Last week, we saw "300," the nearly universally-panned yet crowd-drawing film depiction of the Frank Miller's graphic novel set during the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.
The critics' reviews were so bad that I set my expectations so low that I actually liked "300" more than I thought I would.
Cheesy dialogue. Slim plot. Gratuitous violence. Iffy history. But it worked in some ways -- especially for a fan of battle scenes like those in the "Lord of the Rings" films. And, at least millions of American teenagers will now have some background on the Ancient Persian Empire and the city-states of Ancient Greece.
In interviews, the filmmakers said they weren't attempting to draw parallels between that ancient war and our current Western World - Middle East conflict. But, it's all there. Politics influences art -- and it's plainly on display in "300." (I bet Rummy loves this movie. The queen even has a line to the effect of "Freedom isn't Free.")
We also caught the comedy "Wild Hogs" last week. It was an uninspired, formulaic "four buddies go on a road trip to discover themselves" movie but I'll admit that I laughed a lot.
William H. Macy was slumming it. John Travolta should shoot higher, too.