German Shepherd

Sometime around ’82 or ’83 there were two plays playing next to each other on 45th Street — one was called “Good” (written by C.P. Taylor, about an ordinary guy who becomes a Nazi) and the other was called “Plenty” (by David Hare). It was silly — bizarre, really — but those titles being proclaimed from their respective marquees looked like some kind of put-on. I remember standing nearby after the two were up and flashing and saying to myself, “This is a joke, right?”

In the same silly-ass vein we have two “good” movies coming out in December — Steven Soderbergh‘s The Good German (Warner Bros., 12.8) and Robert De Niro‘s The Good Shepherd (Universal, 12.22) which I’ve begun to refer to as German Shepherd .
The lameness of this juxtaposition plus the two-Goods-in-December are bonds of total brainlessness, agreed, but there’s more. They’re both adult thrillers, and both period pieces about cold-war political intrigues (the Soderbergh is set in Berlin in ’47 or ’48, and the De Niro flick begins its story about a James Angleton-like CIA figure in, I believe, the late ’40s). And their respective stars, George Clooney and Matt Damon, are topliners in the Oceans trilogy (Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen).
Plus the early buzz on both films is sorta similar. If I were writing for the New York Times, my editors would suggest the following sentence: “Whether these two films will be bet with critical and commercial success remains to be seen.”

  • Dixon Steele

    The British playwright C.P. Taylor is the author of GOOD.
    Viggo Mortensen will star in the upcoming film version as a “good” man who eventully joins the Nazis during WWII.

  • Sid Yobbo

    Are these by any chance two of the three December releases you recently mentioned in another piece as having an ‘uh-oh’ factor attached to them & how their stock was going to plummet once word got out?
    Can’t say I’m surprised if The Good Shepherd is indeed one of the three. This one’s being carrying the whiff of failure ever since those unenthused preview reactions surfaced on AICN. Dunno about The Good German but – as most everybody seems to agree – that Casablanca-styled poster is sure making some mighty big claims.

  • Nate West

    Most telling of all: the “good” in each is ironic.

  • Sprewell

    Do editors actually recommend a sentence like that? I always assumed writers just put that in to pad their stories while saying nothing informative. Do the editors think that’s a good sentence or do they think they’re forestalling some sort of legal liability by putting it in? If that’s what editors contribute, I’m glad they’re all going to be out of work soon, when all writers become bloggers of some sort.