Monterey Pop

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When I opened my Christmas presents on Christmas morning, I was most excited for what my boyfriend got me. I was excited because my boyfriend has intimate knowledge about my obsession with physical media and the gifts he was giving me were roughly Blu-Ray shaped. When I tore into the wrapping paper, I held in my hands the Criterion Collection release of the Complete Monterey Pop Festival (this includes the full concerts the director shot of both Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix). I was surprised that he would get me something so obscure and then I glanced at the totally groovy Jimi Hendrix poster hanging on the wall next to me. I realized then that I was given the best gift I had gotten in years.

This movie is basically hippie porn for me. Filmed over a couple of days, D.A. Pennebaker (of Don’t Look Back and The War Room fame and a great documentarian) focused his lens not just on the magnificent performances but also the crowd of people who chose to witness these monumental events. We see hippies of every shape and size enjoying the music and themselves. But at the end of the day the documentary is about the music. We see amazing performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who, Ravi Shankar, and Otis Redding. He uses these great performances as a backdrop for small experiments with his camera and editing. The most impressive sequence is of Otis Redding performing. There is a light that shines directly on him. Pennebaker places the camera behind him so as Otis is getting into the music and begins to bob up and down and sway, the light disappears and reappears in a rhythm that seems in time with the music. Pennebaker also knows when to not worry about cutting away or do some fancy camera trick. For Ravi Shankar’s performance, he keeps his camera squarely on him, his bongo (I think they are called something else in India, but I can’t find the technical term) player, and their hands as they play truly fascinating music. Only every once in a while does he cut away from these master musicians to show the reactions of the crowd.

If you are fascinated by sixties hippie culture and the magnificent music this time period produced, you must watch this documentary. (And also go to the Experience Music Project in Seattle. It has a very comprehensive documentation of this time, especially Jimi Hendrix who is from Seattle and a demi god in my eyes) I was fortunate enough to watch this documentary with some friends who had never seen Jimi Hendrix light his guitar on fire or watch Janis Joplin fall back on her heels as she gets into a song. Hearing their expressions of awe at the sight on the screen, gave me untold joy. I hope this movie will give you untold joy as well.

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Twenty Eight Up

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This is the fourth entry in the Up documentary series that I am exploring.

Michael Apted decided to change-up the structure this time. He has started to explore each subject with more depth so he gave each one (with the exception of the three girls who have always been interviewed together but each have their own special time to themselves as well) their own section instead of cutting together everybody’s answers together. This results in a longer film and one that can drag at times. But I also feel like I have a stronger handle on where each subject is at their particular part of life. It also opens up the picture so that it isn’t a series of talking heads, but also a day in the life of each subject. This is also the point where subjects start to drop out. This time there are two people who refused to be interviewed, both of them were from the upper crust. This will be a challenge that Apted will have to conquer from here on out.

Almost all but two people have started families by this time in their life. The man who was half black and half white has the most robust family, having had five children within the space of only a couple of years. It is obvious that he is compensating for not having siblings or a father while growing up. He also seems to have grown out of his depression and has become happy with his lot in life. In contrast the young man who was squatting in London has continued a nomad existence and we see him living in a very small trailer on the coast. He is quite simply sad. He feels like he has wasted something but is trying his best to make a go at life. I am intrigued to see how he will turn out.

This movie is truly a study of contrasts. One man who read Math at Oxford and had a very good education decided to drop out of the rat race and teach at a general education school full of recent immigrants and poor children. He seems content with his choice and talks about how he wants to give everything he can to better society. He talks about immigration issues and the need to have a diverse country. On the other hand, a man who had a pretty good education but nothing spectacular is also a teacher at a general education school and hates it. He talks about how little respect he gets at the school and how little he is paid. He hates having to go to work every day. He also grumbles about Thatcher and the politic atmosphere. Another contrast is the posh young girl who seemed to hate life at twenty-one is now a happy housewife. She seemed moody and didn’t trust the Apted in the previous installments, but here she seems to be glowing. She smiles and talks about the future for her child with an earnestness that is appealing. She understands that she wasn’t truly happy for a long time because of the long battle with divorce in her life and her father dying. But she now understands that these troubles just make you stronger. Apted juxtaposes her currently with old footage and the evidence of the transformation is fascinating.

It seems that the documentary has evolved into a more personal snapshot of individual people instead of a political statement. Although Apted still asks political questions, the answers are more founded on concrete evidence instead of lofty ideas and dreams. I don’t know if these people are truly representative of 1984 England (and America and Australia), but I do know that each person has a unique way of looking at their lot in life. But this view of life has changed only a little bit since they were children. Apted cuts in footage from the previous movies into the film and you can see that they are still their essential selves that they were at seven. Truly interesting.

The Killing Fields

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The late seventies and eighties were rife with stories about one renegade man going to the jungles of Asia to rescue a person they love. Whether it was Rambo style, filled with heavy machine guns and rippling muscles or Deer Hunter style, filled with agonizing and meandering Russian Roulette games, every story seemed a little far fetched. It didn’t reflect the everyday reality that tons of refugees faced. What would happen if you left behind a person that meant a lot to you in a war torn country to presumably die? What would you be able to do for them or would you be able to do anything at all? The Killing Fields tells a more true to life story of a New York Times reporter and his guide through the early days of Khmer Rouge occupied Cambodia and his struggle to find him after he goes missing.

This movie is more a series of vignettes than having a conventional plot line. This is because the real life events didn’t happen in a pretty straight forward narrative style. Sydney Schanberg is deep within his assignment as the Cambodian reporter for the New York Times. He brings Dith Pran along with him so he can translate for him and also help him get to places normal reporters can’t go. With Pran’s help he breaks several stories related to the United States bombing Cambodia in secret. He also gets arrested and escapes with the skin of his teeth, thanks to him. As the Khmer Rouge’s ascent to power becomes more assured, Schanberg secures passage to the United States for Dith Pran and his family. But Dith Pran refuses to go, deciding instead to send just his family and stay behind with Schanberg and continue to cover the war. Finally the government take over is complete and every non-Cambodian is holed up in the French Embassy. The Khmer Rouge is demanding that every Cambodian be taken out of the French Embassy in order for them to leave safely. Schanberg and his fellow photojournalists scurry to make Pran a fake passport, but all of their efforts are for not. Pran disappears before the Khmer Rouge gets to him (by now it is a known fact that the Khmer Rouge will execute anyone who is educated and has ties to an imperial power. Dith Pran was a doctor.) Schanberg goes back home. He is defeated. He tries every avenue he can to get Pran out but communication has gone down between them. He gives Pran up for dead. The story now becomes about Dith Pran’s path for survival. At every turn Pran must hide his background from the militants in charge and writes mental letters for Schanberg in order to stay sane. But will he be able to escape this oppressive regime that killed seven million out of their ten million population within the space of a couple of years? An answer to that question will involve spoilers, so I won’t give you the solution.

Although the story is fascinating, the cinematography is amazing, and the performances were pretty good, I felt like I was being preached to the entire time I was watching this film. I felt the weight of the running time on my head. It wasn’t able to fully engage me on an emotional level. I think it is because the film chose to take a third person view of a situation that would have benefited from a first person viewpoint. If I was able to see the conflict from Dith Pran’s viewpoint more often, I think I would have enjoyed it more. In fact for the last thirty minutes or so, it is mostly from his point of view and I think that is where the film finally hits its stride. The intense suffering and long nights he had trying to stay alive in an oppressive country that he once called his home is arresting stuff. But for most of the film length it is Schanberg’s viewpoint. We see the incoming war from the point of view of an outsider. Sometimes an outsider can bring an unique perspective but not this time. Dith Pran is the hero here, not Schanberg and he should be treated as such.

I usually don’t bring in IMDb facts that I read because there is usually nothing more I can add to them. But I feel like this time, I wanted to point out the life of the person who played Dith Pran. Dith Pran was played by a Cambodian refugee they found living in Thailand. His name was Haing S. Ngor and he too was a doctor before the Khmer Rouge took over. He had a wife just like Pran did, but his wife was pregnant and chose to die in childbirth instead of giving up her husband as an educated man who knew how to deliver a baby. Mr. Ngor was hesitant to take the role, but accepted it after he remembered he promised his wife that he would tell the story of his people. Mr. Ngor would go on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and would continue to work in Hollywood off and on for a couple more years. In 1996, he was found dead in his apartment, apparently murdered. Although there were wild suspicions that he was whacked by the Khmer Rouge militants for making such an anti-Khmer Rouge movie, it was later revealed that he was killed by robbers who wanted the valuables in his home for drugs. When his niece came to his apartment to collect his things and pack it up, she found the Oscar he had won for this movie. The bronze had completely worn off. Apparently he was so proud of the statue that he would hold it for long periods of time. Isn’t that a bitter sweet story? It brings a tear to my eye. I am a weepy girl after all.

Billy Liar

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I think anyone with intense and hard to reach ambitions dream about the day that they will one day come true. These dreams can morph into something that doesn’t resemble what that ambition would be in real life. But the scary part about these dreams isn’t the overt unreality of them is that the possibility that they will one day come true. For Billy Fisher, he struggles with this problem in early sixties England.

Billy Fisher is Billy Liar. He is stuck in a boring job, still living at home with his anxious and ignorant parents, and dreams of one day being a writer and running away with the perfect woman embodied by Liz. In order to overcome all of these awful (at least in his eyes) circumstances he lies to almost everyone in his life. He lies about having a father in the hospital, about having two fiancée, about having a lucrative job in London lined up and even about mailing out Christmas calendars for his company. It seems almost too easy for him to lie to everyone. The only person who sees through his lies is Liz, a free spirit who goes exactly where she wants to go and does exactly what she wants to do. Liz is the ideal for Billy. She has no cares in the world. Although he seems to “make love” to two other women, it is clear from the first appearance of her on the screen that it is she that he loves. After a night of talking where Billy reveals his imaginary country that he is a president of (Ambrosia), Liz convinces him to leave the small town he lives in and go to London to pursue his dreams. When he returns home to gather up his stuff to leave on the midnight train to London with Liz, he learns that his grandma is dying in the hospital. His father guilts him into going to the hospital to visit her and his mother. Will these events be enough to derail his ambitions or will he meet the love of his life and live the life he always wanted? I guess you will have to watch the film to find out.

This film has an urgency about it that feels refreshing. Tom Courtney plays Billy Fisher in a comic fashion but it doesn’t stop him from feeling real emotions and passion. He wants nothing more than to be a success in life, but nobody seems to believe in him. This makes him easy to relate to even if on the surface his lies hurt some and annoy others. He is the ultimate misunderstood protagonist.

Just like in my previous entry, Billy Liar was made during a time of transition for England. Like South Korea, England was crawling out from under the devastating effects of war, producing children that wanted more than structurally safe apartment and no more bombings. In fact most of the young people in this film were mere babies when the great war happened. They see their future not as an obligation but as a potential for fame and high profits. This produced a sense of discontented in the struggling economy of England. The division between his parents, who just want him to have a reliable job, a sweet wife and a bundle of kids, and Billy, who wants to be a famous writer, is a direct result of this cultural transition. But at the same time this conflict is universal and timeless. Their bickering are a result of the parents just wanting a good life for the son they raised for so many years. They want him to settle because that is what they did when they were his age. This is what makes Billy Liar so effective so many years past its release date. Should he stay and settle or follow his dreams and take a risk? This is the ultimate question a lot of artists have to ask themselves at a certain point in their lives.

The Housemaid

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I love to find a movie no one knows about. It is always so awesome. You feel superior to other cinephiles. Ha. I saw The Housemaid, an obscure yet totally awesome film from mid-sixties Korea, what have you done today? Watched Inside Llewyn Davis like every other cinephile… pee shaw

The Housemaid is an emotional melodrama about a South Korean music teacher caught up in an affair. After acquiring a two-story house for his wife who wants the middle class life style, he hires a housemaid to help her with the housework. Although he seems to love his wife, he cannot resist the opening arms of this scheming lower class woman. This one night of lonely passion results in an unwanted pregnancy and a turn in the family dynamic. The music teacher and his wife are now treated as prisoners in their own home. The housemaid dictates what is to be done in order to avoid a scandal. It all comes to a head in the most devilishly melodramatic way possible.

This movie is quite amazing in the way it grabs you and leaves you hanging, hoping at each turning point that the music teacher will some how escape his inevitable fate. But the housemaid has her own intentions. She wants what the wife wants. She wants to have a middle class existence that includes a handsome husband and a beautiful child. Due to her status, she will never have what the wife has and therefore must steal it from the person she most envies. Bedding the husband is more about conquest and less about genuine passion. The woman who plays the housemaid, Lee Eun-Shim, transforms herself so completely into this grotesque monster, it is amazing to know that she never worked again on film. Even from the beginning you can see the devilish nature behind her weird cigarette smoking technique (She takes a hold of the cigarette at the end near the cherry instead of near the filter. It gives her away as a novice smoker.) and the way she handles a rat that is menacing the house but the development of this nature is truly scary.

This movie says more about the society in which the film was made than the characters themselves. South Korea was in a transition time during the time of the production. Having barely survived a prolonged war status thanks to the separation of the country into two halves, South Korea was just barely escaping uncontrollable debt because of the United States’ influence. But with the patronage of the United States comes the problems of capitalism. The United State’s citizens need to always be seen as middle class or upper class despite their actual lot in life is easily transferable to an impressionable South Korea. This is what the music teacher and his wife get caught in. His wife must take in sewing and he must provide private lessons to the women that he teaches in order to afford a two-story house they so desperately want. This bull-headed want propels the rest of the action and gives the music teacher a sense of desperation that is felt throughout the rest of the film. The couple is scared that if the affair is found out he will lose his job and they will be dropped back down to the lower class slums. One indication that they are middle class is that their house is two stories. The director chooses to place a good portion of the drama on the stairs as a way of showing the intended audience that shallow status symbols are not worth it.

This movie can be adored on many different levels. As pure melodrama, as social and political commentary, as a horror movie or as just a movie that influenced your favorite South Korean director, each way to watch the film offers plenty of rewards.

Seven Chances

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In 1999, Hollywood released a conventional adaptation of an unconventional movie. Titled the Bachelor (made before the long running and formulaic series), it starred Chris O’Donnell and Renee Zellweger. Chris O’Donnell plays a flaky bachelor who inherits a massive amount of money. The only catch is that he must marry by 6 pm on his thirtieth birthday. He must go on an epic search for a bride that would be willing to marry him on such short notice. This leads to a long series of shenanigans until he realizes that he really wants to marry his long time girlfriend. This plot is ripped whole heartedly from an unusual source, a silent comedy made by Buster Keaton. And let me tell you that the original is always better.

The plot is basically what I stated before, only replace the uncharismatic Chris O’Donnell with the amazing comedian Buster Keaton and inject a real reason that he needs the money, mainly saving his company from going bankrupt. Oh and a massive sequence where Keaton runs down a hill being chased by large boulders and brides.

This is a typical Keaton feature, which basically means that it is amazing. Keaton stumbles through the plot with a charismatic aw shucks that endears him to the viewer. He loves his girlfriend but is unable to find the words to express it. For months, as the dog she has as a pet gets bigger, he struggles to propose to his beloved and fails expertly. When he learns that his company is about to go under, he looses hope. When he fails to court several young women, he fails in a way that Keaton can only exhibit. It is only when he is away from the woman he wants does he find the words to express his love.

All of the attributes of this movie are lost once it is updated to modern times. These days getting married isn’t the only way to express your love and women don’t see marriage as a thing to stabilize their lives and provide themselves with a sustainable future. These two things are a given in the silent picture but end up sticking out like a sore thumb in the modern version. So the movie must fumble through several different scenes in order to justify that being a bachelor is a bad thing for the male lead and all women want is a ring on their finger. Where Seven Chances is about a man struggling to save himself from ruin, The Bachelor becomes a long commercial for wedding services. If you were ever put into a situation where you could only watch two movies, the Bachelor or Seven Chances, pick Seven Chances and poop on the other option.

Twenty One Up

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This is the third entry into my series exploring the Up! documentary series.

We pick up these children as they are becoming adults. A good portion of them are in college or married, but some of them have rejected those two paths. One young man who seemed to have a lot of potential when he was younger ended up squatting in a rundown apartment in London. He is doing day labor construction and sporting an old coat with a massive hole in it. The one young woman who came from a posh background rebelled against the system and chose to run away to Paris. She is a chain-smoking young woman who seems to be completely sad. Another young man, Tony, who wanted to be a jockey has had his early dreams dashed. But he seems completely unfazed by it. He is hustling bets at a dog track and training to be a taxi driver. He is happy with his lot and loves not having much responsibility.

These young adults represent several different paths that life can take. You can drop out and run away, study hard at university (or not so hard), get married and start a family, or just work your butt off. Despite having just summed up the trajectory each subject is currently on, they each make their path their own. There are two subjects that are currently studying at Oxford. But their studies each look completely different. One young man came from the country and is studying physics and his energy towards the subject is pretty fascinating but he is exceedingly humble. He doesn’t think that he is very smart, which makes him the smartest of the lot. Another young man who came from a high-class society is shown hunting and talking about things outside of his subject matter. He doesn’t seem to care about his studies although clearly he does. He looks like the traditional English chap.

Twenty one up is more interested in exploring the personal potential that each person has. There is no judgements, just a concrete picture of the many different facets of English life. Although I wasn’t as enthused about this entry because it doesn’t get into politics the way the previous one does, we get a more complete picture of what a person is and can be.

Hard Target

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I was not ever a young man. I know that is hard to believe, but I wasn’t. So instead of spending my time watching the shittiest action flicks I can find, I instead wasted my time watching a ton of sappy romantic movies. (I have probably seen most of the romance movies that came out from 1996 to about 2003. It’s pretty bad) Because of this I was never exposed to Jean-Claude Van Damme. I feel like my life had been missing something until I watched this movie. Now I can die happy, knowing that I made time to watch a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.

This movie is basically a riff on the Most Dangerous Game. You remember that story, right? The one in high school you were forced to read because your English teacher had no imagination. I don’t want to ruin the plot for you if by some chance you got out of reading this “classic” but I will anyway. The most dangerous game is hunting humans apparently. This time the most dangerous game is set in New Orleans and black, homeless veterans are the game. Jean-Claude Van Damme teams up with a very buxom young woman to find her father who disappeared. You might think that he just doesn’t want to be found, since he left his family and decided to live a homeless vagabond lifestyle. But that is not what happened. Instead Jean-Claude Van Damme figures out that these vaguely foreign entrepreneurs are setting up intricate city-wide hunting sprees for insanely rich clients.

Jean-Claude Van Damme moves through a world where everyone seems to know his name (which is Chance Boudreaux by the way… yeah.) and his broken plight is common knowledge. He also winks a lot at the camera, the main love interest and basically anyone on-screen with him. I found this slightly unnerving. Like I said before, I have never watched any other Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, so is this a common acting signature he has? Or was this a choice the director and him contemplated deeply before shooting? I hope that there were specific hour-long meetings just about whether or not he should wink at the person he is sharing a scene with. All joking aside, JCVD is an awful actor. But his acting skills do nothing but help this movie be even more enjoyable. When he swings his mullet around in order to pull off a sweet kick, his acting skills become secondary.

This movie is notable because it marks John Woo’s debut American film. He made a couple of really great action flicks in China before coming to America. Most notably for me is Hard Boiled, which features the best opening scene of all time: our protagonist pulls on a cigarette, takes a shot and exhales thus indicating that for the rest of the film he will be all kinds of badass. Woo’s excellent sense of over the top action is a perfect match for JCVD. Cars exploding, tons of jump kicks, and spectacular gun fights are what Woo does best. And this is also what JCVD does best as well. But Woo also seemed to know JCVD’s restrictions as an actor, because he was able to give us a truly great villain to spur on JCVD’s over the top rage. Lance Hendrickson will probably die while playing a villain. He is so spectacular as the growling vaguely foreign entrepreneur. He just mugs at the camera and you get chills go up your spine. He is great. All you need in a good action flick is a charismatic (even if it borders on creepy for most of the running time) protagonist and a truly despicable villain. Woo accomplished both things very well.

Shane

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A weather-beaten man in a fringed shirt rides up to a lonely homestead to ask for a drink of water. This is how several movie Westerns start, but almost from the beginning something is different about this telling. Is it because the cowboy is wearing an odd shirt that makes the already slender and small man seem even smaller? Or is it because of almost understood notion that this man will get involved with the family living at the homestead even though they didn’t know him hours before? Or is it because of the almost instantaneous attraction the cowboy has for the whole family, especially the wife? What ever it is this Western deviates almost instantly from its genres tropes while also supporting them and keeping them close to its heart.

Shane is a lonely cowboy who gets involved in one town’s struggle against cow herding strong men. Homesteaders chose to fence up several small plots in order to make a go at farming, but the men that were there before these homesteaders came want the land for grazing for their more lucrative cow business. The cow herder hires several gunmen to terrorize and intimidate the homesteaders. They all hang out at the bar, playing cards. Shane enters the bar to buy a soda for the son and becomes a target for his effeminate ways (he doesn’t drink whiskey, is significantly shorter than the rest of the group and didn’t have his six-shooter on him). Shane lets them bully him resisting his past ways. But he can only resist for so long. The gunmen keep pushing these homesteaders around and causes several deaths for no real reason. The homesteading family decides to take a stand against this bully, but Shane knows that they would be no match for them. Shane volunteers to be the representative in the Mexican standoff against the best henchman by knocking out the husband. He kills the menace, but now knows there is no place for him in the town and he must leave.

The camera exhibits extreme compassion for the title character. He knows that there is only way to solve such a serious problem, but he also understands the implications of such an action. There is no coming back from killing a man, even if it is justified. This is a lesson he knows all too well. The camera lights him in a flattering manner against the beautiful dusty landscapes. The camera lingers on him as he teaches the young boy of the family how to shoot. This pivotal scene says so much without actually saying anything. Shane shows that his dexterity with a gun is a practiced thing, not an abstract learned thing that scars most of the gunmen today. While he is being taught how to handle a gun, the young boy becomes a manifestation of his younger self. No one becomes a true gunman without having some desire to become one. He may have seen the profession much like the young boy did when he started, but he has woke up to the harsh reality. He wants to shield this young boy from the same fate, while also trying to help him fulfill his dreams. As Shane is teaching the young boy how to shoot, we see the wife watching the scene in an affectionate way. Although she says nothing, everything is plain on her face. She sees Shane as a father figure, perfect for her son and ultimately for herself. But she also knows that Shane is a troubled man with a shadowy past. She seems to be daydreaming about an alternate reality where Shane is uninhibited by his demons and he is her husband instead of her actual spouse. She knows these thoughts are wrong and she still holds a deep affection for her husband, but it does not stop the mind from wondering. This scene sums up the interior meaning behind the exterior action. Although it may on the surface be a usual Western about a good yet troubled man standing up against evil, it is so much more.

In Like Flint

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I loved Austin Powers when I was little. I would watch it over and over again. I even watched the sequels a lot. But I always felt I was missing something (particularly with the first one. The sequels were just riffs on endless fart jokes) because I was too young to have watched the movies their parodying and my dad didn’t care about James Bond so they were never on when I was little. Since my obsession with Austin Powers has waned and my obsession with film history has waxed (ha! moon references! I am so intelligent, it is unbelievable.), I have decided to finally find out what made these spy films both so popular and so bad in the sixties that they produced such a great movie. (I stand by the first Austin Powers movie. You can discount all my credibility now.) I have tried to watch early James Bond movies (meh) and I have watched several other spy movies of varying integrity, but it wasn’t until I watched In Like Flint did I realize why this genre was so rich for parody.

In Like Flint is actually a sequel to a movie that I don’t think I will be watching any time soon. Both movies star James Coburn as Derek Flint. (Get what they did there?) Derek Flint is basically the most amazing person in the world. He can talk dolphin, invent a normal looking belt buckle that can perform a million different tricks, and bed any woman he comes across and winks at. Flint is tapped to help take down an all woman take over of the planet. This all-woman collective have to employ some men in order to accomplish their goal. They take an actor and give him an insane amount of plastic surgery. They then replace the president with him. But men can’t be trusted, can they? Their scheme goes wrong, with only a minimal help from Flint. This is of course interspersed with tons of sequences of women in skimpy clothing and some radical technology, man.

When I was watching this movie, I think I uttered “Wow” a million times. I can suspend my disbelief and have fun with a movie with an insane premise, but this movie was just asking too much of me. The prejudices against women was just so over the top that it made me mad. At one point Derek Flint says “Women taking over the world! Preposterous!” He along with every other male lead could never imagine a world where a woman could be in charge of anything besides the hair on her head. And the women who are in charge of this collective do not do our gender any credit. They spout out nonsensical rhetoric and fall into the arms of Flint at the drop of a hat. Literally every woman wants to get into bed with Flint. This is surprising because he has almost no charm. James Coburn does little more than stare straight into the camera and recite his lines as written. Wooden doesn’t even begin to describe it. Coburn also is not the most attractive man in the world. He can be ruggedly handsome in a cowboy hat and dirty shirt, but clean him up and he looks like just a stretched out ape. There would be no reason for anyone to be attracted to him (Except maybe the man who calls Flint back in action. He seems to have a boy crush on him). Coburn’s performance along with almost everyone else in the film besides Lee Cobb makes the film drag on for an interminable amount of time. I think I would have been more forgiving if it gave me a “Wham Bam Thank You Man” experience instead of a War and Peace experience.