Thursday, February 13, 2014

Movies I Have Watched Recently

Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Why in the world don't they make more fun musicals like this? I really enjoyed the heck out of it.

Joe Bob says give it a whirl.

Gettysburg (1993)
The director's cut is 4 hours at 31 minutes of boredom, with overly long scenes of meandering tedium, relieved by moments of really good acting. Then more krep. Another bright moment! More meh. And so on.

So, not a good movie. It's not even good history.

If I didn't know anything about the Gettysburg campaign, or the penultimate battle before I watched, I wouldn't know much about it after the movie. I might even know less: it's like the movie was trying to replace my brains with cotton fluff. And Lord knows I got little enough brains to spare.

As shot, one piece of gently rolling countryside looks like another. Is that Seminary Ridge? Cemetery Ridge? Cemetery Hill? Who knows? We know Devil's Den - it's chock full of big-ass rocks. But the rest ... it's all just places they plonked a camera without much tying them together in the narrative.

I'll give them this: 20th Maine's engagement on Little Round top was very well done. Come to that, the scenes with _just_ the 20th Maine, filled out a bit, would have made a dandy movie all by itself. 

Another character and actor who deserves his own film: Sam Elliot as cavalry brigader John Buford.

I would have turned it off at the end of the first hour but for Tom Berenger as Longstreet. I kept watching to see him portray Longstreet as the only sane man in an army of fools, goofballs, and dorks. Amazing job by a great actor.

There is a scene - I guess you have to watch it through all the way to get the impact - where the stupid, retarded, awful Pickett's Charge is about to kick off. The artillery has failed to knock out the opposition.  15,000 men are about to walk a country mile under a broiling hot July sun across an open field, through shell, shot, and musket fire.  Half of them aren't going to come back.  Longstreet knows this as sure as he knows the sun will rise.  Everything he has spent the entire movie trying to avoid is about to happen.

Picket: "Shall I order the charge?"

All Longstreet can do is ... just ... wave his hand.  'Go' he is saying.  'But I can't say it for it will break my heart.'

That's some acting right there.

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