March 13, 2007

I had this notion that I could watch a movie, a real movie...

I have a whole bookcase of DVDs, all things I bought, thinking them worth the money. But then I don't watch them. I rarely buy anymore, because I know this tendency of mine. What is this resistance about? I ask myself. Am I afraid to plunge into the world of fiction? Unlike you -- I bet -- I was married to a novelist. But there are documentaries. Not all the films are the distortions of a fervid, novelistic mind. But the distortions of the documentarian's mind might be much worse. Let me extract something from my collection. Something old and familiar? One of those abandoned new things? Sitting here, after 7, with the sky not yet completely dark, I feel some need for beautiful images. Something luscious and mysterious to rescue me from a night of horrid, TiVo'd karaoke -- the new round of "American Idol" that I feel some vague obligation to simulblog. But I'm going to choose something more aesthetic. I have an idea of what would be suitable. I need to merge with some images. More later.

MORE: I said it in the comments:
The movie I felt would suit me was "Breathless," but I couldn't find it, and I later learned, it's not in my house. So I picked "Spellbound," which has some impressive black and white faces, but is actually rather phony and old fashioned... not as crisp as I'd remembered.

It did keep me from watching "American Idol" though! I just don't care about it. Sorry!

34 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

Casablanca, or African Queen.

You can tell the good guys from the bad, etc.

blake said...

Lotta folks don't like it but What Dreams May Come is awash in colorful imagery.

A great number of modern films seem to prefer the color-drained look.

Color-saturated type flicks are almost hard to think of but, let's see, there's Witness from 1986-ish. Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry (1956?) has that Technicolor more-real-than-reality look. (Probably any well-preserved Technicolor movie will have this to some degree or other.)

Documentaries tend not to be well preserved and to be low-budget to begin with.

Nobody said being picky was easy, tho'.

Patrick said...

In moods like this I always find Rivers and Tides soothing to the soul. Or The Life of Birds. Both have just enough mental stimulation to keep the brain going through the purely aesthetic delight.

reality check said...

Gideon's Trumpet, To Kill A Mockingbird, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, And Justice for All, A Civil Action, All the President's Men, Ghosts of Mississippi, My Cousin Vinny, The Sweet Hereafter, Anatomy of a Murder, Philadelphia, An Inconvenient Truth.

Ron said...

firstly, rc exhibits the toolage that makes him famous.

Why not try Russian Ark? Very beautiful images...

Ron said...

Moulin Rouge?

Wurly said...

I'd recommend "Hud" although its black and white, it is visually compelling, the actors are beautiful, and the story is as black and white as the visuals.

AlphaLiberal said...

I agree, Moulin Rouge was a real movie, like they used to make them.

Hey, Althouse, why so silent on the unprecdented mass firings of US Attorneys for lack of lyalty to Bush? Isn't that worth a blog post? Shouldn't a Law Professor have an opinoin on such an historical event?

Ann Althouse said...

I actually have "Russian Ark" in my collection. I've watched it. It's overrated. I wouldn't take the trouble to watch it again.

The movie I felt would suit me was "Breathless," but I couldn't find it, and I later learned, it's not in my house. So I picked "Spellbound," which has some impressive black and white faces, but is actually rather phony and old fashioned... not as crisp as I'd remembered.

It did keep me from watching "American Idol" though! I just don't care about it. Sorry!

MadisonMan said...

It's so nice outside -- you should've gone for a walk. I actually saw snowdrops (the flower) today on one of my walks. Nothing better than the first flower of Spring.

Freder Frederson said...

Well, Metropolis of course, the Kino Films DVD of the 2001 restoration is amazing.

Eric Morley said...

Today on TCM (or maybe the Fox movie channel?) they showed Blue Denim. Blue Denim is a 1959 movie about a high-school couple who gets pregnant. It was very interesting and enjoyable.

brotherfee said...

Why not just go see a movie? I mean a really good classic movie. There must be some lovely art movie houses in Madison. In my area of the world, a local theatre is showing an Ingmar Bergman series and I plan on watching his Through a Glass Darkly / Winter Light / The Silence trilogy. I remember seeing Cries and Whispers many years ago when I was in college, it just left me speechless.

Owning DVDs is fine, but there is something special about going out, grabbing a bite to eat and enjoying a film on the big screen.

Henry said...

I hate movies.

It's not the movies, so much. It's how long they are.

After one hour of predictable complication, the second hour of predictable resolution is unbearable.

To movies I vastly prefer miniseries. You can watch them one hour at at time. They develop excessively slowly. They are based on novels, so they are unexpectedly perverse and littered with unnecessary characters.

The best thing I have seen in years is the Andrew Davies BBC production of Bleak House. Burn Gorman as Guppy is a treat to watch.

* * *

But in the spirit of things, how about Splendor in the Grass? It's really brilliant. And perverse.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

How about the kind of movie that ends with "Th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!"

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

I think the older one gets, the more difficult it becomes to watch something multiple times. It must have something to do with "maturity" of the brain. As a teenager or college student, it was easy for me to watch movies over and over again. My 5 year old can watch the same thing 20 times. Yet today, I get bored almost instantly upon a second viewing. Nevertheless, I find myself buying DVDs of movies I liked thinking that I could watch them over and over again as I did years ago as a teenager....yet its boring to even think of watching some of them again. Thus, they remain on the shelf never to be viewed.

Cream City said...

For vivid color in depiction of war (even more than for its much-publicized depiction of a child's escapist fantasy amid war), for more insight into the human condition (good, bad, and ugly) than you have seen on a screen in ages -- get to a theater to see Pan's Labyrinth.

Ron said...

Ok, don't like Russian Ark...If you like '50's stuff, try Sweet Smell of Success. Good camera work,excellent,snappy, brutal writing... highly recommmended.

B said...

Everything Reality Check said (except AI Truth, of course - how relaxing can that be?)

Peter Pan, just re-released by Disney - the scene when Peter, Wendy, John and Michael fly out of the clouds and see London below . . . oooh, it still takes my breath away after more than 40 years!

Ron said...

BTW, I feel I've become the exact opposite of Sloanasaurus; I watch movies multiple times, far, far more than I did when I was younger. I'll put a movie on, and loop it all day, not necessarily watching any one showing; it's like a background track for the day. My attention spam has deepened and broadened for movies in general, which lets me watch things that my younger self would not have even tried.

Galvanized said...

Most definitely something like Amelie, A River Runs through It, Garden Stateor Memoirs of a Geisha? Those are four that quickly flood my mind with such creative and rich imagery. I could even turn off the volume, completely miss the dialogue and feel I've seen a great movie.

LoafingOaf said...

Nevertheless, I find myself buying DVDs of movies I liked thinking that I could watch them over and over again as I did years ago as a teenager....yet its boring to even think of watching some of them again. Thus, they remain on the shelf never to be viewed.

I've gotten much more selective about buying DVDs. I used to buy a couple per week! Which means they just sit there collecting dust. Makes much more sense to just have a NetFlix account.

There are a bunch of movies I can watch over and over and over again, though. Those I'm glad I have on DVD.

reality check said...

They are almost certainly going to make a movie about the politically motivated firings of the US Attorneys.

It's becoming clear now that Carol Lam was fired because she was too vigorously going after graft and that was leading straight into the Republican Party.

This movie has everything, graft that ties directly into the White House. $700 per hour lawyers in $5000 power suits. Former Navy Pilots. Hot women attorneys in $500 midriff baring power suits with short skirts and stiletto heels.

It's got political manipulation and it's a story that indicts the modern day Republican Party that just last week was complaining of a prosecutor that had run amuck.

Don't you think so Professor?

Say Professor, why haven't you commented on this story? It would make a nice balancing piece to your Libby pieces, and help demonstrate how fair and balanced you are.

LoafingOaf said...

Does reality check really only watch political movies? I think he/she should take a break from that and rent something just for kicks. Like...I dunno...amongst recent movies, The Descent was pretty cool!

Fox said...

Rent Powell & Pressburger's "A Canterbury Tale". Trust me. It will always give you a kick.

But if you want COLOR, then watch "The Red Shoes".

Maxine Weiss said...

Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl"

But, you aren't really a romantic, are you?

You could learn.

Peace, Maxine

LutherM said...

ANN - which "Breathless" - the Jean-Luc Godard work with Belmondo and Seberg or the Richard Gere, Valery Kaprisky version ?
I recently saw again "Four Weddings and a Funeral" - life and spring banishing with laughter for a while the vestiges of winter.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

On your Tivo, you might want to view Melinda's, LaKeisha's and Jordin's performances as well as Diana Ross interacting with the singers. She's quite lovely to them and has a good chemistry...not at all diva-ish.

Mellow-Drama said...

All of you folks with the dusty DVDs ought to hop onto Half.com and sell your used movies; and then use the money to go see a really nice play or broadway-style show!

Mellow-Drama said...

oh, and blake - I loved loved loved What Dreams May Come. "Color-saturated" is the perfect word for it; which makes sense in the context of the story. That's one of my favorite movies.

blake said...

Mellow,

Yeah, me, too, but I feel obliged to warn people that some people hate hate hate it. Or at least find it terribly boring.

And I think some get confused that the same characters are played by different actors. Etc.

TMink said...

My 12 year old daughter was sick, so we watched movies. Watership Down, National Velvet, and Casablanca. Casablanca still does it for me, the others were more for her cultural edification.

Trey

TMink said...

Alphaliberal wrote; " why so silent on the unprecdented mass firings of US Attorneys for lack of lyalty to Bush?"

Maybe because it is not unprecedented? Perhaps you are too young to remember, but President Clinton fired them ALL. So is it unprecedented because Bush fired less than 10, or are you just critically uninformed?

Trey