I watched Flight (2012) shortly after finishing “24” for the second time, so it’s only natural that I would compare the protagonist in Flight – the estimable Denzel Washington – against Jack Bauer. As Senator Lloyd Bentsen famously said, “Denzel, you are no Jack Bauer.”
Actually, the comparison is unfair because Jack Bauer was designed to be a paragon of best American values, a modern-day John Wayne. As Jack’s side-kick Chloe O’Brien said, “Jack is the most honorable person I know.” By contrast, Denzel as an airline pilot in Flight is designed to personify American slacker values – i.e., flippant, undisciplined, spoiled.
In addition to its exploration of Denzel’s slackerness, the movie raises an issue related to the old saying, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” This happens when Denzel, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol while piloting a plane, crashes the plane. Even though Denzel flew the plane miraculously well, the law provides that he was guilty of a felony. That is not justice under my way of thinking.
The Rotten Tomato critics scored Flight at 79% and the audience at 76%. I agree and give it three and a half stars out of four.
Life of Pi (2012) was an international box office sensation that was nominated for eleven Oscars, including Best Picture, and its director Ang Lee won an Oscar. Although it is an American movie, it is based on an Indian boy and his family. Much of the movie is computer animated with a Bengal tiger sharing a lifeboat with a 16-year-old Indian boy. Because I wasn’t in the mood for computer animation, I found the movie so boring that I was tempted to early-eject the DVD. The ending, however, was deeper than I expected, and it made me wish I had paid more attention throughout. The Rotten Tomato critics scored Pi at 88% and the audience gave it 87%. I disagree and give it only two stars out of four.