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19 Responses to “Sunday Night at the Movies”
Dude, I know you’ve seen The Driver, right? This is quite possibly one of the worst all-time acting performances in the history of film (yes, slight hyperbole here), and yet, inexplicably, O’Neal’s total commitment to his badness transcends itself and catapults the film to the top of the heap of great 70s cop schlock. And next to Bullitt, the chase scenes are preeminent. I believe you can stream this on Netflix, by the way.
And O yeah: Jacqueline Bisset? Her name alone . . . nuf said.
THE DRIVER is a Zen car masterpiece tributing Melville (Jean Pierre) – no schlock at the helm of Walter Hill, who also wrote this fun and funky 70’s escapade with Warren Oates and the great Austin Pendleton — that is still not available on DVD.
All that you say is true but for the part about schlock. Hill, Oates, Pendleton, or anyone else aside, it is schlock, albeit very good schlock, as I said. More or less, though, I think we’re agreeing . . .
I don’t get why my categorizing The Driver as schlock is being construed as a judgment against it. The Driver is definitely “cool,” and I dug it bigtime. But then again, for me, that’s all The Driver is — cool. And what is cool? Cool is cool, but it is also all of the things — irony, cynicism, anomie, superficiality, emptiness, and etc, etc etc — pounding like cancer at the core of just about anything that matters today. A lot more can be said on the matter, right (eg, Thomas Franks’ The Conquest of Cool)?
Also, re: Adjani: Herzog IMO, understood more intuitively how to use her fay, ethereal darkness to better effect, as he demonstrates in his Nosferatu. For one thing, Herzog knew Adjani is to be seen and not heard; the less she speaks, the more powerful her spell . . .
“Schlock” is a negative and in Hill’s case, incorrect.
A “schlock” car movie would be BOBBI JO AND THE OUTLAW or THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE — an almost silent zen meditation on a Driver and His Wheels is not aiming at the same crowd or market. It’s like comparing THE GUMBALL RALLY to TWO LANE BLACKTOP.
Hill uses archetypes to express a societal disconnect, not just “cool” although he has that in spades as well. I don’t think Melville is any deeper in LE SAMOURAI — it’s just in French so you can watch without guilt.
TTWCTD is a nifty script Hill wrote, directed by Bud Yorkin and Oates is actually the insurance investigator. And of course, my pal Austin Pendleton stealing the film. A terrific score by Henry Mancini. One of my favorite 70’s films. And of course, not available on DVD.