The newest “Indiana Jones” movie has arrived, and it injected a dose of energy into the long-simmering debate about the relative merits of the previous sequels. You can’t talk about the new movie anywhere without getting almost immediately drawn into the “Temple of Doom” vs. “Last Crusade” debate. I defy you to do it. I’m pretty good at avoiding redundant and pointless conversations (I employ a jeweller’s case full of sarcasm, eye rolling, jaw slacking, and fake snoring to both end the discussion and make people hate me), but this one will not be avoided. You can try, but it will inevitably draw you in.
I’m not here today to tell you which sequel, between those two, is better.* I’m just here to let you know that which one you prefer says a lot about you as a person.
If you are a “Temple of Doom” fan: you like a jagged vein of darkness and bloodshed in your entertainment. You probably like horror movies, and think the best part of “Raiders” was when that German guy melted at the end. You also value experimentation more highly than following tried-and-true paths to success. You think Bob Dylan was right to go electric, David Bowie and Miles Davis had the right idea changing it up every few years, “Twin Peaks” was a great show even though it barely made sense, and cooking strictly by recipe is utterly boring. What you love about “Temple” is that it started with a musical number and Indy threatening to stab a girl he didn’t know (even though he wouldn’t’ve done it), and that the two most memorable images were a man’s still-beating heart being torn from his chest, and Indy being made to drink brain-washing potion made of blood. You like it when your art plays rough, goes off the rails sometimes. And more than once you’ve been heard to utter some variation of this judgement: “Yeah, it’s a total mess, but that’s what makes it so great!” Maybe you were talking about a weird dinner you just whipped up, maybe you were talking about James Joyce… maybe you were talking about “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Chance that you’re a Republican: 10%.
If you are a “Last Crusade” fan: you are a more staid, conservative type. You enjoyed the rollicking adventure aspects of the original movie and you wished “Temple of Doom” had delivered more of that, and less deheartening and child slavery. You value your family very highly, and probably had a little something in your eye a couple times during the Indy-and-Henry scenes near the end of “Last Crusade.” You think artists should stick to what they do best, and therefore probably enjoy the work of The Ramones or AC/DC. You think the bug-and-monkey-brains-eating scene in “Temple” was both immature and gross. Chance that you’re a Republican: 80% (and chance that you’ll be a Republican by the time you die: 100%).
If you are one of those wishy-washy people who says they’re both good: you’re an indecisive, milquetoast human being who is terrified of passing judgement on anything. In fact, you probably get annoyed when your friends criticize any movies or TV shows, because heck, they’re all pretty good. Hollywood is working hard to entertain us – can’t we just sit back and enjoy the thrill ride? You go to King’s Island and can’t decide between The Beast, the log ride, or the spinning cups. You hate offending anyone. Chance that you’re a Republican: 50% (but you think both parties make some good points, darnit).
If you maintain that “Raiders” was the only good one: you’re one of those iconoclast, purist nutjobs that everyone hates talking to at a party. It’s not good enough for you that we all acknowledge that “Raiders” was the best of the three movies – you insist that it’s the only one worth seeing, and the other two were crap. You also hate all remakes and sequels on principle. You don’t like the American “The Office.” You have a really hard time talking about “Godfather Part II” intelligently. You go to obscure ethnic restaurants and hate “Chili’s” with an all-consuming passion. You reject all bands after their debut, some after their pre-debut demos, and when people ask you if you liked that new X by band Y, you chuckle derisively under your breath and then stare at them without responding. Chance that you’re a Republican: 0% (registered independant, by god! and you haven’t missed a chance to vote and imprint your unique perspective on the political landscape since you came of age).
If you don’t like Indiana Jones movies at all: you hate everything that is good about living. You dislike chocolate and cheese. You don’t listen to music. Your favorite books are old textbooks. Your favorite smell is boiling cabbage. You don’t want society, and society doesn’t want you. Go to hell, you sub-human walking head wound. Chance that you’re a Republican: unimportant (even if you are, your fellow Republicans hate you).
* “Temple of Doom.”