I’ve recently become very fond of Paul Newman’s 1970 film of Key Kesey’s epic novel Sometimes a Great Notion. The style of the film (curt and compressed) couldn’t be more different from the style of the book (garrulous and sprawling), but somehow both styles work for the story. The best parts of the film are the scenes of logging. They’re understated yet thrilling. It’s a shame Newman didn’t do more directing.
Here’s another of my favorite cinematic endings, a pretty definitive one, from Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point.
The political point kind of gets lost in the sheer beauty of shit getting blown up in super slo-mo. Or maybe the political point is the sheer beauty of shit getting blown up in super slo-mo.
Why is it that, after more than two years, I still can’t watch this goddamn film in the United States of America?
Wilko Johnson, by the way, is the actor who plays the badass who chops Ned Stark’s head off. I think that might be a spoiler.
I’ve been on a Two-Lane Blacktop jag recently. (If you have Comcast cable with on-demand, you can watch it to your heart’s content, free — in HD, even.) Directed by Monte Hellman, it stars a young, sullen James Taylor and a young, sullen Dennis Wilson as a couple of gearhead hustlers vaguely making their way eastward in a primer-grey 1955 Chevy that looks like a cross between a hotrod and a hearse. Along the way they cross paths with Warren Oates, playing a jittery, Goat-driving rambler being kept afloat on benzedrine, booze, and bullshit — “Everything is going too fast and not fast enough,” he says at one point — and Laurie Bird, playing the hippie chick. Nothing much happens. It’s glorious.
Here’s the goofy trailer:
Here’s how it all ends:
More: Interview with Hellman.