Anger Management

Anger Management. 
Columbia Pictures 2003.

Before watching the movie:

This is another movie I’ve been pretty sure would show up here eventually since almost the beginning. Back when Adam Sandler made movies people wanted to watch, I guess.

It’s been quite clear that this is about a guy and his therapist living together and driving each other crazy, but it wasn’t as apparent until I saw what I’m looking at now that the patient isn’t actually all that explosive, except around his eccentric therapist.

The “client and patient shackled together and nearly kill each other” concept is similar to Analyze This and What About Bob?, the former to the point (at least on the surface) that if this movie and Analyze This weren’t five years apart I’d call them duelling movies.

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Phantom From Space

Phantom From Space.
Planet Filmplays 1953.

Before watching the movie:

When I came across this movie, I wasn’t sure if I’d already reviewed it, because I thought I remembered a movie about invisible space beings. I was remembering Invisible Invaders, a body-snatching movie where a small town is taken over by aliens hijacking men’s bodies.

The brief synopsis of this one that I have read suggests that the titular alien might be harmless if left alone, as, after killing two attackers frightened by his suit, he takes it off to escape. I notice that’s an inciting incident, not a plot, but this has the potential to go to interesting places.

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In Bruges

In Bruges. Blueprint Pictures 2008

Before watching the movie:

I vaguely remember this movie being around when it came out. I remember being vaguely interested in seeing it, but also having the sense that I probably wouldn’t get to it until it was bloggable. Somehow, I’ve been blogging long enough that even though this came out a year before I started blogging and I avoid reviewing movies less than ten years old, this is now bloggable. That is just completely wrong.

This is a dark comedy about hiding out in an unfamiliar but lovely town after a crime goes sideways. It’s kind of also a travel movie, and I think being a travel comedy in central-ish Europe is what made me associate it with If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. Which is an entirely different kind of movie. Also, for the uneducated Americans, and I include myself in that statement, the poster I found helpfully notes that Bruges is in Belgium.

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A Night to Remember

A Night to Remember. 
The Rank Organisation 1958.

Before watching the movie:

Since 1997, James Cameron’s movie has been considered the epitome of the Titanic legend on film, but this is the dramatization of the epitome of the Titanic in print. I suspect that a documentary would have suited the book a little better, but as I have not yet read the book, I can’t definitively say. At least this movie focuses on people who actually existed and characters composed from people who existed.

I’m watching this movie as part of a brief interest in Titanic media outside of the 1997 movie due to reading a short dramatic account of the Carpathia‘s rescue mission, which does not seem to have been dramatized on screen in the way this account sounds like it deserves. Though apparently that telling largely comes from the book The Other Side of the Night, which I now also intend to read.

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In The Army Now

In The Army Now. Hollywood Pictures 1994.

Before watching the movie:

So Pauly Shore made a movie about bumbling through the military. I have a sense it will be more like At War With The Army than Stripes. I don’t think Pauly Shore is worth the many vehicles he got in the 90s, but he’s not the anti-comedy people seem to make him out as.

His partner in comedy is Andy Dick here, and I’m kind of looking forward to his awkward but slightly less creepy than Woody Allen style.

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Yesterday’s Movies goes to the… wait a minute…

I find myself without the time to review a movie because of some movie-making business coming up suddenly, so here is a selection of reviews about movies about movie-making:

Safety Last!

Safety Last! Pathé  1923.

Before watching the movie:

For the first time in 20 years, works copyrighted in the United States are entering the public domain, after being put in a freeze by the Copyright Term Extension Act, because who cares if everyone who participated in creating these works are probably dead by now when there’s still profit to be had? Well, as of the beginning of the month (January 2019), works published in 1923 have finally had their copyrights expire, and among them is this iconic film that nobody seems much interested in the plot of.

To be fair, the stunts and slapstick routines are likely more the point of the movie than the story they’re hung upon, but as far as I can tell without reading too far ahead, this is the story of a young man’s misadventures in becoming respectable enough for his girlfriend to marry him. The reason everyone talks about it though, is because of the iconic, very real, and dangerous scene where Lloyd hangs from a clock, which has been homaged endlessly. To me, and probably others, “a man dangles from a clock hand” is a Back to the Future reference, but when Christopher Lloyd did it, the filmmakers were referencing Harold Lloyd. But there’s still a lot of story to get to that point.

After watching the movie:

Young Harold gets on the train from his small town to go to the big city and make his fortune, promising to send for his girl to come and marry him when he’s done so. Big city living is hard, and money is scarce, especially since Harold is buying expensive jewelry to send home for the purpose of keeping up a narrative that he’s doing better than he really is, working as a harried sales clerk at De Vore’s department store living paycheck to paycheck. One day, Harold runs into an old friend from back home who’s now working as a policeman, and tries to show off to his roommate Bill that he can get away with messing with policemen. Unfortunately, Harold and Bill then proceed to prank the wrong policeman, who chases Bill up the side of a building and swears to arrest him if he ever sees his face again. Meanwhile, Harold’s mother suggests to his girl that if he’s got enough money to be buying her jewelry, it’s not safe to leave him alone in the city. Trying to keep up the charade in person now, Harold needs something big to secure his fortune in a hurry. Perhaps a daredevil scaling the 12-story building, sponsored by De Vore’s?

Though the plot is thin and mostly moves from setup to setup while laying the foundation for the climb that makes the final act of the movie, it’s fairly cute in execution. Aside from the climb, the physical comedy isn’t of the remarkable spectacle that I’m used to from Keaton and Chaplin, but it’s entertaining, and often clever.

From the legend of the clock-hanging moment, I was a little let down by its significance in the moment. It’s just one more gag in the climbing sequence, and one or two other moments seemed more precarious. The drama of the moment has been rendered obsolete by iteration. Harold Lloyd dangling from the hand of a clock six or seven stories above a city street doesn’t thrill me because every homage since has been made more dire through increasingly modern techniques.

The rest of the movie is, while not a monumental work of cinema, as suggested by how much people remember the plot leading up to the climb, a charming romp that does what it sets out to do, and is a perfectly good way to pass 70-odd minutes. But the moment it’s remembered for doesn’t live up to the hype anymore. It stands out only in relation to what came before it, but most of what I know is what’s come after it. The legend is bigger than the film.