Catching up on two weeks of stuff—SHARPE’S JUSTICE is a fabricate sequel to Sharpe’s Revenge in which Napoleon’s defeat frees Sharpe to journey to England to settle things with his self-serving wife Jane and her lover Rossendale (Alexis Denisof). Rossendale, however, gets him assigned to a garrison in Yorkshire where Sharpe meets childhood friends (in the novels, he’s a bastard from the rookeries of London, which makes me wonder if they made the change to match Sean Bean’s accent), locks horns with workers challenging the local mill owners and discovers one of the owners is a black-died bastard indeed. Quite good, particularly for one not based on the original books. “Is it a bill to help the poor? No … it’s a wine bill.”
I Netflixed a DVD of the RAMBO cartoon from the late 1980s and found just as forgettable as prior episodes I’d caught. This is a GI Joe knockoff in which Rambo leads the “Force of Freedom” against the terrorist cartel S.A.V.A.G.E., but the force only includes two members (Turbo the tech guy and Cat, the mistress of disguise), which limits the character interactions that could make the Joes fun. It is, however, interesting to see what a collection of late-20th century boogeymen work for SAVAGE: Arab terrorists, ninjas, street punks with mohawks, leftover Nazis … I am surprised they didn’t throw in any Commie presence, though.
O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? (2000) is the Coen brothers’ picaresque mash-up of Sullivan’s Travels and The Odyssey as George Clooney leads an escape from a chain gang (John Turturro is one of the other inmates) in hopes of stopping ex-wife Holly Hunter from remarrying. This leads to encounters with siren Musetta Vander, cyclops John Goodman, conniving politico Charles Durning and Baby-Face Nelson. Clooney’s quest gives this the narrative spine The Big Lebowski needed, plus it has better musical numbers. The ending showdown with the law is also a good example of a well set-up eucatastrophe. “Even if it did put you right with the Lord, the state of Mississippi is a little more hard-nosed.”
I rewarded myself for meeting my writing goals in April by buying a set of Abbott and Costello movies—HIT THE ICE (1943) stars Bud and Lou as aspiring newspaper photographers who accidentally wind up capturing Sheldon Leonard’s bank robbery on camera. Determined to cover up the facts, Leonard arranges for them and another witness to join him at a winter resort until he can recover the film and rub them out. Like a lot of A&C scripts, this is weak stuff (there’s no reason Bud and Lou really have to worry about being blamed for the robbery) and with too many musical interludes, but the duo’s talent with a gag makes it watchable. “You’re as useless as sour cream in an outboard motor.”