Tuesday, March 19, 2002

We just joined NetFlix, which is a small glimmer of heaven, and which you should do yourself a favor and join. We rent at least 3 movies a week, and Hollywood video charges 4 dollars for a DVD. That means at least 48$ per month, not counting late fees. NetFlix is 20$ per month, for unlimited rentals, no late fees and a better selection.

There. I'm all done advertising.

What I really wanted to say is that the first movie we got from them was the new Criterion Edition of The Ruling Class. I had seen this years ago and forgot that it has the earmark of a truly great 70s film: A guy in a gorilla suit (kind of like this one). And Peter O'Toole. These two things virtually guarantee a positive viewing experience. If you can somehow get Peter O'Toole into the gorilla suit, so much the better*.

I think many of today's movies could benefit from the Deus Ex Machina moment where the guy in the gorilla suit comes in. It signals the moment where the director is saying either

1 - "This film is functioning on such a deep level that the guy in the gorilla suit just works, dammit!"


b - "This movie is so ridiculously bad that it couldn't be made any worse by something that makes no sense at all".

Of course, this theory doesn't hold up to the Planet Of The Apes Remake Challenge, wherein you try to think of a way that the movie could be made worse than it already is. This is not possible.

If you're not into bitter indictments of the British Upper Class, this may not be the film for you. Also, if you're not into music hall song and dance routines, you might not like this. It has that O Lucky Man! kind of demented surrealism that you almost want to cringe at, but somehow this movie pulls it off. It also begins with an auto-erotic asphyxiation gone horribly awry. You just don't see enough of that in today's cinema.

*It is a little known fact that Peter O'Toole had to be dissuaded from wearing a gorilla suit during the filming of Lawrence of Arabia by director David Lean, in a vehement argument that resulted in the exchange of fisticuffs.


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