Movie Article

Um, What?

What movies make you scratch your head? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own

Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite | 'NAPOLEON DYNAMITE'
'NAPOLEON DYNAMITE'

What movies make you want to ask, What the heck was that?

Are there movies that, despite excellent critical reviews or cult status, leave you scratching your head and asking, ''What the heck was that?'' —Ileta A. Sumner

You offer What About Bob? and My Dinner With Andre on your list. I'll counter with Last Year at Marienbad and Zabriskie Point, two vintage arthouse lulus with the power to make me doubt my qualifications to wear black and drink espresso. At least I've got the consolation of knowing I'm not alone in my stupefaction: From the moment Marienbad was released in 1961, Alain Resnais' aloof, ambiguous, modernist, French black-and-white mind messer about a man, a woman, and a contested affair has been the gold standard for what the f---? cinema. In contrast, Antonioni's bombastic 1970 indictment of empty American culture is marginally easier to follow. But it's also so elaborately silly and self-serious that head-scratching soon gives way to forehead slapping. (The movie was generally panned; the cult of Antonioni endured.) By the way, I also don't get Napoleon Dynamite. So sue me.

(Got a movie-related question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

Originally posted Jun 16, 2006 Published in issue #883 Jun 23, 2006 Order article reprints
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