Still no Tarantino this month, but nevertheless we have a good crop of Hitchcock films (naturally), and a few others thrown in there as well. I might as well give up on doing a Tarantino retrospective before The Hateful Eight comes out; I just don’t think it’s going to happen given how busy I am and my general lack of motivation to do it. I’m sure once I’ve seen The Hateful Eight, and have a bunch of time over Christmas break, I’ll get back to the idea.
October 7: Notorious (1946)
Notorious is still such a great movie. This is happens a lot in these posts; I think I’m going to end up reevaluating a movie when really I just keep watching the movies I like and guess what, I still like them. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and this latest rewatch in class didn’t do anything to alter this. I think I’m going to end up writing my first paper for this class on this movie, so I’m not going to talk about it too much right now. Plus I’ve written about it a lot before, but this movie is still just amazing, smart writing, intriguing characters, and great performances and direction.
October 9: The Parent Trap (1998)
First stop in a hypothetical nostalgia movie marathon that me and my roommates have been “planning” for a while: The Parent Trap. I feel that a defining moment of my generation was when we all realized that Lindsay Lohan was in fact one person playing two roles (MIND BLOWN). Nothing was the same after that. Regardless, it’s such a charming movie that upon this rewatch (I haven’t seen the movie in years) I simply couldn’t stop smiling. Like at all. I realize it’s not the best movie out there, but Lindsay Lohan really is amazing in it and the thing is just so darn cute that it’s hard to find fault with it.
October 11: Rocky (1976)
Ah, Rocky. What a great movie. This continues the trend of “I didn’t really notice anything different about this movie, but it sure was fun watching it again.” And it was fun watching this one again. Something I did realize before, but as it’s more of a fun fact than anything relevant to the quality of the film, I didn’t include it in my review, is this guy:
An actor named Joe Spinell who plays Gazzo, the mob boss or whoever he is in the movie that Rocky makes collections for at the beginning. Turns out he played a small part in another BP nom from ’76… Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Pretty sure he’s the guy at the desk Travis is talking to in the very first shot (after the title sequence, that is). It’s always interesting to see how connected those two films are, they’re a strange set of doubles in a lot of ways. He also plays some dude named Willi Cicci in the The Godfather films, but I don’t really remember him there.
October 14: Rope (1948)
Rope is a movie, or perhaps I should say a story, that I am really too familiar with. Having worked on a production of the play version a couple of years ago, plus having seen the movie twice before, I basically know the movie backwards and forwards by now. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some analysis that I haven’t thought of, but that I can’t really get too much out of the movie on my own anymore.
So I’m adding to this after the class discussion, comprised mostly of negative opinions on Rope. Literally everyone was just shitting all over this movie! What I found especially interesting were the opinions that A. the movie was too talky (semi-agree), B. the movie is visually uninteresting because of its one-take gimmick (they’re only saying that in a post-Birdman world, remember that), and C. Hitchcock’s use of color was uninspired. That one I can actually get behind. I know he tried to minimize the color because he thought it would be distracting, and that’s what he did. He did it so effectively in fact, that color doesn’t even really play much of a role until the end, when the different colored lights from the sign flash into the room. Interesting thing to think about, especially compared to the use of color (specifically blue) I realized in Rear Window a couple months ago. The class watched Rear Window the following week, but because I had recently seen it I skipped out to go shoot something (with a camera, not a gun).
October 28: The Wrong Man (1956)
The Wrong Man I love more and more every time I see it. What I especially appreciated this time around and would like to single out is how the film is shot and edited in certain moments to give a feeling that Henry Fonda’s character is having an out of body experience. What he is going through is so strange and foreign that he sort of shuts down emotionally, and Fonda’s performance shows this really well. There are some moments, like the part where he is handcuffed to the guy next to him or the part where the witness puts her hand on his shoulder during his trial, where we get a shot of his face looking down, then the arm/hand, then back to his face. We don’t see all of this in one shot because breaking them up into multiple shots has such a disconnected effect. The part of his body being interacted with by other characters seems to be disconnected from him, an out of body experience. That, along with the deep focus which I also eat up, was something I was really impressed with this time around. If you’re even mildly interested in Hitchcock and haven’t seen The Wrong Man, correct this as soon as possible. It’s possibly the most interesting film in his entire filmography for how he treats his classic “innocent man wrongly accused” plot.
So I had a bunch of good rewatches this month, the most disappointing of which was Notorious unfortunately, a movie I still love but need to stop watching for a while. Rope was sort of a similar thing, after doing the play version, which isn’t exactly the same but similar enough to make me sick of the overall story/characters, I don’t really need to revisit that again for a couple of years at least. The Wrong Man, Rocky, and The Parent Trap all knocked it out of the park this month though. Next month, anticipate some more Hitchcock (class still going on!), but otherwise not so much though I’m sure I’ll get around to rewatching something with the family over Thanksgiving.