Potato Republic

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One way of digesting Indonesia's recent replacement of a military autocrat with a military stooge is to wonder how countries like these suddenly moved so far east. Didn't this kind of olive-clad kingmaking used to happen only in Central America? You know: "We must crush the rebels by the start of the rainy season -- and a shiny new donkey to whoever brings me the head of Colonel Montoya." It's an old gag, but a good one.

And well placed in Woody Allen's hands. Bananas (1971) harks back to the days when the coup de fruit was the lingua franca of the steamier Americas -- and when Woody Allen was truly funny. Not Bullets over Broadway funny. Or Deconstructing Harry funny. But funny. Really funny. You've got your basketballs-in-the-head scene, your Woody-Allen-in-a-big-red-Castro-beard scenes, and -- this one's all Woody -- your Howard-Cosell-narrating-the-wedding-night scene. Trust CP on this one, folks. Watch it again.

On a less whimsical note, we move to a less successful coup: Night of the Generals (1967). Peter O'Toole leads a stacked cast in a 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, still more interesting for there being so few German actors among the principals. Not a great movie, but a good one, and true-life enough that it's oft shown on the History Channel. One to learn on.

Sometimes, though, you just want to be the tourist. Indonesia isn't all bullets and bayonets; check out Road to Bali (1952), of the venerable and still funny Hope/Crosby canon (okay, it wasn't shot on location). With Bob in ill health these days, see him in pinker times. Sure, it's dated. But if there's any kid left in you, the bent-rifle shtick will get you every time.

Weekends let you watch the world with laughing eyes. For three days, avoid anyone who reads Foreign Policy Journal. Get up early and shop for a nice hammock. And if it rains (and it probably will), rent a movie while wearing a bemused expression for the clerk. Enjoy yourself. They can't depose you until Tuesday.