The second last time I recall that I was moved to tears was approximately one year ago. It was winter, and hence, my time of the year to stop cycling to work and to start catching the tram. Catching the tram is mostly a bore; however, the best part of this costly, lengthy expedition is the fact that I can sit, focus, and read for a good 30 minutes or so (needless to say, 15 of these minutes are spent standing, holding onto my book in one hand and desperately grasping the tram’s ridiculous anchor-shaped safety handles whilst pressing my body against a complete stranger). I started reading The Book Thief and it was beautiful. It was so encouraging to read something so phenomenal. For every ten books I read, there’s only one that stands out for life. For every twenty films, only one.
Lately husband has been rather busy. He has started a new job. He has made some new contacts. He has started learning and implementing a new program. The combination of all three factors means that he is very busy with freelancing work, which means that I have a lot of time to myself. So lately, I have commenced trying to watch all the movies that I have ever wanted to watch, most of which are in the IMDB Top 250. Lame, I know, but this was an idea conceived many moons ago and I’m not one who is particularly fond of letting go of goals.
Many moons ago (i.e. within the past 15 years), I watched Casablanca (31 on the Top 250), It Happened One Night (155), Schindler’s List (7), 12 Angry Men (6), Citizen Kane (66 [but used to be much, much higher]), and many more. Then I was busy for a few years. Lately (as in, the last 3 months or so), I have watched Intouchables (38 – good, but not that good), Roman Holiday (232 – Audrey is a beauty), Fargo (153), A Fistful of Dollars (226), Once Upon a Time in America (75 plus 4 hours) and Taxi Driver (82 and so depressing). The latter two 70s films really resonated with me for some reason. I felt the mood of the film. I felt that the 80s was a gap-filler and that I really was a child of the 70s. Sadness, depression, insomnia… I was it all. (Movies from the 70s are a different sort of extraordinary.)
Then one night I decided to irrelevantly chuck on 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire. I was absolutely astonished at the quality of Marlon Brando’s acting. First of all, I never knew he was so physically appealing (only ever having seen him in The Godfather [one of my favourites]). Secondly, could he act! I felt the melodrama of Vivien Leigh contrasted so acutely with Marlon’s performance (although Leigh won an Academy Award for her role) and felt that this film depicted the beginning of the end for the early to mid-1900s melodramatic style of acting. Brando acted like a real person in the modern world.
Immediately I became obsessed with Marlon Brando. I discovered that in The Godfather that. He was only 48 years old during the filming of this movie, and wore heavy make-up and a jaw plate to give him that look of mafioso nonchalance.
It’s funny, because many years ago in the States I purchased a stubby holder (i.e. beer cooler) featuring Brando in The Wild One, just because… (he kind of reminded me of James Dean). I never knew I’d become obsessed with him without ever having seen that particular film.
Nevertheless, I decided my next Brando movie to watch would be Apocalypse Now (47).
From the first second of the film, I was completely entranced. From the moment that The Doors’ This Is The End commenced, right until it ended 200 minutes later, my jaw was wide open for those whole 3 hours.
I thought I hated war films, just like I thought I hated cowboy films. I was wrong. This movie is absolutely, phenomenally, ridiculously, endlessly perfect in every way. It is now my new favourite and I am completely obsessed with it, so much so that I desperately need to watch it again.
Some thoughts I had: Martin Sheen is incredible. Is that Dahmer or Harrison Ford? Is that gorgeous man a young Laurence Fishburne? I can’t believe these sorts of things have happened and STILL continue to happen in real life. Could it be so? Are humans like this? Did this really happen in Vietnam? Conscription was a thing? Is this life? Napalm. And puppies. Always puppies.
It has been so long since art has moved me so.