Thursday, April 20, 2006

And in other movie news...

There's a condition, a mania really, that deals with organizing things. People with this condition just love to put things in order and in different orders. You can see this in Pink Floyd's The Wall, the movie by Alan Parker, and to a lesser degree in High Fidelity.

I also have this condition.

And it's yet another reason for Vicky to think I'm completely insane.

... And I'm not arguing.

This started when I was a kid. I would categorize my toys. Then, I'd put my records (LPs) (... forget it...) in order. Then, I'd play my CDs in chronological order (from 1763 to present). Most recently, I've started a new trend.

Right now, for instance, I have no new DVDs to watch (except those Vicky wants me to wait and watch with her). What to do...

Pull them down and watch them in chronological order!

Now, before you think I've lost my mind, I'm not talking about all the DVDs... just about half... about 500...

Like I said, crazy.

Did I? You bet I did! I have stacks of movies waiting to be watched! And I love them! I'm a freaking cinemafile! I love movies!

Right now, I'm in the 1930's (I've been going for a while already), just as sound is beginning to hit the scene. But I could care less, because I absolutely adore silent films. You won't find movies funnier or more innocent. It's not about huge budgets and special effects (at least, not the ones I like), but just the people and the writing. Not even the words - just the feeling.

So, what am I talking about here? Three names: Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd. (Yes, it's alphabetical! You wanna make something of it!)

Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) is still an amazing movie. Not only is it a social statement but the jokes are just sublime! You have tit jokes, cocaine jokes - things you're amazed they did! And then, you have that ending, that magnificent, stolen-from-a-million-times ending.

Keaton's The Cameraman (1928) also has this amazing ending that has you on the edge of your seat. You're in such empathy with Keaton because, even though they called him "Stone Face", you can see the emotion just beneath the surface. He tries so hard not to make a fool of himself - who can't empathize.

Lloyd's Safety Last (1923) is the earliest and, in many ways, most amazing. It was called "Shock Comedy" for a reason - because it showed a guy 30 stories up on the edge of a building. And little did he realize that all their safety precautions were totally worthless. So, it's a good thing he didn't fall.

The best thing about these movies is that all these guys played nice guys. Polite, sincere, warm - I like that. Some people have slighted Chaplin, but most writers applaud him for being a good person and no one disagrees that Keaton and Lloyd were true gentlemen.

Anyone who "doesn't get" silent films or even black and white films probably hasn't seen any, or just has a closed mind. I love the wealth of entertainment they hold and can't wait to watch through the stacks.

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