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.

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46 comments

  • Oh, you poor thing! (Except for the food part – yum.)

    Toy Story 2 was good, but I can’t think of another decent sequel offhand.

  • Serenity as a sequel to Firefly was pretty good (though not as good as the series) and I like some of the Harry Potter films. I also like the Ring Trilogy but I don’t know if those count as sequels because they were always planned as whole series.

  • Serenity as a sequel to Firefly was pretty good (though not as good as the series) and I like some of the Harry Potter films. I also like the Ring Trilogy but I don’t know if those count as sequels because they were always planned as whole series.

  • Don’t forget Godfather II. Some would argue it’s better than the first.

    I watched the first National Treasurer. Very painful.

  • Don’t forget Godfather II. Some would argue it’s better than the first.

    I watched the first National Treasurer. Very painful.

  • I have yet to watch the Godfather movies. I keep meaning to but I was scarred by Scarface (I have to make bad puns to keep the emotional crisis from setting in–that movie shook me up. I think I cried for a week). I don’t know if I could handle the Godfather and its sequels.

  • I have yet to watch the Godfather movies. I keep meaning to but I was scarred by Scarface (I have to make bad puns to keep the emotional crisis from setting in–that movie shook me up. I think I cried for a week). I don’t know if I could handle the Godfather and its sequels.

  • I loved LotR, but agree that those weren’t really sequels so much as chapters. And we saw Serenity before Firefly, so that didn’t have a sequel feel at all to me.

    Have there been any movies that were successful and therefore inspired sequels, and the sequels turned out to be good? (Other than the aforementioned Toy Story 2.)

  • I loved LotR, but agree that those weren’t really sequels so much as chapters. And we saw Serenity before Firefly, so that didn’t have a sequel feel at all to me.

    Have there been any movies that were successful and therefore inspired sequels, and the sequels turned out to be good? (Other than the aforementioned Toy Story 2.)

  • I’m drawing a blank here. Every sequel seems bad. Anyone else have a nomination?

  • I’m drawing a blank here. Every sequel seems bad. Anyone else have a nomination?

  • “both bland and unbelievable, like oatmeal sprinkled with mushrooms” – that’s brilliant, seriously I love how you string words together . . . . . I’m a huge Nicolas Cage fan – I’ve endured enless ridicule because of it and Goldfish keeps bumping movies so Ghostrider will probably NEVER make it to the top of my Netflix que (HA! the jokes on HER, I watched it in the theater twice! – oh wait, I guess that means the jokes on me) . . . . so I’m sure I’ll love the sequel (and be ashamed of it). It’s a twisted quilty little pleasure like my penchant for dragging home stinky pretty things from the beach, or photographing collages of detritis, half-buried in the sand . . . . .

  • “both bland and unbelievable, like oatmeal sprinkled with mushrooms” – that’s brilliant, seriously I love how you string words together . . . . . I’m a huge Nicolas Cage fan – I’ve endured enless ridicule because of it and Goldfish keeps bumping movies so Ghostrider will probably NEVER make it to the top of my Netflix que (HA! the jokes on HER, I watched it in the theater twice! – oh wait, I guess that means the jokes on me) . . . . so I’m sure I’ll love the sequel (and be ashamed of it). It’s a twisted quilty little pleasure like my penchant for dragging home stinky pretty things from the beach, or photographing collages of detritis, half-buried in the sand . . . . .

  • Weeelll, I hesitate to say. LOL. I loved The Bourne Supremacy, which I thought was even better than The Bourne Identity.
    I’m a sucker for sequels. I loved The Matrix trilogy and LOTR and Star Wars…all of ’em. Yep. Total sucker.
    I’m afraid I’ll probably like this too. But at least I’ll be forewarned.

  • Road Warrior! I guess that’s a sequel to Mad Max.

  • Road Warrior! I guess that’s a sequel to Mad Max.

  • I’ve heard it said that you should always cut your favorite lines in your own writing–the lines probably work against the cohesive whole–but I couldn’t bear to slash that particular pairing. Thanks for patting my little nearly murdered darling, Steve. I love Cage too. Well, in the only movie I can remember him in “Raising Arizona.” Firefly is my twisted shame –well no I’m not ashamed of it. It’s fabulous but I’m ashamed of my obsessive passion for it. I sneak online and read fan sites licking each tantalizing finger of hope for revival like a groveling idiot. Looks like we both have twisted guilty pleasures.

    I didn’t see the Bourne movies but my sons loved them. Nor did I see the Matrix (my sons didn’t much care for the sequel) Did you like the first National Treasure, Jen?

    I loved the Road warrior movies, Jack. Well, I loved Mad Max and liked Road Warrior. How could anything be bad with Mel Gibson…Oh wait Lethal Weapon the sequel. Yuck!

  • I’ve heard it said that you should always cut your favorite lines in your own writing–the lines probably work against the cohesive whole–but I couldn’t bear to slash that particular pairing. Thanks for patting my little nearly murdered darling, Steve. I love Cage too. Well, in the only movie I can remember him in “Raising Arizona.” Firefly is my twisted shame –well no I’m not ashamed of it. It’s fabulous but I’m ashamed of my obsessive passion for it. I sneak online and read fan sites licking each tantalizing finger of hope for revival like a groveling idiot. Looks like we both have twisted guilty pleasures.

    I didn’t see the Bourne movies but my sons loved them. Nor did I see the Matrix (my sons didn’t much care for the sequel) Did you like the first National Treasure, Jen?

    I loved the Road warrior movies, Jack. Well, I loved Mad Max and liked Road Warrior. How could anything be bad with Mel Gibson…Oh wait Lethal Weapon the sequel. Yuck!

  • Did anyone besides me think that photo of Nicholas Cage was Jimmy Stewart at first? Or am I dating myself? (might as well, no one else will date me…).

    I haven’t seen any of the movies anyone mentioned so can’t comment on them. In trying to think of a sequel I have watched, all that comes to mind is the two Back to the Future sequels. Have to agree that neither of those was as good as the original.

    I may have to get Mike to go the the F St. Cafe with me and try it out.

  • Did anyone besides me think that photo of Nicholas Cage was Jimmy Stewart at first? Or am I dating myself? (might as well, no one else will date me…).

    I haven’t seen any of the movies anyone mentioned so can’t comment on them. In trying to think of a sequel I have watched, all that comes to mind is the two Back to the Future sequels. Have to agree that neither of those was as good as the original.

    I may have to get Mike to go the the F St. Cafe with me and try it out.

  • You’re right that photo looks a lot like Jimmy Stewart at the time he did Rear Window. I love that photo even though I hate the movie. (I also cracked up at your dating line;.)

    Back to the Future sequels are perfect examples of why not to do sequels–they’re so bad they kind of ruin the first one.

    You guys should go to the cafe. It really is like eating in a European bistro (it isn’t cheap but it isn’t outrageous for a imaginative delicious organic fresh food either)

  • You’re right that photo looks a lot like Jimmy Stewart at the time he did Rear Window. I love that photo even though I hate the movie. (I also cracked up at your dating line;.)

    Back to the Future sequels are perfect examples of why not to do sequels–they’re so bad they kind of ruin the first one.

    You guys should go to the cafe. It really is like eating in a European bistro (it isn’t cheap but it isn’t outrageous for a imaginative delicious organic fresh food either)

  • Uh, yep. Thought it was Jimmy Stewart. Oh well, I’m nearly as old as my mother (Jackie). LOL! I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood when I saw it, but I didn’t care for Raising Arizona at all, and that just kinda ruined Nick Cage for me henceforth. However, I thought Cool World was the worst movie EVER, but that was the first time I’d seen Brad Pitt, and my heart goes pitterpat ever since upon gazing his beauty. (should I be embarrassed at admitting that here?) I’m totally unashamed! :-p
    BTW, saw Juno last night – good movie – not as predictable as you might think.

  • Uh, yep. Thought it was Jimmy Stewart. Oh well, I’m nearly as old as my mother (Jackie). LOL! I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood when I saw it, but I didn’t care for Raising Arizona at all, and that just kinda ruined Nick Cage for me henceforth. However, I thought Cool World was the worst movie EVER, but that was the first time I’d seen Brad Pitt, and my heart goes pitterpat ever since upon gazing his beauty. (should I be embarrassed at admitting that here?) I’m totally unashamed! :-p
    BTW, saw Juno last night – good movie – not as predictable as you might think.

  • I saw Brad Pitt for the first time in A River Runs Through it. I thought he looked like Robert Redford’s younger brother and was a little snotty at first thinking about aging actors directing movies of themselves…And then the movie and Brad Pitt swept me away. That is truly a great movie and Pitt is pretty damn good actor and he is as good to look as as Robert Redford.

  • I saw Brad Pitt for the first time in A River Runs Through it. I thought he looked like Robert Redford’s younger brother and was a little snotty at first thinking about aging actors directing movies of themselves…And then the movie and Brad Pitt swept me away. That is truly a great movie and Pitt is pretty damn good actor and he is as good to look as as Robert Redford.

  • Not too long ago we saw I Am Legend. Great movie, until you think about it. Talk about full of holes. As soon as you come back to Earth-That-IS, the plot completely disintegrates. It’s fun to watch, tho.

    And, speaking of sequels: Is Star Trek:TMP considered a sequel, or the original? If it’s a sequel, then it completely lives up to it. If it’s the original, then nearly ALL its sequels were better than the original.

  • Not too long ago we saw I Am Legend. Great movie, until you think about it. Talk about full of holes. As soon as you come back to Earth-That-IS, the plot completely disintegrates. It’s fun to watch, tho.

    And, speaking of sequels: Is Star Trek:TMP considered a sequel, or the original? If it’s a sequel, then it completely lives up to it. If it’s the original, then nearly ALL its sequels were better than the original.

  • I couldn’t figure out how the Star Trek Movies should be viewed. I finally kinda went with they are a series like the Harry Potter movies rather than sequels but ….??

  • I couldn’t figure out how the Star Trek Movies should be viewed. I finally kinda went with they are a series like the Harry Potter movies rather than sequels but ….??

  • I saw Juno advertised, think I might like to go see it. Would you recommend it to me? What rating?

  • I saw Juno advertised, think I might like to go see it. Would you recommend it to me? What rating?

  • Hi Kym,

    I am just trying out my new blogpress avatar. I hope it works!

  • Hi Kym,

    I am just trying out my new blogpress avatar. I hope it works!

  • Not yet. Maybe later.

  • Not yet. Maybe later.

  • Hey Kym–I did see the first one. I was looking forward to this sequel. Now, I just might wait for the DVD.
    I’m usually pretty tight fisted with the cash for the over price theater.

  • Hey Kym–I did see the first one. I was looking forward to this sequel. Now, I just might wait for the DVD.
    I’m usually pretty tight fisted with the cash for the over price theater.

  • Hi Kym,
    Don’t you hate that when you recommend a restaurant to someone, and they have a horrible experience? I’m glad you all liked F St. Cafe!

  • Hi Kym,
    Don’t you hate that when you recommend a restaurant to someone, and they have a horrible experience? I’m glad you all liked F St. Cafe!

  • Carol, my vote is for a closer pic in the avatar. Maybe it’s my eyes but I can just see a shape not many details.

    Jen, the gaping hole in my pocket after taking the whole family to the movies is still pulsating occasionally. We could have bought 3 DVD’s for the same price. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch National Treasure over again so maybe it’s a blessing we spent our money in the theater.

    Kristabel, I almost hate to recommend books, movies, or restaurants to people for that very reason. If they don’t like it, I feel responsible like I should pay for their dinner or something. But I loved F Street so much that I think most people will like it too. Thanks again for the recommendation.

  • Carol, my vote is for a closer pic in the avatar. Maybe it’s my eyes but I can just see a shape not many details.

    Jen, the gaping hole in my pocket after taking the whole family to the movies is still pulsating occasionally. We could have bought 3 DVD’s for the same price. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch National Treasure over again so maybe it’s a blessing we spent our money in the theater.

    Kristabel, I almost hate to recommend books, movies, or restaurants to people for that very reason. If they don’t like it, I feel responsible like I should pay for their dinner or something. But I loved F Street so much that I think most people will like it too. Thanks again for the recommendation.

  • Thanks, Kim, but I don’t want many details to be seen. We actually cropped the picture. It was taken at the California State Democratic Convention in San Diego last April.

  • Thanks, Kim, but I don’t want many details to be seen. We actually cropped the picture. It was taken at the California State Democratic Convention in San Diego last April.

  • Rats! I was hoping to recognize you if I ever saw you.

  • Rats! I was hoping to recognize you if I ever saw you.

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