Older films



Surprisingly, it didn't happen all that often during my ten years in video retail. I was fortunate to have worked in places where the clientele even had an interest in foreign movies, much less chose to rent them. But every once in awhile, someone would come along who wanted to watch foreign movies dubbed instead of subtitled...

...The most remarkable element, of course, is the ubiquity of bike riders on the Roman streets. Ricci, our protagonist, is commonly seen with dozens of bikers mingling with car traffic harmoniously, for the most part. The cars don't appear to travel very fast; indeed, both cars and buses appear to be aware of bikes in the streets, though a couple of pedestrians get some close calls in the movie...

If there is an afterlife, which I doubt, and if I am expected to make some sort of account of my life in order to determine my ultimate fate, I doubt I would come out on top. I suppose I would characterize my life to be not unlike the protagonist of Heaven Can Wait: no crimes, but a lot of misdemeanors. The notion of being able to bargain for one's fate afteryou die seems like wishful thinking, although I suppose it depends on what belief system you subscribe to. It's just as likely that you'll come back in another life as someone (or something) else...

...A Tree Grows in Brooklyn had me riveted from start to finish, partly due to the relatively quick pace and partly due to the great sensitivity shown in presenting the lives of this turn-of-the-century working class Brooklyn family. I could see elements of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, which would come out four years after the movie (and six years after the book). Indeed, Tree feels very theatrical; it doesn't stray far from the street the Nolans live on and their apartment building...

The Man With the Golden Arm
...Sometimes I question the necessity of a ratings system. The MPAA attempts to apply a uniform code of standards with their ratings, but as they've shown repeatedly, those standards appear to be arbitrary, and often, they don't consider context. Most of all, the identities of these unelected individuals are notoriously kept secret, so it's unclear how representative of the American moviegoing public they are. How many blacks are part of the MPAA? How many women? How many gays? How long do they serve? And yet, history has shown that despite the attempts to limit the audience for edgy, quality films like Arm, they usually end up getting recognized and appreciated, if not in the short term then over time...

This past weekend I hung out in Washington Square Park for the first time in many months. It was a nice night, a bit of a chill but still comfortable enough to be outside in. This place isn't as prominent in my memory as Central Park, but I think it's especially noteworthy as being representative of Greenwich Village in general, a neighborhood that has meant a great deal to me over the years...

...Who was Elinor Glyn? The opening credits for It indicate that the screenplay was based on a story by her, and she makes a cameo appearance as herself. Characters within the movie read her writings and are well acquainted with her reputation. But who was she?...





...Celebrate Brooklyn is an annual, summer-long series of outdoor shows and performances held at the Prospect Park Bandshell. It's usually concerts featuring musicians from around the world as well as local ones (I saw The Swell Season here), but they also show old movies here (earlier this summer they had a West Side Story sing-along night)...


...while I haven't seen very many modern [Christmas movies], I can certainly think of a few that use the holiday as a background (Die Hard, Batman Returns, Lethal Weapon), but setting aside the modern-day-versus-classic aspect, I can't help but agree that these kinds of movies are definitely better to watch...


...whether you're talking the free love movement of the 60s, or the wife-swapping key parties of the 70s (or much further back in time than that), it seems like for every streak of morally-induced prohibitions against sexual relations as imposed by some higher authority, there have been alternate groups pushing back against those restrictions...

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