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Monday Movies: “I’m hip to time.”

  • Easy Rider — The Girlfriend and I watched this on Thanksgiving Day, as a way of celebrating the spirit of American individualism and freedom. We also found it to be a good way of celebrating the spirit of American unlikeable characters, lack of discernable plot, annoying cross-cuts, and making 90 minutes feel like an eternity. Every time Peter Fonda opened his mouth, I wanted to kill him. Jack Nicholson was the only thing even remotely likable about this movie. I am proud, however, of my proposal that we make a sequel called Intermediate Rider.
  • Terribly Happy — we saw the preview for this a year or so ago and it stuck with us, but seldom has a preview been so radically different from the actual movie. As The Girlfriend said, it was a dark comedy so dark it was no longer a comedy. The preview had quotes calling it Coen-esque, but it had none of the charm or wit, I thought — only the extreme violence and unintended consequences. Overall: blah.
  • Clockwork Orange — another counterculture classic for the weekend, and again I was left cold. Probably more interesting to analyze than to watch.

November 29, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, Hana-Bi, 1997(?)

    After Kitano’s face had been partialy immobilized in a failed suicide attempt.

    Another breathtakingly beautiful gentle quiet movie by Kitano, filled with incomprehensible symbolism, innocence, gorgeous landscapes, random violence, great moments of kindness and community…all for double suicide. This isn’t a spoiler because you can tell from the start how it will end.

    Is it a Japanese thing, to make suicide beautiful?

    Comment by bob mcmanus | November 29, 2010

  2. Muriel’s Wedding. I put it on the queue because Mrs. K-sky had never seen it, and in the first few minutes I remembered why she had to: because it’s one of my favorite movies ever. “Since I’ve met you and come to Sydney, I haven’t listened to one Abba song. Now my life is better than an Abba song!” The promise and the peril of the culture industry, but funnier than the Frankfurt School ever made it.

    Comment by k-sky | November 29, 2010

  3. never could get past the first violent scenes of Clockwork Orange
    i watched last week Au Revoir Les Enfants five stars, The Purple Rose of Cairo three stars and Mad Men season 3, dvd 4 five stars, should find the season 4 is not on dvd yet maybe

    Comment by read | November 29, 2010

  4. I watched Crazy Heart, which I enjoyed. My wife and I, though, were both struck by how easily Bad beat alcoholism. Was he even an alcoholic or was he just drinking because he was bored?

    I also watched District 9, which was very far off from my expectations. I expected something more like a summer blockbuster, not that getting away from that expectation is a bad thing. I’m starting to wonder if these disjointed/non-linear/documentary style movies start off as stories with more traditional timelines or narration but the writer/director realizes there is some flaw that must be covered up.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | November 29, 2010

  5. Aguirre, the Wrath of God.

    In the final scene, when the camera circles the raft, you can see the wake from the boat the camera is on.

    Comment by ben | November 29, 2010

  6. I watched Appaloosa and The Shining on a plane.

    Comment by Hill | November 29, 2010

  7. 5:IIRC, there is a whole lot of “flash” (where you see a reflection of light on the lens)in the late stages of Aguirre. IOW, these aren’t mistakes.

    Tonight. Ozu, Tokyo Story, 1953. I first got turned onto Ozu, last summer I think, with a showing of TS on TCM. I watched it a couple times. This time it was the Criterion with the David Desser commentary. Desser has edited a set of essays on the movie. He was better than either Richie or Ebert.

    A simple question:Why couldn’t, or can’t Noriko (who has a miserable lonely life in Tokyo, and has poor prospects at 33) come live with the Hirayamas in Onomichi after her husband went missing? Wives did become part of their husband’s families after marriage, become daughters. Naruse & Hara made a movie on that theme.

    I am not saying Ozu was anti-marriage, there are many successful marriages in his movies. I am just saying that there might be a subtext of wishing “family” and options weren’t structured so narrowly.

    The end of this move is very complicated, not to be taken at face value, and I think shallowly interpreted by any analysis I have yet read.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | November 30, 2010

  8. Shimizu Hiroshi, Children in the Wind, 1937

    After his father is unjustly accused of embezzlement and the family reduced to poverty, a rebellious younger son (8?) is sent to live with his uncle. After much misbehavior and acting out, he learns that he must help by conforming and behaving. Beautiful and moving stuff, with some perfect scenes and deep structure.

    I will get into Shimizu and children later. As I said Mizo said that he, Mizoguchi, and Ozu had to work while Shimizu could produce brilliance without effort. He was by far the most prolific director at Shochiku, and produced 3-4 commercial works every year for the one personal project. Shimizu thought in cinematic poetry.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 1, 2010

  9. I didn’t get very far at all in “Easy Rider”. The idea of a world in which motorcycling wasn’t associated with old people and right-wing nationalism just seemed too impausible.

    Comment by Junius Ponds | December 3, 2010

  10. Ozu, Days of Youth, 1929, silent comedy

    College students on ski vacation discover friendship more reliable than romance. Tatsuo Saito doing Lloydish slapstick. A few camera tricks and thoughtful cuts. Not too much of a chore.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 4, 2010

  11. Yamanaka, Tange Sazen and the Million Ryo Pot,1935, Nikkatsu, Columbia Sound. Just when I was getting tired of the project…

    Wonderful jidei-gekai. An dirty old pot with a treasure map drifts around lower-middle class Edo ca 1750. Incidental music a little too dominant, movie a little long, but overall a humanistic comedy treasure. This was a joy, in parts large and small. Very well preserved. Highly recommended.

    Yamanaka has only three surviving films. He worked with a Leftist stage troup, got sent to the Chinese Front lines in 1937 and died. I have seen 2/3 so far, and his death was a very great loss.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 5, 2010

  12. Ozu,There Was a Father, 1942

    Father separates from son for 15 years in order to send him through good schools.

    War film, with metaphors about duty and sacrifice. Great performance by Chishu Ryu. More standard Ozu than Toda Family, with lots
    pf transition shots.

    You just can’t help, if you see enough Ozus, asking why. In this, there is another extended teacher-student reunion, like in Tokyo Chorus 1931 and Autumn Afternoon 1962.

    Early funeral:common, and there is never a birth. Father and son synchronized river fishing, as in Floating Weeds 1934. Silk town like Only Son. A teacher nicknamed badger. It’s like Monet limiting himself to haystacks his entire life.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | December 6, 2010

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