The first film I see in theater in over a month is “Snakes on a Plane”. Sure it wasn’t good, but it also wasn’t bad enough or campy enough or aware enough to justify the hype. Not that I didn’t have a good time.

Things not to forget:
– the surfing scenes at the intro and outro
– the inflatable raft keeping the snakes in the main cabin
– snake expert vs. snake dealer showdown on the ground
– Sam Jackson shooting the witness in the chest at the end
– snakes are on the plane because the baddie had “exhausted every other option”
– movie would’ve been better without the witness

Gone with the Wind! Currently sits at #170 in the IMDB Top 250. Strangelove is #19.

Agreed it’s a damn good movie, with lots and lots and lots of nice scenery and nice costumes and quotable lines and expensive-looking business all over. I found the first half (Scarlett O’Hara’s family plantation is slow to adjust to the losing Civil War) much more interesting and easier to sit through than the second (her relationship to Rhett Butler, reclaiming her Tara estate and worrying about her crush Ashley and his pregnant wife Melanie).

Lotta talk about Atlanta and Georgia. Mammy was fun, always talking to herself. I liked the fiddle-dee-dees.

IMDB trivia quotes a memo written by producer David Selznick about the firing of George Cukor as director of Gone With The Wind: “I think the biggest black mark against our management to date is the Cukor situation and we can no longer be sentimental about it… We are a business concern and not patrons of the arts.”

Under an hour long and just packed full of goodies. No reason not to watch this all the time.


Poet grows a mouth on his hand, transfers it to an armless statue, awakening her. She traps him in the room but he escapes through the mirror into a Cocteau Crooked Hallway™ where he peeps through some keyholes seeing drugs and death and poetry. Later a boy is knocked down by a snowball and left bleeding while the poet and the statue woman play cards. Then some Cocteau Mysterious Poetic Stuff™ floats the film to a close.


Dargelos and the Killer Snowball:


The scene below was originally shot with the Viscount who financed the film and his wife, for whom the film was some kind of birthday present. Cocteau: “But when their families saw that they were applauding a suicide, they forbade it. We had to reshoot the scene of the loges with extras.” The real Viscount fled Paris for a while and delayed the release of Blood of a Poet for over a year while the furor from the Viscount’s other production, Bunuel’s L’Age d’Or cooled down.


Cocteau calls the movie “a disturbing series of voyeuristic tableaux, a descent into oneself, a way of using the mechanism of the dream without sleeping, a crooked candle, often mysteriously blown out, carried about in the night of the human body.”


Ebert calls Cocteau’s Testament of Orpheus minor, and Les Parents Terribles a masterpiece. Of course I’ll have to watch both of them again.

Not much left to say about Dr. Strangelove, since I’ve nearly memorized it by now.

Groovy font on the titles.


George C. Scott is actually better than Peter Sellers in this movie.


Thought I’d try to pay attention to the editing this time around… the whole idea that at the start of the movie when Rufus is disoriented, the cutting is very quick, and it gets slower towards the end as he builds confidence. That lasted about a minute before I started watching the lighting and trying to figure out what’s up with Keifer Sutherland’s eyes instead.


Got some sci-fi genre embarassment attached to it, but it’s way too enjoyable to worry about that. Lotta plot crammed into this little movie. Also: Jennifer Connelly is pretty.


Hmmm, these screen shots barely show up on my monitor at work. Dark Movie.

Circus strongman Anthony Quinn pops into poor village, visits poor family, mentions that their oldest girl has died, and skips off with the next-oldest, the simpleminded and very facially-expressive Giulietta Masina. She eventually learns to be useful in the act, but he never warms up to her, disappearing all night with whores and the like. Guy robs a convent and kills the clown she likes, then leaves her to die on her own, and carries on for years with his lame chain-busting bit. Not one of those “tough guy with the heart of gold” stories then.

La Strada 1

Not as dismal as I’ve made it sound above, but still pretty dismal. Very watchably dismal though, whenever Giulietta Masina is onscreen, which is almost always. Mixes Fellini’s clown obsession with his bummer realist stuff very successfully. To think that I was afraid of this movie after seeing La Dolce Vita. Wonder if Katy would’ve enjoyed it.

La Strada 2

Thrilling movie, loved it. Also the gayest movie I’ve seen all year… and I’m not just saying that ’cause of the neckerchief. Very manly sweaty back-slapping kinda movie, and a weird subplot where our neckerchiefed hero loudly neglects his “girlfriend”. Movie also features lead characters named Mario and Luigi. That’s not adding to the gaiety, I’m just saying. Odd to see actors speaking Italian with synchronized sound.


Everyone’s stuck in this poor town and hangs out at the bar but nobody ever pays their tab. One day, an apparently rich fat man shows up and Neckerchief befriends him, then tries to start a little two-man gang to intimidate the others, when he’s not mistreating his girlfriend and his roommate. Fortunately, an oil refinery some miles away has an uncontrollable fire and they need a buncha nitro to block off the flames (fight fire with fire?). Nitro is loaded into two trucks and drivers are hired. Neckerchief gets in and helps the fat man cheat his way in… then roomie Luigi and some other guy drive the other truck. That part out of the way, the rest of the movie is a thrilling, bumpy ride.


After dude’s friends die and he gets the explosives truck to the burning oil fields, he gets WAY too happy and drives himself off a cliff. Is he happy cuz he’s now rich enough to leave town? To afford more whisky? To marry his “girlfriend” who’s waiting for him? I don’t know! I was talking to someone recently who hated this… was it Trevor & Robert? Anyhow, they’re so wrong. This kicks some ass, even if I can’t always figure out the lead characters’ behavior (hey, they’re Italian). First film ever to win both the Golden Palm (Cannes) and Golden Bear (Berlin), and has been remade twice so far.


Better musicians have died from car accidents than from drugs, guns or suicide. The Minutemen… Silkworm… Brainiac… think about it.


Cool movie. Learned a lot. Forgot most of it by now, a month later, but what can you do? The band I admire most is now either the Minutemen or Half Japanese, depending on whose documentary I watched most recently. Their chapter in “Our Band Could Be Your Life” was exactly the same as this documentary, except without all the celebrity interviews.

Limelight 1

Five years after Monsieur Verdoux, twelve after The Great Dictator, and his third-to-last movie. This would be an interesting one to read more about. Charlie plays a clown (Calvero), used to be the most famous in the country but now all washed up. Meets a ballerina on the verge of success but with suicidal tendencies. She tells of a songwriter she once fell for, but insists she’s now fallen for Calvero, wants to marry him. He says that’s ridiculous, that he’s a failing old man and she’s a lovely young woman. Interesting philosophy, since Chaplin (63) wrote + directed and the lead actress (21) was much closer in age to Chaplin’s real wife (26). Anyway, they help each other out, Calvero fades away and lets the girl do her own thing without him. Doesn’t work – she tracks him down, gets him huge sold-out final gig, after which he conveniently dies leaving her to her dark handsome composer and a future as a world-famous ballerina

Limelight 2

Not a comedy, drama all the way, with a few funny bits. Sweet story, good looking movie, totally enjoyed it. I guess the most “personal” movie I’ve seen of his… seems more so than the Great Dictator.

At Calvero’s final gig, he’s doing some of the same jokes he does at the beginning of the movie that get walkouts and disinterest. But at the big sold-out show, audiences are hooting their appreciation, thunderous applause, love love loving it. The jokes haven’t gotten better, but the reception has. Old star suddenly propped up by current new stars and given a benefit gig with hugely overappreciative audience, seemed to me like the crowd is applauding themselves for supporting the old man, the kind of award-show self-important applause that has more to do with being important enough to attend the Big Event and cultured enough to recognize the Famous Talent than it does the actual performance. Don’t know if that’s what Chaplin intended, but anyway, the applause made Calvero feel a whole lot better.

Buster Keaton was in it!

Limelight 3