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Psycho, Logan’s Racewalk and My Summer Movie Doldrums

June 17, 2010

Logan's Run

Psycho – the Alfred Hitchcock classic – turned 50 this week and like most items of this vintage folks are coming out of the woodwork to both praise Psycho and bury it. In watching the ensuing debate over the cinematic legacy of Psycho, which film historians have theorized created the “slasher” genre, a nagging thought persists – am I the only person who finds Rear Window much more provocative, iconoclastic and enduring? I realize the problem is me – more to the point – the problem is me and Psycho IV: The Beginning, which like Rocky IV, is so far removed from the original it’s a stretch to even consider it canonical. It features the one role I’ve seen C.C.H Pounder just carpet bomb. (She wasn’t even that bad in Bordello of Blood) Pounder is appalling in a movie that was already so bad it didn’t need any more help to render itself cinematic napalm. Still, it’s not as though the plot, script or characterization does this otherwise sublime actor any favors (I’m working to rid my cinematic essays of the word “actress”, after having read a chapter in a film crit book presenting a convincing argument as to why the term devalues the contributions of women performers) When I finally saw Psycho – it helps with the suspense if you’re unfamiliar with the star power of Janet Leigh during the era of the film – I was impressed, but not dazzled. I observed a masterful cinematic exploration of pathos, intrigue and dark humor; I also identified a whole lot of cinematic tropes I find tedious – I hear you, sketchy cellos. SPOILER ALERT: I will say I wish more filmmakers had the cheek to off main characters 30 minutes into the film. That would have made Julie & Julia a lot more enjoyable. That said, Rear Window and even North by Northwest are better Hitchcock films. They’re not the game changers Psycho was, but not everything has to be.

Hollywood’s threats to remake Logan’s Run are reminiscent of the fiery con job of carousel. When this thing is settled, Peter Ustinov better not show up to tell me it’s all a hustle. Whenever the slated remake is released, it probably won’t be nearly as intriguing as the backstage antics and dramedy of getting this discolicious sci-fi cheesy film a shot at renewal. In a 2009 interview with the LA Times, director Bryan Singer (X-Men) said:

I’m taking a genuine break. The last four years have been really busy with the miniseries, the TV and the movies. I’m taking a few months to collect myself and figure out what I’m going to do in that regard. We did a lot of development on that movie and a lot of work. To start it up again, I wouldn’t start it up again without a full commitment. So I have decisions to make. Right now, that’s just hanging around.

I don’t speak Hollywood, but I do understand chow chow. And that was some serious chow chow. I guess the brevity of, “I’m taking a hot bag of ‘no thanks’ on that piece of shit.” isn’t Singer’s style. Anyway, he’s pretty much old news as The Blood Runner’s protage, the excellent commercial director Carl Erik Rinsch is on board to direct the film, which IMDB claims is scheduled for release in 2012. If we were working from the film’s framework, which states folks do the carousel thing at age thirty, the 34 year old film has been on the run four years too long and someone ought to get a couple of Sandmen on the case.

This summer is the first one I can recall where I am just not that excited about many scheduled releases. Having seen quite of few of the biggest offerings from the studios, each time I felt glad I hadn’t paid and sad I hadn’t been entertained. With the exception of The Karate Kid, which surprised me partly because I had very low expectations and total remake/reboot fatigue. It’s a charming film and I’m glad it’s doing well, but hesitant to stand up and cheer, because I am wary of seeing another barrage of reboots and having to sift through the pile to find one that isn’t dreadful. That said, I’m starting to think this is another me problem, because I can’t find many folks writing about the topic. It feels like this is the worst film summer in decades, despite being a good judge of these kinds of things, I question my assertion. Do you feel like it’s an especially dismal summer in terms of releases? I am wondering if I am getting old and intolerant of new hotness that isn’t really just old hotness I’ve recently discovered. I know there were lots of bad films from the era which I tend to view as a good time for films, but it seem to be tempered with enough good movies so I didn’t feel so unsatisfied.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. leavingnormal permalink
    June 17, 2010 6:31 pm

    “SPOILER ALERT: I will say I wish more filmmakers had the cheek to off main characters 30 minutes into the film. That would have made Julie & Julia a lot more enjoyable. “”

    LOL. I knew there was a reason I didn’t feel like I needed to see this movie. Every time I passed it by at the video store I thought that having Meryl Streep in it might make it a movie worth watching. But somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to hire the thing. Thanks, Snarky for letting me know I’ve done the right thing.

  2. June 17, 2010 7:44 pm

    If Julie and Julia had just been Julia and Some More Julia I would have been really, really into it instead of only halfway into it. Or even Julia and Stanley Tucci Saying Sweet Things To You would have been good. I love me some Stanley Tucci…mmmm.

    I think Psycho‘s whole magic is that it was a game changer. But I don’t revisit it the way I do other Hitchcock films. Maybe it has to do with a fair amount of the movie hinging on the shock/surprise of seeing it the first time.

  3. June 17, 2010 7:55 pm

    Have you seen this:

  4. June 18, 2010 2:35 am

    Oh. My. God. He is never allowed to wear anything but white tank tops! HOLY SHIT.

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