Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tentacles of Film

We watched 4+ movies this weekend. Actually, that's not an uncommon occurrence at our casa, but what was interesting was the variety of films we saw.

- The Fly (the original 1958 version, with Vincent Price)
- The Shining (Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, dir. by Stanley Kubrick)
- School of Rock (Jack Black, Joan Cusack)
- Forces of Nature (Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck)

It was fascinating to watch The Fly. The impassioned performance of the wife (played by Patricia Owens), who tried to save her husband and ended up having to kill him, was heartfelt and believable. I didn't need to see Jeff Goldblum sprouting thick hairs or puking on his food. Good thrills can be had in simpler ways. O spent the better part of the weekend squealing, "Help me! Help me!" which made us laugh everytime.

But it was Forces of Nature
which really hit home. Oddly, this film is rated (by a UK film reviewer) as one of the top 10 underrated films of all time. I don't know much about the rest of the list, but there was something extraordinarily compelling about the story. The script was well-written and tight. The dialogue is superb, witty even. The direction was well-done, even if casting was a bit off. Had it been filmed with unknown actors with a flair for comedy and character acting, this film would have been an absolute stunner. And I would have featured Maura Tierney as more charming and attractive in the early part of the movie. She wins us all over during the wedding scene, with a character that only emerges at the very end of the movie, in the middle of a hurricane that's lyrically photographed. And as I watched the film, I realized that this was a sister film to "The Once and Future Bride." How do you know when someone or something is just right? Well, you really don't, but it can be funny exploring why it is, or isn't, or just why you're thinking about it at all.

Movies should do that. They should make you think and laugh and smile and cry and all that human stuff. Good movies make us remember great lines, like "Redrum" or "Help me" or "Here's Johnny!" And it's always fun to watch teenagers say "Stick it to The Man."

I like to think that truly good films wrap their arms around you like an octopus and squeeze... until you can't breathe. And then the moment's over. But it stays with you, the excitement, thrills, horror, sorrow until it fades away again. It's a way to keep that imagination alive and humming, and to keep the soul believing.

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