The big K.

If all movies could be viewed on DVD from one’s couch, well, a lot of things would happen. Film critics would be mostly out of work. The $5 “small” popcorn would be rightly seen as some sort of sick joke. And we’d all enjoy the movies more.

Case in point, this weekend: “Lord of War,” a $3.99 pay-per-view choice that I could see was flawed, probably correctly reviewed at three stars rather than four (and those were the generous ones), and yet I enjoyed it just the same. Take away the hassle, cost and unpleasantness of the theater experience and I like a lot more movies.

And I’m a sucker for movies like this; am I the only one out there who likes voiceover narration? Talky, bleakly funny, with a point of view but smart enough to know it has to be entertaining first — none of this bothers me. The movie’s about an international arms dealer who sometimes questions the morality of his work, but not very often. It points out one of those stories that lots of people know about, but not enough of them, how the breakup of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War dumped billions of dollars of weaponry on the black and gray markets, where they were snapped up by two-bit despots all over the globe. There’s a brief ode to the AK-47, the Volkswagen Beetle of death:

Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It’s the world’s most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound algamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn’t break, jam, or overheat. It’ll shoot whether it’s covered in mud or filled with sand. It’s so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people’s greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.

It so happens I learned all this on my own a year or so ago, when I was editing an underreported story in which the AK-47 played a central role. I did some web-surfing and found this rifle has a devoted following. Mikhail Kalashnikov is still living, apparently, and all his biographers manage to credit him with a great invention without pointing out the obvious — that his work has led to oceans of blood spilled and millions of deaths. Oh, well; if not him, someone else. History’s eternal lament.

OK, then. The bloggage:

Is there no angle the Indiana time-change story cannot produce? Apparently not: “It’s going to put a damper on the Jewish partying scene,” said Rabbi Arnold Bienstock, of the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, a conservative Northside synagogue. Bienstock said Saturday nights are popular times for Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs. But those will be pushed later into the evening for his congregation because they must wait until the Sabbath has concluded.

Ha. It so happens my friend Cindy had a Saturday-night Jewish wedding, and in June, no less, in a DST-observing state. Put a damper on things? The wedding started — started — with a two-hour cocktail party, after which, Sabbath ended, the couple was properly married, smashed the glass and then kicked off a late supper and dance party. Tell the rabbi he just needs to redefine what he considers the “Jewish partying scene.”

Posted at 9:19 pm in Movies |

2 responses to “The big K.”

  1. brian stouder said on April 3, 2006 at 7:24 am

    “It’s going to put a damper on the Jewish partying scene,�? said Rabbi Arnold Bienstock,”….

    and this is a bad thing?

    or –



    (little Jack & the Beanstalk pun, there)

    254 chars

  2. colleen said on April 3, 2006 at 9:35 am

    Story in this morning’s JG about people who fell back instead of springing forward. Really. What rock do you have to live under to not know which direction you’re supposed to go? And these stories just make the residents of the state look more and more moronic.

    265 chars