I’m not sure even the hallowed Cahiers du Cinéma could convince me that Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life is a good movie.
Maybe I’m missing something, but after about five minutes of this noisome, overdone film I’d had enough. I stopped watching, preferring to listen to the dialogue as it buffeted my ears.
Sirk may be highly regarded in some circles, but I just didn’t care for this weepy, obvious picture, and I suspect I’d feel the same way about many of his other flicks. Yes, I’m generalizing, but if this is the kind of thing Sirk is known for, I’m not interested. Give me Seven Samurai any day.
Oh, I realize I’ve got to supplement my intake of Kurosawa with lesser works now and then. I already do. Imitation of Life, however, is not something I want to revisit again; I’d even rather watch an old Steven Seagal hack-a-thon instead.
Though I hope I won’t have to make that choice. Anyway, on to better cinematic options.
Sometimes being away from a movie for a long time inspires nostalgia. Sometimes it makes you like the movie more.
I kinda felt that way about Commando, the ridiculous, absurdly high-body-count 1985 “action” film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as human tank John Matrix. This is a junky picture, with all-too-quick editing, poor cinematography and a script that can euphemistically be said to need work. Plus, it’s bloody as all hell, with a ludicrous amount of violence as Matrix kills baddies while searching for his daughter.
Yet for some reason, despite all of these faults, I dig the movie. It’s a guilty pleasure. You can watch it while using your smartphone or doing the dishes. You can go to the bathroom without stopping it and not feel like you’ve missed anything. It’s the perfect thing to put on when you’re just casually viewing.
Which I was doing last night. I didn’t feel like seeing a quality picture. I wanted something crummy. And I hadn’t seen Commando in a long time, so yesterday was a good day to watch it. I know: This is coming from someone who loves Kurosawa and all kinds of high-falutin’ pictures, so what gives? All I can say is that sometimes I have to slum a little. I don’t do it all the time. It’s reserved for special occasions.
This was one of them. So Commando, thanks for the evening. And as John Matrix might say: “Grunt.”
This is why it pays to be nice to your spouse.
A few days ago, Trudi got the Kurosawa classic The Seven Samurai on Netflix, and we watched it together … despite the fact that both of us had seen it multiple times (I about 100 or so). Plus, it’s not Trudi’s favorite movie, though she does like it more than other samurai films. So it was something of a treat for me.
God bless you, Trudi. Thank you for being so good to me.
Oh, it was as good as ever, filled with swashbuckling adventure, heroic deeds and complex characters. I love this movie very much, and I’m grateful to my wife for letting me see it. I get Seven Samurai withdrawal symptoms, you see, and after I go, say, about six months without watching it, I get an incredible desire to view it again.
Trudi and I have different tastes when it comes to films. We don’t always agree on what’s good and what isn’t. But sometimes we do things that one half likes more than the other half – without complaint. That’s part of what makes a good marriage, I think. And it’s just one of many reasons to love Trudi.
Now, the question is: When am I going to reciprocate with a rom-com? Hoo, boy.
Don’t hate me because I watched Major League II on TV. Hate me because I kinda enjoyed it.
Yep. Just like Peter O’Toole’s character in Lawrence of Arabia. Except without all of the scary sadistic connotations.
Maybe it’s a masochistic enjoyment of sorts. After all, Major League II can’t be said to be a great movie. It isn’t even good. Actually, it’s rather bad. The script is blah. The cinematography is unimaginative. The performances are along the lines of “what am I doing in this picture? I should’ve tried out for Forrest Gump.”
Yet there are some humorous lines here and there. And I’m a sucker for baseball movies. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure; I’ll admit that freely.
There’s no shame in that, right? Or in watching Marked for Death whenever it’s on? All right, maybe there’s a little shame in that. But nothing to lose sleep over.
Kurosawa observed it rightly: The Bad Sleep Well. Or in this case, those who watch junky films and enjoy them as guilty pleasures.
I know I’m not alone.
And that’s exactly what I thought after watching Drive, He Said, director Jack Nicholson’s not-good 1971 relic about a womanizing college-basketball star and his bizarre counterculture roommate.
How did this film make basketball boring? I wondered, as the film meandered through then-hip out-of-focus shots and slo-mo passages. I was shocked to find myself wishing I had watched curling in the Olympics over these scenes. Bad sign, movie.
Then there was the problem of the film not being able to decide what it was about. The struggle to avoid the draft? Hippie dippiness? Who was it about, anyway, the basketball fella or his roomie? The movie couldn’t seem to decide. In fact, it followed them both in equal amounts, despite them both being unlikable characters.
Yuck. Turn it off, he said.
I think sometimes you’ve got to watch a bad movie once in a while to desire good movies more. I mean, right now, I could watch any portion of The Seven Samurai and be cleansed of the lousy-film experience. Boy, do I need a Kurosawa bath right now.
Maybe a bit of ice cream will rid me of the taste in my mouth. Yes, sometimes you’ve got to watch a bad movie once in a while. But even once in a while doesn’t feel good.