Monday, December 1

It's a Classic

As a rule I go quite a long time between movies simply because I'd rather be reading. I honestly don't think most movies are worth giving up my free time for. I'm not anti-cinema, it's just that today's movies tend too much towards gratuitious everything - profanity, nudity, gore - and rely on a sort of potty humor popular among adolescent males. Since I'm neither a male nor an adeolescent, I just find it dumb. There are a handful of exceptions, but I generally prefer old movies. What with less sophisticated special effects and more stringent censorship (no, I'm not advocating censorship), film makers from by-gone times relied a lot more on imagination - theirs and ours, both - and in my opinion that's why so many of the oldies are still goodies. Of course, "old" is relative. I like Bogey and Bacall, Hepburn and Tracey. But I also enjoy Redford and Redgrave. In the last few weeks I've watched The Sting, The Untouchables, The Great Escape, and The Stand. I've watched them all before, but that doesn't matter.

  • The Sting is wonderful because (a) it's got Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and (b) it's got some great twists in the plot that delight me everytime I watch it. Everything about it says "let's have fun" right from the start.
  • The Untouchables is a great cops and robbers flick. It has Costner before he let fame go to his head, and Sean Connery's in fine form as an old-timer beat cop. Also, notably, a very young Andy Garcia and everyone's favorite bad guy, Robert de Niro. I've heard this one mistakenly described as a "gang" movie. pffbbbt. Fugetaboutit. This is not about some turf-happy punks trying to be tough. It was da mob, people.
  • The Great Escape. Not a lot of people know that this movie was based on a true story. Not a happy ending, so you don't watch this one if you want happily ever after. Still, it's got that triumph-of-the-human-spirit thing going for it. And what a cast. Steve McQueen, James Garner, and James Coburn just to name a few.
  • And The Stand, based on the Stephen King novel. King also wrote the teleplay, which is probably why it was so well done. Don't wait for a network re-airing, though; too much is cut out to make room for commercials and it loses something in the continuity. The original broadcast of the mini series, though, is about as true to the book as any movie could be, and the book is among my all time favorites. Talk about classic good v. evil. And Gary Sinise, too. I think what made this book so perfect, and what held true in the movie version, is that nothing was wasted. Every character, every plot turn, has a purpose. And the big showdown is about as perfect a climactic ending as you could ever ask for.
In retrospect, it's pretty clear that I was in the mood for some good guys v. bad guys stories. And even if these movies don't all come with happy endings, they do have some good guys kicking ass. Sometimes you need that.

1 comment:

rssasrb said...

Loved the Great Escape and The Stimg when I saw them eons ago. Not sure if I've ever seen the other two.

Sometimes you just need a weekend of movies.

ingst angst you hide inside