Friday, April 17, 2009
Movies, Films, Pathe, Cinama
What movies do you love? Many movies make me smile, cry, cringe or sneer—sometimes all of these at once. Please add your comments about your favorites as I always need to see more movies and will read and consider your recommendations.
I have to confess before you read further, however, that when Paul and I lived in Stavanger, Norway, we got something of a reputation as film critics. The only theater in the small town showed movies on a “movable” schedule. If people came, a film showed for two weeks; if no audiences showed, the film could be gone in two days. If a movie came that you liked, you spread the word. Once a colleague asked if we’d like one that was showing. Yea, I said, it was wonderful! Oh, came the replies. Then I guess we won’t go. Hummmmm……. So my favorites might not be that popular. These five are in no particular order.
1. Willie Wonka or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- both: Gene Wilder's Willie is a low-keyed, slightly “man behind the curtain” tour guide of the magical candy factory. Johnny Depp's Willie shows the same character with delayed development and a more maniacal bent who doesn’t seem to particularly like kids. Perhaps I love these movies because they star two of my candidates for sexiest actor working today.
2. The Wizard of Oz: Having seen this only as an adult, Dorothy’s transition to Technicolor, the visit to poppy fields and capture by flying monkeys, and her green glasses that she wears to visit that Man Behind the Curtain might have meanings for me that I’d not have developed if I’d first seen the movie as a dope innocent child. But it isn’t called Dorothy of Kansas!
3. Blazing Saddles: This movie can offend even someone who loves it. No matter how open minded, left wing, accepting you are, at least once during the film you will feel uncomfortable. For me it is the campfire farting scene. This movie provided a whole set of communication tools to those who love it. If I can say to you, “He’s the salt of the earth, ya know” and you do know this isn’t a compliment and doesn't refer to either The Sermon on the Mont or The Rolling Stones, you’ve enjoyed this movie…probably more than a few times.
4. Jesus Christ, Superstar: I first saw this with the original cast several times in London so I wasn’t sure I’d like the movie version. I do. In fact, I like it better than the stage version. The Star Wars mixed era costuming, ruined locations and slightly rustic, unpolished feel just ads to the great story and wonderful music. The flash collage of the Crucifixion art that answers Jesus question of how he will die, always, always sends shivers down my back.
5. Head: Chances are that you’ve never even heard of this Monkees’ movie. The prediction when it first came out was that no one would go to see a movie about a manufactured rock band. Head’s title has many meanings. You can choose the one you want. Co-produced by Jack Nickleson, he makes a cameo appearance as does Victor Mature, Dennis Hopper, Teri Garr, Carol Doda, Annette Funicello, Frank Zappa, Sonny Liston and Ray Nitschke. Most movies attempt to draw viewers into the scenes; Head keeps pushing the audience out and reminding them they’re watching a film. The scene of Davy Jones with the medicine cabinet mirror scares the bejesus out of me! Every time I close one, I do it with fear! The movie ends with a delightful song that asks, “What do I have to do to keep from going through this again? Didn’t I get it right the first time?”
There they are: five of the movies I choose to watch over and over whenever I get the chance. I just noticed that three of my favorite actors are also involved in these films. Not surprising at all. However, Nickelson is a co-producer, not the star. And certainly Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp have certainly starred in more popular films. If asked, I’d say I don’t usually like musicals. Four of these are musicals. I guess I just can not trust what I think about my own likes and dislikes. However, I really can’t tolerate Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les parapluies de Cherbourg) or (Gasp!) The Sound of Music.
If you’ve read this far, I’d really like to hear what your favorite movies are. You MUST be an interesting person…..with time on your hands to read and think!
For our interest, here’s what’s showing in Stavanger today:
La Giusta Distanza, Monsters vs. Aliens (norske), Lett på tråden, Skjult
The Boat that Rocked, Bolt (Norsk versjon) , Gran Torino, Jaques Mesrine Del 1: Instinkt for mord, Lille Soldat, Easy Virtue, ORPS, Pride and Glory, Slumdog Millionaire, Fast & Furious. Monsters vs. Aliens, Marley & Me, The Boat that Rocked and Che.