Month: April 2014

Performance of the week: Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights (1997)

 

Julianne Moore received her first Oscar nomination for playing Amber Waves, a porn star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.

Boogie Nights is a fantastic film that really surprised me. Although I quite like Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies in general, they can get a bit too weird for me sometimes, so I went into this one expecting it to be the same as the others. However, while Boogie Nights is indeed a strange film, it’s actually really easy to watch and impressive. Although it has a 2 h 35 minutes runtime, it never feels excessively long, and thanks to the solid editing and directing.  The story depicts the rise and fall of Eddie Adams/”Dirk Diggler”, a porn “actor”. To be honest, I feel like I have seen such a story many times in different movies, where a huge star meets his/her ultimate downfall or gets usurped by a new starlet, like All About Eve.  However, Paul Thomas Anderson created a wild, sleazy and unpredictable atmosphere for the film, which really keeps you glued to it. I mean, you never know what will happen next, like what “Little Bill” did, or the “doughnut robbery”, and this makes the film pretty exciting to watch because the tone can drastically change from hilarious to INCREDIBLY intense, like the drug dealer scene (which was superbly directed, with the firecrackers and all). The film has many characters, although I feel that some of them are a bit pointless, like Don Cheadle’s Buck. That being said, unlike Airport, all the characters are really interesting and have their own unique story-lines that contribute to the film’s running theme of pursuing one’s dream (which is certainly strange in a movie like this, but surprisingly effective). I also thought it was interesting the way Dirk was contrasted with the supporting characters, like how the pornography industry was his golden ticket, while for the others it stood in their way in achieving their dreams.  The film also explores some pretty standard themes like “Old vs New”, such as the introduction of videotapes or Dirk Diggler’s replacement. All in all, I find this movie surprisingly underrated in terms of Oscar (sighs) nominations, and I personally would have nominated it for best picture over As Good As It Gets LOL. Burt Reynolds was excellent and might even have deserved that win, although I can’t tell because I haven’t watched Robin Williams Good Will Hunting. Mark Walberg is not a favourite actor of mine, but I was genuinely impressed by his performance, and I’m beginning to think that he really has acting talent after watching The Fighter and this film. Also, I hate to admit this, but I appreciated his performance more than the great Jack Nicholson’s Oscar-winning turn in As Good As It Gets that year. (Outrage! Scandal!)

I wouldn’t say that Julianne Moore is underrated, because I think people do acknowledge that she’s a really great actress with four Oscar nominations under her belt. Underappreciated would be more like it. Why isn’t she talked about more often? After watching this movie, I’m beginning to agree with the majority that she’s probably one of the most Oscar overdue actress, but I’d still put her after the great Actress Glenn Close. Unlike many “overdue” performers, whom I personally feel give nomination-but-not-win-worthy performances aka Amy Adams, I myself  would have given Moore wins for 3 out of her 4 nominations (Not a fan of The End of The Affair, but still good anyway). Her scene-stealing performance as the severely depressed Laura Brown in The Hours is my personal favourite of hers, in which I think either her or Meryl Streep (for Adaptation) would have deserved to win over Catharine Zeta-Jones in Chicago.  And given how Kim Basinger is one of my least favourite winners  in this category (sorry, but stiff and stilted =/= mysterious and sexy to me), I would say yes she definitely deserved it for her performance here in Boogie Nights.

Ok firstly, I’ll admit that I don’t love her work here as Amber Waves like most people do but for a really trivial reason. My only problem  is how she’s pushed into the background a bit too often, but that doesn’t really matter because Moore effectively brought out the complex nature of this character really well, making her very memorable without being overshadowed by the film’s brilliance. Mention “porn star” and most people would think “slutty, dirty, whore-ish, etc. ” and pretty much whatever stereotypes that you can come up with. Yet what Moore did here was that she portrayed Amber Waves as a unlikely mother figure to the younger “actors”, despite being an “actress” herself. Right from the start, when she reminds Rollergirl to call someone (over some work issues, I assume),  we can see how well she cares for the younger actors and their welfare. Another memorable scene would be when she was “performing” with Dirk Diggler for the first time. It’s really amazing to see how she could be so motherly and kind in the way she told Dirk to not be nervous before the shoot, like a mentor tutoring a newcomer to the job, but then immediately afterwards, she has sex with him on camera, saying really dirty stuff and all. Her portrayal of bad porn acting was really funny too (“This is a giant cock” “John, you’re a wonderful actor!”).

The thing is, Amber Waves isn’t a perfect person; she’s really flawed, and it’s not because of her work, or not to me anyway. I actually find that the drug problem is still the more severe issue that really highlights her incapability as a mother. Moore’s performance is really tricky and complex, because she makes you sympathise with this character and feel that she’s full of motherly love (which she is), but she in fact has her own issues that cannot be overlooked. The scene where she missed her son’s phone call because she was doing lines pretty much summed everything up. Also, the custody scene alone, where she gets humiliated by her husband in front of the judge was heartbreaking due to Moore’s effective portrayal of her defencelessness and embarrassment. She really showed how much she loved her work and her reliance on it, but ultimately how it adversely affected her personal life as well.

Her big scene with Rollergirl (Heather Graham) where they both did lines together, probably best portrays how pathetic, messed up and sad Amber Waves really is. She could be high and talking gibberish but still literally acting like a mother to Rollergirl and encouraging her to improve herself etc.

The best way to describe this character would be sad. Yes, there are some pretty funny moments as mentioned above, but you really feel sorry for this character thanks to Moore’s effective performance. Her last scene where she stares at herself in the mirror sums up the amount of sadness inside this character. I feel that Moore could have gone on the attention-grabbing, Oscar-baiting route and make Amber Waves an extremely lost, delusional, semi-Norma Desmond character but instead she went for a very accurate, realistic and heartbreaking depiction of a woman who’s trapped by her own problems. Other than how the character is pushed into the background quite often, I really admired and respected her performance. 4.5/5.

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Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

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Dog Day Afternoon depicts a failed bank robbery attempt that escalates into a media freak show.

Dog Day Afternoon is simply put, an incredible film. Sorry, I had to get that out straightaway. Now this one is really a masterpiece. Admittedly, I actually went in with low expectations (despite positive reviews and Al Pacino) because I thought the plot sounded boring, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Every moment and detail of this film is perfect, from the brilliantly crafted atmosphere, to the fascinating characters, and the really great script that very effectively blends the dramatic and comic elements together. It’s without a doubt one of the best bank heist films I’ve watched, despite it being a fairly unconventional one.

In my opinion, Sidney Lumet is a very good, though inconsistent director (The Morning After LOL) whose strength seems to be in making satirical films like Network. His direction here is simply great. Although 90% of the film is shot within the bank, I really felt the atmosphere of the film getting increasingly hopeless, depressing and claustrophobic as the story developed, almost as if I could feel the stuffiness of the bank. The brilliance in the screenplay is displayed very naturally (same with the atmosphere), giving the film a very realistic and gritty tone despite the comic scenes that could have been played weirdly. I mean, the scene where Sonny rouses the crowd (“Attica! Attica!”) could have been terribly awkward under a lesser director and actor, but for some reason it just works incredibly here and even ends up being bizarrely hilarious. The claustrophobic interiors of the bank is very well contrasted with what’s going on outside, with the crowd getting larger, and the police surrounding the building becoming increasingly oppressive. The movie also reflects so many issues of at that time, such as the Attica prison riot (anti-establishment, anti law enforcement, the poor state of prisoners), war veteran problems, union jobs, homosexuality etc…I’m not familiar with all of them unfortunately, but even so, it is amazing how so much was addressed and how well the people’s sentiments towards these issues can really be felt, despite the film being primarily set in the bank.

What I love the most here is probably the dialogue. Fantastic, I tell you. Blending drama and comedy together can be quite messy as proven by a few films of late, but this one really worked. I mean, it can go from being absolutely hilarious…

(From IMDB)

Sonny: Kiss me.
Det. Sgt. Eugene Moretti: What?
Sonny: Kiss me. When I’m being fucked, I like to get kissed a lot.

Or

Pizza Boy: [while delivering pizzas to Sonny and Sal] I’m a fucking star!

…to heartbreakingly sad the next moment, such as when Sonny writes his farewell note.

The characters are all so fascinating, be it the neurotic, but ultimately well-intentioned Sonny, his disturbed accomplice Sal or even the bumbling Detective Moretti, whom unlike his superiors, merely wants to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner. I must also give a special mention to Sylvia, the head teller (played by Penelope Allen) who acts as a mother figure to the other ladies, and is also memorably funny at times, like when she excitedly tells the girls she got interviewed LOL. The actors were fantastic, and I really wished the late John Cazale was recognized for this performance before his early death :(. His Sal is such an interesting and intense character that is a stark contrast to Sonny’s loud personality, and Cazale showed the character’s extreme fear of returning to prison very well, making you feel sympathetic towards him. I guess the fact that his role is a non flashy one resulted in Chris Sarandon (who is also excellent) being nominated over him.

At the end of the day, it’s really Al Pacino who steals the limelight (for me at least). I mean, this was really The Al Pacino movie, not unlike how Sonny was running the show. The movie had the right script and director and all, but I really felt that it was his incredible performance that tied everything together. His Sonny is such an amazing and original creation, right from that voice, to the strangely charismatic way he galvanizes the crowd to shout “Attica!”. Like I said, he was the “host” of the show. The character is very complex actually, but Pacino layered his performance so well that I could see every side to his character, from Sonny’s incompetence as a “robber”, his fears and insecurities, the neurotic behavior and the vulnerable moments. I mean, the dialogue with his lover was unexpectedly tender. And of course, the unbelievable ending scene, where he communicated the pain and sadness of Sonny without even saying one word. It’s an astounding performance by a true master, and I even consider this his best ever (yes, I’ve watched The Godfather trilogy). WHY he would choose to do that Jack and Jill “dunkachino” bullshit is beyond me, but I guess that’s Hollywood for you the moment you outlive your prime.

A truly incredible film. 5/5.

Best Picture 1975

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Best Picture 1975 banner

 

1) Barry Lyndon

2) Dog DayAfternoon

3) Jaws

4) Nashville

5) One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest *Winner*

I’m really excited for this year. I have very fond memories of Jaws and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s nest, so I’m more than willing to revisit them. I’m not that excited about Barry Lyndon, but in Kubrick I trust. It’s interesting to note how all 5 films are directed by legendary directors.

I’ll try to do this without dragging it but I’ll probably take my own sweet time. Those brainless action flicks are way too tempting, and The Sims 3 is becoming abnormally addictive.

My lifeguard Sim giving CPR to a ghost o.O

My lifeguard Sim performing CPR on a ghost. Yeah you can barely see him, since he’s transparent. O.O

 

 

Rigor Mortis (2013)

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Ahh…chinese vampires. Who remembers them? Actually, I didn’t before watching this movie because I’m not familiar with this genre. I have never watched Mr. Vampire (1985), but I do have memories of a particular chinese vampire film in which two vampires were hopping on top of trucks and scaring the crap out of motorists on a road. I obviously remembered that movie for how silly it was, especially when everyone was running away from the vampires as though they were godzilla. It could have been one of the Mr. Vampire films but I honestly don’t remember because it was so long ago! Still, I was pretty excited to rediscover this somewhat forgotten genre. 

Rigor Mortis aims to pay tribute to those old chinese vampire films and to modernize them. Which isn’t a bad idea I guess, considering how my generation’s idea of vampires are…

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Bullshit

When I was younger, horror was a genre I was gaga over, and I pretty much watched any crap that was appearing in theatres then. Nowadays my tastes for films have diversified quite a bit although I do revisit horror films every now and then, such as The Conjuring (overrated) and this particular film.

Although Rigor Mortis brands itself as a horror film, which it is, there’s more to the movie other than the scare factor. It is a fairly solid drama that deals with issues such as undying love and regret. The protagonist of the film is Chin Siu-Ho, one of the original actors from Mr. Vampire. In this movie he plays a washed up version of himself, which is actually not that far off from reality. With no choice other than to move into the old, gloomy and derelict apartment place, he attempts to take his own life. However, his suicide attempt was interrupted by Yao, a vampire haunter played by Anthony Chan, who is also from the Mr Vampire films. From then on, Siu Ho finds himself having to forget about what he dealt with in the film world and face vampires and spirits haunting the building for real. Along the way, he builds a relationship with a (crazy) widow and her son in order to make up for the loss of his own family. Although this story does drag a bit sometimes, I actually thought that it was pretty remarkable (especially) for a horror film to have such a well constructed emotional core without coming off as overly contrived or ridiculous like most other films of the genre. Chin’s performance was a bit one-note in my opinon, but then again I remind myself that the guy is playing a depressed version of himself. The sadness and hopelessness that he displayed over his life and career were pretty effective and disturbing, but I thought that the scenes where he bonded with the mother and son duo were a bit…stiff. The strength for those scenes came primarily from the writing, which was really quite good and moving, as it showed the brief glimmer of hope and love that Chin needed to turn his life around.

The other memorable storyline is the one involving Auntie Mui, a kind old lady whom slowly descends into madness as she desperately tries to resurrect her dead husband. I thought this was the stronger story, thanks to Nina Paw’s really great performance. She effectively showed how Auntie Mui transformed from a kind, motherly figure to someone who will do anything (and I mean, holy crap ANYTHING) to bring back her husband.

Of course, what is a horror film without the scares? Although I’m not a fan of over stylized horror films with CGI explosions, they actually worked for me here. Some elements were especially creepy, like the demented twin ghosts (The Shining? Ju-on?) and surprisingly enough, the vampire, even as he was hopping around with his rotting face and all *shudders*. Not sure what was the point of the twins’ “tendrils”, but the weirdness of it actually added to the creepiness factor.

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I see...The Shining

I also thought the cultural and religious references were very well done, although I’m not really familiar with all of them. I’m a terrible chinese LOL. I actually recognised the “kumantong” (child ghost), which is something that I have ALWAYS found disturbing, and why anyone would want to get involved with them (even here in Singapore) is a pure mystery. 

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"I'll be watching you"

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Literally waited for him to open his eyes for this screenshot

Of course, the film ultimately is veered more towards the action horror genre, so that reduces the creepiness factor by quite a bit. It is, afterall, meant to be a reference to the martial art element of the old chinese vampire films. With the modernization and CGI, the movie becomes strangely “matrix-silenthill-ish”, but the ridiculousness of it is replaced with a pretty high level of stomach churning gore and violence in these scenes.

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From scaling walls...

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To "qing gong"

The technical aspects are quite divisive, since some people find the stylized nature of the film superfluous, but as a whole I thought it fitted what the movie was really going for (action horror). The use of colour filters really brought out the atmosphere very well, such as the gloomy, murky green corridors or the chilling red altar room. And of course, the sound effects, such as the singing children and cracking bones (my pet peeve) added to the scariness and gross factor.

However, the ending is something that really bugged me (and everyone else, it seems). I ‘m not going to spoil it here but I actually understood the twist it was going for. I even thought that it was a very well thought out way to relate back to the theme of regret. However, the execution was a bit disjointed and lazy, which is why it confused everyone (including me initially) and left most people feeling underwhelmed.

Even so, with this being the directorial debut of Juno Mak, I must say that Rigor Mortis is pretty impressive as a whole. Of course there are a few flaws here and there, such as the ending, the pacing issues and the tendency to overuse CGI and slow-mo effects in some scenes. Still, I find the film a very respectable effort. 3.5/5.

Performance of the week: Sigourney Weaver in Aliens (1986)

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Sigourney Weaver made history when she became the first performer to be nominated for the best actress Oscar for a sci-fi action horror film performance.

Although Aliens is a very iconic and widely loved film, I personally think that the very first Alien (1979) by Ridley Scott is by far the superior film. To me, Alien is THE science fiction horror film of all time. Everything about it is perfect: the dark, gloomy, claustrophobic interior of the spaceship, the creepy sound effects like the dripping noises, the alien who lurks in every dark corner of the ship as it insidiously stalks the next victim, and the realistic characters. The characters in the original Alien aren’t the most interesting and complex, but that’s what makes Alien even relatable; the crew is made up of ordinary people like you and I, and they weren’t there to be heroes, but to fight for their survival after a work mission gone wrong. Everything about them is very well written, from their flaws, misjudgments and their fear of the murderous creature.

In a way, I can understand when people say that James Cameron cheapened the original film by turning the sequel into a conventional action flick. I guess conventional movie viewers must have found the first film “slow and boring”. “Screw subtlety and suspense!” Gone are the creepy sound effects and instead you get the usual booms, bangs, crashes and explosions from a typical action film. No more sneaky alien in dark corners, as you get Xenomorphs charging at you in full force. Also, instead of realistic characters, you get a bunch of stereotypical marines whom you know are pretty much going to end up as Alien chow the moment they macho talk about their “state of the art weapons” that can defeat all the Xenomorphs. I mean, that Hudson character (Bill Paxton) is so PREDICTABLY annoying it didn’t even take me any effort to guess that he was a wimp behind that macho facade the moment he appeared that. Burke is the typical idiotic villain who wants to make use of the monsters for his own profit, and Hicks is the typical good guy whom the main character can rely on even though everybody doubts her.

Having said that, even if I were to question the artistic value and originality of this movie (and James Cameron films in general), there’s no doubt that like all other Cameron flicks, the movie is fine entertainment. In my humble opinion, James Cameron is really a talented storyteller who can find the right combination of CGI, sound effects and actors to turn the most predictable plots into entertainment gold. He really knows how to develop his stories at an appropriate pace that can engage his audience without dragging out the explosions and CGI. Of course, some other things about Aliens other than the technical aspects are very admirable too, such as the theme of motherhood that is very well explored, and the brilliant leading performance.

I’m not the biggest fan of Sigourney Weaver because I haven’t watched a lot of her films, but I can see that she’s a really great and versatile actress, who can be badass in Alien and then be a feminine love interest in The Year of a Living Dangerously a few years later (shaky accent aside). She plays such interesting characters, be it the bitchy boss in Working Girl, or the real life Dian Fossey, a scientist who fought to protect mountain gorillas from poachers (she was a double nominee for Gorillas In The Mist and Working Girl in 1988).

Sigourney Weaver plays Ellen Ripley, the only survivor from the first Alien film. After drifting around in hyper sleep for 57 years, Ripley is once again summoned to provide her “expert” opinion about the aliens when the marines were sent to wipe out the breed. Obviously, like all other movie marines (idiots), they don’t trust her despite her experience and pay a heavy price as they one by one get slaughtered. Finally, Ripley steps in to save the day and that’s where Weaver gets to shine.

Simply put, Sigourney Weaver nailed this very iconic part, which is so because of her incredible performance. The very first thing I admired about her performance here is how subtly she portrayed Ripley as an ordinary human being. Yes, she’s the heroine of the film but Weaver still showed how Ripley was left vulnerable and scarred from her previous experience, such as the constant nightmares and her distrust of an android due to a previous incident involving her getting almost killed by a malfunctioned robot. She really displayed Ripley’s internal struggle with her past, and how she finally summoned the courage to face her demons by agreeing to join the gang.

Weaver also portrayed Ripley as a motherly figure to a little girl (Newt) whose entire family was wiped out by the aliens. Ripley’s real daughter died while she was drifting around in space during the 57 years of hyper sleep, and Weaver effectively showed how Ripley wanted to ease her guilt by taking care of this girl. The interactions between Ripley and Newt are probably the most moving aspects of the film, serving as the story’s emotional core. Weaver really displayed the tender side of Ripley very well, and that underneath the tough facade was a warm and loving human being who desires a family and companionship like anyone else.

Of course, the most memorable aspect of the performance would simply be how badass Ripley is. Yes, she’s scared like everyone else but among the marines, she’s the most quick thinking and strategic, like when she decided to take charge after the unbelievably incompetent captain freaked out as he saw his team members slowly slaughtered one by one. And of course…who can forget that badass fight scene with the Xenomorph Queen (aka source of my childhood nightmares). That bitch glare she gave before roasting the Queen’s eggs with a flamethrower deserved an Oscar by itself.

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And of course, the iconic “Get away from her, you BITCH!” line. Nuff said.

All in all, this is a fantastic, Oscar-robbed performance (although I quite liked Marlee Matlin as well) by a really great actress whom I want to see more of. I’m highly interested to discover some of her acclaimed works like The Ice Storm and Prayers for Bobby. Anyway, I can’t believe Meryl Streep (Weaver’s classmate in Yale) was considered for the part! I mean, Meryl and tough I can visualize, but Meryl and badass? Nah. I’m sure she would have given a technically perfect performance, but this role IS Weaver’s to play.

I’m going very slow for the 70s best picture project because I’m currently addicted to The Sims 3, which is by the way a standard post exam ritual for me. I also want to de stress by watching brainless action flicks (case in point) so I’m not really in the mood for heavy drama. Yet. I’m probably going to watch Dog Day Afternoon soon.

Best Picture 1970: My Ranking!

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5) Airport: Well, it’s a dated film that’s campy and entertaining for sure, but other than that, the best picture nomination itself is a bit much. I have no issues with Helen Hayes’ supporting actress win to be honest, although I think Karen Black deserved it more. 3/5.

4) Love Story: It’s a hated film but one that I’ve managed to appreciate for it’s simplicity. A few flaws here and there, but easy and enjoyable to watch. 3.5/5.

3) Patton: I find this a pretty standard biopic that I respect more than admire. To be honest, my real rating would have placed this in the fourth place while Love Story is in third, but I’m trying to be as objective as possible. The technical aspects are great, and combined with an astounding performance by George C. Scott, the movie itself is a very respectable effort a a whole. 3.5/5

2) MASH: A very strange movie, but I really appreciated its unique way of storytelling that is surprisingly modern. Using humour to reflect the horrors of war, MASH is a great watch by a great director. 4.5/5.

1) Five Easy Pieces: I may have been over enthusiastic in calling it a masterpiece, but out of the five films, I find Five Easy Pieces the most compelling and well-made film. It’s a truly bizarre, heartbreaking and saddening piece of work that may not be for everybody but I truly enjoyed it. 4.5/5.

Thoughts: A somewhat forgotten year, and I can sort of understand why. Other than Five Easy Pieces, none of the films really blew me away. That being said, there was something that I really liked in all of them (even Airport) and I really had fun watching all of them.

I know I did 3 posts in one day, and that’s because today was the last day of my exam! I just wanted to clear this year ASAP so that I can start on 1975, a year I am truly excited to start with.

Airport (1970)

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Airport (1970) is a melodrama depicting the various stories and problems of people affected by a plane bomber.

It’s interesting to note what a commercial success Airport was back then. Despite receiving mixed reviews, it actually went on to spawn 3 other films: Airport 1975, Airport ’77 and Airport ’79. Wow. Talk about a lack of creativity in coming up with names. Still, I highly doubt I’ll be watching any of these films, especially after reading the synopsis for Airport ’77.

“Art thieves hijack a 747, hit fog and crash into the ocean, trapping them and passengers under 100 feet of water.”

DAFUQ?! What on EARTH is that plane made of? How does it withstand the water pressure like a submarine? And most importantly, how did they manage to get big names like Lee Grant, Brenda Vaccaro and JACK LEMMON to star in these films??

I guess it’s clear that Airport is easily the best film out of the lot, garnering TEN Oscar nominations including best picture. And yet, I find Airport a far from stellar film.

The movie opens with a very cheesy 70s theme that is probably aimed at creating suspense and tension, with the words AIRPORT flying out at you as illustrated in the poster. From then on, you are treated to a film that attempts to balance itself as a disaster flick and human drama. And yet, that’s where the problem of the film lies: it tries to hard to bring out both aspects, but the whole thing just doesn’t gel together.

As a human drama, Airport is surprisingly simplistic in its portrayal of characters. None, and I mean NONE of the characters are the most original, and they all fit into some sort of mould or cliche. You have Mel Bakersfeld, the workaholic and overly dedicated airport manager with an unbelievably selfish wife (Oooo original). Then you have Vernon Demerest, Mel’s brother in law and a pilot who has an affair with his flight stewardess Gwen (Oooo exciting). Tanya Livingston is one character whose purpose I’m still trying to figure out other than being Mel’s love interest. Then you have Guererro, the bomber and his wife Inez, both whom could have been the most sympathetic characters on the film, but were hardly touched upon except during their introduction. And finally, there’s Mrs Ada Quonsett, the only character I actually cared about (thanks to Helen Hayes’ great performance) even though she’s there for purely comic relief.

Predictability aside, the film tries to explore the situation of these various characters but at the end of the day I couldn’t care less about any of them. I feel that all of them remained the same as they were right from the start, or at least the change in them is not very well handled. Sure, I guess you can say that Mel became a slightly more flexible person rather than being the overly frigid individual that he originally was. Or that Vernon became a more “mature” man after Gwen was seriously injured from the explosion. But none of these developments are very well shown or addressed.

The storyline could also have been a bit more focused, because the film starts off VERY slowly. The actual crisis is only shown about halfway into the film, with the first half focused on building up the characters. But for what? How has the crisis changed them? Why should I care about these characters and their marital woes? There was also a substantial segment focused on another plane that was stuck on a runway, mainly to add to the suspense in the later scenes when the damaged plane is landing but I feel that they could have done away with this part. Other redundant details included a scene where Mel was whining on and on about the need to redesign and rebuild the airport after he was ordered to close it down, which was pretty pointless, but sure.

The disaster aspect is something that I am more forgiving towards, since the film is supposedly the first of its kind. I kinda guessed that the ending is going to be a happy one, so there wasn’t really any suspense. Some scenes were quite well done though, such as the bomb going off and the rapid decompression in the plane, as well as the constantly widening gap in the damaged plane’s ceiling afterwards. I just thought that the suspense in not knowing when Guerrero was going to set off the bomb could have been more well handled, but instead the focus was primarily on the irrelevant human drama. Sighs.

Other than that, there’s this noticeable lack of subtlety that is obviously very dated but amusing anyway. A particular scene involving a quarrel between Mel and his annoyingly selfish wife over the phone was interspersed with clips portraying the couple’s falling marriage, because…I don’t know, in case it wasn’t clear enough?

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And other instances of split screens…

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…in case you need a visual of whom they were speaking to on the ground. Ominous face floating between the two pilots.

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Combined with some pretty cheesy lines, like…

“But I have a cab waiting downstairs and we can make the airport in fifteen minutes. Now the driver doesn’t mind waiting. His meter’s running and so is mine.”

“But I’ve got to finish packing.”

“You get me up to full throttle then throw me into reverse. You could damage my engine that way.”

And you get Airport, a film that is nothing more than cheesy, campy entertainment. I may have sounded too critical about it, but for the most part I was entertained. At least I was not tearing my hair out in frustration. 3/5. Burt Lancaster, the actor who played Mel Bakersfeld, even declared that the film was trash but I think he was a little harsh.