Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

VANTAGE POINT....I played hooky this afternoon and went to see Vantage Point. It was wholly preposterous in a 24-ish kind of way, but aside from that the plot actually held together and kinda sorta made sense — which, frankly, isn't bad compared to most B action flicks these days. What's more, director Peter Travis played it smart and kept the running time to a svelte 90 minutes instead of padding it out and trying to pretend it was something more profound than it really was. So thumbs up!

But that's not why I'm posting about this. I just wanted to say that the final line of the movie is pure genius, the funniest thing I've heard in a movie theater in months. When the DVD is released, go ahead and rent it and see if you don't agree.

Kevin Drum 5:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

...these days...

Kevin, you're showing your age.

Posted by: Mark on February 26, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I saw Vantage Point Friday night, and it was really good!

Posted by: KYDEM on February 26, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Wait for the DVD, I will -- and even then ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure I could agree that "it was the funniest thing I've seen in a theater in months" if I wait and see it on DVD.

Posted by: matt on February 26, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: Good point. Sadly, the other problem is that it was mainly funny because it was so dry and unexpected. But if you're waiting with bated breath for it, it probably won't seem so great.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 26, 2008 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Boy do Kevin and I approach movies differently. My thumb would go sideways, at best. Pretty ordinary stuff, all in all and it makes almost no sense.

This is better than the mostly good-to-great movies that were nominated for Oscars this year? It's the cinema expectations game, I say.

And I can't for the life of me even remember the last line.

Posted by: Bob on February 26, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but what did Inkblot thin of the film?

Posted by: optical weenie on February 26, 2008 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the movie was OK but any movie that needs an extended car chase to heighten the drama is not going to be on my list of best movies of the year. By far, the best thing about the movie was the setting: Salamanca, Spain. I had no idea the city was that scenic.

Posted by: Taobhan on February 26, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

i saw it last nite and agree that the plot was preposterous yet entertainingly preposterous. if the last line i remember is the last line of the movie, it fits with the rest of the movie: preposterous. thumbs up!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on February 26, 2008 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Let me put in a plug for Be Kind, Rewind. I took my 12 yr old son thinking it would be a good movie for that age. It was great. It had a real Cinema Paradisio vibe to it -- funny and tender.

Posted by: Teresa on February 26, 2008 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

are you kidding, kev? I had to leave the theater ten minutes in to this film. What about Sigourney Weavers dialogue in the first scene? it was like a mad libs! or the entire "I'm a secret service agent who just had a mental break but im back on the job for one day, lets hope nothing goes wrong, because bitches, i am getting to old for this shit!"??????

Posted by: bend on February 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

are you kidding, kev? I had to leave the theater ten minutes in to this film. What about Sigourney Weavers dialogue in the first scene? it was like a mad libs! or the entire "I'm a secret service agent who just had a mental break but im back on the job for one day, lets hope nothing goes wrong, because bitches, i am getting to old for this shit!"??????

Posted by: bend on February 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

No, Vantage Point doesn't compare with Oscar winners. It's just a B action flick that doesn't have delusions of grandeur. The reason my thumb is up is mostly due to my low expectations these days. Most B movies don't even succeed on their own modest level. They have gaping plot holes, ridiculous transitions, and characters who don't make sense even in a happily preposterous way. VP mostly avoided those problems. It was glorified TV, but that's more than I can say for most films like this.

Optical weenie: Inkblot was mad that I left him at home with the cleaning people and their vacuum cleaner. But he's since forgiven me.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 26, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

for the curious among us who are not able to see many movies, even on dvd, due to kids, work, other responsibilities, etc., could you please write "spoiler alert" and follow up with what the last lines were? those who want to wait for the movie don't have to read further.... thank you....

Posted by: curious on February 26, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you--like me--who don't have the attention span to wait for a DVD release (among other things), you can go here for the answer...

Posted by: rusrus on February 26, 2008 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

I saw Vantage Point while playing hookie too, and as far as afternoon getaways go, it was entertaining but certainly not a good movie. I think the whole "Vantage Point" concept (playing essentially the same 23 minutes over and over from 5-8 different points of view) was better in theory than in its execution.

SPOILER ALERT********************Only Read If You've Seen The Movie/Don't Care

Am I right that the last Kevin's referring to the one by a news anchor saying that the "lone gunman" had been killed? If that's the case, then I thought the line was totally stupid. Even considering only events captured by the media on that day -- two coordinated bombings, the attempted assasination of the President, the crash of the ambulance carrying the president with 4-5 bullet-riddled bodies lying prominently around -- the situation screamed al-Qaida-esque coordinated attack. I found it highly implausible that the public account would collapse into an anachronistic lone gunman scenario.

Posted by: dc on February 26, 2008 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

dc: Yes, of course it was ridiculous. Salamanca was practically in ruins by the time the movie was over. The line was obviously meant as a joke, and coming out of nowhere the way it did it was hilarious.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 26, 2008 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

By far, the best thing about the movie was the setting: Salamanca, Spain. I had no idea the city was that scenic.

Not to hijack the thread, but IMHO, there is precious little in Spain that isn't gorgeous, perhaps with the exception of the overdeveloped parts of the Costa del Sol and the godawful Algeciras.

Posted by: Randy Paul on February 26, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - Thanks. I guess my irony meter was off. But it still wasn't very contemporary irony. Maybe if, based on the attack, we decided to invade Iran or something ...

Posted by: dc on February 27, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Dennis Quaid was on Leno tonight and said the movie was filmed in Mexico City......so much for scenic Spain.

I liked the movie and thought retelling the story from different points of view added interest. Having the Quaid character and the kidnapped pres meet up at the end was a stretch, though.

My wife was more critical........she said watching the movie was just like seeing the previews over and over.

Posted by: KYBob on February 27, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Now, if only they could come up with a movie in Japanese that did this, then we could really talk.

Posted by: Kenji on February 27, 2008 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

kenji beat me to it. is "rashomon" so old that it's technique is now new? that kurosawa, he's a real up-and-comer...

Posted by: keith on February 27, 2008 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

You want to see a great movie, go see "In Bruges". It's funny, it's profane, it's bloody, it's riveting and it's drop-dead gorgeous. Best movie I've seen in years.

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on February 27, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Well- that's a backhand compliment- "I just saw a fun movie- so don't go out and see it or you will know my taste sucks"-BTW for what's worth - I liked "In Bruges" and the ending wasn't so bad.

Posted by: Raoul on February 27, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Spain is still scenic; muuch more so than Mexico City usually is.

Posted by: Randy Paul on February 27, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the "Rashomon" comparisons are not really apt -- the VP gimmick is to replay the events of the story from different points of view but the differences are strictly geographical, not psychological. Also, when it's all over, there's no doubt about most of what actually happened, just more details being revealed.

Kurosawa's film was about people all witnessing the same event, at the same place, but then having completely different stories to tell afterwards because their mentalities were so different.

Marge: You liked "Rashomon."
Homer: That's not how I remember it.

Posted by: Bob on February 27, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

MULTIPLE SPOILER ALERT!

The plot does not hold together or make sense. It is entirely dependant on two implausible events: that the driver of the ambulance, a cold blooded killer who does not hesitate to kill innocent bystanders, would swerve to avoid killing the little girl; and Dennis Quaid walking away from an accident that would have incapacitated or killed anyone else (even if that person was wearing a seatbelt). Also, just because you flash a badge does not get you into a secure area without some further security checks and the cop could never have brought explosives in under those circumstances. And, finally, does anyone really believe that the SS is not constantly checking on its agents' contacts? I have a friend who does computer backup for a defense contractor and they update his profile and watch his house more often than the film version of the SS checks on its agents. The idea that an SS agent could be a terrorist mole is just dumb.

Dumb film. Exciting, well-filmed, but dumb.

Posted by: dad23g on February 27, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Quasi-spoiler alert. It was an ok escapist flick, although there were parts that were just plain awful, and even worse boring and unnecessary (like the little girl subplot). Also, it was a very bizarre performance from Forest Whitaker. Basically any scene where the spanish guitar soundtrack kicked in was bad.

As for the last line, it didn't strike me as particularly funny. To me it seemed like the type of thing that is normally seen at the end of such movies (you, the viewer know what really happened, but the public within the movie world will never know...the end). Except in this instance the cover story was completely implausible. I'm not sure how that's especially clever.

Nevertheless, if you go into it with the right expectations it does deliver an entertaining 90 minutes.

By the way, it was filmed in both Mexico and Spain. The plaza where the president is going to speak is in Salamanca, Spain, as depicted.

Posted by: Ricky B on February 27, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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