Three random airplane movies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Anybody who’s a fan of Clint Eastwood‘s spaghetti westerns knows that THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is one of his best films ever. Clint hardly says a word the entire thing. It’s like the first 30 minutes of WALL-E, if you changed him from a robot that cleaned up humanity’s trash in an apocalyptic wasteland to a gunslinger who cleaned up human trash in an apocalyptic wasteland.

So: flying over to Germany and back, I saw many, many airplane movies. As a public service, I’m reviewing the ones that I remember to (a) save you from watching stinkers, (b) give you a head’s up on hidden gems and (c) say sarcastic things about Sarah Jessica Parker.

First up is the Good, then the Bad and finally the Ugly.


More good stuff from George the Clooney and Ryan the Gosling, who does a good job portraying the crazy life of a political campaign.

As a reporter who covered all kinds of campaigns, and as somebody working in politics now, this movie gets a lot of things right. The long hours. The mix of cynical veterans and 20-something interns full of energy. Lofty ideas crashing into the shores of reality. Reporters working angles. War by leaks.

I appreciated this movie, and how it saw all the shades of gray in the characters.

Ryan goes from a wunderkind who can do no wrong to having no job — and then, having learned things the hard way, rolls around in the mud to pull a coup on the boss who fired him to get the job of running Clooney’s campaign. You see this character suffer and change.

Clooney could have played his presidential candidate as a straight-up hero, a cartoonish good guy. Once again, Clooney has the guts to play somebody interesting and flawed.

Verdict: Rent it on Netflix at least TWICE, because I say so.


From watching this with the sound off: Paul Newman is a good-looking jerk. He broke his leg, so he lays around the house all day, drinking up the booze and glowering at people. For some reason I never understood, Elizabeth Taylor is completely nice to him the entire time, even after he tries to break her ribs with his crutches.

This movie raised many, many questions in my mind:

First: Why doesn’t Elizabeth Taylor — or whoever owns this house — kick angry Paul Newman to the curb?

Second: Who’s paying for all this booze that Paul drinks?

Third: Does he have a job?

Fourth: Yes, he’s good looking, but does he have blackmail photos of Elizabeth or something? Because being good looking doesn’t usually let you sit around a house for weeks and weeks, drinking all their alcohols while you throw things at your host and act like a total dipstick.

This is a talky movie. There are old people and kids and a birthday cake.

I’m guessing it was a play (CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF?) before it was a movie, because nobody every drives anywhere and there’s just a few sets. The camera keeps bringing us back to Paul Newman’s bedroom, where he demolishes Elizabeth Taylor’s liquor while giving her the cold shoulder.

She is far too kind in this flick. I would’ve kicked him out of the bedroom, crutches or not, after his first hissy fit.

Also, why is Paul the Newman such an angry drunk? My guess is he was some kind of high school sports jock, sad about the passage of his glory days, because the first scene I saw was Paul at some high school stadium at night, killing a bottle of whiskey or whatever while he throws stuff around before running hurdles. On the last hurdle, he trips up and that’s when he breaks his leg.

I found Paul Newman to be completely unsympathetic. Plugging in the airline headphones wouldn’t change my opinion because he never seemed to say anything anyway.

Note: After firing up the googles, yes, this was CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, and the internets say Tennessee Williams, a playwright famous enough to have his OWN STATE, hated this movie adaptation of his play so much that he told people the film would set back cinema for 50 years or whatever. 

Verdict: This might be a good movie with the sound on. Who knows? Visually, it was boring. You’d have to pay me in purple euros to watch it again.


I also watched this with the sound off, peeking every 10 minutes, and that was plenty to understand the plot: Sarah Jessica Parker is a working mom with a husband, kids, a gigantic loft and many, many pairs of shoes. Her boss is Remington Steele / 007, which makes her life even more miserable, right?

It’s a rough life.

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet. Half are women. I bet if you showed this film to moms in Africa who walk miles every morning to fetch drinking water, or moms in China working on assembly lines 14 hours a day, they’d break down and cry at all the hardships that Sarah Jessica Parker has to endure in this movie. Should she spend more time at the office with the suave Pierce Brosnan, more time at home being a wife and a mother or maybe hire another nanny and just not feel guilty about it?

The climax of this movie, I believe, comes when Sarah Jessica Parker faces the ultimate test: should she pack five pairs of shoes on her business trip or six?

The Hollywood executives who greenlit this turkey should be belted into a 15-hour airplane ride, halfway across the world, while they’re forced to watch this thing five times straight.

Verdict: Kill it with fire. Nuke it from orbit. No mercy.