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I don’t know about this Kubrick guy

With tonight’s viewing of Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, I’ve now watched four of his films (five if you count AI) and I still don’t see what the big deal is. The acting is never great, the scenes and movies themselves are always more drawn out than they need to be, and the dialogue usually dances on the line between dramatic and cliche. It’s not that I’m not a fan, because I am; I’m more worried that I don’t like him as much as I’m supposed to. Let me paint you a little picture here.

Scene: Interior, a mansion. Our protagonist is the guest of honor at a swanky dinner party. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves line the walls, and velvet drapes unfold languidly from curtain rods before the gothic windows. The very exclusive invites are seated around a long mahogany table, with footmen waiting a respectable distance behind. The attendees, dressed alternately in formal eveningwear and the stylish mock cheap of intellectuals, have just finished the main course, and are served snifters of aged brandy. They constantly swirl these with one hand while making expansive gestures with the other, thoroughly engaged in their conversations. The camera slowly pans to Zach, deep in conversation with a gentleman in all black sporting a pointed goatee and a beret tilted at a rakish angle on his bald head. Zoom in.

ZACH: AI was quite droll, with its saccharine fairy-tale narratives, don’t you agree?

SNOOTY ART MAJOR #1: Indeed. That hack Spielberg ruined Kubrick’s perfect vision. It could have been a masterpiece, like Dr. Strangelove. Takes a contemplative sip of his brandy

ZACH: Really? Because I don’t know if I’d call it a masterpiece –

SNOOTY ART MAJOR #1: Spews brandy over table, eyes bugging in shock. Yelling. You don’t like Dr. Strangelove?

Camera pans around table. All conversation ceases as the guests turn in wide-eyed amazement to follow this exchange. Close up of Zach.

ZACH: Looks nervously around. Stammering. Well, no – uh. It’s not that I don’t like it, see, I just, uh. I just don’t think it was a masterpiece… His voice fades into an embarrassed murmur

HOST: Rises to his feet, shaking with rage. His voice breaks with his anger. You. You! You get out of my mansion! You’re not welcome here, now or ever!

ZACH: I thought it was pretty good, really! running for exit amid a hail of cutlery. Pauses by the door. Look, Full Metal Jacket was awesome, if you’ll just – Dessert spoon embeds itself, quivering, in the thick oak door inches from his hand. He ducks out. Fade to black on outrage in dining room. End scene.

I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but I feel there’s enough of a chance that I should be concerned. I mean, you saw how pissed snooty art major #1 was.

Posted in Musings.


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