OTB#2: Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane. Orson Welles. 1941. ⚂

I have seen this movie a number of times before — I’m not a complete moron. (Note: “Complete”.) But it’s been several decades, and I just remember some flashes of a huge, empty house, and a sled being thrown into an incinerator? Oh, now it’s coming back to me… I must have seen this as a child: I remember the emotional impact of that scene. Oh, and the general sadness.

But nothing about what this movie is about, really. I think it’s based on William Randolph Hearst? Comics fans have a different view of Hearst than most people, I think: Hearst papers carried Krazy Kat, and any sane editor tried to get rid of it as fast as possible, because everybody hated that fag stuff (I’m quoting). But whenever Hearst noticed them dropping it, he insisted that it be put back into the newspaper. Fuck editorial independence: George Herriman was a fucking genius! Hearst was right and all the editors were wrong.


[roll movie]

[ten minutes pass]

Of course, Citizen Kane is traditionally voted The Best Movie Ever in any film poll, but it’s just on a (shared) #2 here. And after then first ten minutes I’m confused as why it’d be on any “best of” lists: I’ve seldom seen such a massive infodump opening anywhere. It’s boring as fuck!

[fifty more minutes pass]

OK, after the infodump is over, all the shots look fantastic! Almost every single one is like “IT”S LIKE A CUT-RATE SVEN NYKVIST SHOT! ONLY TWO DECADES EARLIER!” It’s really pretty.

But this is my third movie today, and I’m slightly tipsy. I’m really having a problem with just recognising Welles (as Kane) from one shot to the next. He looks so different from when he’s in his 20s to when he’s in his 30s (?) that I had to look it up on imdb to see whether there were several people playing him and there apparently isn’t?

Much confuse.

[twenty minutes pass]

OK, I officially don’t get it.

There isn’t anybody that dares say the think this movie is boring.

So I guess I’ll be the one: This shit is tedious. The storyline … of a semi-self-made (but not really) man turning his newspapers to trash to attract readers, and then… er… becoming a politician? And having a mistress? Who’s a singer? … and… er…

Nobody explained why we’re supposed to even care?

For every shot that’s interesting, there’s three scenes of people nobody could possibly be interested in jawing at each other.

I can see that somebody would like this: There’s always somebody. But 100%? That’s ridiculous. It’s a movie you’re supposed to find to be genius?

The lowest grade on Metacritic is 90!

[the end]

OK, I’m going to be almost as controversial as saying that Shawshank Redemption sucks, or Spielberg sucks: This isn’t a very good movie.

There. I said it.

There’s a whole bunch of turgid scenes in here, and the storyline just isn’t very interesting. We’re given no reason to care about the ridiculous opera career or why Kane cares about it. Or, indeed, pretty much anything here. It’s supposed to be a tragedy; sure, but you need a reason to care about the protagonist, and… I missed it?

On the other hand, I’m really drunk now, so I may be wrong. It’s possible! Who are you going to believe: Several hundred sober film critics that say that this is a 10/10 movie, or drunk me that says that this is a bit naff?

I know; it’s a difficult choice.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

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