Been on a rollercoaster with movie choices lately. First off, let’s just get this clear — “Soylent Green” is an awful movie. Yes, it’s fun to say “Soylent Green is people!” but we ALL do it better than Charlton Heston did. And yes, Edward G. Robinson brought some charm to his final, if inexplicable, role. But Chuck Connors? The whole awful premise? The fact that the future looked exactly like the ’70s it was filmed in? Awful, awful film. The only redeeming production values were brought by Leigh Taylor-Young, who also featured much more prominently in the equally awful “I Love You Alice B. Toklas.” I’m willing to watch Peter Sellers in just about anything, as this movie proved, but my god there was just nothing happening here. Any Peter Fonda movie about the ’60s was better.
And the surprise closer in a trilogy of stink? “Vertigo.” Never my favorite of Hitchcock’s films, I was surprised to find that, again, NOTHING happens in this movie. For hours. Then Jimmy Stewart acts scared, then he gets over it. And Leigh Taylor-Young (interestingly, elder sister of Dey Young of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” fame) is nowhere to be seen.
I won’t say it’s awful because every time it’s on, I have to watch it, but truly I don’t know why — Kirk Douglas chewing the scenery from beginning to end of “Lust for Life.” Anthony Quinn gives a more lifelike performance as Gauguin, but you can say this, Kirk doesn’t sit still for a second in his raving portrayal of Van Gogh.
Better films? It occurs to me that Jason Schwartzman has made an arc of competing with big name comedians for women, first in “Rushmore” with Bill Murray, and now in “Shopgirl” with Steve Martin. I loved the book, and was pleased to see the movie handled so well. Plus, Claire Danes? More beautiful than ever. Saw Schwartzman again last night in “I Heart Huckabees,” which many hate but which I like for its creation of a complete, bizarre little world. Also better than expected? “Forbidden Planet.” Not sure I ever saw it in color before. Not saying it was great, but it wasn’t awful, either.
Had I mentioned that DVR (the poor man’s Tivo) has changed my life?