Little girls are evil.
It's a universal truth, just ask any little boy.
Nowhere is that truth more evident than in the latest rendition of Arthur Miller's timeless tale, The Crucible. The story, for those of you who somehow got through American Lit. 101 without reading the book, follows the journey of the Salem Witch Trials. The evil little girl, well actually there are a lot of evil little girls there's one in particular who's really rotten, is played by Winona Ryder and she basically turns anyone who doesn't please her in to a witch-hungry judge who then gives them the choice of publicly admitting their guilt, or hanging. Quite the choices, eh? Only one man, the noble John Proctor, played adeptly by Daniel Day-Lewis, has the courage to stand up to these ridiculous charges, so of course he gets arrested too.
It's not much of an 'upper' kind of flick.
This production has a lot going for it, good production value, a timeless tale of misinformation and mass hysteria (Miller wrote the original play as a morality tale in the McCarthy Era), and some very good performances, most notably by John Scofield as the Judge in search of justice, even if the truth gets in the way. This is a drama well put together, and if you're into these types of heavy movies, you would do well to catch this one.
But I always have problems with these moral stories. I mean, if you had the choice between falsely confessing to witchcraft or swaying limply in the wind, wouldn't you lie faster than a three dollar whore? I would.
"Mr. Self-Made, confess or go to the gallows! Did you frolic with the Devil?"
"You bet brother! I frolicked, I hedonistically romped, I felt up and bum-rushed his sister! Now set me free and send me home!"
Not a problem.
One other thing I noticed in the movie was how bad these people were at naming their children. Seems every other woman in the town was named Goody. Now while I have no problem with calling a woman Goody, you'd think they'd come up with a little variety! How about Baby, Toots, Snookums or Soul-Sister? Live a little!
If you ask me, these witch trials were a good idea gone too far. I mean it'd be great to be able to just up and rub-out the evil doers in our society, heck I can think of a few sit-com ensembles who could stand some trimming, but these folk went and strung up every Tom, Dick and Goody in town, including most of the good deed types. Now you just don't go around playing Mr. Gambino with your good deed folk, I mean who else runs the town Christmas Pageants and birthday committees? Who else volunteers to clean your slop houses? Who else knows all the words to the good hymns?
Now if the Salem people knew what was good for them, they'd get rid of all those annoying little girls. Heck, you wouldn't have to do much work, just tell 'em that hanging from a noose is fashionable, they'd do the rest!
So all told, The Crucible gets 3 2/3 Babylons. A good, warm family flick with naked pagan dances and voodoo stabbings which still manages to get the message across:
Little girls are evil, but should be named Goody.
So basically, Mr. Self-Made has been moping around the office lately complaining that there aren't any cool movies to see this time of year, just wanna-be Oscar films. We tried to console him by exposing him to all the hype for next summer's movies, and it perked him up a little, but he hates having to wait a month to see anything blow up.
The one good thing that came of his sulk, was his promise to give us a Summer '97 Preview sometime in the near future.
Now you have a reason to live.