In the Loop (2009)
Every person I meet says I should watch Breaking Bad. I’m in the drive-thru at Taco Bell and it goes something like this:
Drive Thru person: Will that be all?
Me: Yes, that’s all.
Drive thru person: Okay, your total is $5.33, please drive around to the second window and you really should be watching Breaking Bad.
Me: I know, I’m so sorry.
But I’m not that sorry. If I sit down to watch Breaking Bad, it’s 40 hours (my conservative estimate). I know the show’s incredible, it’ll change my life, but I just don’t feel like devoting 40 hours to it, not right now. If you watch Breaking Bad, you’re surely shaking your head, seeing me making a fool of myself by refusing to be saved and bathe myself in the blood of Walter White. I don’t know what to say, maybe one day I will watch it. It’s just those 40 hours are daunting.
I was on Hulu the other day, just looking at all the offerings, and I saw that the tv show The Thick of It was recently added to their lineup. I had heard of this British comedy show, and I wanted to watch it. Well, what a heavenly delight when I saw that the first season of the show was comprised of only THREE EPISODES. Man, I could really do this! So I did. The show is a frenetic, foul-mouthed comedy about the absurdities of working in Great Britain’s government. The central character of The Thick of It is Malcolm Tucker, a snarling Scottish doberman who elevates the profanity-laced tirade to the level of high art. I always took some amount of pride in my creative use of four letter words, but I know now that I am an amateur. Compared to Malcolm Tucker, I’m merely scribbling on cave walls; he’s painting the Sistine ceiling. So anyway, I enjoy the show, its episode total is manageable, and I found out that The Thick of It has a sort-of spinoff feature film called In the Loop.
Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker and
Tony Soprano James Gandolfini as General Miller in In the Loop
I remember when In the Loop came out and seeing a trailer and not really thinking much of it other than, “hey, there’s James Gandolfini!” The movie is like a longer, more ambitious episode of the television show, with political confusion and buffoonery in London, Washington D.C., and at the U.N. Although some actors and characters have been shifted around, Malcolm Tucker is still stirring the shit storm, except this time he’s biting off heads on both sides of the Atlantic.
It’s hard for me to say why I enjoyed the movie so much, other than it’s like watching a really good episode of a show you like that happens to last an hour and 45 minutes. The movie is certainly very different than most movies I like. My tastes tend more towards movies with a deliberate pace (read: movies that bore some people). The dialogue and plot of In the Loop move so quickly it’s an effort not to be left behind. But the comedy is so dry, the wit so biting, and the profane insults so creative that I couldn’t help but love it. Peter Capaldi, the man who plays Malcolm Tucker, is a huge favorite of mine just based on the show and the movie. His performance is a treasure, and if you feel the need to spice up your vocabulary, there is no greater role model than Malcolm Tucker.