Droid defines the Decades Best Films – #2 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

MASTER &COMMANDER • ONE SHEET COMP _  H.2 • 6/04/03.psd

There’s the old saying “They don’t make them like this anymore.” I am tempted to use this to describe ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’, but I’m wondering if they ever did actually used to make them like this. ‘Master and Commander’ is a rousing action adventure that involves us from the get go, and is impossible to take your eyes off.

Master and Commander 1 From the opening shot of a black moonlit ocean, filled with ominous foreboding, ‘Master and Commander’ draws us in and keeps us enthralled. The first minutes are dedicated to the orientation of the ship. Guiding us through the layout of the ship, both above and below deck, we hear only the wind on the sails and the creaking of the mast. As we explore the lower decks, we glimpse the cannons (each carved with a nickname, such as “Sudden Death”), and see the men asleep in their bunks. It’s 1805, the English are at war with Napoleons France, and this is the HMS Surprise. A shape is spotted in the heavy fog and we’re introduced to Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe). The shape is a French ship of superior size, speed and strength, called the ‘Acheron’, which fires on the Surprise and destroys its rudder. Aubrey evades the Acheron by guiding the Surprise into the fog and safely out of harms way, and then it’s time to regroup. And thus begins a game of cat and mouse seamanship between Aubrey, and the unseen Captain of the Acheron.

Master and Commander 2 Russell Crowe is terrific as Aubrey. It’s a charismatic performance that makes believable a leader of men prepared to follow him into peril. There is great humour in the performance, and Crowe portrays an intelligent man almost wickedly delighted with the challenge of fighting against the odds. Twice Aubrey is caught off guard by the Acheron, and must think his way out of a tight spot. You can see his mind working, and Crowe gives a hint of a smile when he comes up with a plan. He is also terrific in scenes that portray his caring for the men under his command. A young Midshipman is injured during the initial attack, and must have his arm amputated. Aubrey visits him at his bedside and shows care for him. This helps humanise Aubrey, developing his character and making his character more relatable.

Master and Commander 5 Aubrey is joined by Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), ship doctor and amateur naturalist, who serves as Jack’s friend, and also his voice of reason. Bettany is very good as the one man on the ship who can stand objectively outside of the rank and file of the Navy, who can challenge Aubrey, and who Aubrey can confide in. Bettany portrays Maturin as a talented surgeon, who has ended up in the Navy not for King and country, but possibly to see the world and satisfy his interests as a naturalist. The Navy serves his needs as it provides him with the opportunity that he otherwise may not get. Maturin provides a nice counterbalance to Aubrey’s borderline zealot.

Master and Commander 3 Based upon the series of twenty-something books by Patrick O’Brian, and adapted by Peter Collee and director Peter Weir, ‘Master and Commander’ is a wonderfully intelligent, authentic feeling action adventure. What an underrated director Peter Weir is. He’s made some terrific films, including The Truman Show, Witness, Gallipoli and Fearless. Here he captures details that involve us in this time and place. The bustling life on the ship, the stately dinners for the Officers, the blood soaked floor of the infirmary and a subplot involving a potential ‘Jonah’ on the ship, which shows the superstition that can develop amongst the men when things aren’t going their way. The dialogue feels natural, with a feeling of it’s time and Aubrey is written with a perfect balance of intelligence, humour, bravado and empathy. He’s a wonderfully written character, a natural leader, who is admired by his men because he is intelligent and bold. Aubrey actually sums up his own character when advising Midshipman Hollum, who has been labelled a Jonah by the ships crew, when he says “Its leadership they want. Strength. You find that within yourself and you will earn their respect. With that respect, true discipline goes by the board.” When he says it, you believe it. When Hollum unconvincingly responds “Yes sir. Strength. Respect. Discipline.”, the look on Aubrey face tells it all. He can see Hollum doesn’t have what it takes.

Master and Commander 6 The film really looks terrific, and every kind of weather is thrown at us. From the icy cold, to the wildly stormy seas, dense fog and sunscorched days, it’s beautifully shot by Russell Boyd who deservedly won one of just two Academy Awards (this was up against Return of the King, which won every category it was nominated in). The action scenes, with two ships firing cannons at each other, chaotic battles as the men board the French ship, and a terrifying storm which threatens the entire ship are perfectly executed and provides an exhilarating nautical adventure that stands miles apart from the usual action films released these days. There’s no nauseating hyper editing, no over abundance of CGI or unbelievable wire-fu heroics from any particular individual. Just the confidence of a talented director who trusts the material.

Master and Commander 4 The score is wonderfully understated. There are many scenes that have no score at all, just the sound of the ocean, but quite often when it is used, it is provided by Aubreys violin and Maturins bass, playing Bach, Mozart and Corelli. Action scenes have a more traditional score, but serve only to provide punctuation to the visuals. The films other Academy Award went to Richard King for Sound Effects Editing, and it’s understandable. The sound design is spectacular. The wind on the sails, the creaking ship, the crashing seas provide an ambience that envelops us, while the ear splitting cannons, gun fire and particularly the scene during the wild storm that splits the mast is terrifyingly real. It’s amazing sound design.

Master and Commander 7 ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’ is an anomaly in Hollywood. An intelligent, entertaining and rewarding action adventure that features wonderful performances and clear, well staged action scenes. This film combines elements of three different O’Brian novels, so there are at least 17 more to plunder. It’s incredibly unlikely to happen, but here’s hoping the stars might align and we see more adventures of the real Captain Jack and the HMS Surprise.

 

The list so far…

#3 – The Incredibles (2004)

#4 – Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

#5 – Zodiac (2007)

#6 – In Bruges (2008)

#7  – Before Sunset (2004)

#8  – Avatar (2009)

#9  – Requiem for a Dream (2001)

#10 – The Descent (2005)

#11 – Unbreakable (2000)

#12 – Best in Show (2000)

#13 – Open Range (2003)

#14 – The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

#15 – Bad Santa (2003)

#16 – The Hurt Locker (2009)

#17 – Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

#18 – Kingdom of Heaven (2005) Directors Cut

#19 – High Fidelity (2000)

#20 – Friday Night Lights (2004)

#21 – Frequency (2000)

Droid

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

113 responses to “Droid defines the Decades Best Films – #2 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)”

  1. Droid says :

    Warning: May induce nausea.

  2. koutchboom says :

    I think the only real consensus among all best of the past decade list, is this movie. I was just watching the trailer for it this weekend.

  3. lordbronco says :

    Yep-at AIBN, we all had to admit, this was the single movie all could agree upon. Bloody good show.

  4. DocPazuzu says :

    The very definition of a “top fucking film”. Although I’m sad that there were never any other Aubrey outings, it’s wonderful to know that this film exists unblemished by any potentially inferior sequel/prequel.

    This is one of those movies that I can’t stop watching no matter at what point I happen to catch it on TV — even though I have it on DVD and can watch it at any time. There’s not one single bum note in the whole film. The only other movie like that I can think of is Ed Zwick’s Glory.

  5. Continentalop says :

    I don’t know why, but for some reason I always compare this to Sydney Lumet’s version of Murder On the Orient Express. Something about both movies seeming like throw backs to a different film era yet at the same time incredibly entertaining and effective.

    Plus both movies totally immersed you into a historical world. The single ship in M&C and train in MOTOE seemed like larger, more realized worlds than anything in LOTR or the Star Wars prequels IMO.

  6. Continentalop says :

    Also, when I heard that they were going to reboot Star Trek (and before I heard J.J. Abrams name) I honestly thought they should have tapped Weir and screenwriter Collee. M&C is like the ultimate serious and intelligent version of Star Trek, Kirk and Spock.

  7. DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD says :

    Finally you get something right…

    This is, across the board….the ‘PROFESSIONAL FILM OF THE DECADE’

  8. just pillow talk says :

    Fuck, we all agree with Danny!

    I totally agree with Doc. I own this movie too, but whereas there are others that I won’t watch on tv cause I have the disc, this one is different. It is a fucking epic movie that demands you to watch it, no matter when you pick it up.

    I know there are those of us who may not like Crowe, but for this fucking movie alone, he gets a pass.

    Add on 3:10 to Yuma and Gladiator, and I forgive him for all the other shit/lesser performances he’s done.

  9. Stuntcock Mike says :

    This movie should be issued to all young men hoping to become a Man.

    I’ve yet to watch it on disc. Fuck I only first saw it maybe a month ago.

    So good.

  10. Jarv says :

    Top fucking film. Narrowly missed out on mine.

    PS- Number one had better not involve gay hobbits.

    • Droid says :

      It could do. Or it could involve four independent big city ladies, each with a heightened character trait that when combined represents the ideal woman every chick deludes herself she wants to be.

      Oh, and one of them shits her pants and the sad one laughs.

      It could be that…. Or it could involve a leg humping robot!

      Or it could involve none of them!

      Therein lies the mystery!

  11. Continentalop says :

    Hmm, so far you haven’t listed Battle Royale, Memento, Un Prophete or Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. So Jarv should have some hope your #1 doesn’t have hobbits.

    • Droid says :

      Damn! Stagnettis Revenge! Conti called it.

      Memento was in my ’20 close calls’ and I haven’t seen Battle Royale or Un Prophete.

      And this did have a hobbit in it. He wasn’t so gay though.

    • lordbronco says :

      Pirates 2: Stagnetti’s Revenge is the only proper Pirate movie known to man.

      Before my word-processor died, I was going to write a review of the R-Rated Domestic USA Version.

      I kid you not.

  12. Tom_Bando says :

    I love this movie. I can remember getting into some pretty good shit throwing contests over at Harold’s over this-to me, THIS shoulda won the Oscar(TM) as best movie for 2003. Not Return of the King–give it to Sir Petey Jax for Fellowship instead-this one.

    Fine write-up too Droid. Quite good.

    I liked the hefty Brit Officer w/ the ruddy face, the ‘Lesser of Two Weevils’ pun, and the whole Galopagos Islands tour, among many, many other things.

    This was Crowe’s best performance, it or the Insider. I’m a fan of this and hope they do make a couple more.

    • Droid says :

      Cheers Bando. I’ve seen this quite a few times and I always chuckle at that lesser than two weevils joke.

      Thats the other thing about the film. Just like the ruddy faced officer, the cast is filled with actors that look the part. Particularly the crew, they’re all rugged, rough faces. Look like they’ve been through a few battles.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Exactly. It rings true when you watch it, more so than it has any right to.

        And agreed about Peter Weir–the man is a great director. He should be the guy to do the Hobbit–but you KNOW Sir Petey’d never agree —-

    • Droid says :

      And I agree that this is Crowes best performance along with The Insider and LA Confidential.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Oh sure as Bud White. I always thought Ed Exley there would have a bigger career-Pearce is reallyy good in that one, too.

      • Droid says :

        Pearce was brilliant, and I think maybe better than Crowe. Exley was a more difficult role, because he’s quite unlikeable.

        Terrific film. If I’m ever stupid enough to do a Best of the 90’s its up there.

      • Continentalop says :

        Guy Pearce should be a bigger star. He is good in LA Confidential, The Proposition, Memento & Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

        I personally wanted to see him cast as Harvey Dent, Two-Face in TDK.

      • Droid says :

        I think after the debacle of The Time Machine he opted out of most standard Hollywood fare. He would’ve been good as Dent though.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Yeah I think he’s decided to go the ‘solid quirky non-leading man/character guy’ route instead. And that’s fine. But he deserves a higher profile seems to me. I can remember when Siskel and Ebert reviewed LA Confidential that first time in the late summer of ’97, and how they were gushing about these TWO new faces/finds from that movie-Pearce and Crowe. Wasn’t their debuts, mind, but still you see what they meant. I agree. Something else to see all over again, too.

        I also enjoyed David Straithairn in it—makes a good sleazeball when he wants.

      • Continentalop says :

        Did anyone see the Count of Monte Cristo with him? If so, how is it?

      • koutchboom says :

        Count of Monte Cristo is a solid film. Just a lot of fun. From the director of Waterworld Kevin Reynolds is always solid.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Conti CoMC is entirely pedestrian and uninteresting and it was obvious Pearce was collecting a pay check.

      • Continentalop says :

        Damn, I was kind of hoping it was surprisingly good since I love the book. Have you ever seen les Miserables with Liam Neeson Xi? I was kind of hoping it would be something in a similar vein.

      • Droid says :

        I actually really enjoyed CoMC. Never read the book I’ll admit, but I’m a sucker for those types of period swashbucklers.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I like period swashbucklers but I thought the movie committed the worst sin imaginable for this kind of movie it was uninspired and boring. I thought it was very paint by the numbers.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Kevin Spacey’s quite well-cast in LA Confidential. Word is that he was channelling Dean Martin(!?-he was??)for the role as Jack Vincennes-don’t see it, sorry-but he’s solid. I liked his teaming up w/ Exley in it. Good stuff.

        Droid are you SURE that you didn’t wanna put Master and Commander #1 here? Because I think you are going to get holy hell here for putting Surrender Hulk and/or Cloverfield at the top. They just don’t fit, sorry to say.

      • Droid says :

        Damn you Bando! I thought I could get away with Cloverfield as number 1 if I slotted this in at number 2.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        The Giant Robot Lion footage (aquatic, yes but still-) you referenced near the whole Cape Horn sequence just kinda gave it away. You need to steer your foreshadowing a bit better.

  13. ThereWolf says :

    Fantastic film that I haven’t seen for some time (I do own it on DVD).

    Starts with a bang, but then I thought it drifted for awhile about halfway through before coming on strong again. That’s an impression I’m left with, I can’t point a finger and explain.

    The sonics are immense through a DTS decoder.

    • Droid says :

      I like that it takes it’s time, and is not afraid to have a long sequence where theres no action. Just showing life on the ship, and developing the characters. It’s one of the problems with Hollywood that they aren’t confident that a film will keep the audience interested so they have to slot in an unnecessary action scene every 15 minutes.

  14. ThereWolf says :

    They gave the Oscar for the LOTR trilogy – not just Return Of The King. I’m fairly sure of that.

  15. redfishybluefishy says :

    I really love this movie and I am not a dude, nor am I a Russel Crowe fan. go figure. It is timeless, brilliant, and full of adventure. It’s what the BBC SHOULD be making, although I admit to being a sucker for all those pent up corset movies and Horatio Hornblower.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      The Hornblower series is very well done also both the books and the BBC miniseries.

    • Continentalop says :

      I really have to read that series.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Conti,

        The Hornblower series, like the Aubrey books, is very well written BUT they do dwell a lot on the minutia of sailing a wind powered ship of the line. Now I happen to like learning about that but I cans see how it could get irritating fast for a person that doesn’t enjoy things like that.

      • Continentalop says :

        I actually eat shit like that up Xi. I love the little details of realism in a book or movie.

  16. ThereWolf says :

    Oh, and a cracking review, Droid.

    It’s made me want to see Master again ASAP.

  17. xiphos0311 says :

    My only real gripe with the movie, and it is really not much of one, is they left out that Maturin was a spy.

    Droid how is Aubrey a “borderline zealot”?

    • Continentalop says :

      Just curious: are you objecting the word “zealot” or “borderline”?

      Seriously, for me I don’t see him as jingoistic or a blind patriot. I do see him as a man who gets caught up in the heat of battle and sometimes has to be reminded not everyone here has the same love and desire to be in sea battles as himself (such as Aubrey reminding him that a lot of the crew was pressed into service).

    • Droid says :

      There’s a moment in the film, after the big storm that damages the mast, where Aubrey is arguing with Maturin over the how he’s pursuing the Acheron and endangering the ship and the crew. Maturing says something along the lines of his obsession “smacks of pride”.

      There is also a line in the film that I think is a nod to the spy thing, where Maturin says “France has their spies, and we have ours.” But the whole film is on the boat, or on an unpopulated island, so Maturin being a spy isn’t really necessary for the character.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Mautrin was entirely and completely wrong in that statement which he corrects later in the film.

        Aubrey was commanding a Royal Navy ship of the line during the Napoleonic war. It was his DUTY to pursue and destroy a French privateer It’s part of the job description.

        It’s not like he could get on the wireless and inform the Admiralty Board of a French privateer preying on English and allied shipping. There wasn’t any ship to ship wireless to inform the fleet to be on the look out. There was only Jack Aubrey and the men of the H.M.S Surprise to carry out the mission of stopping the Acheron.

      • Droid says :

        Maturin questions his rationale of following orders no matter the cost because he’s not accustomed to defeat. But Aubrey says his orders weren’t to stop the Acheron at any cost. It was to pursue it as far as Brazil, and during that scene he says that he had already exceeded his orders a long time ago.

        That to me is a fanatical commitment, which is why I used the term “borderline zealot”.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I would have to watch the movie again to make sure I am confusing this with the book but the orders also said words to the effect as long as English interests are not affected. Which were standing order for ships of the line for the Royal Navy.

        Again though it doesn’t matter that much about the Brazil part. In naval warfare at the time stopping a privateer was of paramount strategic importance from a PR, economic and military point of view.

        There is no way Aubrey could have gotten follow on orders in time and as Captain he had to make the decision as what is the BEST way to carry out his mission.

  18. Tom_Bando says :

    I liked Pippin in this by the way, for what it’s worth. He fit.

    • Droid says :

      I cannot fault any of the cast. Even the kid that lost his arm was good. And that scene where Maturin is slicing it off is worse for me than any Saw type film. Just the sound of blade slicing flesh and my imagination is more than enough to creep me out.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Oh yeah. Here it’s an amputation, gangrene, bleed to death, etc. The real thing. They made it rather realistically.

  19. Continentalop says :

    Xi, not arguing with you about what you said about it being his duty, but do you think an argument could be made that he was too zealous in his duty? That he was more than willing to face the Archeron even if the odds were against him and his ship?

    I got the impression that Aubrey was a gambler and risk taker, as a lot of great commanders are (see Patton), but once in awhile he needed to be reminded that he wasn’t just gambling with his life but that of his crew and ship. And I think that was why Aubrey needed Maturin and knew it, to sometimes keep him in check and remind him of that fact.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      I can certainly see that, Conti Pops. He WAS a gambler, wasn’t he? Plus you see that look in his eyes when he talks about Horatio Nelson, Trafalgar, etc–clearly he’s either modeling his career after that of Nelson, or attempting to Top him, if possible. Maturin helps put a damper on that.

      Plus you get to see some chocolate mousse Galopagos Islands, too. Can’t go wrong, there.

      • Continentalop says :

        That is why I love the character, Bando. You take away the military setting and you can still see a character you completely relate too. He is a basketball player trying to top Jordan, or a boxer looking to be the next Ali, or a young director who wants to out do Orson Welles. He truly has lofty goals and dreams.

        Who can’t relate to that?

    • Continentalop says :

      I should also add I think Aubrey is a classical “great man” and like many great men, he doesn’t “truly” relate to common people. I don’t mean common people by social class, I mean just the regular people who don’t strive for greatness. They don’t share his ambition and drive (kind of like Jordan not really relating to Will Purdue, who he called Will Vanderbilt). He loves his men and his crew, but he operates in a different world and has completely different goals and aspirations than they do.

      Maturin is kind of there as the voice of reason, someone to remind him how the average crew member feels about things and give him a different perspective. He’s kind of his Smithers to Aubrey’s Mr. Burns…

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Haw–Crowe as Michael Jordan. I love it. Yeah I can see that too. Aubrey not relating to the ‘ordinary guy’s level-that’s quite apparent. For example:

        That poor guy who’s the Jonah was NOT going to get any sympathy or (real) help from Aubrey unless he earned it, and it was quite clear—-Aubrey’d taken his measure and filed him away in the ‘useless plug’ drawer, like it or not.

        ‘Jonah’ had no real choice but to do the only he had left available and do the swandive routine. He was incapable of anything else. Aubrey couldn’t possibly fathom this mindset, or anything else about the man.

        Just for you Xiphos: Mikey Bay=Albert Belle.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Actually Mautrin was the voice of unreason on some subjects in my opinion. Letting a heavy ship of the line go that is pierced for more then sixty guns and has good lines(rapid sailing the Surprise was better) is stupid. It could show it self at later date and be a decisive factor in a battle. Tactically and strategically it is a bad move.

        The English were walking a very thin line of defeat during the Napoleonic war. The pretty much had to win or at least not lose every naval engagement in order to nullify Napoleon advantage in ground troops. The longer and farther they could stress and string out the French Navy the better it was for them.

        And with that I’m done with this discussion because I approach this from a fundamentally different point of view from everybody else that I will eventually write something that monumentally piss somebody off.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I don’t think applying modern concepts like “relating” to royal Navy ships of the line in 1805 works but that is just me.

      • Continentalop says :

        I agree that Maturin wasn’t always the voice of reason. I mean his insistence at doing naturalism and whining about how they can’t stop at an island because they have to engage a French ship seems pretty much like acting like a baby.

        But I think the two complimented each other. They could look at things from different perspectives and help the other see that point as well. And since Aubrey was the captain, I think he obviously used Maturin as a bouncing board more than Maturin used him because Aubrey had greater responsibilities as captain.

      • Continentalop says :

        And don’t worry Xi, you won’t piss me off at least. I always enjoy reading your take on these things.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Yes I agree with that Conti and as sounding board Mautrin was a valuable asset and a help to Aubrey as way for Aubrey to see and clarify what his duty as captain really is. Mautrin was Aubrey’s complete opposite in some ways and that difference in out look was a help to Aubrey.

  20. xiphos0311 says :

    OK I lied one last point.

    Great War leaders aren’t “gamblers” they are leaders who are confident in their men, equipment, training and themselves. It’s only gambling if you are not prepared and don’t really believe in yourself or your men.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      “Great War leaders aren’t “gamblers” they are leaders who are confident in their men, equipment, training and themselves.”

      Agreed, but-some of these guys were certainly gamblers more than others. Case in point, as we mentioned him not too long ago:

      Wouldn’t you consider our friend Hannibal to be a least a bit of a gambler? Or Belisarius? I think that’s at least part of their successes.

      But anyways.

      Luis Gonzalez=Pippin.

  21. xiphos0311 says :

    I don’t like the word gambler. Risk taker yes sometimes you have to do that it’s what carries the day.

    No I would not say Hannibal is a gambler he was well trained, new his men ALL of them their strengths and weakness and what they were capable of. Lastly he had an advantage at first with cavalry. All his plans were based on a calculated risk assessment of the situation based on years of training and experience. Hannibal also had merc African infantry that were as good as the Legion infantry and Hannibal was a better commander then any counsular general he fought at Trasime, Trebia or Cannae

    • Tom_Bando says :

      Check out Belisarious outside of Constantinople in 559 AD w/ about 400 royal guards, a few 100 more locals w/ pointed sticks vs. a horde of Kotrigur Huns. That guy had GNADS w/ a capital ‘G’, trust me.

      Here-go take over Vandal Africa and then Gothic Italy w/ 15,000 guys. No really it’s okay we’ll send flowers-

      I see your points and agree-but I still think Aubrey, Hannibal and Belisarious would have been pretty ferocious poker players.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Are you talking about Flavius Bellisarious? wasn’t he basically fighting a defensive battle at first on ground in his favor and against nomadic cavalry with no infantry and little in the way of heavy missile weapons?

        All Flavius had to do was wait them out if nomadic cavalry doesn’t win out right they tend to lose interest fast. That’s when you hit them.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        That’s the guy, and that’s the battle. Key thing to remember is by 559 he was in his Clint Gran-Torino phase, well past his prime, outta favor w/ Justinian and given VERY little to work with. The odds against him in that battle were rather high.

        It’s not like the Kotrigurs were going to breach the Long Walls, but still….it’s quite a feat on his part.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        yep it was an amazing feat on his part agreed.

    • Continentalop says :

      Ok, “Gambler” is a bad word. I was trying to imply the quote “He who risks nothing wins nothing.”

      Instead of saying “gambler” how about I say he is a winner. I know using sports figures as analogies to warriors is stupid, but it is the best I can come up with – he is like Michael Jordan or Joe Montana. They take risk because they know that is how you win the game. And the only way you can win is if you take risk – playing it safe is a sure beat for defeat (prevent defense anyone?).

      And I agree that Aubrey knows his strengths, weaknesses, and has honestly assessed his men and ship. And because of all that he is willing to take a calculated risk. It is like a great football coach calling a trick play because he has calculated the risk versus some nut who just wants to get tricky (yeah, another sports analogy for war – lame I know).

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Go ahead and use sport analogies and metaphors I do and so does everybody else I know. It’s easier and a good short hand method of getting ideas across without using technical jargon nobody would understand.

        With the word gambler there is a negative connotation that doesn’t apply that’s why I took exception to it.

      • Continentalop says :

        I just personally hate making the comparison of sport with war. Every time I hear an athlete say they are “going to war” or say they are “warriors” I just feel like screaming “Bullshit! They don’t stop the game to take the injured off during war, or have a ref jump in after a guy goes down.”

        Big pet peeve of mine. Up there with calling every celebrity a “hero.” Ugh.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        yeah I agree when they say stupid shit like that it bugs me. I was more thinking along the lines of “going for it” or “the hail Mary” or using a great athletic performance as an example.

        The one that really gets me about actors when they say it’s a “brave” performance. Fuck you jack, it’s acting. That means you get paid a shit load of money to pretend you fucking idjits. Fucking actors are meat puppets with good bone structure.

      • Continentalop says :

        I think the only time something can be called a “brave” performance is if you are acting in a film that might actually get you arrested. So an actor in Iran, China, North Korea or somewhere else with insane censorship laws could be called brave for making a movie that goes against social norms or challenging authority, but not for playing the Mad Hatter with a Scottish accent.

  22. Tom_Bando says :

    A Brave performance? well there comes to mind Prince’s little premature walk on the wild side in ’81 where he was opening for the Stones on tour, and he comes out in a pink bikini bottom. Gets hit w/ a beer can, tosses his guitar and leaves….

    (I forget exactly what it was Bill Wyman called him, but I think Jarv’s fave word for the Almadan Redshirt figured prominently….)

    As for the overuse of ‘brave performance'(Streep) or ‘hero actor'(George Clooney) or ‘player going to war'(Barry Bonds) -well of course it’s little league stuff as compared to the actual real-world stuff you’re involved w/ Xiphos. Cliches abound, hyperbole is the law of the land and it’s all fantasy bullshit.

    What was it Noted_Sage Sam Fuller said, as far’s Actually making a movie feel like a real war? the projector guy should start firing rounds into the theatre during the movie? that’s about right-

  23. kloipy says :

    and I have never seen this

  24. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    Damn, I’m late to the party.

    Good number two Droid. In fact, you and I have been known to disagree from time to time but of all the best of lists I’ve seen so far, yours is actually the most agreeable to me. In fact, your top eight (so far) is completely professional.

    M&C is indeed the movie that unites us all. And I do enjoy ROTK but no way in hell was it better than this. To give the award to the final movie as a way to honor the entire trilogy was pathetic. What the hell won instead of Fellowship anyway, A Beautiful Mind? I love Crowe, Harris, Connelly and Howard more than most people, but even I’m willing to admit that was a pedestrian effort from all involved.

    And there are people disparaging The Count of Monte Cristo? I thought that was a rollicking good time. I loves me a good swashbuckling adventure. And they are sorely absent in cinema today. And The Guz makes any film instantly better.

    “Why not just kill them? I’ll do it! I’ll run up to Paris – bam, bam, bam, bam. I’m back before week’s end. We spend the treasure. How is this a bad plan?”

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I’m the only one to disparage The Count of Monte Cristo. My swash was entirely unbuckled because of its relentless adherence to mediocrity.

      • Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

        Wow, you really did hate it, didn’t you? Oh well. You’re not the only one. I seem to remember people were divided over it when I included it in one of my top ten lists of the decade.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Naw I don’t hate. I don’t care enough about the movie to hate it. I just think it was bland, boring and forgettable. Until the discussion broke out about I have not thought about since it came out probably.

      • Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

        Maybe I need to throw quotes at you all day, Xi.

        “I swear on my dead relatives – and even on the ones who are not feeling too good – I am your man forever!”

    • Droid says :

      Cheers HOD. Glad someones on my wavelength. Up until I bust out the Chipmunks for number one that is.

      I intensely dislike A Beautiful Mind. And I like Crowe more than most.

      • redfishybluefishy says :

        I completely agree. A Beautiful Mind is awful. An interesting story told in such a trite and self-involved way. I was actually angry at the end of watching it and completely insulted.

        And a great write-up, by the way, Droid!

      • Droid says :

        Cheers fishy. Yeah, ABM is pretentious, overindulgent garbage that actually had fuck all to say about anything other than a bloke who knew maths was a nutjob.

      • Jarv says :

        I also hate ABM. Yuck. Oscar Bait crap.

  25. Tom_Bando says :

    I kinda like ABM actually. But it’s not his greatest sure. I’d take this or Gladiator or Cinderella Man over it any time.

  26. Fata says :

    Master and Commander is a fine movie, no doubt. But it did not surpass my two swashbuckling favourites; The Bounty (the one starring Gibson and Hopkins…1982?) and Devil’s Treasure (a.k.a Treasure Island, 1990), starring an amazing Charlton heston and a young Chrisitian Bale (next to Oliver Reed, Christopher Lee and Pete Postlethwaite). Will it ever be available on dvd? Sigh.

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