#304 2001: A Space Odyssey

Watched: January 12 2022 during our first ever 1000 Films Blog Movie Night

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Sean Sullivan, Douglas Rain, Frank Miller

Year: 1968

Runtime: 2h 29min

Ok, let’s face it, we cannot possibly hope to say anything new and interesting about one of the world’s most celebrated pieces of cinema – Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. So we’re not even going to try, but we will give a brief summary of the plot for the three readers who have never seen the movie.

Meet Ralph
Ralph might be seeing red, but in fact he is very happy today
You know why? Ralph just landed his dream job! He is going to be an astronaut!
With his trusty sidekicks D’raak and Susan, Ralph will travel the universe looking for The Lost Oyster Pearl of Quan-exa’peh
Along the way, the intrepid trio will stumble onto many a curious adventure, such as beekeeping on Jupiter and fighting the dream-giraffes of Sckraaaaaaaa. They also find themselves in an award-winning heavy metal band supporting a world class primate drummer.
At one point they even get lost in the Windows Media Player. Classic Ralph!
But will he eventually wake up to find that it was all just a dream..? Only one way to find out! Get yourself a copy of 2001: The Space Odyssey of Ralph, D’raak and Susan – out on LaserDisc now!
There are so many reasons why this film has become such a classic – foremost of which is Kubrick’s decision to film everything with the camera lying on its side. Amazing.

What we learned: In space, no one can hear you have an existential crisis.

Next time: Barbarella (1968)

#303 Weekend

Watched: January 30 2021 …and then again on January 3 2022 since we’d forgotten the experience.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Starring: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, and a whole bunch of other people

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 45min

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How can we describe Weekend? It’s definitely a film you should experience for yourself, but we’ll take a shot at describing the plot.

Basically, it’s sort of like this, but with long tracking shots, musical interludes and political speeches.

Roland (Yanne) and Corinne (Darc) are planning to kill her parents for the inheritance, as one does. Then, he plots to off her for the same reason, since he has another girl waiting in the wings. Lovely couple, very nice.

You won’t BELIEVE how they ended up in this state! Read on for all the gruesome details!

After describing a sexual encounter in detail (though without any emotion), as we all always do with your partners, Corinne gets in the car with Roland and off they go a-killing. They soon run into major traffic, as well as an impressive and very long shot of them passing said traffic in the wrong lane. With honking. Lots of honking. And some dead bodies casually strewn around.

♫ We’re all going on a – murder holiday ♬♪

Eventually the two crash their car (it was inevitable, really) and go on foot instead, running into historical and fictional characters, cannibals, and rapists. You know, the sort of people who tend to hang out in your local woods.

Sadly, when we went lurking about in the woods in our feather boas and fancy medallions, we learned that our local cannibalistic forest-lurkers lacked this kind of flair. Very disappointed. And just a little bit scared.

Somehow it all works, thanks to Godard’s genius. In a way, we feel as though it’s designed to stress you out. It’s a commentary on consumerism, classicism, racism, egotism and general shittyness. You kind of have to see it to believe it, and while Weekend doesn’t seem to be streaming anywhere, a good library will probably have a copy. This is why we love physical media and public libraries.

Hear ye, hear ye: get thee to a library and fetch thee an obscure DVD.

Weekend is funny and silly and brutal and disturbing, but most of all it’s fascinating. Sure, it’s not a movie everyone will love, but we enjoyed this roadtrip from Hell quite a lot, even though we didn’t quite understand the world we were thrown into. To be fair, we feel that way just waking up in the morning, so it might be us…

Sometimes, you just feel like a lonely drummer by a lake, you know?

What we learned: We’re going to need diagrams of the sex scene Corinne describes. How did that work physically?? If anyone can do a powerpoint presentation, an illustration, a demonstration or something of the mechanicals of it, please let us know.

Next time: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

#302 Two for the Road

Watched: December 21 2021

Director: Stanley Donen

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray, Georges Descrières, Jacqueline Bisset, Judy Cornwell

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 51min

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Joanna and Mark Wallace (Hepburn and Finney, respectively), a disillusioned and sniping couple, are going on a road trip to St. Tropez. The story of their 12 year relationship is told through flashbacks juxtaposed with more current events as we examine how they ended up in their current, seemingly loveless, marriage.

As our mama always said: make sure the cute girl you meet while hitchhiking through continental Europe and then decide to marry, isn’t a bug-eyed alien in disguise. Those marriages never work out. Well, maybe once or twice.

Travel permeates their relationship – at least most critical events appear to have happened while they’re on the road. They met in Europe and fell in love while hitchhiking together, and from there on out most developments occur on other trips they take, alone or together.

Our favourite might be their ridiculous road trip with Mark’s ex Cathy (Bron), her overbearing husband Howard (Daniels) and their obnoxious and unruly daughter Ruthie (not her fault – her parents are useless). The fact that Joanna and Mark have kids after this is mindblowing.

“So, according to this, it’s too late for an abortion when the child is already walking and talking.” “You sure? There’s no small print..?”

We’re in two minds about this movie. We love the non-linear storytelling and the wardrobe, but the relationship doesn’t quite work for us. Audrey Hepburn is lovely as Joanna, but frankly we’re not sold on Albert Finney in this, and we don’t quite see their chemistry.

Might be us though – there’s a chance we’re blinded by the wardrobe

At times it seems as though they’re going for the loving bickering of Nick and Nora, but while she is charming enough, he often comes across as a douche. Why on earth would they get married? They’re a perfect example of how squabbling and negging does NOT a cute couple make.

Just keep on walking, girl. Never mind the chafing from your highly impractical ensemble which you inexplicably chose for a long road trip in a warm car.

Sure, they have some good times – their express tourism is fun, and the continuous gag about his passport is cute, but overall our impression is that they should have been a holiday fling. Not building a life together. Especially as they fall into the classic trap of “sure, my partner and I have agreed on a life goal together, but I’m sure they’ll change their mind now that I have!” Then again, maybe that is the point of the story..? In which case: well done to all involved!

“Do you ever get the feeling that all our vehicles always falling apart is some sort of metaphor..?”

We have a fondness for Cathy though – just the way she talks is enough to make us want to hang out with her. And we’d pay good money to see a crossover show with Cathy and Howie befriending Mortitia and Gomez Addams! Or Nick and Nora Charles. If anyone wants to develop that show we’ll take 10% of all proceeds, including merchandising, please and thank you.

What we learned: Who travels in a vinyl outfit? Have fun with the thrush…

Next time: Weekend (1967)

#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

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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)

#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

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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.

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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

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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)

#295 Robbery

Watched: March 30 2021

Director: Peter Yates

Starring: Stanley Baker, Joanna Pettet, James Booth, Frank Finlay, Barry Foster, William Marlowe, Clinton Greyn, George Sewell

Year: 1967

Runtime: 1h 50min

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A bomb is planted in a car. We follow it through the streets of London. When the countdown reaches zero, instead of an explosion, gas is released and knocks out the driver and his passenger. Enter our heroes/gangsters in their fake ambulance. And that, our friends, is how you kidnap someone in broad daylight!

“Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to rob we go! We’ll get some cash to build our stash, heigh ho, heigh ho!” “Come on guys! Join in! Remember we have that recital on Monday.”

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But even a well-planned and perfectly executed heist is not foolproof. The police are onto them, leading to an adrenaline-filled and insane car chase. After they get away (spoiler! Sorry!) and have cooled down a bit, it is time to plot, plan and rehearse the actual heist – one very much inspired by the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

“Actually, this is all just an excuse to show off our new range of dapper outerwear: The Heist Line™ – available now in a variety of styles and colours, such as Blend-in Beige™, Camouflage Camel™, and Blot-out Black™. Not to mention the highly sophisticated Covert Cream™.”

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Robbery is very much in the tradition of Topkapi, Rififi, and even Gambit. There’s an elaborate scheme which has been planned to the last detail, there’s a motley yet lovable crew of misfits – each hand picked for their job, and there’s a lot that could go wrong. There’s also a kinda, sorta love story here, but honestly it seemed a bit forced. It certainly wasn’t necessary for the plot.

Now, we all want more women in film, and more good roles for women, but this subplot felt a bit unnecessary. Not because of the lovely Joanna Pettet though – she’s fantastic. Here pictured in Veiled Viridian™.

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Our favourite scenes were the opening heist and the subsequent car chase, as well as the prison break. We also loved the meticulous planning and the main heist, of course. Robbery touches on most clichés within the heist movie genre, but it does it well and it’s thrilling from start to end, so we have no complaints.

“I see you went for the Obscure Oxblood™ with the Inconspicuous Ivory trim™. Brave choice!”

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What we learned: Our money’s on the pill. Also, use the discount code HEIST10 for 10% off of all items in Mysterious Mauve™

Next time: The Dirty Dozen (1967)