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Monday Movies: The Horror

The only movie we watched this week was Apocalypse Now, which The Girlfriend wanted to see as soon as possible after we saw Full Metal Jacket. I enjoyed it a great deal, though I feel like the parts with Kurtz are actually the least interesting. In other movie-related news, after letting it sit for two weeks, I decided to send back Kubrick’s Lolita unviewed — only the third time I have done that in my entire Netflix career (and one time was motivated by my burning need to get more discs of The Wire).

For the most part, we watched MacGyver season 5, when they started to think that the premise of a resourceful adventurer who finds counterintuitive solutions to seemingly intractable problems was actually really boring and instead MacGyver should be an all-purpose “good role model.” There were two definite instances of supernatural activity and one questionable one (though The Girlfriend came up with a naturalistic explanation). I would also add that Pete is the worst sidekick ever. On the plus side, though, it’s given us so many inside jokes that we will never again be able to talk to other people.

A highlight of our viewing was the old BBC series The Sandbaggers, a spy drama from the late 1970s that focused on the office politics behind the international intrigue. We only got through the first disc, but we both found it entertaining and weirdly calming.

(Sorry to horn in on your territory here, Craig, but I think we need to define watching DVDs of shows as more movie-like than TV-like.)

March 29, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. linda hutcheon would kind of support you on that. she has this thing about ‘modes of engagement’ in her book on adaptation which enables one to consider watching a dvd at home as more akin to reading a book than seeing the same film at the cinema.

    Comment by sarah fok | March 29, 2010

  2. I saw Greenberg. Thought it was great. The party scene was cinematographically brilliant and hilarious. I love Apocalypse Now and agree with your assessment. The stories regarding Brando’s attitude on set are illuminating in that regard.

    Comment by Hill | March 29, 2010

  3. cinematographically brilliant

    Expand, please.

    Comment by K-sky | March 29, 2010

  4. This weekend we watched “Next Day Air” and “Dead Snow.” Both were highly enjoyable, if not a bit derivative (e.g., of Guy Ritchie movies in the case of the former and spoofs of zombie movies in the case of the latter). We thought “Next Day Air” was going to be a “Mos Def movie” given that “On Demand” listed him with Donald Faison (note: not the Faison from “The Wire”!) as the stars. Turns out Mos Def was barely in the movie. Avon Barksdale (more “The Wire”!), however, was. The zombies in “Dead Snow” resembled Nazi uruk-hai of Peter Jackson “Lord of the Rings” fame.

    Comment by Craig | March 29, 2010

  5. I watched Trouble the Water, which was notably primary for the home video footage of Hurricane Katrina (during it, as the floods rose, and the aftermath). I liked it better than Spike Lee’s long-form documentary about Katrina.

    Also watched Clint Eastwood’s Charlie Parker biopic, Bird, and was pretty amazingly disappointed. I kind of wonder if Eastwood’s love for his subject got in the way.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | March 29, 2010

  6. The scene gave the impression of being at the party (including intoxication) in a very effective, yet subtle way. I only saw it once (obviously) but it seemed like there were some interesting focus tricks, and when the camera moved through the crowded house in first-person mode, you almost felt yourself lifting up your feet extra high to clear people sitting on the floor, pieces of furniture, etc. Having said all of that, it didn’t feel like some guy with a handycam, either. It was artful and polished yet chaotic. I’m a layman, but my initial impression was that it must have been extraordinarily difficult to shoot. If anyone with actual technical chops has seen it and wants to comment, that might be better.

    Comment by Hill | March 29, 2010

  7. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse is a very fine depiction of the madness that was putting that movie together. They go into detail about the Brando scenes — the unused footage is just as bizarre — and the one with Sheen destroying the mirror. He was basically as drunk as his character.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | March 29, 2010

  8. Everyone always says the Kurtz scenes at the end are the weakest part of Apocalypse Now,* and obviously there’s a good argument to be made for that, but to be fair there’s not much that could have followed the massive, movie-long buildup to his appearance that wouldn’t have felt like an anticlimax. Brando, at least at that point, was not yet an utter shell of himself, and his screen presence is still enough to lend much-needed gravity to those scenes he’s in; it’s hard for me to imagine anyone else in that role, or to imagine any other way to end the movie than that final sequence (some of the other possible endings mentioned in Hearts of Darkness seem almost hilariously inappropriate for the film they would be capping).

    *referring here to the original cut, not “Redux,” which has a host of other problems.

    Comment by stras | March 29, 2010

  9. Watching Redux gives a good idea of how many things could have gone wrong and didn’t in the editing of the original movie. I think Stras is right that an overweight, borderline insane Marlon Brando is the only option for Kurtz. The more I think about the movie, the more I want to see it again (for the 8th or 9th time).

    Comment by Hill | March 29, 2010

  10. I think we need to define watching DVDs of shows as more movie-like than TV-like.

    This is completely wrong.

    Comment by jms | March 29, 2010

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