Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating our freedoms on July 4th

I just realized that the last three DVDs I watched the few days before the 4th of July were:

Fair Game (with Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame and Sean Penn as Joe Wilson), ...

All The President's Men (with Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein and Robert Redford as Bob Woodward)...

Good Night Good Luck (with George Clooney as Fred Friendly and David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow.

All are movies where citizens expose the dastardly deeds of those in power. All are true stories. All make me angry and also happy to be an American. Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech are two of the greatest things worth celebrating today. The freedom to make movies that our government might not want made is another thing to celebrate.

By the way. I like Fair Game, but it's not the greatest movie. Cinematically it does nothing outrageously new or memorable. It's worth watching though, for it's good direction, solid performances and a story that's will hopefully remain the most historically significant aspect of the Bush presidency (that and the economic crash). 

All the President's Men, on the other hand, is one of the best movies ever made. Amazing acting, great subtle direction, brilliant screenwriting, mind blowing cinematography. Look for the amazing double focus shots using lenses that are able to find their focus in two places at once. Also look for what I consider one of the most amazing moments of film acting of all time: at one point there is a shot of Redford on the phone, the camera goes from a medium wide to a medium tight. As you watch you are caught up in the drama and suspense of the scene and you don't realize that the scene is seven minutes long. Seven minutes! Very few scenes in film that long even work, and here's a seven minute single shot of Redford. Definitely an under appreciated film actor. The film is worth watching over and over for many reasons... not the least of which is for its legitimately incredible and important story.

Good Night and Good Luck is also a very good movie. Shot in beautiful black and white it has a great ensemble cast, lead by the always outstanding Strathairn. The music is great. My seventeen year old son was the one who pulled it out to watch it. About halfway through I sat down with him and he asked, "Is this an independent film?" I said yes, and he said, "You can always tell because they never have any music." GNGL does have very good music, but it's used like source music. It's based on a story I've known about for years and have wanted to make a movie about for years, but Clooney beat me to it. That's a good name for my autobiography: Clooney Beat Me To It.

Help me out here, what are some other great Power to the People movies we could watch around the 4th?

1 comment:

  1. I can think of a lot of documentaries, But for movies, and I'm too late with this anyway, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?