then did warlike achilles, with surfer locks and beetled brow...

Last night, after a lovely dinner with friends, we sat down in their living room, with their home-built movie theater, and watched a movie that in normal circumstances we probably would have avoided: Troy. It's a good thing we didn't see this in a theater, because we would have been thrown out for making rude comments and laughing, especially at the serious parts (our hosts, thank goodness, joined in with a gusto). It had so many wonderfully terrible moments it was impossible to keep track. Even counting, say, Buster Crabbe, Brad Pitt may be the worst actor in the history of movies. My favorite moment came when the body of his cousin, Patrokles, is brought to Achilles. Out of nowhere, Pitt starts into a Marlon Brando impersonation, aping the scene in The Godfather where Vito views Sonny's body. Only Pitt's eyebrows, as if in a show of oneupmanship, curl up and stick out even further than Brando's, and seem to take on a life of their own, while Pitt staggers around in the sand trying to control them (this may ruin The Godfather for me for all time). Mind you, I'm not sure any actor could make much out of lines like Achilles heartfelt fairwell to his lover as he dies: "It's alright," he says, flatly. Then, after muttering a few other endearments, he repeats this brilliant encapsulation of Greek poetry, "It's alright."

But don't put all the blame on the script (cut and pasted from bits of The Illiad, The Theogeny, and The Aeneid, with the usual Hollywood "improvements" to make it more "dramatic"--if the story of The Illiad had really run this way, most of Greek literature wouldn't exist). No other actor with the box office pull and power that Pitt has would be caught dead uttering lines as stupid as these. No wonder he keeps trying to fight his pretty boy image--there really isn't anything else to him, and he knows it. Hey, maybe that's why he split with Jennifer--just knowing that she did better work in an average episode of Friends than he's done in his entire career must gall the hell out of him.

Best dialogue: After Paris sneaks up to Helen's bedroom in Sparta

Helen: It was a mistake to let you come here.

Paris: That's not what you said last night. Or the night before.

Helen: I've made many mistakes this week.

Best hair: Brian Cox as Aegememnon--you can tell he's the bad guy because he has the crookedest hair.

Best performance: The baby playing Hector's infant son. The kid knew exactly when to look up, when to look down, when to look up again, and when to start criying. It was either sheer luck or CGI.

Weirdest performance (after Brad Pitt, of course): Peter O'Toole as Priam. Everytime a look of pain came across his face you couldn't tell whether he was acting or just thinking about the possibility of this movie ending his long career.



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