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Jun 16, 2010

The State of the Cabins (6/16/10)

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
* Orphan - Well, I lied. When it was in theaters, I said I was "never gonna see it," after glancing at the ridiculous poster for it that claimed how you were never going to guess her secret or something along those lines. So I knew the twist ending going in, but it's that twist that actually probably compelled me to see Orphan. I had to see how they would pull it off - would it be pretty seamless or turn into a campfest?

Sad to say, it was as tastefully done as possible, and the movie really isn't terrible. Perhaps worse, it errs on the side of boring - if you've seen one Evil Child movie, apparently you've seen them all. Good to see Vera Farmiga pissing on the tree of Evil Kid movies and marking her turf. First Joshua, now Orphan, and both within three years of each other? What's next, Vera?

* The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - This is one of the 'classics' that I was really interested in watching. I love Clint, it's supposed to be the Greatest Western of All Time, it's from the mid-60s (and thus still within the realm of "not too old" for my tastes, necessarily), it had the content from the video below. Suffice it to say, it had a lot going for it.

And I liked it. Really, I did. GOAT? Probably not, but as with so many 'classics,' I don't doubt that Leone introduced several techniques, conventions, yada yada yada to the genre. But...


This movie was an hour too long. At least 45 minutes. Listen, the opening sequence = awesome. The vignettes introducing each of the characters were great, as well as serving as a reminder of just how much Tarantino no doubt loves this movie. The ending was pretty badass. Clint was great, though I was disappointed at how relatively small his role was. Lee Van Cleef was fantastic, and I can't wait to see him in other films. What a face. Eli Wallach was pretty funny.

I think the biggest culprit was the extended bridge/military sequence prior to the finale. It served almost no purpose whatsoever, save for perhaps giving us a chance to see Clint perform a paid of good deeds. That's it. It was a half-hour diversion that took away all of the momentum the flick had going for it, and for what? Just so that we might be introduced to the Italian George Clooney (I swear, if they ever remake this flick, the alcoholic Union Captain part has to be played by him)? Considering the fact that they didn't need the bridge to cross the river in the first place, why not just walk through it at some other point and spare us the diversion? Interesting note: Clint nearly got killed doing the blowup scene.

Take 45 minutes away, and I'm a lover of this movie. As is, it's too long and slow for me to want to revisit anytime soon. And I swear, I'm not some punk kid raised on MTV that requires choppy editing and a lack of characterization in his movies; those scenes were filled with tension and portrayed these men excellently. But no Western should be 3+ hours long, and there was clearly some filler here. Why that seemingly bothers no one else is beyond me.

All that said, I'll watch a greatest hits compilation any day, and I'm eager to check out Leone's other (and shorter) works.

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
Yeah, I've had this in my head for four days now...

Book I'm currently reading:
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the final entry in the Millenium trilogy (until Larsson's family digs up 'lost' pages of his 4th book and cashes those in...just wait). Of course I'm liking it, but it's awfully procedural and historical, and I think it's got way too many characters at this point. It seems there's a new one or five every chapter, and I'm having trouble keeping them all straight. The Swedish names aren't helping. Am about halfway through it.

21 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (6/16/10)"

Univarn said...

If someone were to go in and cut scenes The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly I would have to throw them off a cliff out of pure principle.

Ironically enough I had the same reaction to GBU as you did when I first watched it. As it being #2 on my top 100 list might imply, repeat viewings have widely changed my mind.

Alex said...

I agree with you on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It's a really good movie with a fantastic cast, but its incredible length drags it out too much. Oh well.

J.D. said...

LOL, I thought I was the only one. <3

For a Few Dollars More suffers from the same problems, but even harsher, I think. A Fistful of Dollars is better than both of them probably BECAUSE it's much simpler and to-the-point.

Also: Morricone is God.

Fletch said...

Uni - I think we might have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't know if or when I'll ever watch the whole thing again, so I don't see me changing my mind anytime soon.

J.D., Alex - And here I thought it was verboten to criticize IMDb's #4 flick of all time. Glad to see I'm joined by good company in this line of thinking.

Hey, at least Few Dollars More is only 132 minutes...I see that Fistful is only 99, so I'll be going there next.

Ryan McNeil said...

I was just watch GBU this week too, but not for the first time.

It could be the Metallica fan in me, but my favorite scene is still that final showdown in the graveyard.

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

I actually have not seen The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly yet. The 3 hour length really keeps me away from it. I know it is one of those movie that I will probably really enjoy, it is just hard for me to find the time to work in a three hour movie.

I have seen a Fistful of Dollars though and really enjoy it.

Personally, my favorite Clint Eastwood western is High Plains Drifter though.

Nick said...

Not seen GBU... not a huge fan of westerns (though I did immensely enjoy the 3:10 to Yuma remake).

As for your current reading... I've probably said this in the past, but try reading "Battle Royale" some time. It has 40+ characters, and all of them have their own story. Granted, most of them end almost immediately after they start, and there are clearly a set of main characters, but when you have 40+ Japanese names and storylines to try and keep together, it becomes a hassle :P . Still, it's an amazing book, and one of my all-time favorites.

Still haven't gotten through chapter 1 of "Dragon Tattoo," though.

David Bishop said...

Definitely check out Fistful of Dollars. It's a much more compact film. I like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly more because of its epicness, and I felt similarly about the bridge sequence once upon a time.

You're right about the Tarantino love though. I believe the guy once claimed this was his favorite movie.

Oh, and you know the opening to that famous theme is inspired by a coyote howl? (you can hear actual coyotes howl the theme at points in the film)

Univarn said...

If you're going to watch A Fistful of Dollars next am I allowed to whip out the Kurosawa stick and start whining for you to see Yojimbo. The film it is a direct scene for scene remake of. :P

Fletch said...

Hatter - not being a big Metallica fan, I wasn't even aware that they covered anything from GBU until earlier today when I was on YouTube getting the code for the video I put up.

Rick - It's funny - I've seen so much of Eastwood's non-Western work that it's shameful how few of them that I actually have seen. Guess they just never came up.

Nick - that's the second time a reference to Battle Royale has come up in as many days. I think Scott mentioned it on the lastest Frankly My Dear 'cast. Sounds interesting, and I won't have shit to read once I'm done with Hornet's Nest.

David - Fistful will come up soon, I assure you...

Univarn - ...and Univarn, you'll be glad to know that I've already got Yojimbo on the DVR. Possibly 7 Sam, too - I can't remember if I have one or the other or both on there. Or maybe it was Rashomon...

Darren said...

Awesome poster. Fletch, I've tagged you with the Versatile Blogging Award, if you're at all interested?

Nick said...

Oh, you definitely need to read Battle Royale next, then. Like the ones you've been reading, it's translated (but from Japanese). There are some minor translation issues here and there, but nothing too distracting. If you search my blog, I didn't a review of it (though it's partially a movie adaptation review, as well, so you'd really only have to read the first half).

But it's definitely a great book. Very suspenseful with amazing character development... and really psychological.

Jess said...

Argh. Tell me the girl books are worth it. Your love for them and the fact I got all three for my birthday has gotten me started on dragon tattoo though the genre isn't usually my style.

simoncolumb said...

I watched them in order of release and that pretty much means in length too - fistful shortest, GBU longest - so by the time Im at GBU, I am fully hooked in the leone style and so don't mind so much the length.

Alex said...

I'm seconding Univarn on the Yojimbo point- see that first, it's so rad!

Fletch said...

Darren - many thanks for thinking of me, but alas, I will have to pass on passing it on, as it's just too darn similar (ie the same) as the Seven Facts About Me meme that went around.

Jess - I dunno. Though I've greatly enjoyed reading them, I certainly don't think Larsson's books are for everyone. They can get pretty tedious in spots, but Salander is such a great character, and there's certainly enough action to qualify it as a page-turner, at least in spots.

Simon - I'm kind of wishing I'd done that as well, but I figured GBU was supposed to be the best, so I'd start there.

Alex - perhaps perhaps perhaps.

J.D. said...

Hey, I watched them all in one sitting! WHERE IS MY IMDb MEDAL?!

Castor said...

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is definitely one of those movies that drags on well past where it should end. Nevertheless and as you said, it is still a very good movie worth watching if only once :)

Kaiderman said...

GBU is long but I'm not going to be the one to cut anything. I like that it messes with you from the start with the showdown that urns into a showdown of a whole different kind!
As far as Orphan... I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and I hate bad kid movies... like Joshua.... even Rockwell couldn't save that one!

Reel Whore said...

Nothing but love for GBU! I was raised on Eastwood westerns so I may be impartial. Fistful of Dollars is great as is High Plains Drifter and Outlaw Josey Wales.

I owned the GBU soundtrack until I was robbed in college. Guess the d*cks had taste.

Not a Clint flick, but from Leone - Once Upon a Time in the West, another 3hr flick, but so worth the watch.

Fletch said...

J.D. - I'll get right one the horn with IMDb in regards to your medal. Expect it in 4-6 weeks, though there'll be a shipping/handling charge.

Kai - I'll take the heat and make the cuts. I don't want to butcher the thing or anything like that, but if someone can tell me the point of the 30-minute bridge sequence, I'm all ears. I'm sure a few seconds could be shaved off here and there as well.

Wayne - in due time I'll get caught up. Funny thing is, I could have sworn I'd seen many more Clint westerns than I actually had. Looking at his resume was a bit depressing. I guess it's just all of the Dirty Harrys that I've seen (at least the first four or five).