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no, no, I get to define things, me, I do

Every now and then, the fact that people are different, one to another, and perceive different universes, still manages to surprise Your Humble Blogger. Manohla Dargis, in a New York Times review of Firewall called An Aging Action Hero With a Flair for Computers and a Family to Protect, says that “It's not a little painful, then, to watch Mr. [Harrison] Ford in "Firewall," a rote retread of the kind of family-in-jeopardy flicks that helped define his career.”

Now, I’m not commenting on “Firewall”, which I ain’t seen and ain’t going to see. Nor is this a vendetta against the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, which as you are aware, Gentle Readers, gets right up my nose on occasion, but still forms an enjoyable part of my readload. No, it’s just that my immediate reaction was that Mr. Ford’s career is defined by Indiana Jones, and may possibly have been redefined by “The Fugitive”, and that neither of those were family-in-danger movies. And when I mentioned to my Best Reader how preposterous it was that somebody might say that Mr. Ford’s career was defined by family-in-danger movies, she immediately said “Witness”. I dismissed it as a minor movie, but you know, that was wrong. Sorry, Best Reader.

That is, I think it’s perfectly plausible to consider an actor’s first Oscar nomination as, in some sense, a defining role, even if I think the movie is forgettable and forgotten, and if it pretty obviously ranks no higher than tenth of his movies’ Pop Culture strength. That is, behind three Indy movies, three Star Wars movies, Blade Runner, the Fugitive and American Graffiti. And no, I don’t count the last Indy movie as a “family-in-danger” movie; the old man was doing fine on his own. Nor does the Fugitive count, as the family is not so much in danger as dead. Of course, one could argue that “Witness” isn’t a “family-in-danger” movie, either, as the family in danger isn’t his, but that seems stretching.

More to the point, Mr. Ford has saved his movie family in, if I’m not missing any, “Witness”, “Patriot Games”, “Air Force One” and possibly “Mosquito Coast”, although in the latter movie they are primarily in danger from his character. I saw Mosquito Coast in 1986, and “Witness” in, probably, 1988 or so, and haven’t seen the other two, so my view of Mr. Ford is pretty much entirely missing that aspect of his career. So I kinda just forgot about it. In fact, I haven’t seen any of the last five movies Mr. Ford has carried. The one I saw was a romantic comedy, which wasn’t terribly successful, and didn’t help define his career at all. In fact, as it turns out, I count 26 movies in which Mr. Ford has either been the star or a major supporting role, and I’ve seen, um, 16. If I’m counting correctly. Mostly from the beginning of his career, meaning I have seen fourteen of the fifteen movies made up through 1990, and two of the eleven made since. And I was all upset that somebody was defining his career all wrong. Um, perhaps I’m not so much an authority as I thought.

I’m just saying. My perception of the universe is incomplete. Sometimes I forget that. It’s good that I’m reminded of it. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded in the context of a topic that doesn’t matter at all.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,