In Movie Battle, Air Farce Won

Surely you are aware that International Cinema played host last week to one of the masterpieces of modern filmmaking, a movie so astounding in its beauty and magnificence that audiences and critics alike have embraced it to their bosoms and are giving it wet, sloppy kisses of affection. The movie? “Air Force One.”

Wait a minute.

(Eric does mild research, checks facts, returns to computer.)

Sorry. Replace the words “International Cinema” with “Varsity Theater.” International Cinema was apparently showing some long movie about Shakespeare, or something.

But back to “Air Force One.” If you have not seen this movie, you have probably at least seen the line for it, which currently stretches around the Earth several times and is one of the few man-made objects visible from the moon. Some of the people in line for “Air Force One” originally got in line for “Jerry Maguire” and are still there. In fact, I believe the line has been cursed, like the ancient Israelites, to the effect that they will not be permitted to reach the ticket window until all the people who originally formed the line have died. It is interesting that people will show up LATE for a Devotional at which an Apostle is speaking (and then leave during the closing prayer), and yet they will get in line four hours EARLY just to buy tickets to a movie. I can understand this, though, because “Air Force One” was originally rated R, so everyone is eager to see the edited version and encourage the filmmakers to continue making more R-rated movies just like it.

I saw “Air Force One” last Tuesday, and as far as I could tell, it was an action-packed thrill-ride. It’s difficult to know for sure, though, because I think some of the action-packing and thrill-riding took place on the bottom half of the screen, which of course is invisible in the Varsity Theater unless you are exceptionally tall. And if you are exceptionally tall, you are no doubt sitting directly in front of me, becoming part of the action as you block my view and cause me to wonder why Harrison Ford is speaking to a huge head. (“Mr. President, we’ve got to stop the terrorists!” “Not until someone gets all this hair out of my way!”)

The best thing about this movie was Harrison Ford (real name: Han Solo), who is very cool and a friend to all the ladies. He is infinitely cooler than, say, Kenneth Branagh (real name: Pansy Boy), who could NEVER play the president because he’s too much of a pansy boy. Can you imagine Branagh in “Air Force One”? He would have been in the escape pod, crying like a baby, within ten seconds of the terrorists taking over, sticking around only long enough to receive a Dutch-rub and a noogie from the bad guys. Oh, and probably a swirly.

So it’s a good thing that someone cool, like Harrison Ford (real name: Indiana Jones) played the president. I think he’s even cooler than the real president, Bill Clinton (real name: Jimmy Carter). Picture Clinton hanging from a bungee cord attached to a helicopter. Now picture his puffy body bouncing off the ground like a skipping stone. Now picture the helicopter being dragged to earth and bursting into flames. Now apologize for thinking such rude things about our president.

I was recently thinking quite seriously about the issue of presidential coolness, because I often ponder deeply many important political and social issues. For example: Will I be able to write enough to fill up my column this week? The answer this time was “probably not,” and so I began thinking that Harrison Ford should really BE the president. You know that great speech he gives at the beginning of “Air Force One,” about how America isn’t going to put up with terrorists anymore, so they’d better start watching their backs? When was the last time Clinton, or any president, took a stand like that? When was the last time you saw Clinton fight Stormtroopers, or rescue a princess, or find the Ark of the Covenant? If Clinton were “The Fugitive,” running from the law after being accused of killing his wife, he’d never convince anyone that he didn’t do it. The biggest stand Clinton can ever take with any degree of authority is whether to get barbecue sauce or honey mustard with his McNuggets (answer: one of each, and he uses his finger to wipe up the remainder when he’s done dipping).

My point? I like movies.

Notice how I tried to actually stay on one subject this time, and how I more or less succeeded. I was pretty proud of that, if nothing else.

This was also the first time that I took a current event at BYU and wrote a column about it. (It's a little amazing that showing a movie on campus constitutes a "current event," but there you go.) I was always worried about forcing myself into a topic, for fear that without "inspiration" I couldn't make it funny, but this one turned out OK.

There were some -- girls, of course -- who took issue with my characterization of Kenneth Branagh as "Pansy Boy." Those girls are entitled to their opinion, of course, but I stand by my careful assessment. The only reason I even brought him up was that International Cinema was showing his 9-hour version of "Hamlet" the same week the Varsity was showing "Air Force One," a fact which I allude to in the column. It was a perfect comedic situation, as you couldn't ask for two more different movies and actors to be featured at the same time on the same campus.