A little background on my goal of watching one classic movie a month:
First off, you probably don’t know that I doubled majored in English and Film Studies back in my undergrad days. No, I didn’t want to write, direct, edit, or act in a movie – I just liked watching them. In fact, my focus was on avant-garde/experimental film. If you wanted me to, I could wax intellectual about Ingmar Bergman or Un Chien Andalou, but unless you’re sitting in a college classroom, that conversation is for pretentious try-hards.
Having majored in film, I’ve seen a lot of classic movies; I secretly can’t stomach most of the movies that are currently out in the theaters; and I have a deep appreciation of all sorts of stories told visually. I also love trashy TV and really bad action movies, and thus watching the great “classics” just gets put on the back burner.
What’s my criteria for a classic movie? Good question. I’ve heard “antique” refers to anything 30 years previous to the present, so I’m going to watch any movie made before 1984. Also, I’m allowing myself to watch new films and films I’ve seen before. My blog, my rules!
The Hustler (1961) – It’s true. I had never seen it! For some reason, I thought this movie was going to be a fast-paced buddy movie about two hustling pool players who live fast and die young. Was I ever wrong! With a cast of high rollers like Jackie Gleason, Paul Newman, and George C Scott, his movie was surprisingly dark. I loved Paul Newman and Piper Laurie’s drunken romance, her stiff legged limp, and his broken thumbs. Of course she appeared marked for a great demise from the start, but I had no idea how it would go down – and George C Scott’s sleaziness only made it more miserable. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it next weekend.
Star Wars (1977) – Yessssss I’ve seen it a hundreds of times. I was hoping to do a marathon of the trilogy over our snow camped weekend, but somehow we’ve lost our Empire DVD so maybe that will happen later. What can I say about Star Wars? I love jawas and I hate Obi Wan (no really, he’s so passive-aggressive); Luke has the hots for his sister from the get-go which I think is hilarious for George Lucas’s master plan; and Greedo deserved more screen time.
My only qualms are that the “remastered” version adds crap that is stupid and I wish I could just watch the original story. As Thor and I were watching, we both complained about how the added scene with Jabba looks NOTHING like the Jabba in Jedi. Otherwise, I don’t think I could ever get tired of watching this one.
And for the fun of it, I’m adding two of the best MODERN movies I watched this month. Why not?
All is Lost (2013) – Yes, I have an obsession with disasters, and this movie fit the bill perfectly. The very first moment starts with trouble. Basically, Robert Redford is out sailing alone in the Pacific and a drifting shipping crate pokes a big hole in his boat. Much like the ocean, this movie has swells of action, and then lulls of calm. There is almost no dialogue so you are constantly wondering what is going through his head (which makes for powerful acting). There were times where I had to turn my head away, and times I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. I totally recommend this one.
Captain Phillips (2013) – (Are you seeing a theme here?) After having just finished a book on a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates (at the same time), I felt compelled to watch this one. Knowing it’s a true story and that Captain Phillips survives does not make it any easier to watch. By the end, I was literally wrapped up in the fetal position watching the screen through my fingers covering my face (and I’m tough!). Also knowing that it’s a true story, the final Navy rescue BLOWS MY MIND.
However, another reason I wanted to see this movie was to see the portrayal of the Somali pirates. Having had many Somali students, I worry that the average American will only have a picture of a people that are violent, primitive and illogical. The film touches briefly on the complete lack of options for someone in Somalia, but barely. Nonetheless, I felt like a standing ovation, “GIVE TOM HANKS THE OSCAR!!!!” He was pretty amazing.
Moral of the story: you won’t find me out in the ocean.