Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Kekkonen; The Green Berets; Schlock

Ha! Just yesterday I was having depression and thinking that I'll never have work again and just today, two hours ago, I received an e-mail from a publisher saying they might be interested in the how-to-dress-according-to-president-Kekkonen book! We haven't settled anything yet, but the book is already forming up in my head!


I saw John Wayne's "The Green Berets" (1968) last night and, oh boy, oh boy, was it a bore! I mean, how could they manage to do such a slow-moving and unappealing movie? Politics is what it is, but it was just so disjointed that it never achieved any dramatical impact. None whatsoever. The beginning is boring and you never really get to know the characters. The battle in the middle starts almost out of the blue and ends with a plane coming out of nowhere and shooting all the Charlies with two machine guns! They die, just like that, like snapping your fingers. The same with the kidnapping of the Viet Cong general in the second part - even though it was better acted and edited than the first half of the movie (maybe John himself directed the first part and Ray Kellogg did the second or the other way around).

And there was no unintentional humour anywhere! The movie was made with enough money to guarantee they didn't have to use much archive footage or something like that. The dialogue gave the best laughs - and John Wayne running. It wasn't shown much, though.

One thing left me wondering though: no one mentioned communism or communists. Why was that? Were they afraid what the Soviet Union might say? Or were they uncertain about what ideology Viet Cong had? Or did they really think that the US went to Vietnam just because Viet Cong (or "VC", as they say in the movie) was so cruel to other Vietnamese? Heck, that was the reason they went to Iraq!


I also saw John Landis's first feature film last week. It was called "Schlock" and it's from 1971 - pretty amateurish and largely unfunny parody of ape films. I said to Elina that I'm not sure whether I'd've given any money to Landis to make more films after this. There was a big gap between this and "Kentucky Fried Movie" which came in 1977, IIRC. It's much better movie than "Schlock", but it's also overrated. As are many of Landis's subsequent films. I don't find much to laugh at even in "Blues Brothers".

It was nice to see, though, that not all American films from the early seventies share the qualities and ideologies of the celebrated Hollywood New Wave (Penn, Altman etc.). The film histories tend to leave films like this out.

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