Band of Outsiders ★★★

It's kind of weird to me that '60s Godard has such a reputation for youthful exuberance, because some of these pictures are dry, languid affairs. I first saw many of them, including Band of Outsiders, on a laptop in a dorm room near the end of George W. Bush's first term or the beginning of his second, and now I revisit whenever a 35mm print rolls into town. I don't think this one captivated me much at 18, and at 27 it still seems pretty bland compared to Contempt or Alphaville. Everyone remembers the cafe dance number and the Louvre run, but many viewers seem to forget (or romanticize away) how much of this movie is just three bored French people bumming around and not having much fun. Godard wasn't always rock'n'roll or jazz--sometimes he was just a sulky kid practicing his recorder after school.