Yeah, I really thought Wesley Snipes was in Blade Runner until, oh, a few weeks ago. So that’s embarrassing. Anyway…I finished watching the six films for my AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies project early this month. This is convenient, because I’m going away today to go skiing for the long weekend. I know, two ski trips in one year! This time my dad and I are going to Quebec City to ski at Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif. So that should be fun. But for now, let’s get on to the movies.
Blade Runner (1982). Clearly I didn’t know much about this one going into it. Well, there aren’t any vampires in it, but it does take place in a dystopian future. Harrison Ford is this retired police officer who’s called back to work to hunt down a bunch of replicants, these androids that look exactly like humans, but are banned from Earth, and are only allowed to live on colonies. They came back to Earth because replicants only live for four years, and they want to live longer. Oh, and Harrison Ford falls in love with a replicant. I don’t know, I like sci-fi and dystopian futures, but I did not love this movie. I got kind of bored with it and I found it all moved really slow and really, there isn’t even that much that happens. It definitely looked good for 1982, but yeah, definitely not my favourite.
Chinatown (1974). Man, Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are the actual best ever! So this is an awesome mystery/film noir kind of thing, where Jack plays a private eye. He starts out investigating the chief engineer for L.A.’s Department of Water and Power to see if he’s having an affair. But then he turns up dead, and Jack finds himself embroiled in this whole crazy conspiracy, along with the engineer’s wife, Faye. This is such a great movie because it has so many intricate layers that slowly unfold, and everyone in it is just so excellent.
North by Northwest (1959). This started out promising, but then it kind of took a turn and went off in a direction that I was not so very interested in. It starts when Cary Grant is mistaken for some guy named George Kaplan, and he’s pursued by these mysterious dudes and has no idea what it is they want. That part was good! But then he meets Eva Marie Saint and starts to figure stuff out, and then it just kind of got stupid, or maybe I just lost interest, but in any case I felt like it was not as good as it could have been.
Some Like it Hot (1959). I had never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie before, and this one sure was wacky. I did see that fairly terrible movie Connie and Carla a few years ago, though, and it turns out this is exactly the same plot except, you know, better. Anyway, these two musicians, Joe and Jerry, witness a murder by a bunch of Chicago gangsters. Clearly the only way to protect themselves is to crossdress, join an all-ladies band, and run off to Florida. They both fall for one of the band members (Marilyn, duh) and one of them poses as a millionaire to trick her into falling in love with her. Then an actual millionaire falls in love with the other one (who’s dressed like a lady, of course). Um. This is a very silly screwball comedy, but it was enjoyable too.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940). It turns out you should never be an Oklahoma farmer during the Great Depression. Who knew!? Basically, the Joad family is kicked off their land when the bank forecloses on them. They head to California in search of work, but the road trip there is super not fun, and it turns out California kind of sucks too. I read the book a long time ago, and I remember that it ends on a much more depressing note than the movie. It’s probably a good thing that the film went for that glimmer of hope, because damn, this is not a happy film. It’s a pretty great movie, but it definitely won’t restore your faith in the American Dream.
Easy Rider (1969). I can’t get over how much I loved this movie! Like, I was not alive in the ’60s, and I have never lived in the States, but I feel like this film perfectly captured the atmosphere of 1960s America. So, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are these two hippies who sell a bunch of coke to make a bunch of money, then head from L.A. to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Along the way, they meet a rancher, hang out in a commune, befriend an alcoholic lawyer played by Jack Nicholson and have a bad trip when they take LSD in a graveyard with some prostitutes. It also turns out that southern rednecks totally hate hippies. It’s filled with all these great landscape shots and lots of weird, distinct editing, plus a soundtrack that feels very emblematic of the era. What a weird, great film!