Ford On Ford

Bentley Ford

By Bentley FordPLAY Columnist

This is the last column of the quarter, and I never really introduced myself. Most of you only know me as the goofy looking kid in the picture with those glasses and that awfully anime hair, and with good reason: Instead of the requisite introductory column, I opened with a meandering essay on Superman that I wrote in the backseat of a car while driving to school from Connecticut.

Oh! So there’s something: Connecticut! I live in, was born and went to boarding school – yes, I’m one of those – in good ol’ Windsor, Connecticut. But, honestly, I’m only kind of from Connecticut. I grew up in Nebraska, during those formative years depicted in “Doug” and “Pete & Pete”, and, for better or worse, I inherited some Nebraskan sensibilities over the years. These two discordant upbringings – my Nebraskan quirks and New English pretensions – have shaped my taste in movies. That sounded too much like a thesis, a broad one at that, but bear with me.

You see, I’m a pretty bitter and jaded guy who hates his major – film for the moment – and hates the alternatives even more. I prefer cynical but thoughtful characters like Sherlock Holmes and Toby Ziegler. I think Kuwasara and Mifune made better films than Scorsese and DeNiro, and I have the gumption to reference them sans first names. And yes, I consider Citizen Kane the best movie ever made. (I’d need more than 800 words, though, to tell you why.) I even know to what the term “aesthetic of hunger” refers, and I have this compulsive need to put prepositions where they belong. Connecticut condescension has everything to do with this paragraph.

And then there’s Nebraska, that odd state with Chimney Rock, which you may have passed in Oregon Trail II. It also has Carhenge, the product of a family reunion presumably full of redneck Pagans. In Nebraska, the best film ever made is Tommy Boy, with Happy Gilmore a close second (although most people prefer to quote Billy Madison). And while Alexander Payne hails from and often films in the Cornhusker state, few Huskers know that name. They watch shows like “South Park” and movies like Talladega Nights, but they may not get the satire. They then go grab a gourmet dinner at Applebee’s.

But I had nothing against Nebraska when I lived there. Tommy Boy is pretty hilarious, and Applebee’s really ain’t that bad. I mean, I like 2046 as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just want to watch The Rock. Clearly, you can take me out of Nebraska, but neither you nor I can take the damned Nebraska out of me.

So when somebody asks me my favorite movie, I always want to say The Red Shoes or some pretentious Fellini flick. But you know what? The Nebraskan in me knows better. Anchorman is the only answer! And not because it’s a misunderstood but rich satire of the media, sexism and machismo – although it is – but because of Pleasure Town, “scotchy, scotch, scotch,” Baxter, and that arsonist with oddly shaped feet.

All of this brings us to my most fundamental failing, the fatal flaw of a kid from Nebraska who wants to be a film critic from Connecticut:While I want to write the sophisticated and ruthless reviews Poe once wrote, I kind of like every movie I see. Almost every movie does something right, despite its many failings. I liked the kind of mediocre Over the Hedge, and will probably like the potentially disastrous Happy Feet. Even though I slept through Miami Vice, what I saw, I liked. And while we’re talking about Colin Farrell, I should note that I liked his crap movie S.W.A.T. and that silly movie Phone Booth.

Even today, I found myself loving a movie against my better judgment and despite the only modest buzz: Stranger Than Fiction. Kate Bernot, whose review you can find on the left, may not have enjoyed Will Ferrell’s performance in Stranger Than Fiction, but I found it oddly endearing and perfectly contained. Can we both be right?

I’ve run out of words, and you still really don’t know me. But hey, at least you know I’m not as cool as I ought, or even pretend, to be. And maybe there’s a moral to this story: If you don’t have anything mean to say, maybe that’s a-okay. Maybe. It’s certainly not as cool as being that snarky bastard, but at least I never regret blowing $10 and two hours watching Adam Sandler make an ass of himself – that’s right, I even kind of liked Click.

Communication sophomore Bentley Ford is a PLAY film columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]