never aired, plus the big-screen version. It's particularly fascinating to see him when he was so youthful, there a moments when he actually looks like Robert Sean Leonard.

Assuming you don't want to put on your own Winstone retrospective, I'd start with the film version of Scum. It's about life in a 1970s British reform school, and it struck such a nerve, the UK was forced to reform its youth incarceration policies. Not for the faint of heart, but powerful nonetheless. Meanwhile, Quadrophenia is a more pleasant film to watch - all of that Who music helps - but Winstone isn't much more than a glorified cameo. Gotta love seeing Sting carrying people's luggage, though. :-)

Sent by andy carvin, npr | 12:51 PM | 11-20-2007

Where've you been? I always look for the "barrie" posts for humor and thoughtfulness!

Sent by Katy Birnbaum | 2:25 PM | 11-20-2007