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"First Blood" may be my favorite of the original "action-adventure" pictures featuring the lone anti-hero against the mob. We've all seen "First Blood," but Sylvester Stallone (who plays John Rambo) draws an interesting parallel between "Rambo" and "Frankenstein": From Amazon X-Ray: "Stallone compares John Rambo to the monster of Doctor Frankenstein, and Colonel Trautman to The Doctor, in the respect that Rambo is a war machine monster created by America [Sam Trautman is named after Uncle Sam] to do its bidding, but then he escapes and runs amok, but also wants to fit into a society who shuns him, and Colonel Trautman was basically instrumental in making Rambo into what he is and feels remorse for how he turned out and does what he can to help make things right." *** SPOILER ALERT *** Don't click on either of these if you haven't seen "First Blood" or "Mulholland Drive" It's startling how much Rambo's jump-scare knife attack against Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) appears to be a direct, visual influence for David Lynch's "jump-scare diner scene" in "Mulholland Drive." If you have the fortitude, and haven't yet seen the films, I urge you not to click on these thumbnails, although I've tried not to give too much away. More than anything else, even the darkened skin, it's the demonic grins that link these shots together.
I'm going to watch "Arthur" again soon, and was just watching a highlight clip from it - one particular scene recalled a *hilarious* story that happened over thirty years ago. I used to (lovingly) call my mom "Eva," and one day I was sitting at the kitchen table having some sort of family meal - my young niece (probably 3 or 4 years old) was there, and my mom said something - I can't remember what - that was most likely a combination of amusing and annoying (she was probably trying to force food on me as she was wont to do). Putting on my absolute best "Arthur-style" English accent, I imitated this scene in the YouTube video - the one where Dudley Moore said, "Susan, you're *such* an ahss-hole" - I said to my mom, "Eva, you're *such* an ahss-hole." All of a sudden, my niece (who was too young to recognize such a term spoken in such a mock-accent) started crying frantically. We all started saying, "What's wrong? What's wrong?" She turned to my mom and said, while crying, "Donald called you a nostril!"
I rewatched "The Silence Of The Lambs" this week for the first time in many years, and was struck by just how few minutes of screen time Anthony Hopkins had, compared to what I remember (and I've seen the film 3-4 times now, though some of it was, if you'll excuse the pun, in small bites). I feel almost guilty for not absolutely loving this great thriller more than I did, especially because it's probably a matter of it simply not living up to the considerable hype that I'd built up in my mind. And while I picked up nuances that I'd missed before, "Silence Of The Lambs" is, to me, largely an Anthony Hopkins showpiece, and when Hopkins wasn't on screen, everything seemed to drag a bit. Ted Levine didn't do much for me as Buffalo Bill - despite the entire film revolving around him, his character was, paradoxically, poorly developed. Yes, Jodie Foster was outstanding in her role of Agent Starling, and the much ballyhooed Pas De Deux between her and Lecter lives up to its billing. The strongest feeling I have about this movie is that I cannot imagine any other actor in the world playing the role of Hannibal Lecter. In all of cinematic history, this must surely be one of the all-time great actor-to-character fits. Hopkins stole the show, even when he wasn't there: The fascinating story of him talking his neighbor into committing suicide took place entirely off-screen, and yet the viewer can spend quite a bit of time imagining what must have transpired. The basic plot of using one serial killer to catch another is extremely interesting, and the human pathos of this man just wanting to be able to see a tree evokes a great deal of sympathy (see? I'm feeling sorry for a brutal serial killer - the ability to successfully manipulate the viewer is one of several remarkable achievements in this film). There's no doubt "Silence Of The Lambs" is a good movie, and there's very little doubt it's a great movie; but there are just too many things lacking, and it's just not complete enough, for it to be one of my all-time favorites, although I suppose it's one of my all-time favorites within the underachieving horror genre. The very end, for example - amusing as it may be - is poorly executed, and an extreme letdown. The phone call should have been breathtaking; instead, it was presented as a lily-livered (sorry) afterthought. Foster was much stronger than Hopkins in that scene - viewers should have walked out of the theater with echoes of a fortissimo chord clanging around in their heads, and instead exited with a bemused chuckle (although a case can be made that viewers are again being manipulated into cheering on the implied upcoming death of an unlikable character). This is a film that just about everyone has seen, and I would love to read what others think, even if it's just a few lines of writing.