National Treasure: Like old Sourdough–Stale and Full of Holes
As penalty for not being an avid movie hound, I was forced to watch a sequel yesterday. (Are there ever any good movie sequels? Surely there must be quite a few because Hollywood keeps making the dang things but I can barely recall one or two.)
The punishment more than adequately fit the crime. As a fan of great writing, I was forced to watch a movie, National Treasure, with plot holes big enough to drive one of Renner’s double tankers through. And even gaping story holes can be forgiven if witty repartee or amusing quips are sprinkled in the mix but not one memorable line spread like butter to ease the stale bread flavor of the whole script.
Nicholas Cage and the rest of the cast were at least adequate in their acting roles. None of them made me squirm but the lackluster quality of the story gave the generally competent actors little to work with. The story arc for each character was at once, both bland and unbelievable, like oatmeal sprinkled with mushrooms.
Throughout the film, I moaned as my miserly heart endlessly contemplated the gaping vacuum in my pocket where the money it took for a family of five to go to the movies had sat so placidly—comfortably secure in the knowledge that it could feed my household for a week. Now the hole in my pocket felt as raw and throbbing as my gums after I had a tooth pulled.
Although the chasm in my pocket echoed the various plot flaws, in retrospect, I can be grateful that the chasm didn’t match the massive size of the script defect that was the basis of the whole story. The villain, Ed Harris as Mitch Wilkinson, gains Nicholas Cage’s attention by smearing the reputation of his ancestor. Wilkinson does this so Cage’s character will solve riddles leading to a treasure. For God’s sakes, why must one torment a treasure hunter into searching for a city of gold? I think a simple request would have done the job!
Luckily, the pain of the whole experience was numbed by the pleasant haze of having eaten a fabulous meal at the F Street Café. (Thanks to Kristabel and Ben who commented so favorably on the food.! I would never have eaten there if you both hadn’t suggested it.) The spinach salad with avocado, cashews and grapefruit was simply delicious. Everything was fresh and crisp. Most importantly, the tastes hung together like sunshine and swimsuits.
My oldest son fell in love with their pasta and practically licked the bowl. The three generous pizzas the rest of the family ordered were unique and crisp and very European in flavor. Because they were so generously sized, a few pizza slices made it home but none made it past late night snack. I highly recommend this place. My husband who works not far from there will probably make it a regular lunch spot and our whole family can’t wait for another night out (with a better movie) to see what the constantly changing menu offers next time.
And, the next time I go to see a sequel, it better be Serenity Two because Joss Whedon bakes fresh exciting plots spread with plenty of sweet lines and juicy quips. Best of all, his work is layered with mystery, metaphor, and Character Development–maybe the writers of National Treasure ought to watch a little Firefly to figure out how to cook up a better plot.