Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interesting but not compelling

I watched "Frost/Nixon" last night. Since it was based on a play, I figured that watching would not be as important as listening, so I knitted while it ran. That may have been a mistake because I have noticed that when I knit and "watch" a movie, I'm not really engaged in the movie. Occasionally I will pick up my knitting halfway through a movie, but that is because the movie is boring me, and I either must knit or quit watching. And I hate to leave a movie unfinished, just in case it gets better or the last ten minutes make it worthwhile.

Anyway, I have vivid memories of the 1972 election because it was the first election in which I was able to exercise my franchise. I was a hippie back in those days, and spent a sweaty day or two at the county fair, (wo)manning a booth for some liberal cause I cannot recall. I do remember the men associated with the Committee to Reelect the President, though, because they looked like mafia hit men in their dark suits. I mean, really. Who wears a suit to a county fair except goons who need to hide their gats?

Having lived through the era in question, I expected to feel a stronger sense of history from "Frost/Nixon" but did not. As much as I despised Tricky Dick back in the day, I have also harbored a secret sympathy for him, maybe because of a slight resemblance between him and my dad (specifically, the jowls). The movie did not feed my sympathy, either. Something about Langella's Nixon just did not do it for me. I think Nixon was meaner and darker and more wounded in real life. And David Frost is not all that interesting just by himself.

Would I recommend the movie? Only if there is nothing else you really want to see. If you have seen the previews, you have seen the best parts.

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