Monday, February 4, 2013

in which I quit plagiarizing myself and review a 50-year-old movie

Okay. Full disclosure: What I've been doing so far is taking entries from the old blog, reheating them, and serving them back up. But now, I've not only mined the old blog clean, I've even fracked it (something that would be frowned upon in the Battlestar Galactica universe) for every last drop of precious ore. From this point on, I'm working without a net. Or Frankie. (Ask your grandparents.)

Regardless, I think it's going well so far. Or maybe it isn't. I can't be 100% sure because I still haven't decided what my specific goals for this blog are yet--only my more general goals of fame, money, and power. (Okay, last joke from the old blog. Promise. Also, if I can get through the rest of this entry without any more parentheticals, that would be awesome.)

Anyway, I recently went to the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA, which is a museum in Los Angeles and not a 50-foot creature poised to destroy Japan like it sounds. I'm a huge fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, at least in principle, so I loved seeing all the movie props they had on display from the ape costumes to the ship that looks like a giant sperm hurdling through space. Yes, the ending of that movie is confusing as hell and one day, when I'm in a safe environment surrounded by friends, I definitely want to try whatever drugs Kubrick was on when he made it. But the whole thing is so artfully shot I could watch it again and again.

The museum also had artifacts from other movies in Kubrick's oeuvre, like Malcolm McDowell's costume from A Clockwork Orange, the typewriter from The Shining, etc. I was reminded of the great works this master director has created and I was inspired to re-watch some of them, a process which I began recently by renting the classic Dr. Strangelove.

Now, I really wanted to learn to stop worrying and love this movie, but I've seen it twice now and I still don't get what's so great about it, which assuredly puts me in the minority. It's just that most of the film is so subtle, I find it's hard to tell that it's supposed to be a comedy. Which is fine if that's what you're going for, but then peppered throughout are these brief moments of absurdly satirical genius, making the overall tone of Dr. Strangelove feel really uneven. A dark comedy about the cold war arms race seems like a no-brainer--I mean, what's not funny about mutually assured destruction? But, while the statement it makes about nuclear proliferation is definitely on point, as a comedy, I just don't think it consistently lives up to its potential.

And I'm sure you're like, "Thanks for the timely movie review. While you're at it, what did you think of Citizen Kane?"

Don't get me started on Citizen Kane.

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