What a fascinating juxtaposition. Yesterday CNN and others reported that the French foreign minister has called for “a new trans-Atlantic relationship” between the United States and its European allies. And yesterday evening I watched Godzilla (the 1998 remake with Matthew Broderick), and lo and behold, a FRENCHMAN is a key military hero.
If only the French were all as cool as Jean Reno. His cronies all got eaten, mostly because they panicked or froze up when confronted by 9-foot-long Mini-Godzillas, but Jean Reno’s character “Phillippe,” HE was cool. He saved the day. Admittedly, he had the help of the U.S. Military, which made the movie believable, but he also had the help of Matthew Broderick, which made the movie ridiculous.
(ASIDE: At one point Matthew Broderick turns to Jean Reno and says “Phillippe.” I turned to my wife and said “I see you brought your crossbow.” Ladyhawke fans may now giggle. She certainly did.)
France and the US certainly have some kissing-and-making-up to do if they want to accomplish anything meaningful together. I think that Americans are more likely to accept the French as allies if we can be convinced that they’re all cool, heroic types like Jean Reno. I prescribe a month of Americans Rent Godzilla, during which we can laugh as Jean Reno complains about our coffee, grin as he does Elvis impressions to get through military checkpoints, and stand up and cheer as he rappels from a press-box using a spool of audio cable.