Sometime last year, I compiled a list of old movies that I want to see. They range in date from the 1930s to the 70s, and cover a wide variety of genres, from comedies to foreign films, to movies I’m not really sure about, only that I’m told I should see them.
I’ve been able to mark a few off the list: On The Waterfront, Days Of Wine And Roses, and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner were good, and The Apartment has become one of my all time favorites. Rashomon was the first subtitled foreign film I’ve ever been able to sit the whole way through. Network was dreadful; there wasn’t a single likeable character in the whole movie.
I’m discovering the best ways to see these movies. You can rent from iTunes, usually for $2.99 or $3.99. You can check many of them out at the library; I was amazed to see that the Social Circle library had more of the ones on my list than the Covington library. Some of these movies I may never be able to find for rent or to check out.
Last week I rented The Graduate. I’ve wanted to see it for a while; it’s supposed to be the statement of the baby boom generation. I’ve read about the making of the film, and I know the pedigree: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, director Mike Nichols, and all that… Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I just couldn’t get into it. I can’t even bring myself to finish it.
Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin Braddock, is supposed to represent the alienation that baby boomers experienced. As good a performance as it was, all I saw was a petulant, spoiled, and…dare I say…bratty young man. Anne Bancroft’s character, Mrs. Robinson (y’all know the line: “Mrs, Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me… Aren’t you?”), is hilarious, and the awkwardness of their exchanges was the most fun I had watching what I did of the movie.
What I saw didn’t even have much of a plot. It was a series of vignettes to me: Benjamin mopes around his parents’ house; then he has a tryst with Mrs. Robinson. He reacts in exasperation at the lameness of his parents; he has another fling with Mrs. Robinson. It got too predictable by about an hour in. Granted, it could just be a slow starter, and the second half may contain all the plot, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go any further.
Basically, Anne Bancroft and the Simon & Garfunkel songs were the best things about The Graduate. I suppose I shouldn’t judge a film without seeing all of it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the movie and see what all the fuss was about. Maybe one day I’ll find the courage (or desire…or whatever it takes) to check it out again and watch the last half.
Meanwhile, it’s back to my list…