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Monday Movies:

Movies watched in the past week:

  • Putney Swope — inspired by a post by John Emerson, we watched this using the Netflix on demand and were only able to get about halfway through it. There are some good lines in the first half, and it does carry a certain morbid fascination, but overall I couldn’t do it.
  • Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus — visually amazing in a much more creative way than Avatar, yet it felt somehow flat. It was awkward to try to shoehorn in replacements for Heath Ledger (though I think using multiple actors for the same character is an interesting idea), and it was clear that they were trying to squeeze too much of a complex novel into the movie.
  • Harold and Maude — the 70s really were a different time. This has some great sequences, but the overuse of that Cat Stevens song kind of brought this down for me.
  • Salome (recording of the Richard Strauss opera) — I don’t have a lot of basis for assessing it qua opera, but I was pretty impressed while not exactly rivetted. The use of a much older actor to play the presumably very young Salome was awkward, though she did an amazing job. The Girlfriend and I are now considering using the magic of Netflix to catch up on the high points of opera, though she insists the next one have more identifiable melodies, etc. I think the old Mozart standards should work fine. (If you are able to make recommendations of good perfomances we can get through Netflix, I would love to hear it.)

In the queue for next week (at least for now — I have a couple days to switch things around): The Child (held over from last week), Ordinary People, and Point Blank. As you may be able to tell, I’m trying to get through some “what, you haven’t seen that yet?”-type movies from the 60s and 70s, so I’m open to recommendations there, too. I really do think that Netflix is a unique cultural innovation insofar as you can respond instantly to someone’s recommendation and know that you will eventually follow through on it — I just wish there was an easy feature for you to leave a note to yourself as to why you put something on there.

UPDATE: Next weekend is going to be a banner movie weekend, as we plan to see both The White Ribbon and A Town Called Panic.


January 11, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. The thing about Harold and Maude is that for most of its course it follows standard rom-com or screwball comedy conventions (overserious young man meets wacky free-spirited girl, hilarity, antics ensue), right down to practically lifting the car-stealing scene out of Bringing Up Baby, except that in H&M, what you get in the end isn’t love and coupledom, it’s young man by himself, woman gone, but conveniently not before she’s taught him some valuable lessons about Life. He’s saddened, but stronger for the experience. This bugs me a little. (Was Annie Hall like this? I can’t remember. (Notably, I loved both Harold and Maude and Annie Hall when I first saw them, in high school — I haven’t seen Annie Hall since, but when I rewatched Harold and Maude about five years ago I practically ground my teeth down to nubs.))

    Comment by jms | January 11, 2010

  2. but the overuse of that Cat Stevens song kind of brought this down for me.

    “That” Cat Stevens song? There’s multiple Cat Stevens songs in there, I think.

    Comment by stras | January 11, 2010

  3. i watched three movies yesterday, Wild strawberries, Snake, Good Dick, the latter two were about good guys saving troubled women, well, all were pretty realistic, i felt annoyed that the women there are that always easily troubled, one was bulimic another one is hikikomori and b/c both are like relatively attractive total strangers took interest in them, if not, nobody wouldn’t i guess
    Wild strawberries were also about meaninglessness of life, i’ve found it interesting that the ceremony of bestowing the honorary doctor in Sweden requires giving the doctor a ring, as if one weds

    Comment by read | January 11, 2010

  4. would

    Comment by read | January 11, 2010

  5. I mean specifically the one that’s overused.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 11, 2010

  6. I would’t have mentioned those two and forget watching them if they didn’t have remarks about Asian women, all sympathy if I felt any immediately turns into dislike after that, and why I even watch racist movies wasting my time and mental energy

    Comment by read | January 11, 2010

  7. Clearly, you must get Every Which Way But Loose.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | January 11, 2010

  8. There’s a very good movified version of Don Giovanni.

    Comment by ben | January 11, 2010

  9. Point Blank?! Don’t you think you’d have a much more rewarding experience watching Point Break?

    Comment by ebolden | January 11, 2010

  10. For movified versions of Mozart there’s Bergman’s Magic Flute, but you’ve probably already enqueued that one.

    Comment by jms | January 11, 2010

  11. I suppose my credibility is shot, but Boris Gudonov is the greatest opera ever.

    Comment by John Emerson | January 11, 2010

  12. Acording to wiki, hikikomori = “reclusive people who have chosen to withdraw from social life”. Doesn’t sound that bad to me. Maybe it’s like agoraphobia though.

    Comment by John Emerson | January 11, 2010

  13. no, she was a hikikomori, doing nothing just staying at her apartment and renting porn, due to the previous trauma from her abusive father, in the end of the movie it was revealed
    i have nothing against the movie heroine and her saviour, it’s good that people become happy and healthy, just there was a passing joke about panAsians being paramours of the guy’s coworker that the movie makers thought was very essential and funny to include in there

    Comment by read | January 11, 2010

  14. About the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – I liked the use of the different actors, even if it was forced on Terry Gilliam – and the magic – but there was something missing. Tension, I think. And I wasn’t bothered what happened to Colin Farrell by the end. I bumped into some of the guys in the film before I saw it. There’s something about that here

    Comment by blackwatertown | January 11, 2010

  15. Yay, I’m happy more people know about hikikomori.

    As for movies: I just found out that The Road is still playing in one Chicago theater. I shall see it, along with the The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Boss hoss!

    Comment by currence | January 11, 2010

  16. I really like Wild Strawberries.

    Also, what’s that one Japanese movie with a detective and a serial killer and dripping faucets and hypnosis and shit?

    Comment by ben | January 11, 2010

  17. Answer: Cure.

    Comment by ben | January 11, 2010

  18. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, The Cure.

    Comment by jms | January 11, 2010

  19. Geez ben, give me like a minute.

    Comment by jms | January 11, 2010

  20. I gave you plenty! I had to resort to a lot of different search strings to find that out, young miss.

    Anyway, I liked that movie too. It’s not one of those “you haven’t seen it yet?” flicks from the 60s and 70s, so it doesn’t fall within your request’s remit, but hey.

    One that does: The Conversation. Sooooo good. Contains a filmic version of free indirect discourse.

    Comment by ben | January 11, 2010

  21. There were a few days last year where I watched several Kurosawa movies in rapid succession, so they run together a bit for me, especially the ones with Koji Yakusho. I liked Cure, but my favorite was Seance, the one about the sound effects engineer and the kid in the footlocker.

    Comment by jms | January 11, 2010

  22. You haven’t seen that yet? from the 60s and 70s: Redford vs Beatty ping pong.

    Three Days of the Condor or All the President’s Men vs The Parallax View (add The Conversation for a nice double-double)

    Bonnie and Clyde or McCabe and Mrs. Miller vs Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Beatty doesn’t get around to remaking The Candidate until the 90s with Bulworth. I like it, but it is definitely not a 70s must-see. If you wanted to do a 90s vs 70s program you could do that pair plus The Conversation followed by Enemy of the State.

    Comment by K-sky | January 11, 2010

  23. You probably won’t get a lot of shocked you-haven’t-seen-thats? regarding either Play Time or Two-Lane Blacktop, but each is well worth your time.

    Comment by ben | January 11, 2010

  24. I forgot to put a subtitle!

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 11, 2010

  25. I thought that was deliberate.

    Comment by ben | January 11, 2010

  26. I saw Blow Up and The Conversation around the same time and found amusing the similarities which the films share.

    Comment by ebolden | January 12, 2010

  27. And don’t forget Blow Out, the Travolta/De Palma remake of Blow Up but with a sound engineer instead of a photographer.

    Though don’t put it first on your list.

    Comment by K-sky | January 12, 2010

  28. They aren’t really that similar, though.

    Comment by ben | January 12, 2010

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