'Til I saw your City Lights, honey I was blind

Boy, it's getting to be Sarah's Movie Blog around here. But that's because I have no life. Onward and upward!

This week, I checked a passel of DVDs out of the library. Once I got them home, however, I was loath to sit down and watch them because I had managed to check out two Charlie Chaplin movies at the same time. This meant that I could allow myself to check out no new movies until I had managed to stomach those two. So I immediately sat down and watched Tootsie, which I've already seen, and It's a Wonderful Life, which I've already seen. Both were very good and once again, I cried pretty much the whole way through It's a Wonderful Life. What the heck is wrong with me?

With those two out of the way, it was time to buckle down and continue working my way through the Top 100. So I stalled off the inevitable by watching a war movie.

#55: The Jazz Singer - I watched this on Sunday, before checking out my passel of DVDs. It was fine. A bit contrived, but having seen Singin' in the Rain, I wasn't expecting a lot from that era... mostly a lot of "Oh Pierre! You shouldn't have come!". The story was pretty good, but I can't get over how long silent movies are, or at least feel. At least with all-talkies you can get up and walk over to the kitchen and follow the story based on the dialogue. When all of the dialogue is on title cards and you're trying to make popcorn, you miss a lot. (The Jazz Singer is often called the first talkie, but although Al Jolson speaks a few lines and does a lot of synchronous singing, most of the dialogue is still in the form of title cards. It wasn't even the first to have synchronous sound - it was probably just the first talking picture that was actually a hit.)

#56: All Quiet on the Western Front - It was very good in parts and very slow and boring in parts. I just don't like fighting scenes. War and "action" are mostly just boring for me. I want character development. I want to see emotional pain, not physical pain. AQOTWF had some of each, but it was a matter of waiting through the battle scenes to see the interesting action in the trenches. The sound quality was also terrible, which detracted from the viewing. All in all, it wasn't bad, but I felt like getting up and making a sandwich every once in a while.

#57: The Gold Rush - What could be worse than a silent Chaplin film? How about a remastered silent Chaplin film with the titlecards removed and Charlie Chaplin narrating! As if it weren't bad enough watching Charlie Chaplin trudge through the snow, you get Charlie Chaplin helpfully informing you that "The Little Fellow" is trudging through the snow! Thanks for that, Charlie. I wouldn't have known, otherwise, because I HAVE NO EYES. Ugh ugh ugh. The AFI ranked this at 74, above City Lights and Modern Times. I would have ranked it at 1,000,074, because it was awful.

#58: City Lights - City Lights was everything that The Gold Rush was not. I still don't understand how The Gold Rush could be ranked so high. Was it the stupid dancing rolls scene? There was nothing of value in that movie! I need to stop harping on that one and start talking about City Lights, but I think that part of what made City Lights so good was that I'd just seen The Gold Rush. The Gold Rush seemed to be a collection of gags assembled into a movie ("Wouldn't it be funny if they ate a boot?" "What if the chair were on fire?" "What if the house were on a cliff? Ha ha ha, priceless!"), whereas the gags in City Lights actually contributed to the story or the character development. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a romance, but I actually liked this movie.

I would also like to point out that I kept a tally and in City Lights, the Little Tramp:

  • sleeps with a man
  • makes flirty googly eyes at a man
  • has a man's hand down his shorts
  • is kissed by a man
  • kisses a man

It's like friggin' Brokeback Mountain all up in this joint!

srah - Friday, 16 December 2005 - 9:01 PM
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