Wednesday, July 21, 1999

Lake Placid

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 1999 at 12:00 AM

There’s a passage in the work of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges that quotes "a certain Chinese encyclopedia," a list of sorts which breaks every rule we’ve been taught to obey. It goes like this: "animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies."

Amused, critics have noticed "the exotic charm of another system of thought" which defies our own. It is, in fact, precisely the impossibility of such an order that makes us shudder with the colossal laughter which we reserve for matters incomprehensible, for demented theories and for anything else that might crush the veil of illusions behind our system of values.

So, maybe, if we follow this logic, we discover that beneath the sheer stupidity of a movie like Lake Placid there is some secret order of things that escapes us. A new cinematic canon in which movies are divided into: (a) pseudo-horror, (b) that should have never been made, (c) in which it rains a lot, (d) not from Miramax, ’cause they’re not that dumb, (e) with Bridget whose absolutely expressionless face would have never made it to the big screen had she not been a Fonda, (f) whose screenwriter suffers from an acute chemical imbalance, treated but not cured, (g) in which the guy never talks to his mother, (h) in which Betty White utters the memorable line, "Sheriff, if I had a dick, this is when I’d tell you to suck it," (i) not unlike the other 120 movies made this year about big mutant things swimming under water ... but maybe worse, (j) that from a distance looks like the unfinished draft of a somewhat unimaginative 9-year-old.

Save your money. Spend it on something meaningful like a 3-D porno. You know, the stuff that doesn’t insult your intelligence.

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