Sullivan’s Travels. A good light comedy aimed at deflating Hollywood pretension and moral bluster. It took a minute in the first act to catch up with that rapid-fire dialogue. So good. And there’s an insane chase scene with delightfully escalating slapstick. The third act shift to high drama caught me off-guard, but it works. Bonus trivia: this film is the first appearance of the fake novel O Brother, Where Art Thou? This was another edition in an irregular series of road movies, loosely defined. I think Weekend is next.
Repo Man. So lively and fun, and it gets more demented the further you go. I loved this one, especially all the side laughs they threw in – just little gems of gesture (e.g., the wrapped gift) or background noise (the TV in the hospital) or the way a scene closes (behind the counter after buying drink at the convenience store) or a character detail (the cop knitting; the kindling for the kooky fireside conversation). A solid cast across the board, with lovely typecasting. One character is an obvious ancestor of Napoleon Dynamite.
Easy Rider. Two rebels made their compromise and try to live with it. Nicholson’s square tag-along is a nice addition. The cuts between scenes were so strange at first–I don’t think I’ve scene anything like it. Solid soundtrack, and you can laugh at hippies. A buddy and I are working through some notable road movies we haven’t seen. Previously: Two-Lane Blacktop (my favorite so far) and Thunder Road (second).
Two-Lane Blacktop. There’s not a lot of explicit plot motivation or dramatic arc. The characters are enigmatic drifters, and with one exception, don’t really talk a lot (there’s definitely some Western genre flavor here). I can totally see how someone might hate it. But not me. Besides the novelty of seeing James Taylor and Dennis Wilson acting, it’s got: surprisingly great photography, Warren Oates playing one of my new favorite movie characters, a nice slice-of-life/picture-of-an-era thing going, and the commitment to do its thing all the way through.
Thunder Road. It’s not amazing, but it’s fun, funny and memorable, which is close to the same thing. Good music. Nice engine roars. There’s one car crash that’s just amazing. Lemme spoil it: the car spins out, and skids off the road. Okay, no big deal. Then, wait, now it’s going downhill. And gaining speed. And then it catches fire! And tumbles end over end! And THEN it plunges into a waterfall! Exhilarating. Also, how could Mitchum’s character not go for Roxy?