The Empire Strikes Back is not a movie I thought would ever end up here, though it’s always a challenge to find something worth discussing in popular movies like this. My motivation was in picking my favorite movie from 1980 and I realize that it’s Empire. It’s probably the best Star Wars movie because it’s so entertaining and dark at the same time, it’s never boring and the ending still breaks my heart. The music is some of the best film music ever composed and the cliffhanger at the end laughs at all those movies nowadays that call themselves Part 1 and Part 2 (except Kill Bill, maybe). It’s really a good movie and it surpasses all the other movies from 1980 for me (although, Ordinary People came in close just a few days ago, surprisingly).
Oh, yes, two in a row. After Dead Poets Society (and a lack of new movies to talk about), I decided to look at the other Robin Williams movie from the late 80s that had a huge impact on me: Good Morning, Vietnam. I saw it around the same time as Dead Poets Society and it cemented Robin Williams as one of my personal heroes of my late childhood. It is also a strange movie to watch at 12 when the Vietnam War is only something abstract I had no relation to. But around the same time I must have watched Apocalypse Now on repeat, so something must have been set into place there for my interest in this war and the dark sides of U.S. history. But this movie is mainly a comedy and primarily because it’s Robin Williams’ show. And in many ways this movie resembles Dead Poets Society in its structure: Williams plays the offbeat character that overthrows conventions, he has to fight against authority and has to pay for it in the end, nevertheless teaching everyone willing to listen something about being different. One more reason for doing this double feature.
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Joining the Robin Williams honorary bandwagon? I’m happy to! Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite and most influential movies, so it seems obvious to look back at it now in the late aftermath of Williams’ death. The movie works for me on many levels, mainly in its depiction of a good and unusual teacher, but also by showing an authoritative, limiting and cruel society and the effects it has on its young people. This way the film inspired me in many ways, not just for becoming a teacher. I must have seen it the first time early, when I was around 11 or 12 and I watched it again and again. What’s really a shame is that in schools, the novelization is often read when there is no reason on earth not just to use the movie. Curiously, this is one of the few movies where I really disagreed with Roger Ebert (who got me into movies so much more than I already was, so I’m a big fan of his), who called it “manipulative” and full of “platitudes.” Reading his review makes you wonder how he even came up with two stars. I get what he says and maybe even understand how you could view the movie this way, but to me, it’s just a great inspirational movie. Here’s why.
Cabin in the Woods is a very clever movie that seems innocent and surely will fly by many people. But it’s so many things at once. It’s a decent horror movie, a comedy, a great work of metafiction and, most importantly, an amazingly intriguing comment on our society. It’s extremely well made and acted, and all in all a really bold movie. Since it appears in this series, I obviously love it.
The movies I have written about here up to now have all been movies I had just seen for the first time. Today I wanted to start writing about movies that I already know and also love and the first one has to be Tom Tykwer’s Lola rennt (Run Lola Run), mostly because I really, really love it, it changed my way of looking at movies and I just recently discussed it with one of my courses and noticed some new things. So, with other movies I’d just talk about the one thing that makes the movie interesting to me, but Lola rennt is stuffed with things to talk about. Again, I could write a long book about this movie and obviously people have written about it already, but that’s not my intention here. I want to focus on some aspects that fit on this blog the most and that are by coincidence the things I only recently discovered (or realized) on my 20th+ viewing. But just so you know how much there potentially is to discuss, all the things I’m not talking about here now:
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