Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

I saw this movie today and it is probably the best I have seen this year. The story was a bit silly in some of the detail; a rookie Border Patrol agent with weekends off who could be home for dinner. Seems he couldn't speak Spanish either, even though that is a requirement to graduate the academy.

However, it was just a movie and had good acting, beautiful American (US and Mexico) scenery, and an overall interesting story that wasn't full of car chases and building exploding like most Hollywood garbage one sees. It was shown here only in a small theater in Ebisu---usually reserved for "art" movies---probably because it was not full of exploding cars.

What was especially attractive was the fact that Tommy Lee Jones' character was straight spoken, said what he meant and would do what he said. A complete, 180 degree opposite of what Japan is like. I miss the ability to do that in a society where straight speaking is not only rare, but would be thought of as abnormal and rude.

It's not that such honesty is commonplace in the US, because we so often have to sugarcoat and asskiss in business or at work, but it is the fact that one can encounter it and at least occasionally does so. Then you can be honest and straightforward too, and while agreement is not always reached, and there can be hard feeling and enemies, at least people can understand where the other stands.

In Japan, the lack of this type of openness gives you the sense that everything is fake and phony and done just for looks and appearances. And that is often true....

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