Man of La Mancha

Man Of La Mancha. United Artists 1972.

Before watching the movie:

I think this is the way most people have experienced Don Quixote.  I’ve read some of the book, but despite the new translation I was using, the stilted nature of it still sometimes overpowered the comedy, which itself sometimes felt a little too much like “mental illness is funny!” It’s at the same time amazing how modern it feels at over 400 years old and yet how basic the storytelling can be at times, because it’s had 400 years to become part of the way we always tell stories.

But the grandeur of the way Man of La Mancha interprets the book is enticing and accessible. Everyone has heard at least a few bars of “The Impossible Dream”. It’s a classic showtune ballad. The romance is probably more feel-good in this take as well.

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Arthur

Arthur. Orion Pictures 1981.

Before watching the movie:

This is the movie anyone thinks of when they hear Dudley Moore’s name. Arthur is the playboyest of playboys, and has to choose between love and money.

This is one of those famous movies that everyone cites without discussing, so I don’t know very much about it, except there was a remake with Russell Brand nobody asked for a few years ago.

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Balto

Balto. Amblin Entertainment 1995.

Before watching the movie:

When I was very young, I had a book about Balto, the heroic sled dog that saved the diptheria inoculation run from Anchorage to Nome that the Iditarod race commemorates.  I don’t really recall why Balto was particularly celebrated as the hero of the relay, and it looks like this movie will not be very concerned with that.

The summary seems to indicate that the main conflict comes from how the other characters treat Balto because he is a wolfdog, but that’s not a detail I recall from the history.  Apparently, the real Balto was a purebred husky, so I guess the movie’s main concern was a clumsy message about race.

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Battle Beyond The Stars

Battle Beyond the Stars. New World Pictures 1980.

Before watching the movie:

The Seven Samurai has been remade and recontextualized and homaged many, many times. Its best known remake is of course the Western The Magnificent Seven, but pretty much every “go put together a group of mercenaries to save the hometown” story is probably based on Seven Samurai. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie do it so blatantly that the tagline itself invokes Magnificent Seven. Apparently Roger Corman wanted to do something like Star Wars and decided to do a sci-fi interpretation of Seven Samurai. So he did.

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Under the weather

I’m sick in a sleepy and achy way that clashes with critical thought, so I have to put this project aside this week and rest.

I just learned today that the comic relief boffin sidekick from Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jacob Batalon, was also the comic relief boffin sidekick in Rooster Teeth’s horror pastiche Blood Fest, less a lot of hair. I knew he looked familiar from something.