Sunday, December 30, 2007

Profiling movies.

About Me. I generally look at the Profile section of any new blogger I read to try to determine something about that person. Where they live, what they read, watch, listen to. Isn't this how we get to know any new person we meet? Generally we already know their name through an introduction so then we ask, Where do you live? What book are you reading? What movie did you see last? Which song did you put on your ringtone? If the answers aren't interesting, we move on.

Changes. I'm about to change most of the answers on my Profile for the new year, but you could tell a lot about me from my current selections. Obviously I think that emphasizing that I live in DC says a lot about me. It's a great venue for running with its proliferation of trails, abundance of races and wide choice of running clubs. It is the seat of world power too. Where else could a former Yale cheerleader and an incompetent bird hunter change the existing world order so greatly in such a short time, and exert so much influence on the very principles we have lived by for well-nigh 200 years?

You speaking to me? My movie list ranges over half a century, with one choice for each decade that I have lived. My father took me to see Shane (1953) when I was a little boy, calling it the best western ever made. I remember that remark and subsequently being in the moviehouse immersed in the blazing gun battle of the penultimate scene, a noisy fight to the death between the forces of good and evil. Nowadays when I watch it, I notice the little boy, Joey, swallowing his candy cane in astonishment at the big fistfight that erupts between good and evil (obviously an attempt at diplomacy before the resort to warfare), and Joey running after the receding hero riding away calling, "Shane! Come back, Shane!" Does the movie stand for the proposition that you can never go back again? Or that you can never change your stripes? Or are both queries the same?

Open the pod bay door, HAL. Frankenstein in space, 2001 (1968) is just an awesome movie for me. Watching its light show in a Greenwich Village arthouse in 1969, the theatre filled with smoke, was an incredible experience. You hadda be there to fully appreciate it.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty. I love Alien (1979), the haunted house story set in space. Who could forget the fright of the alien spawn leaping onto the astronaut's faceshield, the horror of the chest bursting scene or the terror of Ripley in the space pod with the Alien. Things that go bump in the night.

I told the padre the truth man, I like it here. Depicting the vicissitudes of men reacting under stress, Platoon (1986) was the best war movie ever made before Saving Private Ryan. A youth with a shotgun and the power of life and death over others, the disturbed Bunny was in his element and speaks his truth about being incountry. The scene before the final apocalyptic firefight, where the competent Sgt. O'Neill, his nerve cracked, uncharacteristically asks the war-mad Sgt. Barnes to let him board a transport out of there because he's got "a bad feeling on this one," is haunting. A good man gone bad? The combat fatigued O'Neill receives the chilling answer, "Everybody gotta die sometime, Red."

Was he funny lookin' apart from that? Accurately capturing how they speak in Minnesota, Fargo (1996) is a tour de force black comedy. Aside from being a hoot thanks to the the inane chatter of the common folks of the northlands ("So, you were havin' sex with the little fellow then."), it chronicles the unintended consequences of poorly thought out choices, ending with the murderous kidnapper Carl Showalter wondering if his crime partner has noticed that he "got f***in' shot in the face!" He had just made the very poor choice of going out and burying the ransom money in a snowdrift by any old fencepost of a long straight snow fence along a nondescript portion of highway. Such is the ultimate use of bloodmoney.

Give 'em the old razzle dazzle. The musical Chicago (2002) is a thoroughly entertaining piece of flummox. I fondly remember one of my lost children singing the murderesses' song the day after I took him and his younger brother, kicking and screaming, to see it one treasured weekend. Pop, six, squish, uh uh, cicero, lipschitz! He only had himself to blame. Would you have done the same?

Cellblock Tango from Chicago.

The inner self. Are all of these movies about finding the true inner self? Will the search never end? Are heroes those souls who have found their inner self, and it is good, and they have acted upon it? I think so.


Rainmaker said...

That whole movies section on my blog is empty, my bad. I'm probably Netflix's dream customer - I've had three movies out now for nearly 5 months (I did just finally watch them this week though).

That Chicago song will now of course be stuck in my head again for hours due to your blog. Well done! ;)

jeanne said...

great post! you could be a movie reviewer.

i also adore 2001. and platoon. you are missing the MOST awesome movie ... Apocalypse Now Redux....

the music alone is worth it.

happy new year, and congrats on your anniversary of tossing the cigs! what a LOOONG way YOU'VE come, baby!

Sunshine said...

Haven't had the patience to view anyone's UTUBES.
But I liked your suggestion of reviewing the profile.
Don't know if I will keep it up.. but had some amusement going through my list of favorite movies and giving an excuse for choosing each.
Perhaps wishing you a 2008 full of favorite family members?

DawnB said...

Great reviews Peter!! Happy New Year.

Irene said...

Interesting post! I need to updated my profile...

Happy New Year!