An Image A Day From A Film That Changed Your Life 3/10.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
When I turned 14, I pooled together the money I had earned working in my dad's factory and the money that I had received for my birthday, and I purchased my very own DVD player. It was a purchase that would allow me to watch movies in a more intimate way, the same way that one reads a book. I also bought a whole pile of DVDs, some were favorites that I was excited to own, others were films I was interested in watching for the first time. The most captivating of these new movies was A Clockwork Orange.
I had seen The Shining years prior. It's a masterpiece that scared the shit out of me. A Clockwork Orange was a whole other ballgame. It disturbed me on an entirely different level.
The aesthetic! Forget the violence of the characters for a moment and just think about the violence of the aesthetic. White cricket uniforms, army boots, carnival masks, and fake eyelashes. Anarchy overcoming British sensibilities like 1984 on acid. Broken and bright a seething with Id. Add in a distorted, synthesized soundtrack by Wendy Carlos and everything gets real horrorshow.
It's incredibly jarring to watch a character like Alex beat and rape and slice and murder his way through the film. Isn't a protagonist supposed to be sympathetic? Even Scorsese's mobsters have redeeming traits. Alex is a nightmare. His passion for evil seems to be all consuming. Yet it is his passion that makes him sympathetic. His love of ultra-violence is rivaled only by his love of music, which becomes intertwined with his brutality. I can't help but share in his joy as he rampages through a dystopian London. It's like a rollercoaster, both exhilarating and nauseating.
Lots has been written about the style of ACO, as well as it's commentary on the nature of voyeurism. What struck me most was how bleak the film is. Society is almost useless when it comes to dealing with the raw power of violence. No amount of aversion therapy or political moralizing will make Alex go away. Humans are animals. Violence is in our nature. We are all Alex.
I nominate @warleo
Tonight! 730! The Plaza!
My boy @anxiousromantic made an album and he is having a release party! Be there!
An Image A Day From A Film That Changed Your Life 2/10.
Directed by Henry Selick.
At the Dawn of the 21st century, riding the accolades that followed the release of A Nightmare Before Christmas and James And The Giant Peach, visionary filmmaker Henry Selick set out to direct his most personal project, in turn blowing roughly 68 million dollars.
Monkeybone was a hard film to advertise. It's a high concept comedy that deals with themes like death, nightmares, body possession, pantheons of ancient gods, authenticity of creation, and true love. The studio decided to sell it as a raunchy sex comedy in a market polluted with raunchy sex comedies. The trailer would have you believe that this is a movie about Brendan Fraser trying to prevent a cartoon monkey from sexually assaulting Rose McGowan. The trailer also had "Come Out And Play" by The Offspring, which was a mark of quality to my 11-year-old sensibilities.
I still love this movie. It has problems, but it's at least trying to be something special, goddamn it!
The comatose world of Downtown is a smorgasbord of visual mayhem. Rubber monsters, surreal set design, fantastic stop-motion weirdness. If the Coma Bar was a real place, I would be a regular.
This movie gives us TWO Brendan Frasers, one playing the sad and lovelorn Stu Miley, the other playing the frenetic and horny Monkeybone. Art imitates life as sad Brendan watches Wacky Brendan ruin his life by selling him out to massive corporations and falling victim to the pitfalls of celebrity.
The hot air balloon, human organ fight chase scene is wild, and Bob Odenkirk yelling "Damn You Dead Man!" is a top notch one liner.
This movie is a lot of fun, unfortunately it was not the kind of fun audiences wanted. I still recommend it to people, and when they inevitably don't like it, I blame them.
I nominate @caitiejanemade
An Image A Day From A Film That Changed Your Life 1/10.
The Lord Of The Rings (1978) Directed by Ralph Bakshi
I believe that I was 5 years old when my dad brought this movie home on VHS. I remember that he had gone to the grocery store and had picked up The Land Before Time and Bakshi's LOTR. I have a vivid memory of just staring at the box art in the kitchen, captivated by the weight of Gandalf's enormous sword as a bolt of magical energy radiated from his finger tip. There was something very adult about it. It was a cartoon, but it wasn't cute. It looked powerful and dangerous.
I probably didn't love the movie at first watch. The story is complex and murky, and the visuals are confusing and surreal. Some would argue that 5 (I may have even been as young as 4?) was too young for a film like this, but I believe that my tender and malleable brain was the perfect playground. Silhouettes of warriors dismembering each other, Nasgul horses drowning in a River, the great solarized battle at Helm's Deep, Frodo's crazy addict eyes as he fingers and fumbles the ring; These images have remained burned into my visual cortex for decades.
The film is almost entirely done with rotoscoping. They shot the movie in its entirety with real actors on film, made an edit, and then painstakingly animated over each frame of film. This technique gives the movie a heavy, fluid quality. The mixed visual styles are jarring and psychedelic. Combat sequences seem to take place in a hellish dreamscape of lighting and fire, while Middle Earth looks like a beautiful painting.
The film is very maligned for its abrupt ending (somewhere in the middle of The Two Towers), and it has not aged well, especially when directly compared to the Peter Jackson films. It is worth noting that Bakshi was doing his level best to save LOTR from UA fucking it up even worse. They were ready to make an adaptation by John Boorman based on a 700 page script that combined all three novels into one film. Bakshi insisted that they stick as close to the source material as possible, and ended up offering to buy the Boorman script so that he could ensure it would not be used.
I nominate @bkbeaulieu.