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randomosity is a random ... thing

In between not getting things done, I decided I wanted to add something else, just to keep things varied around here: Random Fridays, which is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin (warning: tv tropes link). Of course, it didn't start the way I expected last week, but that kind of seems appropriate.

Today, I figured I'd do something with Movies I Like, But. In this case, a Movie I Like But most people haven't heard of. And, I know, we're all hip enough to have a few of those stashed away, but this ... isn't a very hip one. I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure but I don't feel guilty about it. So I don't know. Really it just proves that "good taste" isn't high on my priority list for liking something.

It's a cheap, cheerful little werewolf flick called Dog Soldiers. The premise is simple: British squadies vs werewolf pack in a siege situation in a farmhouse in the middle of the Scottish highlands.

I typically don't go for horror stuff (SPN to the contrary), because it seldom makes me care and I don't like gore (of which there is a lot, but it's over-the-top and not really aiming for realistic). But something about these six rough-and-ready soldier boys, their camaraderie and the way they respond to the ever-worsening problem, was completely delightful, and the characters were distinct (even the less important ones with little dimension to them) enough and crazy enough to love and cheer for. Plus, Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham? Yes, please.

I haven't had too much contact with your average British soldier, nor how they behave as a unit, but I've spent enough time with a groups of just guys that the dialogue, the dirty jokes, the crude language, and the stories all sound completely authentic to my ear. Their wariness, panic, confusion and adaption to the situation that they'd thought was only a war game exercise feels completely real; they do panicky, stupid things and crazy brave desperate things because that's what people do. And Sarge, Cooper and Spoon are action heroes in the tradition of John McClane and could rival him, too; they could each sustain their own movie and be fascinating in it, but it's better that they're in one and they've got one another to play off.

It's not original, really, and it's not flashy, and it's gritty and slap-dash and cheaply and quickly made, but that only makes the enthusiasm and energy come through more clearly. It's made by people who love the werewolf genre and care about the characters and are enjoying themselves immensely, and the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek because they understand the inherent silliness of the idea. They're not trying to make anyone take it seriously, but never for a moment does that undermine the danger the guys are in. The plot is not complicated and where it's made complicated it shouldn't be, but that doesn't detract from the momentum. And it still manages to take a breather and have one of the more achingly beautiful uses of "Clair de Lune" I've ever seen in on film. Oh, right, and it has a girl. But nobody gets sidetracked from the mortal danger they're in by their downstairs brain, so that's pleasantly refreshing.

Lastly, it has hands-down the best commentary track I have ever heard on a film. It's almost better than the movie. Pertwee, McKidd and Cunningham, along with the writer/director Neil Marshall, the producer, and ... the cinematographer, I think? anyway – all sitting in a room, drinking, telling stories about filming, reacting to the story, ribbing one another and the movie, and basically just having a laugh and enjoying one another's company. If you get a chance, listen to it. (There's another commentary too, but I can't remember who's on it and it's boring and I never got past the second scene.)

So, uh. Random Fridays are a go.

Comments

( 8 speakses — have a speak )
fleurlb
Oct. 23rd, 2010 07:18 am (UTC)
You're right. I've never heard of that one - will have to check it out.

Although I had to snicker a little bit, since the premise kind of reminds me of the premise of the movie in "The Stork Job" :)
themonkeytwin
Oct. 23rd, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
It's good fun. And, yeah, the movie in The Stork Job totally cracked me up. I suspect it was a sly wink to it, because it seems too specific, but who knows. If you get around to watching it, let me know what you thought! :)
kenzimone
Oct. 23rd, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
Yes, Dog Soldiers! I'm a big werewolf fan, and this is probably the best movie I've seen in the genre. Yeah, it's low budget and gritty but it knows the lore and spirit that makes a werewolf flick just right, which makes it so much better than any of the other werewolf movies out there.

I haven't listened to the commentary, though. Maybe I should give in and buy myself a copy.
themonkeytwin
Oct. 23rd, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I know the all-time classic is American Werewolf in London and all, and then there's Ginger Snaps, and they're both good, but somehow this one just captures everything that makes it fun.

If you're going to give in, definitely do it. I listened to the commentary about as much as I watched the movie. All the way through the credits, too. :D
kenzimone
Oct. 23rd, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Ginger Snaps, that's another good one! I like the third installment best, because it's as close to a win as the werewolves get. :P I know American Werewolf in London is supposed to be a classic and excellent and all that, but it just doesn't do anything for me. *shrug*

*makes note to buy DVD asap* :D
themonkeytwin
Oct. 23rd, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
Doesn't do much for me either. *shrugs too*

Hm, the third one – was that the one set in the past, in like a frontier place or something? I did like that one. I don't think I even remember the second one. I did. like the premise, though. Now if they could only contrive a way to cross it with The Faculty.... Somehow those two live side-by-side in my head. Not sure why. O.o
kenzimone
Oct. 23rd, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was set in the 19th century or there around (I think I remember there being settlers and Native Americans in it). It's been a while since I watched it. The second one was Ginger-less and all about Brigitte being locked in a basement or something like that. Definitely not as good as the other two movies.

I haven't seen The Faculty, but I looked it up just now and yeah, I should probably watch it. Josh Hartnett and Elijah Wood - how on earth did I miss this one when it was released?!
themonkeytwin
Oct. 23rd, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Because it was AGES ago. And didn't do very well, I don't think. Ah, Robert Rodriguez, you ping-pong-er between cult and mainstream, you.

And they're so wittle and cute. Also has Jon Stewart, Salma Hayek, and Famke Janssen (rocking a awkward-sexy teacher-with-a-crush on a bad-boy student – which, duh, if it's Josh Hartnett WHO WOULDN'T). And whats-his-name, the T-1000 from T2, and a bunch of other familiar faces. Good times. :)
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