La Marseillaise

My friend William is a great guy. We’ve known their family for fifteen years or more, and he’s the pastor of a great church in Virginia. He wrote a pretty good book on leadership based on the minor prophets, he taught me everything I know about Hebrew (which isn’t a lot, but that’s my fault, not his), he married far above his station1, and he and his wife have two awesome daughters.

He also has two great failings.

I’ve mentioned them, briefly, before. The least egregious (to me, not to others) is that he thinks Superman is better than Batman, which is of course nonsense up with which I can not put. Superman might be the most boring superhero ever created; of the seven or eight movies involving him since the 70’s, only one is watchable, and then only because of his relationship with Lois.

His greater failing is his disdain for arguably the greatest movie ever filmed, Casablanca. He called it several things, one of them being “cliché-ridden”; I don’t remember the others because I stopped listening after that. “Give me liberty or give me death” might be cliché now, but it wasn’t to Patrick Henry. Whatever clichés exist in Casablanca only exist because of Casablanca.2

This post is a couple of years old, but I just ran across it today. It breaks down the best scene in Casablanca and gets everything almost exactly right. If you’ve watched Casablanca, you instinctively know which scene even before you read the post, and yet you might not know why it’s such a great scene, or the many things large and small that are going on in it. Even if you’re not into movie criticism, it’s a great read.

The movie’s even better, [re-]watch it this month. It will be the beginning/continuation of a beautiful friendship.

  1. Like most of the men in the room.
  2. If you’re a fan of The Usual Suspects, guess where that line originally came from?

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