By that, I don’t mean a well-regarded film that simply doesn’t do it for you. I mean a film you watch and truly do not understand how it achieved the rank of a classic.
My own choice probably has to be Casablanca. It’s a well-done romantic melodrama, no doubt about it, and I can see why it was embraced at the time. But why it continues to be considered not just a great piece of entertainment, but one of the greatest films of all time, is a mystery I have never personally solved.
(The reason for this post, by the way, is that I’m currently quite busy and haven’t really had the time to catch up on my posts. But I really don’t want to leave the blog idle for too long.)
I opted to review these films together because each is a little miracle; each represents the best effort in a long while from a director who seemed to have left his best days behind him. The Martian is the greater triumph in that respect–I’m not a big fan of Lincoln or Tintin (War Horse is pending further review), but they’re a damn sight better than The Counselor or Exodus: Gods & Kings–but I’m very glad to have both.
Moreover, when you take away the career-revival narrative, you’re left with two excellent films. And that’s what matters most.
“You can play baseball, you can play football, you can play tennis. You can’t play dance.”
This is shaping up to be a year of superlatives. Mad Max: Fury Roadis the best new film I’ve seen since beginning this blog, and any film which tops it will inherit that title. And Dancin’ – It’s On! is, by a mile, the worst, and any film which somehow sinks beneath it will likewise take the crown.
That Dancin’ could be surpassed in wretchedness seems to me far less likely than Max being surpassed in greatness. For Dancin’ – It’s On! is a film of rare ineptitude; so complete a disaster, so far in every respect from quality that it induces the same kind of giddy joy as the discovery of a truly great film. Some bad films have one or two successful aspects that the rest of the film lets down. But not Dancin’. It truly is The Room meets Step Up.
“You’re a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond.” (Source)
On its own, I can’t argue that Spectre is the weakest of Daniel Craig’s outings as 007; it’s entertaining and, at times, quite stylish…but it’s also overlong, a bit short on humor, and seems to waste as many opportunities as it seizes upon. But taken as the final (?) chapter of its own mini-saga within the greater Bondiverse, it’s a satisfying send-off for Craig’s take on Bond, and though its attempts to tie the previous three films together don’t hold much water, they are delicate enough to not insult the viewer’s intelligence.
The chilly critical reception aside, Spectre is never less than watchable and merits its place in the series. And as a big fan of the series, it most certainly did not break my heart.