Old Movie Addiction
At nine o’clock we rolled into our Little House in the Desert in San Tan Valley, Arizona. I knew it was Top Sites Tuesday #94 but even though the topic was the always easy Two Thoughts on Tuesday, I didn’t have a clue what to post about, so I turned on the TV and surfed the Old Movie Channels. There it was … Close Encounters of the Third Kind … and there were my Two Thoughts.
I am an Old Movie Addict. There are certain films I have watched dozens of times, and if they turn up as I’m surfing, I’ll probably watch them again. They are a diverse assortment, these irresistible films, from comedies like Groundhog Day and City Slickers to science fiction like Frequency and dramas like The Shawshank Redemption. But here are my Two Thoughts: some of these old turkeys, like Close Encounters, seem more flawed with each viewing but I watch them anyway; and some, like The Godfather Part II, just get better.
In Close Encounters, a race of extraterrestrials planning an encounter with earthlings play a five-note tune from space and telepathically install it in the brains of selected humans. A team of scientists led by Claude Lacombe (François Truffaut) record the catchy tune (for some reason feeling the need to assign hand signals and colors to each note) and transmit it back into space. The aliens then transmit the latitude and longitude of their chosen landing site, the top of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. They also plant a vision of this tower in the minds of the selected humans, but not insufficient detail that they know what it is. These poor souls begin compulsively painting, drawing and sculpting (in media such as clay, mud and mashed potatoes) their vision in an attempt to figure out what the heck it is. We’re supposed to believe that this was the best invitation a superior race could develop. Naturally, the government and military want to have all the fun and cordon off Devil’s Tower, claiming there’s been a poison gas spill in the area. However, two of the chosen few, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) and Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon) manage to elude the most inept security force ever deployed and witness the arrival of the space ship. Here, the scientists play the space tune for the alien ship which returns the favor with a light show that would make Pink Floyd proud.
The special effects are dated and the plot details contrived. Yet I’d have watched it all the way through if Top Sites Tuesday hadn’t been calling.
At the other extreme is the most remarkable sequel ever made, The Godfather Part II. In The Godfather, we see a crisis in the Corleone family change Micheal (Al Pacino) from college boy to the new Godfather. In The Godfather Part II, we see the complete metamorphosis to ruthless gangster unfold. The performance by Al Pacino is considered one of the greatest of all time, even though the Oscar went to Art Carney for Harry and Tonto. The flashback story of Micheal’s father, Vito, his arrival in the United States and ascension to Godfather, is beautifully told starring Robert DeNiro as Vito. I find new details in this film every time I see it. In this scene, Michael delivers the kiss of death to his brother, Fredo, who betrayed him.
If you are a movie addict, I’d like to know your favorites … great and not so great. I’d also love it if you’d push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #94.
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