Skip to main content


For a movie that reportedly required 11 writers and more than 10 years to complete -- all without any real reason for existing in the first place -- "The A-Team" is reasonably good fun. If you're a 12-year-old boy riding an intense Cherry Pepsi buzz and totally devoted to destroying some brain cells, that is.

[. . .]

OK, I do have two younger colleagues who sheepishly admit that they thought Stephen J. Cannell's NBC series, which starred George Peppard and Mr. T (he of Nancy Reagan fame) and ran from 1983 to 1987, was "cool." They were little kids at the time; I suppose it's forgivable.

[. . .]

This "A-Team" reminds me of the sub-James Bond action movies I used to enjoy on Saturday afternoons, 30-odd years ago: The "Saint" franchise, or Olympic skier Jean-Claude Killy in "Snow Job" (which I went home and told my parents was the best film I'd ever seen) or Alistair MacLean adaptations like "Puppet on a Chain" or "Force 10 From Navarone." It presents the same utterly bogus version of masculine bonhomie, the same shorthand character development (wisecracks under pressure = toughness), the same ludicrous death-defying stunts, and the same implausible chicks who appear every so often to lend an almost-grown-up veneer and then vanish again, to everyone's obvious relief.

Or rather, "The A-Team" presents all those things turned up to 11.9, injected with crystal meth and steroids, and CGI'd right up the wazoo.

[. . .]

Carnahan's action sequences have a lot of "kinetic energy," which is a nice way of saying that after the first 15 seconds you have absolutely no idea who is where or which way is up or what the hell is supposed to be happening, beyond the fact that some shit is blowing up and the good guys are kicking some tail. If you can switch your mind off entirely, so you become measurably dumber during the two hours you're sitting there, and you never think about the fact that the gross national product of Equatorial Guinea was spent several times over on this stupid, empty and noisy event, it's largely painless. But then, I do still have a 12-year-old entombed inside me, and, Jesus, is he high on Twizzlers. (Andrew O’Hehir, “A-team: A cheerful C -,” 10 June 2010)

So was it fun, or wasn't it?

Is this review what you get when a reviewer actually enjoys a film he knows he is not now supposed to have enjoyed? I'm not entirely sure, but it reads like an id vs. superego showdown, where a 12-year-old's joy is simultaneously choked AND satisfied.

For those interested in having the smallest range of independent personality, maybe critics could supply us a list of media you can enjoy without needing to cover with some sort of admission of sin.

Link: A-Team: A cheerful C – (Salon)


Popular posts from this blog

Full conversation about "Bringing Up Baby" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…

"The Zookeeper's Wife" as historical romance

A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.

The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …