The classics, part 1

Lately I’ve been watching some classic movies, and by “classic movies” I mean that everyone on the internet says they are good. LET’S REVIEW.

A Clockwork Orange, 1971

I have to admit, this was inspired by a recent episode of Louie where Louie and his daughter talk about a movie she saw at a sleepover.

Daughter: We saw this really good movie. It was really interesting and … it was about this guy, and he wears all white, and like, a bowler hat. And he goes around and he beats people up with his gang. And then he gets caught and they try to make him a better person by like, prying his eyes open…

Louie: You saw Clockwork Orange??

Daughter: Yeah! That’s what it was called.

Louie: Lily, that’s like the most horrible, violent movie ever!

Daughter: It wasn’t that bad.

Louie: You saw Clockwork Orange??

Daughter: Yeah. It was like, artistic.

Jeff here. I wouldn’t say it was the most horrible, violent movie I’ve ever seen – that would go to Hostel or maybe Fever Pitch – but man, it was a trip.

This was Kubrick’s at his meticulous, dazzling, psychotic best. Beautiful cinematography, slow and protracted scenes, the thin line between civility and barbarism. The first 20 minutes of the movie hit you like a slap across the face. You can hardly catch your breath. And then it gets slower, and sadder, until it picks up again, and then you’re tired and dizzy and you feel like throwing up. And then it ends. Thanks, Louie.

Rocky, 1976

After the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight, I went on a massive YouTube spree where I watched tons of old boxing clips. I can see why people say Muhammad Ali was the greatest athlete of the twentieth century. The guy could fight. He was light on his feet and agile and always moving and then he’d hurt you and then he’d make you laugh. He was also an eloquent speaker and a really funny guy. You ever watch an interview with Muhammad Ali in his prime? You should.

And then there was Tyson. Big. Brutal. Scary. Face tat. About half of Floyd Mayweather’s 48 wins have been knockouts. Tyson had 50 wins and 44 of them were knockouts. Ridiculous.

And Evander Holyfield! I don’t know why, but of all the great boxers, he’s the guy I least want to fight. He was a large man.

Aaaanyway, I really liked Rocky. Lot of boxing. Lot of emotion. Lot of Yo, Adrian‘s. The movie also confirmed my desire to never become a professional boxer.

Citizen Kane, 1941

Here are some quotes about Citizen Kane:

Citizen Kane may very well be the most talked-about movie in history. — Richard T. Jameson, Parallax View

It can be classified as, in a number of aspects, one of the most arresting pictures ever produced. — Edwin Schallert, Los Angeles Times

Citizen Kane has been cited as the greatest film ever made from so many different quarters, it’s a wonder that a Congressional law hasn’t been passed making it required viewing for anyone who claims they like movies. — Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

So, yeah, I had some high expectations going into this one.

And … they were met! What a brilliant movie. If this is the pinnacle of American cinema, then I’m fine with that.

There’s this great line from the movie, one that I’ll remember for a long time — the line goes, “Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money, when all you want to do is make a lot of money.” I think that’s just great life advice, except you can replace money with anything. This is becoming somewhat of a trend with the people I’ve interviewed. There’s no trick to doing X, when all you want to do is X.


The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, 1966

There are two kinds of people in the world, those with loaded guns, and those who dig.

There’s a moment in this movie – it’s during the graveyard scene – where the music builds and The Ugly is still running around and you’re expecting the scene to end, but it keeps going, there’s a second act to it, and you feel like you could watch this for another five hours. It’s a preposterously epic scene. And then he finds the grave of Arch Stanton*, and we have the Mexican standoff. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but when the movie ends you’re just left staring at the screen and whistling the theme to yourself.

*Arch Stanton has catapulted his way into my top 5 favorite Stanton’s:

1. Mike Stanton, late 90s Yankees middle reliever
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins masher
3. Arch Stanton, from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
4. Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals quarterback
5. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American suffragist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the women’s rights movement


More to come over the next few weeks/months/years/decades!


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