Right from the opening chords that sound like a flock of vultures being heckled by a sarcastic mockingbird, you know you’re in a western unlike any other. Welcome to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (available on Amazon). Directed by Italian master Sergio Leone with a game changing score by Ennio Morricone, this is the western that diabolically revised the genre.
There is art and then there is guilty pleasure. And King Vidor’s version of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead will never be confused for the former.
Here’s something many of us thought we would never say: “Damn, I miss going to the office.” Well, there are myriad ways of vicariously rejoining the workforce, not the least of which could include bingeing on Mad Men or The Office yet again.
For me, being trapped in the house brings on an odd kind of nostalgia. It isn’t that I’m wistful for when I had the flu and was bedridden for two weeks. It’s just that the isolation makes my mind wander to little moments of great import from longer ago than I usually like to consider.
The western is the most muscular and malleable of all genres and, as such, it has attracted great directors over the years. Some, like John Ford, Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher are so linked to the western that it comes as a surprise to see movies with these names attached that have nothing to do with horse, a gun, and a flower-faced girl.
Fewer things drive me crazier than the notion that some stories are so “important” that they demand to be serialized. As much as I love the first two parts of The Godfather, the third one does nothing to improve the story (or my life, for that matter).
I am the product of twelve years of Catholic education. This means that I do not take guilt lightly. At the same time, I love guilty pleasures. This is especially true when that guilt involves movies about religion.
If we are to believe what the small town melodramas tell us, then every village and burg dotting the map is filled with deviants, hypocrites and mothers pretending to be their child’s aunt to hide the “shame of illegitimacy.” To mix a metaphor, these stories are all about ripping the lid off small town America and exposing the seamy underbelly.
I don’t think that I am going out on a limb when I say that World War II changed everything. Among other things, women made it into the workforce, had control over their bodies, and proved they were capable of running their own lives. Needless to say, society (read “men”) was determined to push them away from this new normal as fast as possible.
The Coronavirus has impacted everything. For many Americans, the loss of two pastimes is particularly irksome: Sports and sex. And it’s even more acute at the moment because it is spring, the season for both baseball and nookie.
We frequently turn to the movies to provide us with those things we feel are missing in our lives. If so, could there possibly be a better time to watch Bull Durham.