A happy moment.
I’ve decided to drop my goal for the year of watching a movie off AFI’s Top 100 list each week. 35 of 52 is still pretty good, and I feel like I’ve successfully built out my cinematic oeuvre to be more knowledgeable than it was at the start of the year.
But this project made watching movies a chore.
I found myself losing focus during the movies and watching someone else’s TV, or just glancing away for minutes. Instead of improving my concentration and enjoyment of movies, I became bored.
So, I’m not going to be posting anymore movie not-reviews. I’ll find something else to toss up here.
I don’t intentionally give up on a goal I set for myself, but there’s something to be said for reviewing and revising where I spend my time. And if I’m not having fun anymore, why am I doing it?
Good grief, this has film noir written all over it. Oodles of self-narration, complete with turns away from the scene and towards the camera. A femme fatale whose sex appeal is established right away, almost the whole story told in a flashback…
And like film noir, it’s a sign of the times in how people act. Walter Neff the protagonist, is a jerk to women. Then again, weren’t most men in the 1930s?
He also falls for Phyllis Dietrichson a bit too quickly (and she for him). All it takes is two meetings which can’t have lasted longer than an hour total and poof, they’re head over heels. To the point of conspiracy, even.
Yes, there’s a murder plot here. Isn’t there always in film noir? This is a surprisingly elaborate one too; only Vertigo comes to mind as a more oddball premise.
I found myself looking the Barton Keyes character more. Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a T. I’d actually like to see this story retold from his perspective.
I really liked the scoring in this one. Right mix of broody and moody.
If people ask what film noir is, show them this film. It’s the archetype. Alternatively, show them Whose Line’s film noir scenes. Either one works.
I hope I can avoid this genre for the rest of the year. Getting tiresome.
Final thought: There was such a thing at drive-in restaurants that served beer?! Holy irresponsibility!
No, not the one with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, that’s just “Philadelphia.” This is Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart in one of the first real romantic comedies.
And this film is *funny*. Not sure what genre has fast-talking wittiness as one of its mainstays, but there’s so many good bon mots here. The youngest sibling Dinah quipping “I can tell there’s something in the air because I’m being taken away” is my favorite, with the dialogue between Tracy and Macauley coming in second: “It was terrific / I’m so glad / didn’t mean it that way / I’m so sorry”
The scene where Macaulay is drunk may be the best for this. Plenty of spoonerisms and misspeaking, and loud hollers of C.W. Dexter Haaaaaaaaaven!
Plotwise, you need to suspend your disbelief a bit. There’s a lot of lucky contrivances that occur in this film, but somehow it all works.
Characters are a bit wonky - Dexter’s 180 on his relationship with Tracy in particular, and Macauley’s hard to pin down. Katherine Hepburn as Tracy Lorde Haven is just perfect, though.
If you ever wonder where rom-coms started, you’d do well to see The Philadelphia Story. It’s high brow for sure, but a fun watch if you can keep up.
This film has a tendency to be odd with the pacing. We’re given all of a minute of back story before our two titular characters (I hesitate to call them protagonists) meet. And then the film jerks and rumbles to the conclusion we already know.
How it gets there is the fun part. B&C is equal parts comedy (Clyde’s early robbery attempts, for instance), drama (the tension between Bonnie and Blanche), and action (the foregone conclusion).
I was surprised and pleased by the casting in this film. Surprisingly young Warren Beatty and Gene Hackman as the brothers Barrow were great, as was Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker. Seeing Gene Wilder and the unfortunately-named Evans Evans as a young couple dragged into the fray was a treat.
All told, it was a good watch. That ending does have a certain payoff, knowing that’s how the story ends. Put it in the top half of films I’ve seen so far.
I lost my voice today.
I had to draw this after hearing the news about Robin Williams. I was compelled to. And I was entirely inspired by this image drawn by Disney Imagineers when Jim Henson passed away.
Most celebrity deaths are like a rancid fart to me. They linger for a while, make my eyes water, and then pass on in a couple of minutes, hours if I’m unlucky.
This one’s different. Through a long story not worth sharing, I met Robin Williams in person. I chatted with him about video gaming. I broke bread with the man. Strangely enough, my family and I found out one of my other favourite comedians, George Carlin, died the day before meeting Mr. Williams.
And as the Genie, he was among my favourite Disney characters. Still is.
I know it’s a symptom of growing older that your heroes and idols die, one by one. This is another one of those moments.
I’m upset that he’s gone. But his art remains.
I need to go watch some Live at the Met now.