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Damon Lindelof Bravely Kisses Spielberg’s Ass Again

By / 09.01.11

Lost co-creator and Cowboys and Aliens co-writer Damon Lindelof recently wrote a wrote a gushy homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark in honor of its 30th Anniversary, which was published in LA Times’ Hero Complex with the headline, ‘Lindelof’s love letter to a perfect movie.’ It certainly has a just-one-of-the-fans! charm, but… it’s also a piece about a film directed by the guy who produced Lindelof’s last project.

Here’s a few excerpts:

Although it’s easy to reduce “Raiders” to a “popcorn” movie — a piece of escapist adventure with fantastic action — very rarely is it appreciated for its pure innovative genius.  This is something people seemed to be well aware of back in 1981 (it was nominated for a best picture Oscar), but over time, the legacy of “Raiders” seems to neglect just how incredibly revolutionary it was as a film.

I could go on for pages about just the little things. Like the sound you make when Indy punches someone in the face. Or that Marion’s superpower is drinking. And don’t even get me started on the coat hanger. Where did that Nazi even get that thing? Did he special-order it? “I need somezing that vill terrify people when I take it out, but then give them a false zense of relief when I reveal it is simply somezing on vich to hang my coat.” Seriously. The best. But I know you’ve probably heard it all before and therefore, I’ll stick to the big stuff. First and foremost…

I love you because Indiana Jones is a nerd. Granted, a highly capable nerd who knows how to ride horses and fight real good, but still, at his core, Indy is an academic who’s motivated purely by his desire to find and retrieve really cool stuff so he can put it in a museum where other nerds can appreciate it. Also, he wears glasses and gets nervous when hot female students write the words “Love You” on their eyelids. Do you have any idea how much commitment is involved in writing “Love You” on your eyelids?  It’s really hard!  Not that I’ve ever done it… [...]

And while we’re on the subject of Dr. Jones, here’s another thing I love about him.  He’s actually scared of stuff.  This doesn’t seem like something that should be celebrated, but it’s actually quite rare for the hero of a movie to be scared of anything.  Do you know what Green Lantern is afraid of?  Fear. He is afraid of being afraid. Does that even make sense? Here’s what makes sense to be afraid of — Hissing Cobras and Gigantic Bald Nazis with mustaches trying to kill you. And it was perfectly OK for me to be scared of them because Indy was too.

And while we’re on the subject of Dr. Jones, here’s another thing I love about him.  He’s actually scared of stuff.  This doesn’t seem like something that should be celebrated, but it’s actually quite rare for the hero of a movie to be scared of anything.  Do you know what Green Lantern is afraid of?  Fear. He is afraid of being afraid. Does that even make sense? Here’s what makes sense to be afraid of — Hissing Cobras and Gigantic Bald Nazis with mustaches trying to kill you. And it was perfectly OK for me to be scared of them because Indy was too.

And so, we now arrive at your ending. This, more than anything else, is why my love for you is an undying one. Because we all know how movies like you are supposed to end. The hero fights off a bunch of evildoers, saves the girl, gets the thingamabob away from the bad guys before they can do any harm with it and then say something kinda cool before he rides off into the sunset.

But this, sweet Raiders, is not what you did.

Your big climax is not affected by Indiana Jones at all.  He’s tied to a pole with Marion the whole time, completely helpless as Belloq and his Nazi pals open the Ark. And while most heroes would perform some incredible act of selfless bravery, what does Indy do? He shouts at Marion to not even look at whatever is coming out of the very thing he has coveted for your entire duration.

In a world where movies and TV shows often end in ways that are sometimes unsatisfying bordering on outrage-inducing (yeah, yeah, I know), your ending, darling Raiders, is absolutely, exquisitely perfect.

I know I’m being a hater here. I’m sorry. It’s a nicely-written article (kudos especially for the veiled, self-deprecating Lost reference at the end there) and I share Lindelof’s great love and nostalgia for Raiders of the Lost Ark. But for as much as he gets his ass kissed, Spielberg might as well ride around town in a buttless litter carried by JJ Abrams and Kurtzman/Orci. Spielberg toadying is practically a cottage industry. “Rarely appreciated?” Are you f*cking serious? We already had two movies, one good and one terrible (Attack the Block and Super 8), that were basically love letters to 80s Spielberg (to say nothing of Paul), not to mention Captain America ripping off the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark almost shot-for-shot. And that’s just this year! We get it, the people making movies now reeeeally like Spielberg. That’s certainly a testament to his importance, but given how many movies he made and how many people saw them, it’s also little like saying McDonald’s made the most influential hamburger. A nerd hero! Imagine that! Jeez, no one ever does that anymore! Lindelof’s piece is the movie equivalent of one of Tom Friedman’s “We have to reduce our dependance on foreign oil!” editorials.

Uggghhh. I’m sorry, I know he’s right. Don’t mind me. I’ll just be in the back trying to write “No Sh*t” on my eyelids.

 


TAGSDAMON LINDELOFIndiana JonesRAIDERS OF THE LOST ARKsteven spielberg

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