Much virtual ink has been spilled over the recent release of The Motorcycle Diaries, a motion picture biography of the young Che Guevara. (See Mark Kleiman for an exhaustive blogography.)
I have nothing substantive to add to the discussion, but I will take this opportunity to quote David Bowie in a blog-post title, and to relate an anecdote from my college days.
Back in college, I and several friends had ourselves listed in the Memphis phone directory with joke names. I was listed as “Opus, P.”; my friend Neil was listed as “Stranger, T. Phantom”; my friend Steve was listed as “Zeppelin, Led”; and my roommate Alex was listed as “Guevara, Che.” I suppose my joke name and Neil’s were too obscure to garner any recognition from the general public, but Steve did receive several late-night phone calls from drunk, outraged rednecks, and Alex did receive quite a bit of Spanish-language junk mail addressed to “Che Guevara.”
UPDATE: Reid at Moteworthy wonders whether Steve was the "Zeppelin, Led" he used to crank call back in high school. It's the right time frame (early 90s), but wrong city. Unless Reid was making long-distance crank calls to Memphis.
Just got back from seeing The Motorcycle Diaries with my friends Kamilla and Chad; overall, it’s quite an enjoyable film, although I think that knowing where Ernesto Guevera’s journey ends—or at least what that journey was eventually perverted into, depending on your perspective on communism—made it slightly hard for me to feel a great deal of sympathy for the lead. Still, it’s a good rental, and enjoyable for the “buddy film” aspect of the piece if nothing else.
Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey has a mostly positive review of The Motorcycle Diaries. Politics aside, as I mentioned in my review at the time, the “buddy film” character of the piece makes it most enjoyable, and it’s fair to say that the film doesn’t really take much of a political stand beyond making young Guevara the center of the story—which, I suppose, is pretty much inherent in a biopic.
Previous discussion of the movie here and here.