#301 The Young Girls of Rochefort/Les demoiselles de Rochefort

Watched: January 31 2021 (Wow! It’s been almost a year…)

Director: Jacques Demy

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, George Chakiris, Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux, Grover Dale

Year: 1967

Runtime: 2h 0min

Source

Delphine and Solange (real life sisters Deneuve and Dorléac) are two very accomplished sisters desperately seeking men. Their mother, Yvonne (Darrieux), runs a café and regrets leaving her fiancé ten years prior due to his unfortunate last name (Dame). In their small seaside town, they sing, dance, frolick, endanger their children, and avoid meeting both their soulmates and axe murderers.

♬♪♫ Nothing bad will ever happeeeeeeen! ♪♫ And we must find love or we’ll surely diiiiiiie! ♪♫

The small town of Rochefort is an eventful one, and there are plenty of things going on. For instance, artist Maxence (Perrin) needs to lower his fucking expectations and perhaps focus more on what sort of personality his dream girl will have and less on what she will look like; Yvonne keeps letting COMPLETE STRANGERS PICK UP HER SON FROM SCHOOL, the complete madwoman; and one of the regular guests at her café is running around brutally murdering women.

Not to mention all the tourists playing fast and loose with gravity. The town’s really never been the same since the cruise ships started docking…

Oh, didn’t we mention that? 103 minutes into this romantic and sweet musical, a woman (Lola, actually) is brutally murdered. With an axe. And all the characters proceed to make jokes about it.

♪♫ Femiciiiiiiiiide ♬ C’est la vie! ♬♪♫

Les demoiselles de Rochefort is sort of the opposite of Weekend (which we’re coming to soon) – everyone is sweet and simple (except for the whole axe murderer subplot). It’s beautiful in its pastel ice cream colours, and the singing and dancing is everything.

Literally us sashaying around for a week after we watched it

Delphine and Maxence’s hopeless romantics are contrasted by the more sensible yet still artistic Solange and Andy Miller (Kelly). Then there are the fun and shallow carnies (Chakiris and Dale) and all the fantastic dance numbers. Sure, it’s mildly annoying that no one in this small town has ever met each other before, and Yvonne really is the world’s most irresponsible parent, but this is an incredibly sweet and charming movie which we’re going to watch annually. Do yourself a favour and join us!

♪♫ In the Navy ♬♪♫

What we learned: We need to step up our hat game if we’re ever to meet a man…

Next time: Two for the Road (1967)

Ramaskrik Film Festival 2021

We’ve just got back from Oppdal, and Ramaskrik Film Festival. For the uninitiated, Ramaskrik is an annual horror film festival and Sister the Oldest has had the privilege of helping pick out movies for it for the past 2 years. Since Thursday, we’ve basically been in a vegetative state in front of a big cinema screen (as opposed to our usual vegetative state in front of a much smaller TV screen) absorbing horror movies and eating too much pizza. Here’s a recap of some high- (and low-)lights.

The Boy Behind the Door, dir: David Charbonier, Justin Powell.
Intense and tense movie about two boys who are kidnapped, in large parts carried by an amazing performance from Lonnie Chavis. Recommended!

Brain Freeze, dir: Julien Knafo
French-Canadian plant zombies on a private island for rich people. This one didn’t quite work for us. It’s not funny enough for a comedy, not scary enough for a horror, not political enough for a satire, and not dramatic enough for a drama. It sort of touched on several genres but didn’t quite fulfill any of them. It has some redeeming qualities though – the cast is very good, and they have found the most amazing baby who has ever existed. Seriously, that baby alone is worth the ticket money.

Benny Loves You, dir: Karl Holt
Jack works for a toy company, lives at home, and is hopelessly stuck in a state of arrested development. In an attempt to get his life together, he throws away his childhood toy Benny. Big mistake… Benny is not ready to let go.
Benny Loves You is adorable. Is it a perfect movie? No. But it is funny, gory, and extremely charming. So yes – if you get a chance, you should definitely check this out. We’ve watched it twice already…

The Deep House, dir: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
A couple goes diving to explore a flooded house. But they find more than they bargained for. This one divided us a bit. It’s a slow burner, and some found it a bit boring while the pace worked for others. We’re all in agreement about hating the boyfriend with a fiery vengeance though – he is such an asshole. We also agree that the ending was a bit meh. But all in all the movie is quite good – especially if you don’t mind a slow pace and an idiot boyfriend.

Kandisha, dir: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury:
A girl summons the Moroccan demon Kandisha for revenge after her ex assaults her. And Kandisha answers the call. This was a nice little demon movie with a cool monster and a good cast of characters. The French multi-cultural setting worked really well as well. Not overly memorable, but not bad either. Also directed by the same guys who made The Deep House.

Coming Home in the Dark, dir: James Ashcroft
A family is assaulted and then kidnapped by two drifters in New Zealand. Oooo, this was good! Very tense, very engaging, very well cast, and undeniably brutal and dark. Definitely recommended if you like long lasting psychological torture. And who doesn’t?

Antlers, dir: Scott Cooper
This is a long-awaited Wendigo movie and it almost lived up to the hype. The monster is awesome (del Toro was involved), the characters work, they balance the backstory really well (just enough information without dwelling on it), and the concept is great. We just wish there had been some more Native Americans in this movie about Native American myths… It’s a veeeery white movie.

In the Earth, dir: Ben Wheatley.
Mythical wood spirits and madness, probably exacerbated by mushrooms. Also British politeness leading to horrible consequences. The first half is great, the second half seems disconnected from the first. But amazing performances, especially by 1000 films blog favourite Reece Shearsmith. Not for everyone, but worth watching, even though it falls apart a bit towards the end. We enjoyed it.

The Night House, dir: David Bruckner
After her husband’s suicide, Beth starts to uncover his dark secrets in the lake house he built them. Fairly standard horror, but taken to the next level by an amazing Rebecca Hall! Also contains the most accurate picture of teachers out drinking ever captured on film. Recommended!

Titane, dir: Julia Ducournau
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, Julia Ducournau’s Titane probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. We were warned it would be shocking and weird before we went to see it, but we didn’t really find it all that shocking. Or that weird, really. We did however enjoy the hell out of it. Catch this one in the cinema!

The Sadness, dir: Rob Jabbaz
In Taiwan, a virus has been largely ignored by authorities until a mutation turns all the infected into sex-crazed, sadistic killers. Whoops! There had to be a zombie-virus film this year (we’re surprised there weren’t more, actually), and The Sadness offers up all the over-the-top gore you could possibly ask for. There’s also a Me Too-message in there, so ticks a lot of Zeitgeist boxes. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Alone With You, dir: Emily Bennett, Justin Brooks
Charlie is waiting for her (possibly psychologically abusive) girlfriend to come home, but finds herself trapped in her apartment as weird things begin to happen.
We watched this on our last day, and that may have been a mistake. Compared to the rest of the program, this wasn’t quite up to scratch. It might have worked as a 30 minute short, but there definitely wasn’t enough there for a full length feature. Meh.

The Night Shift (a.k.a. Ghost Mansion), dir: Jo Ba-Reun:
A Korean anthology about a cursed apartment building and some of the inhabitants who have lived (and usually died) there over the years.
This was cool, and became a bit of an audience favourite. The backstory of the building might have been a tad convoluted and not necessarily related to all the stories, but each short story worked really well. Check it out!

No Man of God, dir: Amber Sealey:
Not necessarily a horror, No Man of God tells the story of the relationship between Ted Bundy and the FBI analysist who worked with him after his arrest. It’s quiet and slow, but it packs a punch and is thoroughly engaging. Additionally, Elijah Wood manages to look 40 and 14 at the same time, and we love him all the more for it. Highly recommended!

The Advent Calendar, dir: Patrick Ridremont
Wheelchair bound Eva gets an old wooden advent calendar from a friend. A demonic calendar. With demons. Which was obvious from the look of it, but it’s surprising how many characters in horror movies have never actually seen a horror movie. Still, it was entertaining with a great concept and a cool monster. Perhaps a new Christmas tradition?

Slapface, dir: Jeremiah Kipp
Brothers Tom and Lucas live alone since the death of their mother. Tom tries to look after his little brother, but is not quite capable. And then Lucas befriends a monster in the woods… This is an excellent monster movie with compelling characters and sibling dynamics. The monster is also really good, and the movie is darker than you’d expect. Very good stuff!

Last Night in Soho, dir: Edgar Wright: Ho. Ly. Fuck. Yes. Yes please. Everyone must watch this. Stylish, intriguing and surprising, with a perfect cast and all the attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Edgar. We’re watching it again once it’s released in Norway.

#767 Big Night

Watched: September 15 2021

Directors: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci

Starring: Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver, Marc Anthony, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Holm, Allison Janney, Liev Schreiber

Year: 1996

Runtime: 1h 49min

Like Pulp Fiction, Big Night also gets to skip ahead in line because of Kosmorama Film Festival’s fantastic Culinary Cinema program. On September 15th we enjoyed a lovely meal inspired by the even lovelier movie we were watching during the meal. What else can two gals ask for?

A couple of eccentric yet charming Italian brothers with a penchant for good food and wine, perhaps? Trouble is we’d be fighting over Tony Shalhoub…

Brothers Primo (Shalhoub) and Secondo (Tucci) run an Italian restaurant in New Jersey. And when we say Italian restaurant we mean Italian restaurant. Primo will not compromise on his food – it will be just the way he learned to make it, thankyouverymuch, despite the New Jersey palate not appreciating his traditional cuisine.

“Don’t kill the customers, Primo. Just serve them their triple order of starch like they ordered. It’s not worth the hassle.”

Secondo, who’s dating Phyllis (Driver) while secretly sleeping with Gabriella (Rossellini), goes to rival restauranteur Pascal (Holm) to ask for a loan to keep their business afloat. Pascal refuses the loan, but offers to get a famous singer to come eat at the brothers’ place to draw in customers and publicity. Oh, by the way Pascal is married to Gabriella. Just to further complicate things. Primo and Secondo pour their last savings into the menu for their Big Night – everything must be perfect for their famous guest! But will the investment pay off?

And will Secondo manage to keep his two girlfriends separated for the evening? Such drama!

Big Night is charming, funny and a bit sad, with wonderful performances from its entire cast. At the heart of it is the relationship between the two brothers, which is loving yet volatile – just like ours. Food culture and authenticity are also major themes, and the chef is portrayed as an artist – not “just” a craftsman. Apparently, there was a whole movement in the ’90s where food stopped being food and started being art. We’re not mad at it.

Although sometimes, a simple breakfast hits the spot juuuuust right.

Watching Big Night makes you crave Italian food in a major way, so the only way to watch it is really at an Italian restaurant while being served food inspired by the movie- including a delicious timpano. So next time you go out to eat, why not bring a TV?

We’re pretty sure Primo would stab us to death if we ate his food in front of the TV tbh.

What we learned: Authentic cuisine is some serious shit!

Next time: The Young Girls of Rochefort (1968)

#755 Pulp Fiction

Watched: September 8 2021

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Ving Rhames, Rosanna Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Eric Stoltz, Phil LaMarr, Christopher Walken, Maria de Medeiros, Quentin Tarantino

Year: 1994

Runtime: 2h 34min

On Wednesday, we went out (yay vaccines! Thank you scientist people!) for an amazing evening of “kulinarisk kino” (culinary cinema), courtesy of Kosmorama film festival. First, there was a screening of Pulp Fiction at Prinsen cinema, then we went to Bula Neobistro for a fabulous three course meal inspired by the movie. More on that to follow, but first our review of the film.

“Bitches be taking too long…”

Ok, Pulp Fiction probably doesn’t need an introduction. From its release in 1994, it has been one of the most watched, discussed and acclaimed movies of our time, and for good reason. The non-linear structure, various intertwined storylines and fantastic cast all come together to create one hell of a ride!

“You see, if you show seemingly unrelated events in a more or less random order, the audience will feel rewarded when everything comes together at the end. And when you feel rewarded, it is because dopamine is released into the brain, which will make you love the movie more than you might have done if everything was neatly served in a logical order.” “So, we’re tricked into liking it..?” “Well, yes and no. The first time you see it: yes, maybe. But it would not hold up on subsequent viewings if the movie wasn’t actually good. Now, let’s rob some people.”

Among the stories we have Pumpkin and Honey-Bunny (Roth and Plummer) – a couple of bank robbers planning on switching to robbing restaurants; Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield (Travolta and Jackson) – two gangsters running errands for Marcellus Wallace (Rhames); Wallace’s wife Mia (Thurman) looking for a good time and a dance trophy; boxer Butch (Willis), who’s ready to get out of the business with his girlfriend Fabienne (de Medeiros) – a girl with the mind of a child, and oh… Oh no, that’s not good…

“How many times I gotta tell ya: No Italian food in the car!”

Throw in some racist hillbilly rapists with a gimp, a drug dealer and his wife, an unfortunate shooting victim, a dapper cleaner, and a killer soundtrack, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic. The two and a half hours fly by, every minute entertaining.

“And NO MATTER WHAT, you have to remember to put the motherfucking safety back on after you kill a man. Aight?” “Yeah, yeah, stop yammering on about it. I won’t forget, ok?”

The cast are pretty much perfect, and while there are some questionable moments (are we all ok with a grown man dating a woman whose mental age is about 6..? And is the character of Jimmie just there as an excuse for QT to say the n-word 45 times in 3 minutes?), Pulp Fiction is, 27 years on, still a stylish, exciting and entertaining piece of cinema.

We’re gagging

Now for the meal we had. There were fried squash rings with a Hawaiian inspired habanero-pineapple dip, a Big Kahuna burger with fries (served with both mayo and ketchup, of course), and finally a $5 milkshake (with a shot of bourbon). Yum! If you ever find yourself in Trondheim looking for a delicious meal and wonderful service, look no further than Bula (and no, we’re not paid to say this)! Together, the movie and the meal made this night a phenomenal success and we can’t wait for our next culinary cinema. Which is coming up this Wednesday with #767 Big Night shown with a three course Italian meal. Buon appetito!

“You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in, and you shake it all about…”

What we learned: How to handle an O.D. Which, we’re sure we can all agree, is useful knowledge. Also, the safety is there for a reason, Vincent!

Next time: Big Night (1996)

Favourites #251-300

As is tradition, as the prophecy foretold, it is now time for you to lipsync… No, wait… It is now time to list our favourites from #251-300. Behold. Our faves:

Now, our more faithful readers may have noticed that it has taken us much longer to get from #251 to #300 than usual. There are many reasons for this, among them work, other obligations, and the pandemic actually leading to more work for us rather than less. So in order to keep it a bit fresh and interesting we’ve decided to mix things up a little bit.
Locally where we live, there are several events coming up featuring films from the list. When these events happen, we’re going to “skip in line” a bit and cover those films early. And we’re starting tomorrow with #755 Pulp Fiction, which we recently had the great pleasure of revisiting on the big screen, followed by a themed meal at the amazing Bula Neobistro in Trondheim. Review and report from that wonderful night to follow shortly!

Next time: #755 Pulp Fiction (1994)

#300 The Producers

Watched: July 6 2021

Director: Mel Brooks

Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Estelle Winwood, Christopher Hewett, Andréas Voutsinas, Lee Meredith, Renée Taylor

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 28min

Max Bialystock (Mostel), The King of Broadway, has fallen on hard times. He is now dependent on doling out sexual favours to rich, elderly widows to finance his plays, most of which don’t do particularly well.

Seriously though, we love seeing older women being unabashedly sexual. You go, girl!

Leo Bloom (Wilder) is an insecure, young accountant tasked with auditing his accounts. However, he is pulled into the fraudulent world of Bialystock and comes up with a way to make more money from a theatrical flop than a hit.

“I have never been more aroused in my entire life”

Teaming up, the two men go searching for the most offensive play they can find – something that could never ever be a hit. And they score big with Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden – a love letter to Hitler written by an actual Nazi, Franz Liebkind (Mars).

🎵”Don’t be stupid be a smarty – come and join the Nazi party!”
“More like a lynching party once this shit opens…”

While the play itself should ensure their (un)success, they seal the deal by engaging a horrible director and casting an off-beat hippie who just happened to wander into the audition to play the lead. Everything is coming up Bialystock!

He even got a lovely new secretary in the shape of no-so-Swedish go-go-dancer Ulla

We love EVERYTHING about this movie, and we go around humming “Springtime for Hitler” a LOT more than any human being should. From the cabinet filled with framed pictures of Bialystock’s old, rich women to “We’re Prisoners of Love,” The Producers is a hilarious romp fueled by fantastic performances and Mel Brooks’ particular sense of humour. The plot, the music, the characters, the dialogue – it all works, and we can watch it again and again. And so should you.

Just look at this! It’s such a bananas idea that it has to work.

What we learned: Friendship is magic.

Next time: Bonus: Favourites #251-300

#299 The President’s Analyst

Watched: May 24 2021

Director: Theodore J. Flicker

Starring: James Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden, Joan Delaney, Pat Harrington Jr.

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 43min

Source

Dr Sidney Schaefer (Coburn) is recruited to be, as the title suggests, the President’s psychoanalyst. And boy does the President need it! Schaefer is conveniently moved to a new home with a secret tunnel connecting it to the White House, meaning that his new patient can call on him at all hours of the day and night. And he does.

Who wouldn’t want this to be the face they see morning, noon and night?

Cushy or not, the job is top secret and totes private, so Schaefer cannot vent to anyone about the stress and pressure of his new position, and this soon starts to tear on his own psyche. He begins to see conspiracies everywhere – even suspecting his new girlfriend of spying on him.

“Leave your girlfirend, your friends and your family. Come with us. We’re safe. We’re good. We’re not going to stare at you while you sleep and try to steal your soul.”

Turns out he’s right all along! There are a whole bunch of agencies out to get him, such as the CEA, the FBR, the KGB and, worst of all, the TPC! How is a poor psychiatrist supposed to get out of this mess?

The way we all get out of scrapes: with the help of a gun-toting, trigger happy, all-American family with excellent fashion sense, of course!

This movie is hilarious. Ok, it’s very, very silly, but if you’re in the right mood it’s great. The sixties are truly swinging in this comedy/thriller/sci-fi, and Coburn is swinging along. Despite his strife, he seems very jolly and happy all the time – he handles everything thrown at him with ease. He appears to be especially delighted during his stint as a gong player in a hippie band while on the run.

“I cannot believe I wasted my life with a good education and the pursuit of a career! Stick it to the MAN!”

The quintessential American Family™ the Quandrills are also among our favourites, but what we enjoyed the most about this movie were all the different agencies and their relationships with each other. The agents and spies from the FBR, KGB, TPC, CSS, CEA, etc. tend to bump into each other so often that they’re all old friends – especially Masters (Cambridge) and Kropotkin (Darden), CEA and KGB, respectively. Their scenes together are easily the best parts of the movie. We also enjoyed the piles of dead assassins and spies. Mass murder is hilarious (in the right context)!

Also, phone companies are evil. But we already knew that.

What we learned: Are you paranoid if they’re actually out to get you?

Next time: The Producers (1967)

#298 The Graduate

Watched: January 31 2021

Director: Mike Nichols

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 46min

Surprise motherfuckers! We’re not dead. We just got to summer and realised we were completely exhausted by work and pandemics and generally being alive, so we needed a proper break. No work, no writing, no responsibilities! Sorry ’bout it. But we are now rested and rejuvenated and ready to dive back in with a fun, lighthearted romp through depression, existential crises, borderline abuse, doomed relationships and rape allegations… Oh. Oh damn.

Source

Well, the plot of The Graduate is pretty well known. Ben (Hoffman) comes home from college, all disillusioned and emo. His parents’ generation is totes old fashioned and lame, and all Ben knows is he certainly doesn’t want to become like them (spoiler alert: he probably will). Then the ultimate cougar seduces him.

The ancient crone Anne Bancroft, 36 years old at the time of filming. Fuck, we’re old.

Ben’s domestic claustrophobia and feeling of alienation on his return home are probably familiar to most people – we know we’ve been there. Being a young adult is hard, man! Luckily, he deals with his emotions in a mature manner – by floating around in the pool and fucking his parents’ friend.

“They just don’t understand, AquariumMan!”

Things get more complicated once Ben falls in love with Mrs Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Ross). Whether out of jealousy or because she thinks her daughter could do better than her boy toy, Mrs Robinson does everything she can to break the two up – including falsely accusing Ben of rape.

“I get that you’re mad at me, but the trope of women falsely crying rape in popular culture is very detrimental to feminism in general and to actual victims specifically. Because while statistically false accusations are rare and unreported assaults are much more common, a lot of people will use the few examples that exist in order to undermine the victims who do come forward. See – I did learn some things in college!”

As is tradition, let’s go through what we liked and didn’t like about The Graduate. We loved the stress, depression and claustrophobia experienced by Ben, the clown painting, the portrayal of ennui and alienation, Simon and Garfunkel, and the last shot when the two crazy kids realize they may have just made a huge mistake.

Well fuck

What we didn’t like… Well… Let’s face it: Elaine is a non-person. The only semi-intelligent thing she does is leave him on that first, disasterous date. Then after that, she sort of just exists to be an object of obsession for her new stalker who’s secretly banging her mom. And also to show him if you just stalk and bother her enough, she’ll eventually fall in love with you. #lifehack

There’s nothing more charming than a man who follows you to a date with another guy. Harrassment means he cares!

That being said, Ben’s malaise is relatable for people of several generations. The ’60s was not the last decade where the youth had trouble relating to their parents, and while we came around a long time later (we’re still young dammit!), we’ve been in the same boat. Luckily, we avoided being seduced by the neighbourhood cougar. Phew!

What we learned: A relationship is the solution to all your problems! Also, stalking is super romantic.

Next time: The President’s Analyst (1967)

#297 The Firemen’s Ball/Horí, má panenko

Watched: June 1 2021

Director: Miloš Forman

Starring: Jan Vostrcil, Josef Sebánek, Josef Valnoha, Frantisek Debelka, Josef Rehorek, Jan Stöckl, Frantisek Reinstein, Frantisek Paska, Josef Kolb, Frantisek Svet, Josef Kutálek, and a bunch of other guys probably called Jan, Josef and/or Frantisek.

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 13min

Our small city of Trondheim has been relatively unaffected by Covid for the past few months – we’ve had few infections and most of our businesses have run more or less like normal. In fact, it’s been a source of pride for many local politicians and citizens how well we’ve handled all of this. But those of us who watch a lot of movies know all too well the price of hubris… It was only a matter of time before a new wave hit, which happened recently. This time with fun, new mutations! The result of all this is that while the rest of the world is slowly opening up again, we’re going in the opposite direction: many places are shut down, we’re in and out of quarantines, and things are far from normal. But at least we’ve got movies, right?

Kidnapping rates are thankfully also low, due to the whole don’t-leave-your-home-thing. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

After a wait list period (who else checked out this movie in 2021???) we just managed to get our hands on The Firemen’s Ball before the libraries closed down. And was it worth it? Well, probably.

It has certainly become more complicated to use library services since the right wing government came into power…

OK, we’ll be honest – The Firemen’s Ball needs context to work, at least it did for us. With no context, it’s a farce about a bunch of bumbling, incompetent firemen trying to throw a ball, while being both stupid and a little bit sexist about it. And we’re not really big fans of farces – we tend to find them annoying (and sometimes sad) rather than funny.

It’s probably our critical and analytical stares, here perfectly captured by Forman.

However, context is important. This movie was made in Czechoslovakia in 1967, and the Communist Party was not amused by the depiction of bureaucratic idiocy and inadequate leaders. In fact, they were so unimpressed that Miloš Forman ended up in (self-imposed) exile in the wake of it. Which makes the whole thing pretty badass, even if the movie itself isn’t really our cup of tea.

“To reflect our high status and importance in society, we’ve moved away from the traditional fireman helmet into a design more befitting our station. No pun intended.”

So basically, watch this if you’re interested in history and/or like farces. But if you don’t like either, maybe skip it…

Some things work best with context. While other things, like this picture, are just as good or better without.

What we learned: “Uzenka” means “sausage”. We’ll never again starve or go horny for long in the Czech Republic.

Next time: The Graduate (1967)

#296 The Dirty Dozen

Watched: December 21 2020

Director: Robert Aldrich

Starring: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, George Kennedy, Richard Jaeckel, Trini López, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Clint Walker, Robert Webber, Tom Busby

Year: 1967

Runtime: 2h 30min

Source

We continue our criminal-men-do-fun-but-risky-stuff-together-while-paying-an-inordinate-amount-of-attention-to-their-attire with The Dirty Dozen – a suspenseful war drama featuring a host of well-known tough guys.

“We have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass . . . and bubblegum is heavily rationed so our options are limited.”

During WWII, Major Reisman (Marvin) is tasked with blowing up a French château housing a bunch of important Germans. To help with this suicide mission he enlists not the best of the best, but rather the worst of the worst: conviced rapists, murderers and other assorted criminals who are promised freedom should they happen to survive. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario?

It’s all fun and games until…oh… Eh, yes. Carry on.

A lot, it turns out. For some reason, these condemned sociopaths have trouble working together and listening to authority. Luckily, the Major understands them and knows how to get them all on the same page (hint: liquor and prostitutes will go a long way..). So gradually, they learn to cooperate, have each other’s backs, and the greatest bonding exercise known to man: burning Germans alive. Yay!

“How do I reach these kiiiiids?”

The Dirty Dozen was our family’s big Christmas movie this year and while it didn’t necessarily give us a lot of Christmas spirit, it was very good entertainment. While it all leads up to the mission itself, most of the film shows the teambuilding and training the soldiers/convicts are put through, and how their comradery grows as they get ready.

Nothing strengthens friendships like blowing shit up together. Takes us right back to our university days. Such carnage… Such bliss…

We loved the base building, the military band gag, Pinkley’s impersonation of a General (can’t go wrong with a Sutherland!), the opposition of Franko, the practise maneuvers, and of course George Kennedy. The movie is funny, exciting, tense, brutal, dramatic, ultimately heartbreaking, and we really enjoyed it.

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. Kamikaze soldier of the Allied Forces and proud owner of a pack of dental floss.”

What we learned: Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty. Also, don’t entrust religious fanatics with sensitive missions… Or misogynists with anything, really.

Next time: The Firemen’s Ball (1967)