As you can probably guess, I have two sets of shelving for my videocassettes and DVDs. Not based on format, but based on whether I’ve actually watched the videocassette or DVD. Not based on whether I’ve watched the film, mind you; based on whether I’d watched that particular copy of the film since I bought it for a quarter at a garage sale or book fair. Sometimes, too, I put a movie back on the to-watch shelves when I want to watch it again sometime soon, and sometimes that sometime soon stretches into years.
But when the aforementioned beautiful wife travels for business, I relive some of my bachelor nights and pseudobachelor-but-before-children nights where I watch a couple of films to pass an evening. This week, I had the chance to do so and watched and rewatched a couple of videocassettes. Frankly, I like videocassettes because they present the film from start to finish, often with coming attractions that take you back in time (see also this recent post, wherein by “recent” I mean “almost two-year-old”). Also, if a videocassette fails, it fails spectacularly, whereas my recent viewing of Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic on DVD ‘failed’ by skipping 20 minutes of content, and given the pacing of the movie, we weren’t really sure whether it was just a 70s stylish jump cut.
But I digress.
This week, I watched:
|The Eiger Sanction starring Clint Eastwood, which is why I own it. It sounds like a Ludlum title, and it has some elements of the basic thriller, wherein an assassin is called out of retirement to ‘sanction’ assassins who ‘sanctioned’ one of our agents, and although he can get one guy with intelligence provided by the albino, former Nazi head of the agency employing Eastwood, who is a professor teaching art history and collecting smuggled art work with his fees. Very similar to the Chuck Norris character in Good Guys Wear Black and, for that matter, the original Jason Bourne.
The film then takes a big detour into mountain climbing training, as intelligence indicates only that the other assassin will be part of a team attempting to climb the Eiger’s north face in the Alps. So Clint Eastwood’s character teams up with an old covert agent buddy who’s the ‘ground’ man for the team and tries to climb the mountain with the team, uncover the assassin’s identity through intrigue, and carry out his assignment.
Definitely a product of its time and of Eastwood’s emerging film direction/production ego. It’s said he wanted to make this film because he wanted to climb mountains and whatnot. What, Where Eagles Dare was not enough seven years earlier? I guess not.
At any rate, it’s not a great bit of work, as you can tell by the fact that 40 years later, only die hard Eastwood fans watch it.
|Just Visiting starring Christina Applegate and Jean Reno. Friends, you can claim to be a Jean Reno fan, but unless you’ve seen this film more than once, you’re a piker. Sure, Ronin and The Professional are okay, but are they essentially a French comedy brought to the States and Americanned up by John Hughes? No, they are not.
It’s a funny enough bit about a medieval nobleman and his squire brought to modern (pre-September 11) New York when they seek to go back in time slightly to right a dastardly bit of courtly intrigue. Hey, I laughed at it a couple times. And this, after I saw it in the theater in 2001.
|Frankly, it’s only the proven depth of my Jean Reno and Clint Eastwood fandom that allows me to admit that I watched The Cutting Edge. Again. What can I say? I’m a fan of montages, and this film has them in spades. Figure skating montages, though.
If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a hockey player who’s hit by the West Germans in the Olympics and loses some sight and can’t play hockey again. It’s also the story of a figure skating princess whose father’s dream has been an Olympic gold metal since she was young, but she sabotages her performance on ice and her relationships with her skating partners. It’s his last chance and her last chance.
Hey, I can relate to a story of a hardscrabble guy from up north falling for a girl above his class. Also, this film taught me everything I know about skating: when I’m at the rink’s skate rental counter, remember to ask for hockey skates so I don’t trip over the toe pick.
I discovered while researching this post that there were three sequels 26 years after the original came out: The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold (2006), The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream (2008), and The Cutting Edge: Fire and Ice (2010). I have no words to express how I feel in light of this new knowledge.
|Geri’s Game is a Pixar short, an early bit of computer animation that won the Oscar for short films in 1987. How short is it? It took me longer to rewind the wonky videocassette than it took to watch the whole thing. In it, an old man plays chess in a park against himself.
Not to be confused with Gerald’s Game.
So I’ve moved 4 videocassettes out of my cabinet of unwatched films to the wall of watched films. This will probably hold me until my wife’s next trip. But I did take a moment to rearrange the dozens of movies, documentaries, and television shows to bring things I wanted to watch this week closer to the front. Although whether that will hold true next time I get a hankering for cinema remains to be seen. If you can call the above films cinema,.