OTB#75: A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange. Stanley Kubrick. 1971. ⚂

I’ve seen this before, but it was in my teens and I don’t really remember much about the actual movie. But everything from it is part of popular culture now, so it all seems so familiar anyway.

Surely those bar tables aren’t very practical.

Virtually no critics thought much of this movie, and watching it now, I sort of get why… There are so many striking, iconic shots in this movie, but it’s oddly paced. We get all the super-cool ultra-violence and rape in the first… half hour? 45 minutes? Yes, yes, it’s supposed to be appalling and stuff, but Kubrick makes it look fun and appealing. Who wouldn’t want to live the lives of this droog?

But then there’s a couple of hours of McDowell in the prison system, and that’s definitely less striking. And then three hours of McDowell getting his comeuppance, only we’re supposed to be somewhat sympathetic? For some reason that’s never explained?

What I’m saying is that the last nine hours are tedious.

The plot is really kinda stupid? It’s just based on coincidences that beggar belief.

The film was a huge worldwide commercial success:

The film was a box-office success grossing more than $26 million in the United States and Canada on a budget of $2.2 million.


The movie was the most popular film of 1972 in France with 7,611,745 admissions.

The novel sounds smarter than the movie:

There are sentimentalities: where in the book it was his drugs and syringes that he was shocked to find gone when he got home, in the film he has been provided instead with a pet snake, Basil, whom his parents have wantonly and hypocritically done in. Above all, Alex is the only person in the film who isn’t a caricature, the only person the film is interested in; whereas in the first-person narrative of the book, Alex was the only person Alex was interested in.


This is a bad recipe for getting rid of liqueurs, because there’s nothing here I want to get rid of, really. Well, the Triple Sec is probably getting a bit long in the tooth… So… Mezcal Margarita

But I poured the rest of the Midori out. That stuff just isn’t very good.

And this cocktail is rather meh.

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

OTB#75: Angst essen Seele auf

Fear Eats The Soul. Rainer Werner Fassbinder. 1973. ⚄

This is the only Fassbinder on the “best of” list, and it’s a movie I can’t recall seeing anybody mention before, so I’m excited.

Well, some things just aren’t believable here! Like the bartender not knowing how to pour beer! That’s a lot of foam, dude.

I always get Fassbinder mixed up with Herzog, but they’re nothing alike, of course. Fassbinder’s got heart.

This kinda reminds me of one of my favourite movies: Zuckerbaby by Percy Adlon. The plot has certain surface similarities, but there’s also something about how quiet the movies are… a certain stillness…

I love how Fassbinder plays the most disgusting character himself (the son-in-law).

It definitely has Three Part Structure Mania going on, where all the drama is happening in the third section (as usual). But it’s not the normal sort of thing… Fassbinder is kinda pointing out all the problematic bits in the first two parts, I think?

There’s a documentary about the guy who played the male protagonist. It turns out that Fassbinder was kind of a dick

Perhaps I should just sink the Midori, because not even the Melon Daiquiri #1 is particularly good:

On the other hand, the melon wasn’t very juicy.

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

OTB#75: Hidden

Hidden. Michael Haneke. 2005. ⚃

I talked about this movie here. It’s the best Haneke movie I’ve seen, so I’m not shocked it ended up on this list of movies. I had expected Amour to show up either on this list or the critics’ list, but I realise now that that movie was released after the list was compiled.

This is one of the very few post-2000 movies on the list.

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

OTB#75: The Shining

The Shining. Stanley Kubrick. 1980. ⚄

Yesterday I watched Salò, and I may have given the impression that it’s more interesting than it is. It isn’t interesting. There’s no reason to watch it; it’s just audience abuse.

So tonight (while waiting for the dinner to cook) I’m watching a much cosier movie.

I don’t think I’ve seen this since … like … I was fourteen? Or something? It was really scary back then.

Oh, Shelley Duvall! She was in all the movies back in the 70s, but I can’t recall seeing here in a while?

Oh, wow. That’s a … depressing career trajectory. She was in all the Altman movies (that’s where I remember her from) and an Allen and a Kubrick and Soderbergh and Campion… then nine crappy B-movies straight and then nothing. I wonder what happened.


I had forgotten how much of a 70s movie this is. I mean, when they show Nicholson’s and Duvall’s kitchen, it’s like a real, messy kitchen. And I didn’t remember how bad of an actor the kid is. (Oh, and the magical cook, too.)

[time passes]

This is proper scary.

Also I didn’t remember that Nicholson’s character was such an asshole to start with, even before he went insane.

[even more time passes]

OK, now I’m mostly bored, but periodically riveted. When this is exciting, it’s really exciting, but there are long swathes where there’s just wall-to-wall bad acting and nothing of interest happens. For a while I wondered whether Kubrick was just going for a stylised Brechtian thing, but, no, there’s just some really really bad actors in here.

Duvall is wonderful, and Nicholson is having so much fun chewing the scenery, but the rest are just… you know… TV quality actors. Sorry for the hate speech!



People at the time hated it:

It was the only one of Kubrick’s last nine films to receive no nominations at all from either the Oscars or Golden Globes, but was nominated for a pair of Razzie Awards, including Worst Director and Worst Actress (Duvall), in the first year that award was given.

More Midori in Illusion

Perhaps I just don’t like Midori? Or Midori with pineapple is horrible?

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

OTB#75: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Pier Paolo Pasolini. 1975. ⚁

Well, this isn’t a movie I’ve been looking forward to seeing… I’m so over the whole épatering la bourgeoisie thing.

Somewhat interestingly, the critics and the directors are really divergent on this one, only getting to the 202nd place in the critics’ poll. Gaspar Noé voted for it, of course.


The film was rejected by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) in January 1976. It was first screened at the Old Compton Street cinema club in Soho, London in 1977, in an uncut form and without certification from BBFC secretary James Ferman; the premises were raided by the Metropolitan Police after a few days.

Anyway! This isn’t quite the film I was dreading: I thought it was just going to be nine hours of torture and rape, and it’s not that. It has a storyline (kinda), and, I mean, it’s got great performances from the actors and the cinematography is really good. I think you can squint and imagine this movie without, say, the fifteen (?) minutes of the most yucky bits, and this might almost have been an uncontroversial art house classic (“a trenchant treatise on Fascism” or something).

The final scene, where Pasolini implicates the audience, is just as sophomoric as you’d expect (and it’s all torture and rape). No wonder Haneke likes this movie.

I skipped past scenes that seemed they were going to be particularly icky. People who had to watch this in a cinema may perhaps not be as sanguine.

I’m continuing my quest to get rid of the melon liqueur: Envy.

It’s not very good. Perhaps the problem is the Frangelico…

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

OTB#75: Kes

Kes. Ken Loach. 1969. ⚃

I’ve seen this before… like, a handful of years ago? I did not much like it then: The relentless awfulness of the boy’s life is… relentless? (I have a way with words.) But perhaps I misremember. Especially now that I’ve got a 2K copy of the movie.

Heh heh:

The DVD version of the film has certain scenes dubbed over with fewer dialect terms than in the original. In a 2013 interview, director Ken Loach said that, upon its release, United Artists organised a screening of the film for some American executives and they said that they could understand Hungarian better than the dialect in the film.

I do love the dialect they’re talking in, but I’m glad it’s subtitled.

OK, the relentlessness I thought I remembered is less relentless than er this sentence is going nowhere. Anyway, not everybody are horrible here. Just… 95%… like that asshole gym teacher, which is, I’m guessing, is a true recollection from the writer. It seems to have that vicious quality to it.

But the actors (presumably mostly all amateurs) aren’t very good. There’s a theatricality to it… it’s not like Agnès Varda, where it works perfectly. Instead they’re really trying to act, and it doesn’t quite work.

Strangely enough, it gets better as the movie progresses. Was it shot in sequence, perhaps?

It’s heartbreaking.

I’ve decided to concentrate on some liqueurs to get rid of them more efficiently. So I’m doing melon recipes for the next few movies, unless I get nauseated. So first off is Gulf Coast Sex on the Beach.

It’s pretty good, and very sweet.

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