one day i would like to be "well read." i would like to walk into libraries and have librarians ask me for recommendations. i would like to complete an entire crossword puzzle or "non-sequitor" comic strip without calling in reinforcements. label it pride (which it is) but my life is ridiculously short, my brain is shrinking with every B-flick film, and there is only so much time and energy to know and read what i hope to know and read.
(i've been working on the same flannery o'connor biography since august, shooting it down and chasing it with shots of malcolm gladwell and gulps of this new stephen king, by gods i am. and page by page i've been bragging on myself, as if each chapter were a new leg on a treacherous mountain climb. geek pride is the worst pride.)
with that said, there are a few prior knowledge schemas that possibly could have helped me enjoy SHERLOCK HOLMES way more than i did. a few things i wish i had known walking into the film include:
- a better grasp on sir arthur conan doyle's stories and holmes' character,
- a deeper and wider appreciation of guy ritchie's work (which i've never stomached for some reason),
- why the blokes in parliament wear those white wigs,
- a general sense of british culture that stretches beyond fish-n-chips, "bloody hell" and "fuckin' wanker." i ain't so mod savvy, even though some of my best friends in china were brits. we just learned to drink lager more efficiently.
still, the dullard i am carried in enough sense to enjoy SHERLOCK HOLMES greatly. i knew a few things going in:
- the robert downey jr. is making quite the comeback - hurrah for him,
- i like that they included sherlock holmes' martial arts background,
- i dig the sights of small nerdy types beating the queen's english out of bloody huge blokes,
- i love any film that begins dark, pans out in dark, and ends in dark,
- fountain pens and sinister journal sketches turn me on,
- the wife and i lived three years on Holmes Road in kansas city,
- if rachel mcadams served me nasty tea, i'd drink 12 cups of it.
with this brief and quite unliterary knowledge under my belt, the wife and i walked into an afternoon showing of SHERLOCK HOLMES, and i walked out a knocked-kneed sweaty mess.
point blank: i loved this film. i loved this film on nearly every level that i could love a film. great visuals. flawless acting. fantastic storyline. a battle between science and black magic. tons of gunpowder. loads of fist fights. mcadams taking and delivering punches. shabby and dodgy scenery. murder and resurrection. chemicals and odors. acrobatic escapism. an english bulldog pudged in for comic relief. classic holmes' uncanny deductive reasoning. mcadams in purple. the whole film was electric and exhausting.
on the whole, i give SHERLOCK HOLMES 4 crotch pillows out of 5. the film looked good. it felt good. it made me tired. and, after all that, i drove home from the theater hungry to read. and, honestly, that's my actual desire: not for brilliance as much as for hours and days hunched over black coffee/fine ale and good stories. over science. over reasoning. over the magic of transferred wisdom. over words. yes, i can buy that last little bit there.
in fact, i have some stories about some brits i once knew in china. like that one day when chad, simon and i bought a bundle of yantai pijiu in the market and lit up a pack of qi lui cigarettes on my balcony . . . . .