While watching “Indiana Jones: the Temple of Doom,” the other night, I couldn’t help but realize what a bad movie it is. When I first saw it, as a kid in the eighties, I was not yet a seasoned critic, I watched it and probably liked it, can’t really remember. So, the year was 1983, swashbuckling and bad dialogue were all the rage; and yet, damn, what a bad movie. Plot holes you could drive a tank through, extended shots of Harrison Ford’s nostrils, and that awful, shrieking female lead, don’t remember her name (and hopefully, I won’t remember her performance much longer). The little Asian-American kid from “The Goonies” is the best actor in “Temple of Doom,” and here he pretty much just revamps his Goonies role, but at the side of Professor Jones. I don’t blame Harrison Ford for being a bad actor, that’s just who he is; neither do I blame the limited character actors who parade across stage like so many gong show failures. Steven Spielberg is squarely to blame for this cinematic turd, and many others too.
We watched a special featurette after the drawn-out “epic,” and I realized that Indiana Jones, as a brand, is the result of Steven Spielberg’s ego. He’s a smug bastard who has made a lot of money making bad movies. In the featurette, he prances around barking orders in a sweaty t-shirt, god of his little empire. Without his smugness, his absolute self-confidence, these steaming piles of action-pack would never have “graced” the silver screen. He had to sell himself to studio executives, he had to get a whole creative team involved; someone who only half-believed in himself could not have done it. The crappy plot lines, the lack of depth in every character, the bastardization of the Kali myth (a prominent theme), the animals injured in the making of “Indiana Jones, Temple of Doom:” all stem from Steven Speilberg’s inflated ego.
So here’s what I’m taking from this revelation: I can write and illustrate a children’s book, and get it published. A crisis of self-confidence has held me up for far too long. I have the plot, I have some sketches; now I start painting. Yes, I don’t have so much time to work, but I have a few hours a week, and that should be enough. Confidence has to be embraced, if it’s not an innate quality (and in me, it’s not); from here I begin my children’s book, on monsters.