Bringin’ Saxony Back

Few things in life are more head-scratchingly awkward than watching Julio Lugo field a grounder. Or w

By Tim Murphy

Few things in life are more head-scratchingly awkward than watching Julio Lugo field a grounder. Or watching Julio Lugo field a pop up. Or watching Julio Lugo foul off a belt-high fastball. But amid the thrashing current of bewilderment that slashes its way through baseball’s postseason (“like a sickle in a west Texas tornado,” Dan Rather would say), one advertisement stands a cut above the rest.You may have seen it and wondered why they were advertising “Final Fantasy XIII” during a baseball game, when any gamer worth his salt would instead be playing Final Fantasy XII. Maybe you just sat, as I did, with your mouth wide open and your eyes fixed in an unbreakable gaze of disbelief. Perhaps the remote slipped out of your relaxed grip and fell to the floor below with a dull thud that finally broke the agonizing silence.I am referring, of course, to the new movie adapted from everyone’s favorite Anglo–Saxon epic, Beowulf.Ignore, for the moment, the fact that THE ENTIRE MOVIE IS IN CGI, which makes absolutely no sense unless you have a $4,000 budget and no actors. Few literary works are read in as many classrooms as Beowulf, and fewer still are as universally loathed. Each year, millions of students are forced to commit chunks of the olde english text to memory, despite the fact that it has minimal literary worth. It is taught under the premise that its a foundation for the English language and culture, but that mistakenly presupposes that Anglo-Saxon history is a cultural foundation that all students have in common. Beowulf is not without merits (although I haven’t found them yet) but is entirely unworthy of the position it currently occupies.Making (another) movie out of a lousy piece of high school literature like Beowulf sets a dangerous precedent. What’s next? A Jerry Bruckheimer-produced adaptation of the The Deerslayer? Will we see Robin Williams starring in Ethan Frome? Beowulf has opened the floodgates. May God have mercy on us all.UPDATE: Apparently, Ethan Frome was already made into a movie in 1993, and was directed by a man named John Madden. It’s worse than I thought!