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An Easter-Time Movie List For All

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 27, 2016 04:07pm | Post a Comment
Killer bunny? From Gorleston Psalter, 14th Century.
Killer bunny? From Gorleston Psalter14th-century manuscript.

Happy Easter! Even though I grew up Jewish and had no idea what a Resurrection was, I knew I liked bunnies, chocolate, treating eggs like an art project, and finding buried treasure in foliage. I was sold on the whole Easter thing. As I matured at some point in the not too distant past, I realized that there was a whole lot more to Easter than baskets full of candy and huge hats. I learned that it was also about birth and rebirth. The symbolism of eggs, Jesus's triumphant return from the dead, and bunnies multiplying like, well, bunnies all lead us to appreciate the foundation of it all: Spring Equinox, the renewal of life on earth. I'm not sure where the chocolate fits in, but I'm not going to question a good thing.

In honor of everyone who can appreciate longer and brighter days, the rejuvenation of all life on earth, and deadly killer rabbits, I bring you this non-denominational Easter-time movie list for all...

Rebel Without A Cause

Nicholas Ray's 1955 magnum opus of teen angst is considered by most to be the first sensitive and Rebel Without A Causerealistic look at troubled, misunderstood youth. Would we have those heart-breaking scene's of Bender (Judd Nelson), Claire (Molly Ringwald), and the gang discussing their troubled home lives in The Breakfast Club without Rebel Without A Cause? I think not. The opening scene in Rebel is set in a police station on Easter night where three high school kids -- Jim Stark (James Dean), Judy (Natalie Wood), and Plato (Sal Mineo) -- meet and an unlikely friendship is born. Much drama and generation gap struggles ensue, ultimately leading to one of the character's death by the hands of the police. Rebel remains James Dean's most celebrated film. It was released a month after his death at the age of 24, thus immortalizing him as a beautiful youth forever.
 

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The Violent Itch—Rewatching The Dirty Dozen

Posted by Chuck, April 8, 2011 08:30am | Post a Comment


There are certain situations—usually in Tarantino films, or any Sandra Bullock movie—where you end up pulling for people to be slaughtered wholesale. I had a chance to watch all 150 minutes of that glorious Nazi-quashing movie The Dirty Dozen again, the 1967 WWII film that stars a pantheon of iconic actors, and this became (as it’s always been) the case. If you’re not egging Jefferson on at the end to get those grenades down the air shafts of the gas-soaked Nazi bomb shelter to carry out massive, truly satisfying immolation, well, there’s something wrong with you. Yes, Hollywood knows you know the context of WWII. But its finest directors—in this case Robert Aldrich—know even better that your mind is totally malleable and that the trick is not directing actors but in directing audience desires. Even hidden ones.

That’s never truer than in this case. 

The Dirty Dozen does what a good movie-watching experience does well, which is take you out of yourself (reconnects you to your closeted self?). In it we are dealt a series of derelicts, felons and military rogues—some of them already scheduled for the execution by hanging—who are given a chance to exonerate themselves by carrying out a very tall order. In other words, we’re presented a band of underdogs. These guys are like Virginia Commonwealth making their run at the Final Four, only they’re on their way to a Nazi raid in France and they have records. They can’t possibility succeed—we’re told this in as many words. It’s written in Ernest Borgnine’s big diabolical smile. Telly Savalas (as “Maggott”) is incorrigible; Charles Bronson (as “Wladislaw”) is disinterested; Donald Sutherland (as “Pinkley”) too knuckleheaded. Even Jefferson—played by a just-retired Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns—has the blank-faced nothingness of the deeply psychopathic.

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