I can film veg with the best of them when so inclined to be disinclined to venture forth into winter nights and days. With complete honesty I rationalize and justify what others call wasting time with the verified claim that film vegging is a tried and true form of relaxation, stress relief and internal down time for more than a few people. Marathon movie viewing can be a very effective detox tool after excessive interaction with the insanity of this wonky world. Some people go out and hang themselves out to dry with hard-drinking and drugs after a long hard work haul. Not everyone finds that appealing. Some of us prefer not to kill our brain cells in order to shed the world’s toxic waste. Why waste time dying when there is the artistry of films for getting through the messiness of living? With the right mix of movies and music you can clear out a great deal of negative energy. With the wrong mix the negative flow can create a drowning river of doom and gloom. Anyone who has engaged in movie marathon viewing knows exactly what I’m talking about. Oh and by marathon we don’t mean three or four films. I’m talking about that close as your body will allow full press twenty-four film flowing for one, two , three days with not much more done than engagement with the small or large screen. Well, this has not been a marathon, just a warming up. Yeah, I think a marathon is marching onto my horizon. Contemplating kicking it off with all of Firefly leading to Serenity and then . . . well, this menu has not been fully planned just yet. I’m open to suggestions. Bring your BEST film recommendations. What are your “Go To” films?
The seeds for this marathon were sown by chance over the weekend by brand new and old films. The positive and negative elements have made for a disconcerting mix.
Awaken is available for free viewing on Hulu. It’s a very interesting treatment of getting beyond time, space, and place in order to connect with what’s truly important. Alex and Rachel may be some of the most intuitive and spiritual personages in a film set in the main stream culture against the background of a coffee-shop. This is one of those rare films during which it can be hard not to smile, smile, smile even through the story’s sad shadows. It’s a love story that defies the usual boundaries and presents a certain hopeful version of what’s possible when we awaken to a world of possibilities. Oh, and it’s full of hope and love.
The Young Savages
This 1961 film crossed my path by pure accident while I was channel surfing at night. Burt Lancaster popped up on the small screen in a scene I’d never seen before, so I stopped long enough to try to identify the film and got hooked. It didn’t hurt that there were fewer and shorter commercial breaks than Hulu inserts into films online. The black and white film is a treat for those of us who are visual addicts. The acting is quite good. The topic and script are unsettling, disturbing and very relevant to contemporary issues. I’m not yet aware of where you can find this film in full online. The treatment of the gang mentality and racism provides a great deal of raw meat for discussion. What perhaps most disturbed me was the treatment of the Puerto Rican women, especially the slain boy’s sister. Though this film raises the topic of women turning to prostitution in order to support their family, the manner in which it is employed in the film’s courtroom context raises a host of other issues. As no trailer was on the tubes I selected this video, in part for its textual commentary.
The Young Savages
Joe Barry [Note: JB has provided some intriguing notes on YouTube regarding this film. the comments for this video may also be of some interest.]
For cast and more see IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055633/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Tomorrow is Forever came on directly after The Young Savages. The 1946 treat of another black and white film reeled me in as much as Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert. That’s a lot of good stuff right? This is story of love lost and other love found. But it’s also a film about dishonesty, lies and deception–all done with the best of intentions. Yeah, let’s skip and trip our way to hell directly. I could argue that the closing scene reflects that with notion with the partly burned letter resting on the hearth in front of the fireplace. I’m sure plenty of people would agree with John’s choices, but I refuse to buy that all for your own good bullshit. Usually that comes back to bite someone in the ass when they least expect it–and gangrene often sets in. Oh yeah, let’s all go to war and send our sons there too. Even after we pay some damn high prices. That gleefully willing idealistic cannon fodder theme does NOT work for me, but it might for others. Still, it’s worth viewing if you can find it.
Tomorrow Is Forever
I found Sweet Land, 2005, thanks to Bear sharing clips of music and a delightful pie eating scene. It’s a lovely love story about a German mail order bride, Elizabeth Reaser, coming to Norwegian community in America in 1920. It deals with the ethnic bigotry that has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin but with politics, language, religion and culture. Oh my, if you don’t speak English–but German, Irish, Polish or Italian you can get in big trouble in the wrong places–even if you’re a beautiful young woman willing to work hard. This is a quiet powder keg of a film which subtly takes on serious issues about human nature, greed, intolerance, values and how “business and farming don’t mix.” Olaf, Tim Guinee, is a man with a certain depth, integrity, and strength seldom found in modern fellows. He doesn’t say much, buy when he does, it counts big time. The tenacity and determination of the couple, Olaf and Inge, as they bring in a harvest by hand and by themselves when they defy the dictates of the local priest and continue living and working the sweet land together offers lessons in transcendence and living in a state of grace. You can find the film in full on YouTube.
Okay, I saw this via a small group outing. Plenty of great scenery, lots of action and lots of leading up to the third part of the trilogy. Smaug is a great dragon. It’s not a great film, but it delivers enough to satisfy fans awaiting the final part.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire accompanies the closing credits of The Hobbit and crediting Sheeran is presented up front. I don’t see how this could hurt Sheeran’s musical ambitions. His own songs are solid. His covers of others’ songs, such as Dylan’s Masters of War reveal the strength of his ability to breath new life into the creative work of others and make it distinctly his own. So hats off to Peter Jackson for giving this young fellow a global spotlight. I hope to hear more and more of Sheeran over the long haul. It’s easy to find Sheeran’s music live and via album’s on YouTube.
I See Fire ~ Ed Sheeran
So, what would your movie marathon menu line consist of if you were settling in for long weekend, or week, of round the clock films? Yeah, I really want to know because I’m gearing up and I’m hunting fresh film food for simmering in my brain-pan. Indie and foreign films are very welcome to this film feasting. Quirky is generally good. Fun is good. Thoughtful and insightful is very good. Action is not snubbed as long as it’s not mindless.