Movie Archives

June 09, 2004

Chinatown

Chinatown

This is a classic. I have long wanted to see it. I took it from the library and watched it (on day 20 of my 21 days).

I liked it. It was dark. I was surprised by several of the plot twists. I can see why other movies refer to it. I loved Faye Dunaway. I spent the first part of the movie being distracted by Jack Nicholson - he is such a distinctive personality that I tend to see the actor and not the character.

Posted by Red Ted at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2004

Chariots of Fire - DVD

The infant and I watched Chariots of Fire over the last couple of days. I had seen it twice before, once in the theaters and once on video.

I grabbed it from the library together with Caddyshack and Chinatown - I guess I was in a "C" mood. I watched it first because I am starting to run again, knees permitting, and because I ran sprints back in high school many moons ago.

I got curious this time and checked to see what liberties the movie made with the athletic careers of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell - they made a few, all to the point of emphasizing the dramatic impact. From what I could tell, the movie captured the personalities of the two men while altering the details of who ran what where, who learned what when, and so on.

Thus the movie presents Abrahams in 1920 just leaving the army, commenting to Montagu that he had "never lost" and then makes a big deal of the emotional trauma that Abrahams felt after losing to Liddel in a 100 meter sprint. The real Abrahams competed in the 1920 olympics and did so so - he made the finals in the 100 and 200, finished at the tail end of the pack. No runner wins every race, although Edwin Moses made a good try of it; there is always someone faster that day, someone with more wind that day, or someone who peaked for this race while you are using it to prepare for a later event.

Similarly, Eric Liddel, a natural 100 meter man, learned that the heats for the 100 were scheduled on a Sunday several months before the games. He changed events without any of the drama and confrontation that the movie uses, but the movie dramatics do a nice job of pointing up the symbolism and the importance of that symbolism; Sandy Koufax chose not to pitch the world series on Yom Kippur, and Eric Liddel dropped out of his best event rather than race on Sunday.

The movie made me cry, it usually does. For that matter, cheering a racer onward - even in a casual 5K - can make me cry. For some reason I find running to be the purest form of both athletic expression and athletic competition, and the drive of a runner to push past their limits is something impossible to see through a television camera, impossible to miss in person.

Posted by Red Ted at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2004

Citizen Kane

So I watched Citizen Kane on DVD last week with the infant.

I watched the first half of it while feeding him bottles and babysitting earlier this week. We finished it Saturday night as I was holding cranky boy and J. was doing housework.

I knew the ending already, which meant that I watched the movie as if I were re-reading a book, looking for the forshadowing and interpreting each new revelation in terms of the known sadness at the end.

I am glad I watched it, and I can see why it is such an influential movie.

Afterwards, the radio station in my head began to play Tracy Chapman's song 'Mountains of things."

Posted by Red Ted at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2004

Casablanca

I finally watched Casablanca this week. The infant and I watched it over four sessions while I danced around with a cranky baby.

My goodness, there are a LOT of famous lines in that movie. Even with the disruptions to the plot and ambiance that came because I was watching in little stints the movie wove a compelling web of time and place, and long lost love.

I liked it, yep.

Posted by Red Ted at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)