Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Judge Roberts' Important Views... on Film

Unable to pin down John Roberts on abortion rights and other important issues, a frustrated Joe Biden chases him down in a crop duster (AP).

Forget about all the other issues, abortion, stare decisis, and whether or not a 12-year old's Constitutional rights were violated when arrested for eating a single french fry in the DC metro - it is the firm position of this blog that one's tastes in film serve as a window unto the soul.

Considering George H.W. Bush screened Chuck Norris movies at the White House, how can one not be excited that John Roberts named as his favorite films Doctor Zhivago and North By Northwest?

Hitchcock gave Cary Grant's character Roger Thornhill in North By Northwest the middle initial "O," suggesting to some a big mysterious zero. Similarly, John Roberts begins as a cipher. Perhaps, though, like Thornhill thrust into the role of heroic spy, Roberts can grow into the role of Chief Justice and make us all proud (although granted, Scalia's legs are not as beguiling as Eva Marie Saint's).

Surely a man who loves Zhivago, which shows a sensitive, intelligent man beset by an oppressive regime, could not throw away privacy rights and be a complete toadie to the state. Nor would he favor the state seizing private property without compensation. However, his views on extramartial affairs in a snowbound dacha remain a mystery.

(If Roberts has written poetry addressed to a woman named Lara, he deserves confirmation, in my opinion. I'll settle for it being to his wife. Even if it's really bad poetry. In fact, that would be more endearing.)

Still, since Roberts has refused to answer many legal questions, perhaps some much more revealing cinematic ones can be offered:

Doctor Zhivago

1) Do you see yourself more as a hard-line Stalinist or a Trotskyite?
2) What's up with all those flower shots?
3) Does the framing device, inventing a daughter and brother not appearing in Pasternak's book, manufacture a false sense of hope that betrays the depth of the source material, or does this choice respectfully underline Pasternak's intent?

North By Northwest

1) As great as the crop duster sequence is, does it make sense for the pilot to crash his plane into an oil truck? (Was this a last murder attempt, or was he just a former Delta pilot?)
2) Do you find it plausible that anyone would grab a dagger out of a man's back, then stand there looking at it versus calling for help?
3) When you face Southerly, do you know a hawk from a handsaw?
4) Do you agree with the Freudian interpretation of that last shot of the honeymoon train entering the tunnel, or are we all just too smutty?

Bonus question: Explain the term mise-en-scene as it applies to the Abu Gharib photos featuring Lynndie England.

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