The Endless Summer

The Endless Summer. Bruce Brown Films 1966.

Before watching the movie:

I wouldn’t have thought that surfing would make an interesting topic for a documentary until I saw that this existed. Maybe that’s one of the functions of good documentary film, to highlight things about the world you wouldn’t have thought you’d be interested to learn about. Apparently the director made a series of several surfing docs over ten years, which seems a bit much, but this seems to be considered the best.

I’m hoping to see 95 minutes painting the picture on the poster, living in the world of the 60s surfing scene and memorializing how great it was.

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The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming!

The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! Mirisch Corporation 1966.
The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! Mirisch Corporation 1966.

Before watching the movie:

I’m pretty sure my father recommended this to me some time ago, but it wasn’t in a comment on the blog and if it was an email, I don’t have it anymore. In going through old comments I realized I’d been remiss in adding suggestions to the list, but I’ve updated it now. As a reminder, any reader can suggest movies to me for review. You don’t even have to be related to me! The regular format of this blog limits it to films I haven’t seen before, but if I get enough suggestions that I have seen, I may be able to put together a Reader-Request Rewatch month.

This appears to be Cold War satire/farce concerning a Soviet boat in distress in American waters and the attempt by an unfortunate officer to try to solicit help in a small town without starting World War III. It puts me in mind of 1941, only I think that was a real invasion. For pretty much no good reason, it’s also got me thinking of The Ship with the Flat Tire and Jaws.

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How to Steal a Million

How to Steal a Million. 20th Century Fox 1966.
How to Steal a Million. 20th Century Fox 1966.

Before watching the movie:

The stars are the headline for this movie. Peter O’Toole is no doubt a scoundrel with class and Audrey Hepburn brings glamour with… playfulness? I’m not as familiar with her type as I should be.

This appears to be a story of an unlikely pairing of people who never expected to be art thieves. Something to do with an art forger who gives his master forgery to an art museum, presumably meaning these two decide to steal it back. I’m predicting a clumsy, snarky heist, but I recognize I’ve built a lot of preconceptions on top of what little I actually know.

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After the Fox

After the Fox. United Artists et. al. 1966.

Before watching the movie:

There are only so many ways I can say “I hardly know a thing about this movie.” I’m sure that just means I’m getting more comfortable with blank pages than that I’m running out of movies to review that I know all too much about. I know there still exist films that I’ve wanted to see but haven’t gotten around to it, I’m just running out of ones I can think of or access. Also, I’m trying to stay out of the 80s and 90s for a while, so reputations are much more filtered.

Not to say that I’ve heard absolutely nothing about the movie. I recall it being recommended to me in conversation a few times. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, I’m surprised that I remembered the plot but not that it starred Peter Sellers.

In preparation for this movie, I tried to remember how many Sellers movies I’ve seen before, and couldn’t think of any outside the Pink Panther series other than Being There. However, on looking him up, I found at least half a dozen. I suppose he really does blend into comic roles completely. Someday I will watch his Muppet Show appearance, where he comments that he had his Self surgically removed.

I expect… that this film will be good. My preconceptions are too blank for much more.

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What’s Up, Tiger Lilly?

What's Up, Tiger Lilly? Benedict Pictures 1966.

Before watching the movie:

Every summary I’ve seen of this movie is quick to note that when Woody Allen dubbed this Japanese movie he did so without regard to the plot, but if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better to refer to it as recycling video for an entirely new plot? It’s not like that’s very uncommon, as evidenced by early anime imports and the first several seasons of Power Rangers.

The fact that it’s not trying to make much sense indicates that it’s even less like those and more like a more rehearsed, long-form version of Whose Line is it Anyway‘s “film dubs” game. Would anything on the cover, or perhaps anything at all suggest that the movie is concerned with finding the perfect egg salad recipe? That sounds like an adlibbed joke that comes back so much it’s the closest thing to a plot.

I hope to enjoy it, but I wonder if I’d more enjoy a couple hours of standup comedy.

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Fantastic Voyage

Fantastic Voyage. 20th Century Fox 1966.

Before watching the movie:

I loved the concept of this movie when I first heard about it years ago. Matter shrinking, a tour of the human body, the body as a counterpart to outer space and alien worlds…

I’ve put it off for so long because films of the 60s and 70s, especially science fiction films, were focused on amazing imagery that looks badly dated today and moved at glacial paces. Aside from 2001: A Space Odyssey, I can’t think of a better opportunity for a filmmaker to stop and let the scenery flow over the acid-tripping audience than a submarine  drifting through the world inside the human body. Never mind the dying patient they belong to, aren’t those nerve fibers far out?

I just hope the storytelling of this movie won’t be as nonexistent as in 2001.

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Batman: The Movie!

Batman: The Movie. 1966 20th Century Fox

Before watching the movie:

No matter how much some may try to forget, Batman lives in two worlds. We eat up the dark, gritty Christopher Nolan style of Batman, with flaws and angst and moral ambiguity now, but fully-invested camp can be just as captivating.

I’ve never seen the 60s Batman, but I hope to jump in with this movie. To be honest, I expected to see Batman and Robin first, but the opportunity for this came up and I took it. I invite you all to join me in this trip through absurdity.

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