Learn more about yourself through Indiana Jones

Diane,

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.”

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6 Responses to Learn more about yourself through Indiana Jones

  1. themcp says:

    So… which of these does the current sequel most resemble?

    I say neither very much, but temple of doom for the messy experimentation factor. they really tried to switch up a lot of things in this version of the jones.

  2. Jim says:

    I also wrote an Indiana Jones rant today. I had a paragraph that compared Temple to Crusade but cut it out because I didn’t want to enter the debate.

  3. Jim says:

    oops, but not at the blog linked to in my name…that’s my work blog. Try Porch Dog

  4. themcp – to me it was just its own thing. Tonally and plot-wise they weren’t really emulating any of the previous movies, which qualifies as a bold stroke after the fairly slavish craftsmanship of “Crusade.” It was certainly the lightest Indy movie, even more so than its predecessor, so on that front at least it was closest to “Crusade.” In terms of striking out for new territory, it was closer to “Temple” – but the territories the two are exploring are ridiculously far from each other. The more admirable qualities of the movie, to me, were that it was obviously built up from a couple of brand new ideas – it wasn’t strictly a cash-in. They really went after the fact that Indy is old, and they really played up this 50s/sci fi trip as far as it would go. A more mercenery sequel (see: last “Die Hard,” which Jim reminded me of) would simply put the hero back on screen, pretend he’s more or less the same guy as always, and give you more or less the same plot and situation as previous installments. This new Indy didn’t do that, for which I am fairly grateful.

  5. JimPanzee says:

    To add to the Die Hard comparison the John McClane in Die Hard One and the John McClane in Die Hard 99 are slightly different characters….he’s far more “John McClaney.” It’s as if Bruce Willis was playing the Brendan Frazer to his own Harrison Ford….if you get me.

    Also, Dale…when you comment on others’ blogs…mine for example, the link back here (through your name) is broken.

  6. beetqueen says:

    You make reference to the touching family-orientedness of “Crusade” and how the scenes with Henry and Indy are obviously supposed to tug at the heartstrings. This appears to be one of the criteria that you feel makes it the inferior sequel. I couldn’t help but notice you completely leave Short Round out of the discussion of “Temple.” Is he not, after all, there for the same reason sitcoms often bring in that new baby or troubled scamp who needs help (ala “Growing Pains w/the new baby and Leonardo DiCaprio)?

    Sure, he’s there to provide some extra comic relief and cute tag lines like “no time for love Dr. Jones,” but he’s also there because he tugs at our heartstrings. He shows a different, warmer side to Indy. Sure he’s a man ready to whisk you away on an adventure of intrigue and probable peril, but he’s also a caring guy who takes in and sort of takes care of that young scamp Shorty when no one else will. He may be kind of gruff about it (much like he is with his dad in the third movie), but we know it’s because he loves him.

    Don’t kid yourself, it’s Lucas being cute and family oriented. Short Round is the precursor to Ewoks and Jar Jar. Only he’s actually funny.

    “Temple” may have the superior beginning, but overall, “Crusade” is the better sequel. I can’t help it, I just like watching people kill Nazis.

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