Saturday, July 7, 2012


So, randomly, I had this weird craving to watch a bunch of Alfred Hitchcock movies. I have not seen ANY Hitchcock movie. I haven't even seen the crappy Hitchcock movie remakes. I'd just heard, all my life, that he was a master filmmaker, and I wanted to finally watch his movies. Fuck, if I review and critique films, I should have some knowledge of classics, right? (This is somewhat similar to last year when, all of a sudden, I wanted to watch a bunch of Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns.) I'm on classic-movie binge lately. I finally watched and loved Casablanca. And it made Hot Shots: Part Deux that much better for me. I also realized that the reason those spoofs work is because they riff and reference classic movies. Modern, shitty spoofs (All the _____ Movies) riff already-shitty movies... but I digress.)

 Jack somewhat live blogs his reactions to class Hitchock movies after the break...

THE BIRDS (1963)
- The Birds was the last movie in the collection, and the only reason I started with it was because I wanted to be a smartass and eat fried chicken while I watched.
- The movie starts with what's almost a weird romantic comedy premise. All it needed was some mid 90s soft rock, and it's adorable.
 - The leads are pretty and have great chemistry. Came to find that the lead chick, Tippi Hedren, is Melanie Griffith's mother. Also, Jessica Tandy is in this. Coooool.
- 40 minutes in, and very little fucking happens. Everyone is mysterious, but nothing happens. A bird sighting here and there. I start to wonder if I'm watching the right movie.
- When the bird attacks happen, they are pretty awesome scenes, but I'm very unhappy with people's reactions. Everyone is covering up, but nobody is screaming. If I were swarmed by birds, I would be screaming, "Oh my God, these birds are fucking killing me. Help." The only scene that I have an issue with the filming is when the kids are attacked. It looks really high school-production-y. I bet George Lucas would have re-released this with some big ass, CGI birds that look slightly more real but clearly aren't.
- There is no music at all. It gives weight and suspense to the sounds of the birds chirping. I wonder if that was the only reason for the stylistic choice.
- Does no one own a shotgun in this town? I've shot, like, four guns in my life, and even I know where the guns in my house are. You spray some buckshot at the crowd of birds, you'll be fine.
- When they're attacking the lead chick, she isn't screaming for help. Not even trying to open the door to get away from them. Apparently, her fight or flight response has been replaced by the "stand there and fucking taking it" response. - It's like a zombie movie except instead of the living dead, you have pissed off birds. I will give Hitchcock this: he made some good, tense moments (not gonna say scary) with a bunch of birds. I'd like to think that he took this as a challenge... like... how can I make this non-scary animal somewhat scary?
- Overall... meh. I'm prolly not gonna pop this one in again. It was a tough premise to accept, but the characters' reactions to the birds took me out of this movie... And also... I mean, c'mon... they're birds.
- Porn version title suggestion: The Birds and The Bees... In Vaginas

 REAR WINDOW (1954) 
- I remember that I first heard of Rear Window when Christopher Reeve starred in the 1998 TV remake after he had his horse jumping accident. Never saw it.  What did I watch in 8th grade?... Ah yes, Kevin Sorbo's Kull the Conqueror. I was in 8th grade, what?
- Okay, so the general premise is that this dude in a wheelchair witnesses a murder across the street... (I think.)
- Starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly... Cooooooool.
- This movie has music.  Really buoyant, bubbly music.
- Good opening scene.  No exposition.  Just panning through a sleeping guy's things to give a good understanding of him.
- There is a very, bouncy blonde making a sandwich wearing only pink underwear.  I'm trying to forget that she's either really dead or really old now.
- Very good visual storytelling.  I've noticed that we alternate between reaction shots of just him and shots of what the character is looking at. Never shots of him looking at stuff.
- "We've become a race of peeping toms.  What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change."  NICE.
- I'm really digging how this is filmed.  Paced well.  And the voyeuristic quality is natural and not forced.
- Jimmy Stewart is an amazing actor... but I'm having a hard time believing these two are together.  He seems like a crotchety, old man (the wheelchair isn't helping).  His vocal patterns are so natural, but his voice just sounds old.  She seems like a young princess.
- Okay, so we had a yell/yelp (done masterfully and understated), and we're suspecting the husband of a sickly woman as a murder... The only gripe I have is that the suspect is acting comically suspiciously... Looking out the window to see if anyone is looking and leaving the windows wide open.  Also, he looks like a really fat Egon Spangler.
-Temporary distraction #1. Whoa, Ray Allen joined the Heat.  I knew I hated that guy.
-Temporary distraction #2 as I looked through an AOL slideshow of teachers that had sex with their students... I seriously don't get some of those.
- Temporary distraction #3. So, I bought Live From New York. which, like, an oral history of SNL by cast, crew, and hosts.  Really fun read, and I keep picking it up to read about random stuff like the Sinead O'Connor debacle and Norm MacDonald getting fired... 40 minutes left.  Gonna power through this movie and go the fuck to sleep.
- There are times when this movie's sound is amazing.  Ambient noise mixed with neighbors playing instruments.  Other times, the music kills the suspense.
- Okay, holy shit.  This is a good movie.  I'm gonna stop with this "review" there.  Watch this movie.  This is great stuff.
- Porn version title suggestion: Rear Window for Rear Entry

Vertigo (1958)
- Alright, night 2 of my Hitchcock film fest.  Tonight we're watching Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novac in Vertigo.
- Right off the bat, this is a bit trippy.  Almost like a James Bondian intro.
- So, when the movie is good, I'm not really updating.  No quips.  No observations.  Just immersed.  Some of the dialogue is clunky and boring, but it's good... and there might possibly a ghost possessing someone.
- It really is amazing how good Jimmy Stewart is.  This doesn't seem like it's a role written for someone his age, but he makes it his.  But he's so... real.  His delivery is so naturalistic.
- Okay, so Jimmy is falling for Kim's character (who is both married and nutso) because she's gorgeous and all mysterious... and possibly possessed by her great grandmother.  This is a stretch for me.  I'm reminded of the Hot/Crazy line from How  I Met Your Mother.  She's clearly under the Vicky Mendoza diagonal.
- Alright, homegirl just threw herself off a building.  Homeboy tried to save her, but his fear of heights stopped him from acting quickly enough... There's a little less than half the movie left...
- I... uh... Can't say mind was blown, but my mind is awfully confused... It's... there's... I... The plot just took a turn for the awkwardly absurd.  So, the crazy chick was hired to act crazy because she looked like this dude's wife.  The dude was trying and able to convince Jimmy Stewart's acrophobic character that she killed herself.  And since he is acrophobic, he didn't see how she switched places with the murdered wife... This is not a smartly-written story.
- And now Jimmy Stewart has reunited with the chick he fell for, but she looks a lot different, so he stalks her to win her affections (which she already has for him), and now he's trying to get her to dress like the dead wife... This is really not good anymore.  He's clearly unstable now.  I really don't get where this is going.  He's bullying this chick to being another chick, and she's going with it... and it's all so very awkward.
- "If I let you change me, will that do it?  If I do what you tell me, will you love me?"  I know that she was the chick that he originally fell in love with, although she was playing a crazy wife... but what the fuck?  How big a step back was this for womanhood?  This is so creepy.
- Trying to think... is there a word for wanting to have sex with a person because they look like someone dead that you wanted to have sex with when they were alive?  Ugh, I'm so creeped out by this now.  The characters are all so... icky.  This is all so implausible.
- Like, I mean... if I saw a girl who looks like the last girl I dated, and I was like, "Hey, you kinda look like this girl I dated, and I'm only interested in dating you because you look like her.  NOTHING ELSE.  Nothing about you other than the fact that you look like her appeals to me.  Would you have dinner with me?  Please.  I'm really old and lonely and afraid of heights, and I can't stop looking at you... Oh, but lemme change everything about your head.  There... Yes... NO!  NO!  TRUST ME, THIS LOOKS BETTER ON YOU.  I DON'T CARE IF YOU HATE IT!"  Lordy, how low is this chick's self esteem?
- Okay, so now he figures it out... and he lets her know he figures it out in a big long, expository speech.  Earlier, she had written him a letter in her head with a big long expository speech.  If you have two speeches that say what the plot is, it's a bad plot.  It's like a Shyamalan movie.
- Aaaaaand she falls to her death....
- AND THAT'S HOW THE MOVIE ENDS?!?!?!  What the in blue fuck was this movie?  I think I dislike this movie as much as The Birds.
- From the IMDB FAQ-  "Why do people say you need to see "Vertigo" two or three times before you get it? Vertigo is a great film, but not a perfect one. First-time viewers tend to focus on the plot, its implausibilities and a twist that seems to end the movie half-way through. Second- or third-time viewers can concentrate on the characters; the themes of love, obsession, unrequited love, duplicity and manipulation; and the extraordinary depth and beauty that the performances, images and music give to them. Vertigo has a hypnotic power on the viewer who has already solved the mystery of the plot and can now delve into the mysteries of human nature."  So, I'll "get it" if I don't concentrate on the plot so much?  The fuck?
- Porn version title suggestion: Vertigrope

North by Northwest (1959)
- Alright, we're back with this one.  My knowledge of this movie comes from the Family Guy episode after they took that two year hiatus... (when they were cancelled.)  I already recognize the music.
- This might be the first time I've ever watched a Cary Grant film.  The lead chick, Eva Marie Saint was Martha Kent in Superman Returns.
- Wow, we are six minutes in, and things are already getting intense.  Cary Grant's character is being taken into custody by two douchey-looking, mysterious guys.
-Of the movies I've watched, the name of this one doesn't really give much away about the plot.
- We meet the black-suited "Mr. Townsend." He oozes "villain."  So, it seems like the plot is a case of mistaken identity.
- I've noticed that music is rarely a big part of Hitchcock's movies... He doesn't rely on music as a crutch to increase tension.  It's all on the actors.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.
- And so the chase begins!
- And so the chase ends... I'm lost, but it's in that good way... Everyone is mind-fucking him.
- Okay, so, again, the entire plot is revealed very early on (seemingly), but this movie is more about the chase of this dude.  Only one truly ridiculous sequence involving a murder. If the muppets ever murdered someone, that would be how.
- So, he's an ad man on Madison Avenue. Mad Men. Coooool.
- We now meet Eva Marie Saint's character... who's coming on really strong... and I'm assuming is a secret agent.
- Jeez, was every ad man on Madison Avenue getting some from everyone back then? Me and my creativity were born in the wrong era.
- I wonder why Tom Cruise never re-made this film. It's basically right in his wheelhouse. Dude on the run. Guys chasing him. Forced romance with a woman...
- Alright, the chick is working for... the bad guy. I was wrong.
- I really suck with watching movies nowadays. Especially when holding a computer. I've stopped paying attention... Granted, the scene is literally a dude watching cars pass by... for like 4 minutes...
- Just got to the famous Airplane scene!
- Okay, there are much better ways at trying to kill someone than trying to run them down... in an airplane. I'm from the videogame generation, and even I know that this would be the level that would piss me the f off.
- There are some terrific bits in this. It's really funny at times. There's a scene where the Cary Grant character has to find a way to escape a room in which an auction is taking place, but there are bad guys waiting for him outside this room... so he fucks with an auction to get escorted out by the police. It's funny.
- And it turns out I was right about the chick. She was working for the good guys. Double twist! But it works.
- The climactic battle... Alright, I got tired in a hurry. You can't watch these kinda movies when you're tired. The growing suspense drags. To be honest, I watched the last 20 minutes on semi-fast forward.
- Happily ever after... but, what actually happens to these characters. Homeboy had a life and a family and a career...
- Overall, this is pretty good movie. Rear Window is still my favorite, but this isn't bad. So, as it stands, I like 2 Hitchock classics, and I dislike 2. It all comes down to... PSYCHO
- Porn version title suggestion: F*ck by F*ckfest... Well, that's just uninspired.

PSYCO (1960)
- Psycho is at a disadvantage. I know the twist. I know that the chick dies early on. I know the shower scene...
- This is the first Hitchcock movie I've seen in black and white. This is the first one featuring actors and actresses I don't know, either. I'm assuming the lead blonde chick is Janet Leigh.
- I wonder if this is gonna make me wanna watch the remake. So far, no.
- Janet Leigh looks both really old and really young.
- I think that this is gonna be one of those movies I like more when I do my traditional, post-film research.
- Alright, Janet's on the run because she stole her boss's money.
- So, while Janet is driving, we hear dialogue. I can't tell if it's actual dialogue or voices in her head.
- First distraction... trying to think of the website dedicated to my niece in the NICU.
- 26 minutes in, and we're at the infamous Bates Motel.
- We get a glimpse of Mother's silhouette... I really hate that I know the twist. Then Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates come out. He's the psycho, but he seems very normal. In my head, he was creepy. That's how modern movies wsould play him... Obviously creepy or overly nice. He just seems normal. Good.
- We hear the voice of Mother Bates. Didn't see that coming.
- Okay, he's talking about taxidermy and stuffing birds... It's a very childlike performance.
- "A boy's best friend is his mother." Here we go...
- "A son is a poor substitute for a lover." HAHAHAHAHA... Uh oh...
- Okay, Anthony Perkins is scary good. Intense passivity... Scary good. "We all go a little mad sometimes." He's totally overpowering her in this scene. It's scenes like this that makes me REALLY miss acting.
- 46 minutes in, and we're at the infamous shower scene!... I kinda feel like Mr. Skin...
- Ooh, this i good. This is really creepy. And there's the origin of the murderous 're re re re re' song. THAT WAS AWESOME.
- We're staying with this body and the shower sounds for a long time.
- "Mother! Oh God, mother! Blood! Blood!"
- Just checked wikipedia, and this movie was released on 6/12/1960. Today is 6/12/2012.
- Okay, the whole cleaning thing is running kind of long.
- The scene with the private detective and Norman Bates... Another great scene. It's sad how you don't get these great dialogue-y moments too often anymore.
- And mother kills again. Re-re-re-re-re-re!
- Just found out about Norman Bates' mother murder suicide. Even knowing, it's delivered well enough to be pretty creepy.
- So, the sister and the boyfriend are investigating. The sister is trying to speak with "mother," while the boyfriend keeps Norman busy.
- Here comes the reveal... baaaaaah! Awesome.
- A bit anti-climactic, though. No big confrontation. Good reveal of his psychotic-ness... psychosis... Whatever...
- Ooooh, so Norman murdered his mother and her lover.
- I can't tell whether I love or hate this Scooby-Doo reveal... where one dude tells the evil scheme and intention. Too much exposition...
- Alright, now I can't tell if Norman-mother or Norman-Norman killed the people. Great creepy smile at the end.
- No credits.
- Okay... I rather enjoyed Psycho. Knowing the twist didn't distract from the great performances and the overall cleaverness. 3-2 for Yay on my Hitchcock essentials experiment.
- Porn version title recommendation: Psycock

No comments:

Post a Comment