In honor of my birthday which I share with John Wayne, James Arness and Sissy Spacek I will do another version of Slobs vs Snobs on film. We will discuss some popular films with our resident film aficionados and the regular readers.
I view film as entertainment. Our resident film experts are into the medium as art. No doubt the
use of Monument Park and others is ancillary to conveying a good story and entertaining the audience. One of our critics is a fan of nudity in film. Our other expert is Poultry who likes every cliche leftist. We are going to put them to the test with some of the favorite films of Beakerkin.
It will be interesting to see the clash of Snobs vs Slobs in interview style.
Expect the unexpected. We do not have the cavalry in this segment. However, we could have Mr. B, Justin, The Editrix and perhaps Mac arriving over the hill.
This is my Birthday Gift to the readers.
1) I am a big fan of the film The Searchers. The opening and closing sequences are classics and the use of Monument Park are memorable. What is memorable is John Wayne arguably at his best. He named one of his children Ethan after the character. This film is hated by Dr. Yeagley for its ugly portrayal of Comanche.
Historically there were raids and abduction of children and women. The most famous of these is the mother of Quanah Parker. I do not know if this film would be made today. The notion of Indians being evil is not PC. Sonia could point out the death of the sister in law and niece would
be more graphically portrayed. Ford manages to get the imagery across without needless disturbing imagery. Folks like Yeagley miss the image of Chief Scar is the mirror image of Wayne. We hear of his family being killed and the analysis is simplified. Wayne takes his niece home and walks away with his life's work finnished.
Would this film even be made today? How would the film be different if it were produced today.
2) I want to talk about a fine actor who seems to be lost in the discussion of time. Robert Shaw
has a nice body of work from playing the crusty Quint in Jaws. I was hoping the shark would eat the hippie bum portrayed by Richard Dreyfus and have a bad LSD trip. He played the villain in
the great movie the Sting. The Duck probably will not forgive him for playing a heroic Israeli who
jumps on a blimp to save Americans from a Palestinian terrorist attack. That is probably another film that would never be made today where Arab terrorists and their communist sympathizers are misunderstood. I also enjoyed one of his last films The Deep. What are your views on the film legacy of Robert Shaw.
3) The film Once Upon a Time in the West is often lost in the discussion of great Westerns. The Musical score is excellent and Henry Fonda does a decent job playing a villain. Claudia Cardinale was breath taking and Charles Bronson does a memorable job as harmonica. The ending of the film is classic Leone and those of you who have seen it are not apt to forget the reason Bronson carries the Harrmonica. Has this film been lost in a discussion of the Great Western Films?
4) Lets talk once again of books vs film. I can say that reading Drums Along the Mohawk was much better than the film. However, QB7 was a much better film than the Dreadful film. Lord of the Rings was excellent in both versions. Name some films that were better than the book and the converse. TMW has stated she feels Ben Hur the book was even better than the excellent film.
5) Lets talk about the Native American in film. The pendulum has swung from the Indian being the blood thirsty Savage to the all wise knowing man in touch with Nature. The Book Drums Along the Mohawk does accurately convey the terror of the colonists created by the Indian raids of Joseph Brandt. The book also portrays the role of the Oneida as friend and ally of the Patriots.
Sadly in the film this is almost invisible. The film does not even portray the Battle of Oriskany which was perhaps the most brutal in the Revolutionary War because a thunderstorm made all the gunpower unusable. It was hand to hand fighting and the book does not mention the heroic efforts of the Oneida heroes. Has the pendulum swung too far in the other direction of making Indians into all wise shamans. At least we have gotten to the era of Native Americans playing themselves. Is reality too complex to be conveyed by Hollywood in this area.
6) Nazis seem to be the only good film villains. Are we ever going to get a film where communists are portrayed as evil. It was certainly fun watching Forrest Gump and John Wayne punch out commies. Why have commies become passe as bad guys in film? Of course we have never had a single film about Che shooting prisoners without trial. There was less truth in the portrayal of films about the criminal Black Panthers than in the notoriously inaccurate Jesse James films. I think films with Muslim terrorists are also passe. The Duck probably has not forgiven Burt Lancaster for portraying Leon Klinghoffer in one of his last films.
7) I was watching some clips of the Marx Brothers on you tube. I do not think that we have seen anything before or after quite like them. The films mixed well defined character based comedy with musical interludes. Then again the Marx Brothers were from Vaudeville and had to do more than just tell jokes to entertain the crowd. What makes the Marx brothers different from all the other comedy films? Will we ever see anything quite like them again.
8) The disaster film is a forgotten genre. I enjoyed the Poseidon Adventure with Ernest Borgnine who was in a few great films that I remember and the Towering Inferno. What was your favorite film in this genre.
9) The Producers is one of my favorite films. The hidden part that gets lost in the later versions was the portrayal of Hitler as a hippie by Dick Shawn. Mel Brooks is a mixed bag as I enjoyed Blazing Saddles but was not a fan of Space Balls. What are your thoughts on the Producers and work of Mel Brooks.
10) The era of the Vietnam films did not quite pan out the way the lefties in Hollywood intended.
My generation saw the Vietnam veteran as screwed by bad governmental policy and by traitorous protesters. Apocalypse Now was not received in quite the manner it was intended. Eventually the Vietnam Vet morphed from the troubled vet in the first Rambo film onto a hero that was larger than life. What are your favorite films from the Vietnam era? Mine are Apocalypse Now ( had nothing to do with Gomer Kerry), Hamburger Hill, Good morning Vietnam and the sidebar in Forrest Gump.
11) Is the epic a lost art form. I was not a fan of the English Patient but did enjoy the Last Emperor. Are they still being produced today and I haven't noticed. My favorite still remains Dr Zhivago.
12) Are there films that you shouldn't like but just do. I enjoyed Born in East LA and surprisingly so did my parents. I was surprised they enjoyed Borat as well. What films that are clearly not classics do you enjoy.
13) Musicals are still around but do not seem to capture the magic of the earlier generation. The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was good in spite of a reduced number of songs. Were Musicals of the older generation just better?
14) We generally do not spend much time on the era of films set in China. My personal favorite is The Sand Pebbles. The Last Emperor, 55 Days in Peking and Blood Alley getting honorable mentions. What are your views on the above films.
15) Have too many James Bond Films been made? I did enjoy the goofy Clifton James playing the comic Sheriff JW Pepper in two films. That aspect of the clueless local and later goofy sidekick seems lost in the latter films.
16) Which athlettes stand out as great actors? I am going to prepare for a major groan as the Duck is probably going to use this spot to praise Stalinist imbecile Paul Robeson. Merlin Olsen and Rosey Grier didn't do much film work but he could act. Jim Brown is a better actor than OJ and has a classic film role under his belt. Kareem Abdul Jabar and Wilt Chamberlain were in bad films, but I liked Chamberlains performance in the second Conan film. Oddly, I can not recall any baseball players being in a movie.
17) Are there any actors or actresses that are in more film roles in memorable films than one would expect. Michael Caine has literally been everywhere in his career. I can think of at least four or five decent films with Ernest Borgnine. Is there anyone whose body of work is probably better than we would guess.
18) Is there ever a film that you wonder why it was made Moulin Rouge was a bore? I would pay not to see Yentyl or anything with Streisand in it. She is a pain to watch and I will take Celine Dion as a singer.
19) I do not get Van Hefllin? Perhaps I am missing his best films.
20) How many years after the Iraq war will it take for this conflict to make the silver screen?
21) I did enjoy watching Young Abe Lincoln in Illinois as a kid. Would a comedic spoof called Young Bill Clinton in Arkansas make money? I could even see Bill Clinton enjoying a ribbing about trailer parks, smoking pot and dodging the draft.
22) Is Hollywood trying to sneak gay scenes in needlessly? Did we need a gay Sherlock Holmes or James Bond being bisexual. I don't think these scenes added to the film.
23) What film stands out with having the best soundtrack. The films of Sergio Leone stand out. I am convinced that Superfly will remain in history as the only film that has a soundtrack that grosses more than the film.
24) What are your views on the Indiana Jones franchise? My favorite by far was the Third film.
The scene with Adolph Hitler giving an autograph at a book burning was classic. This is the rare film where the sequel was much better than the original.
25) Name three actors and actresses you feel should find alternate vocations.
1) John Travolta painful to watch any of his films other than Grease.
2) Ben Afleck dreadful
3) Richard Dreyfus- about as fun as root canal or when the doctor buts on the white glove.
1) Streisand over rated abomination that is probably a form of torture in some cultures
2) Nicole Kidman Beautiful but a total bore
3) Cher- Why does this woman think she is beautiful? Lousy actress in anything other than Moonstruck.