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Eli's Book is NOT 'What to Expect When You're Expecting'

The_book_of_eli_denzel  I went and saw The Book of Eli this weekend for one reason and one reason only. Because in the trailer for it some sound editor had to put a deeply resonant and ominous bass thud behind the name "Mila Kunis" when they were crediting the actors involved and I HAD to see if they were just fucking with me. Mila Kunis is to dramatic soundtrack noises what antlers are to a ballet dancer. That should be on the SAT, that analogy was so good.

So The Book of Eli was a lot better than I was expecting, and that makes sense because I've hit animals with my car that I expected more out of than this movie. And I know what you're thinking... it had Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman in it...how bad could it be? Virtuosity and Lost in Space are the answers to that question. Your witness. And sure Oldman WAS  good in futuristic fiction in The Fifth Element, but without Chris Tucker to add comic yin to his evil yang*, could The Book of Eli be anything but a disappointment? Also Mila Kunis. 

But it was good. There were hairless cat impalements**, and lots of slow motion walking which is totally the best way to convey the empty bleakness of the world after a nuclear holocaust because everyone knows that walking in slow motion equals no people left on Earth. If you ever see anybody walking in slow-motion in real life, get to a fallout shelter quick. That's a scientific fact. It also has sword fights and beheadings, but they were tasteful beheadings like you might see at a cricket match or having tea after a fox hunt, not the kind of decapitations that have broken down pick-ups in their front yard and too many cats in their double-wide. There was lawlessness with just the right amount of vindication as befits a world gone looney thanks to man's inhumanity to man. And also a cameo by Tom Waits. Granted that doesn't exactly give the film indie street cred, but it's better than Zac Ephron or something. 

I can't take you seriously, Mila. I saw Max Payne. Plus,your head is too small

Here's the kicker. There is a surprise built into the script. Not a huge Usual Suspects surprise, but one that is just big enough to make you go "huh." and that elevates this fairly standard Armageddon story to a higher level than say Tank Girl. Sorry, Lori Petty. If The Book of Eli was a club sandwich than the surprise is the frilly toothpick. If The Book of Eli was a Pop-tart© than the surprise is the frosting. If The Book of Eli was dinner at my Mom's house than the surprise was me not having to go. 

I'm very hungry.

Sure, neither Denzel nor Oldman are in top form here, but they do okay. No one overacts too much, if you don't count Gary Oldman, and no one is annoyingly self-righteous if you don't count Denzel Washington. And no one is Mila Kunis if you don't count Mila Kunis, so the movie has that going for it. Plus cannibalism. I like a little cannabalism in my post-apocalyptic fiction. They are two great tastes that taste great together. 

Go see The Book of Eli.

* This is scorching sarcasm. You probably need a salve to rub on your eyes now from the first degree sarcasm burns. Also,"his evil yang" is what my ex- sited in our divorce proceedings. (ba-dump-bump CHHHH!)

** Still not code for anything..

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But is it worse than Avatar?

Ed Adams

I saw it. It was Awesome, but I have low standards.

Also, was the big surprise part... [EDITED TO REMOVE SPOILER]

Jen O.

Is Mila's head too small, or is Denzel's head too big? It's like one of those brain teasers where you don't know if you're looking at an old lady or a couple of bottle's of Jack. Or something.


I still don't know if I really liked this movie or not. The story was interesting enough and it was very pretty to look at (love that desolate, washed-out coloring). The ending is good, too. I wouldn't call it entertainment so much as a curiousity, though. It is very strange.


A post-apocalyptic movie involving desaturated colors and cannibalism? Did someone see The Road just in time to wrap things up?


I can overlook Mila's small head because when I print it out and blow it up to poster size and tape it to my blowup doll it looks just fine.

I also saw it and wondered when Gary Oldman began morphing into James Edward Olmos. Dude..ProActive. You can afford it, you're famous. Jesus.


A funny and clever review of a post-apocalyptic movie? Love it. HOWEVER, there are three "than"s that should be replaced by "then" in paragraph 4. Yes, I'm a grammar Nazi. I'm sorry.

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