12:57 am - Sat 12/14/02
(Just saw a Coke commercial, one of the ones with the scary polar bears--Well, I think they're scary--and it struck me; Does it really make any sense to have polar bears drinking Coke? Seems like they'd prefer a cup of Maxwell House, or maybe a mug of hot cocoa...)
Not much happening in Jimlandia the past number of days, so in lieu of having any actual experiences, I've upped my quota of tv and film experiences.
On Wednesday, Brad W. at work loaned me his DVD of The Exorcist, a movie which, for the life of me, I couldn't recall if I'd seen before (The fact that I didn't have any memory of when I might have seen it, or where, even though certain scenes were very familiar to me, I think indicated a combination of having seen clips from the movie, and just having read so much about it that I felt like I'd seen it before. But I don't think I had ever seen it before, at least not start-to-finish; I don't think it's the kind of movie you see and then just forget about. But anyway...).
The movie came out in 1973, and for my money, it's still pretty damned effective (Though I think fans of modern horror movies who haven't seen it would find it slow, since Friedkin actually put "quiet scenes" in between the scary set-pieces. See, even though the movie was very graphic for it's time--and the famous "masturbating-with-a-crucifix" scene still has to rank high on the list of "Most Disturbing Movie Scenes Ever"--it still had some rather old fashioned notions about pace, and character, and a general sense that you have to build to a climax, and not just have one every couple minutes or so ).
In the "commentaries", it seemed like everyone involved in the movie wanted it to be more than it really is. They're talking like it was some philosophical debate on the nature of good and evil and all that, when it's really just a kick-ass, groundbreaking horror movie (At least that's all I really got out of it. Which I think is quite enough, by the way).
(Another "extra" on the DVD that was pretty fun was a trailer for Exorcist II; The Heretic, where you can see from the trailer that they pretty much abandoned everything that made the first movie as successful as it was.)
(Brad W. has a number of sci-fi/horror DVDs that I plan to avail myself of in the days and weeks to come.)
Well, I find myself wanting to go on about The Exorcist--I was intrigued to hear that people have different ideas about who "won" in the end, and interested in the differing opinions of Friedkin and William Peter Blatty (The author of the book and the screenplay) on what they wanted audiences to leave the movie with--but I know that would be boring to all but one or two demented souls, so I'll move on...
I thought I'd go out after that, but I went out to check my mail, and Jane's tape of the last two "Sopranos" episodes was waiting in the manager's office for me (Along with Jane's homemade peanut brittle, a favorite of mine), so I promptly went back into my apartment and popped the tape into the VCR.
I guess critical opinion has been that this past season of The Sopranos hasn't quite been up-to-par--Too many dangling plotlines and the like--but I'm of a mind that the good stuff is so good it makes any missteps forgiveable (And I think it's also the case, critically--as the Entertainment Weekly reviewer admitted in his review--that the show has been so great that it's now held to a higher standard than most other shows on TV).
In the last episode, what I came away with was the tremendous violence of Tony and Carmela's last fight; In its way, it was much more "violent" than when Tony killed Ralph (And man, was that a long time coming or what?). Rage and pain that's been on a low boil for years just exploded, and it was like they were reaching as deep as they could for the most hurtful things they could say (One thing that intrigued me, on an emotional level; I was very afraid, in the scene, that Tony was going to start hitting Carmela. And I was afraid for her in the scene, for that reason, but I was also afraid for him; Whatever Tony is, you know that if he ever beat up Carmela, it would destroy him. And from his "restraint", it seemed obvious that he understands that at some level). It was an amazing scene, and I kind of think the one that'll net Edie Falco the Emmy next year.
Today I went in to cash my paycheck, but before I did, I saw About Schmidt at the Grove (I could see that becoming a payday routine; Pick up my paycheck, see a matinee at The Grove).
I was so tired at the beginning of the movie that I had trouble keeping my eyes open, then I realized, fairly early on in the movie, that I had to pee, badly enough that it was going to effect my enjoyment of the picture if I didn't take care of things.
I say all that to say that I started out thinking I wasn't giving the movie a fair shot. I was thinking that not a lot really happens in the movie, that Jack Nicholson was getting a lot of credit for basically just "turning off the brights", if you know what I mean, and that the movie had maybe been over-hyped (As happens sometimes).
But the movie "snuck up on me". And Nicholson's performance "snuck up on me". And yes, I related to the sadness of a man getting to the latter part of his life and realizing nothing of much interest or importance has happened to him.
And the last scene of the movie--which I'm not going to talk about in here, because if you're going to see the movie, I want you to have the same experience I did--was, in a word, absolutely beautiful. Touching and sad and sweet, and I knew, in that moment, that I'd gotten more involved with "Warren Schmidt" and his journey than I'd realized.
The movie "snuck up on me". It happens sometimes.
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