I have tried to cultivate some multicultural experiences, while here in Germany.
But since I don't speak German, and since the fruit incident (let us never speak of it again), I have been pretty terrified to go to stores or restaurants. Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat nights, therefore, I went back to my hotel room, and carefully rationed the bread and cheese I had purchased on my one disastrous trip to the grocery. The hotel, to its credit, does also provide apples and granola bars. And since I was confident enough to go buy two bottles of red wine, this makes for a pretty excellent meal.
Which means that my multicultural experiences for the last four evenings have been the television. And, that's not bad. Hockey and soccer is on every night (a cool game between Sweden and Czech Republic, with Jaromir Jagr getting the snot beaten out of him by a bunch of enormous Swedes). There are ads for "chaten and daten" 900 numbers, with the young ladies doing the soliciting clearly very, very excited at the thought that you, the viewer, might call soon. (These, by the way, are porn, pure and simple. None of the ladies are wearing anything but shoes and ecstatic expressions). There is CNN International, with interesting and diverse offerings, and (Gott sei Dank!!) no Lou Dobbs.
But the best was Friday night. A Japanese monster movie, dubbed into extremely glottal German. That alone is a good start. But the movie...a piece of cinematic art I had never seen before. It was Ocean Godzilla v. Space Godzilla v. Mogera, a big nasty three-way.
There were so many wonderful things in this movie that I have to skip over most of them. (And, since I had had most of a bottle of a very nice Italian chianti, my own memory likely skips over them, too.)
But, the highlights. The dubbed-German-over-Japanese would helpfully lapse into English whenever describing the three combatants. And the maps that showed the locations of the three titans also always was in English. So I could keep up pretty well. "(long German statement) Ocean Godzilla (more German) Space Godzilla!" And there they were, on the map, getting closer together, as millions of hapless Japanese tried to run away from the Tokyo train stations where they had gathered to evacuate.
The problem was that Space Godzilla was dramatically more powerful than Ocean Godzilla. But the Japanese High Command was reluctant to team up with Ocean Godzilla, in spite of the old Sun Tzu line about "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." (BTW: Sun Tzu is pronounced something like "SOON-zeh," not "sun ZOO," the way most Americans pronounce it. You're welcome!)
The battles themselves, of course, were straight out of WWF professional wrestling. Huge explosions, rockets the size of tractor trailers, getting hit with a folding chair, and running head first into the turnbuckle never did more than temporary damage, presumably because both Godzillas are "scientific" wrestlers.
But there were two remarkable things that became clear. This movie was actually....Spiderman! I should say that the Japanese had a flying super weapon (Mogera) with lots of nasty powers. It had been designed for use against Godzilla, of course, and now they had to switch, and take on Space Godzilla. But, Space Godzilla can easily beat either Mogera or Ocean Godzilla alone, because he has this lightning power that comes from the sun, or outers space, or something like that. (If you care....)Finally, the High Command (a cheesy bunch of eye-rolling political appointees, not real leaders, I can spot these things a mile away, trust me) commits the Mogera to the battle. Now, here is the Mogera, in stand up and fight mode:
Except that Lokie, the commander of the Mogera, is really....Jonah Jameson! He hates Ocean Godzilla so much that he diverts from the attack on Space Godzilla and goes after Ocean Godzilla! Like Spiderman, people can't really believe that Ocean Godzilla could be good, instead of evil.
The rest of the Mogera crew knock Lokie unconscious, and tie him up. Then they return to the mission and attack Space Godzilla. But Ocean Godzilla is hurt, and Mogera gets smashed.
Except, like in professional wrestling, neither Ocean Godzilla NOR Mogera are really hurt. Ocean Godzilla comes back for more, gets smashed down again. Then the smoking ruin of Mogera recovers, and reveals a new power: it can divide into TWO weapons, an air attack weapon with lasers, and a ground attack/tank sort of thing with a powerful drill for going underground. (Note to High Command: the whole coordinated air/ground assault thing has been shown, in many conflicts, to work pretty well. You might want to try that FIRST next time).
Fortunately, Lokie-Jonah Jameson has seen the light, and agreed to put aside his hatred of Ocean Godzilla-Spiderman....for now. Lokie commands the ground-tank half of the Mogera, and he is one tough panzer leader. The air-ground assault causes huge explosions and fire all over the Space Godzilla, all of which have zero effect.
Now, across the bay, two SmokinHotChicks (SHCs) wearing outfits made of sheer aluminum foil decide to come over and see what is going on. The police try to hold the line, but it's like bouncers at the rope line at a chic bar in New York: The SHCs in sheer aluminum foil can just walk right through. (It's not fair, but we have all seen it.) The SHCs jump in a boat which, for some reason, is already running and having its tie line held by a flunky. They cross the bay, and run up on shore.
Having proven that combined air-land assault is much more effective, the idiots running the Mogera recombine into one weapon. But, at precisely this moment, Ocean Godzilla "recovers" from getting smashed through a building (it was fake, you could tell.) But Mogera is suddenly well and truly smashed by the lightning power of Space Godzilla. The SHCs are distraught, because they clearly think Lokie is hot. The crew of the Mogera try to evacuate through the smoke and flames, and hanging electrical panels.
But then Lokie sees through the smashed window that Ocean Godzilla is bravely going after Space Godzilla all by himself! Lokie shrugs off the protests of his pussweiler crew, and starts punching buttons like a madman, as if punching buttons REALLY HARD is more likely to make them work, when the whole Mogera is on fire.
But it works! The Mogera takes off one final time, with Kamikaze Lokie at the helm. The rest of the crew run over and find the SHCs (I would have done that, too), and offer to console them in special ways.
Just as Ocean Godzilla comes in low, with explosive fire breath and hard kick to the knee, Kamikaze Lokie comes in high, with flaming Mogera striking Space Godzilla full in the face! Space Godzilla is overwhelmed by the combined attack, and falls. The Mogera breaks up, and explodes. But Ocean Godzilla finishes the job: since Space Godzilla is down, he can' connect with his lightning from space power source. Ocean Godzilla toasts him like a marshmallow in a blow torch. Space Godzilla explodes, and floats skyward in shower of sparks.
What about Lokie? The crew and the SHCs look for him. One of the crew runs up into the burning Mogera, the other stays back with the SHCs. They all shout, "Lokie! Lokie!" Then, out of the mists, come the crew guy and Lokie, limping badly but okay.
One of the SHCs plants a big wet one on Lokie...and his leg is healed! No longer stiff (his leg). A miracle. He walks normally.
And then the camera cuts to Ocean Godzilla, walking back out to the ocean. Lokie reverts to Jonah Jameson, muttering about how he still "Doesn't trust that Godzilla and how come it seems like whenever there is trouble, THAT's when you see Godzilla. A coincidence? I think not...."
Is THIS what I came to Germany for? I didn't know it, but....yes.