Out of Africa (1985)

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Meryl Streep is a priss

Take a Drink: whenever Robert Redford does something rugged

Take a Drink: for elephant tusks

Take a Drink: whenever Baron Blixen is an asshole

Take a Drink: syphilis… shit!

Take a Drink: whenever Kamanto shoots Streep down on something

Take a Drink: whenever the farm takes a financial beating

Do a Shot: for romantic scenes that would make The Notebook blush

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

There are certainly more than a few Oscar Best Picture winners that history doesn’t look kindly on, but I wager there’s no greater disparity between critical consensus (52% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Oscar domination (7 wins of 11 nominations) than Out of Africa.  No, don’t get me started on Crash– the critics were the whole reason that film stayed in the race in the first place.

interstellar-2014-movie

Ah, that beautiful time before critical backlash started to set in before anyone watched the damn film

Out of Africa is based on the memoirs of Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), a wealthy Danish woman who goes to Africa to enter into a marriage of convenience with a destitute Baron (Klaus Maria Brandauer).  He turns out to be a syphilitic asshole, however, but thankfully there’s a rough and tumble, untamable outdoorsman with a hairwashing fetish and Robert Redford’s good looks (Robert Redford) in reserve.

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“Ooh, ooh yeah, unnhhn…”

“Robert, stop making those noises or we’re stopping!”

A Toast

Meryl Streep is pretty great, you guys.  No, seriously, she’s just so damn consistent in her greatness it can be difficult to acknowledge it, or want to anyway.  Here she added a “sexy” feather to her cap, showing up to a meeting with director Sydney Pollack in a brazen push up bra to prove she was sexy enough for the role, and sexy she is, along with naive and a bit of a smug idealist at first, but over time she becomes more independent, plucky, and even badass when she goes after a lioness attacking her cattle with a whip.  Oh, she shoots a lion to save Redford at one point, too.  she fucks up a lot of lions, actually.  (These are stories the real Karen Blixen claimed to have happened, but since nobody was alive who witnessed them by that point, you might take them with a grain of salt.

giant-grain-of-salt

About this big…

Besides Streep, Redford can obviously do rugged, dashing playboy in his sleep, and you can’t argue with David Watson’s pretty lensing of gorgeous African landscapes or John Barry’s sweeping, Mozart and Kenyan traditional music-studded score.

Beer Two

What the hell is that accent supposed to be, Meryl?  You sound like The Iron Lady had a stroke.  Danish, eh?  Okay…

What really rubs this in is the persistent voiceover lifted from Blixen’s writing that is both unnecessary and forces Streep to not only do that accent, but do it in old lady voice as well.  It’s not pretty.

Beer Three

A much larger problem, though, is Out of Africa‘s laggard, meandering story.  It’s overlong (161 minutes) and underfocused, pleasant enough as a background drone, but almost impossible to get invested in, especially when even Redford turns out to be kind of an asshole.  Why does “free-spirited” always mean “bangs other women”?

out_of_africa3

Hey, I’m not the one with syphilis

Particularly old-fashioned, and not in a good way, is how Africa and Africans are portrayed as an exotic other for the white people to learn lessons from, but in now way seriously connect with.  “Will the children make games with my name in it?” indeed…

Beer Four

Pollack was clearly going for an old-school David Lean-style epic, but confuses 50 year old technical limitations for timeless charm.  The rear projection is unnecessary, ugly, and not of a piece with the rest of the film.  He even uses a wide shot of two actors talking, then cuts closer, and all of a sudden the background is rear-projected… it’s comical.

Verdict

Out of Africa is a well-rewarded attempt at a classical style, and not terrible persay- just too long and rather dull.  David Lean was still making classical epics at that point- releasing A Passage to India just a year before.  Go watch that instead.

a4Beers

About Henry J. Fromage

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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