Babel (2006)

Whenever I think of the 2006 film Babel, that song from Godspell immediately starts running through my head (babble, babble, high above the rabble rabble). I was in a production of that show once, and it’s the happy place I can go to in my mind whenever I have to remember this particular film.

Babel was one of those very earnest four-stories-all-taking-place-that-are-seemingly-unrelated-but-turn-out-to-be-connected movies, kind of like Crash was. I can usually be pretty open-minded about a film; weighing performances, talking nuance of plot, discussing the seam technique in the costumes. So here’s me being objective: I hated Babel, hated it with the white hot fury of a cat that’s had scotch tape on his paw for an hour. You know when you’re in a car wreck and everything happens in slow motion and when you replay it in your head, it’s like watching the Zapruder film? That is my experience with this movie. Brad Pitt was in it and I hated every screaming word that came out of his beautiful mouth. I am usually impressed with his work, but even Shiloh would have hated him in this one.

There was a scene involving a deaf, extremely promiscuous Japanese teenager in a disco that featured thumping music, flashing lights and enough quick cuts to make a BoRics franchise owner happy. Sometimes in live theatre, they make an announcement that a strobe light will be used in the performance you are about to see. They didn’t make that announcement for this movie, and the disco scene nearly gave me a seizure. If they are going to continue to do that sort of thing, I’m going to need a service dog to accompany me to these films. (I get all my information about service dogs and Asberger’s Syndrome from Jodi Picoult novels, so I know for a fact that this will be helpful.) And besides, how cool would it be to take a dog to the movies with you? It could sit on the seat next to you and growl at that person who keeps climbing over your feet to make endless trips to the concession stand and bathroom. And who can afford even one trip to the lobby these days? Popcorn and a pop cost more than the price of admission and don’t even get me started on Milk Duds.

I seem to have lost my train of thought. The theater was crowded and I ended up sitting all the way over on the side, right up against a wall, so to get out I had to climb over twelve people and a dog that kept growling at me. But I had no choice, because this movie not only made me really sick but also really angry. It was the first time I can remember that I let how I reacted physically to a film affect how I felt critically about it.

Which means when they handed out the Academy Awards that year and Babel only picked up one out of its’ seven nominations (Best Score), the dog and I did a little victory dance and sang the entire score of Godspell. She wanted to go to another movie but I had already seen Air Bud so she collected her winnings from the Oscar contest and took a nap instead. She put down An Inconvenient Truth for Best Documentary and I went with Jesus Camp instead, so that was the difference. Damn you, Al Gore.

Barf Bag Ranking: FOUR BAGS. Yes, a rare four bagger, made even better by the scene where they kill a chicken in front of a little boy.

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1 Comment

  1. The one movie that I wanted to kill the critic was Peter Greeenaways “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover” Gene Siskel gave it four stars!! Said it was a masterpiece
    and not to be missed. Fortunately, I went by myself, so no one was mad when I got up and left. Cannibalism, and it was boring. It is only the third movie I ever walked out of in my life. (#1 Texas Chainsaw Maasacre Part 2….director thought he was Robert Altman and shot the vivesection in one take, there were also baseball bats involved) (#2 “The Running” with Michael Douglas..so bad so boring).


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