So I Just Watched: “The Cider House Rules”

Fourth in a series of disorganized thoughts I am left with immediately after watching something.

Was this movie kind of a big deal when it came out or something? Product of its time, I guess. I will feel no great sadness if I never see it again.

First of all, the title… not too long ago, a friend and I were having a discussion about titling things, and how obtuseness and assumed lyricism do not often serve a potential audience’s interest. “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. “The Godfather”. “Romeo & Juliet”. “The People vs. Larry Flynt”. These are your utilitarian titles. One can look at them and pretty quickly know what a story is probably going to be about.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have thematic and evocative titles that are novel and intriguing, and wind up having some greater subdermal implication to the story at large. “Cat’s Cradle”. “Gattaca”. “No Country For Old Men”. “There Will Be Blood”. “The Bad Sleep Well”.

Then you have a murky grey area in the middle, where titles are self-consciously trying to be evocative and bridging some sort of thematic/poetic gap, but falling short. “The Constant Gardener”. “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. “Secondhand Lions”. “Million Dollar Baby”. And for me, “The Cider House Rules” is there too. What are these stories about? Who knows? Plus, I can never get through without interpreting it at least once as if a Ninja Turtle is saying it… the cider house rules, dude!

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So I Just Watched: “Berserk Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King”

Second in a series of disorganized thoughts I am left with immediately after watching something.

An abridged symphony of violence.

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Story Delivery Vehicle: Dioramageddon! – “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero”

Kaijū Daisensō (1965)

What is it? – The sixth Godzilla feature finds our titular monster pitted against giant pterodactyl Rodan and the three-headed dragon King Ghidorah.  Meanwhile, humanity faces off against an alien race bent on world domination.

How do I get it into my brain? – you can watch it on Netflix (instant streaming), or buy it!  The DVD actually has the original Japanese version on it, too.

Though my original exposure to them was through the classic cheese processing facility known as Mystery Science Theater 3000, I have developed an appreciation for Japan’s particular kaiju–or “strange beast”–genre.  The first, most popular and most enduring of these is definitely Toho Studios’ Godzilla.  Originally envisioned as a metaphor for the devastation of nuclear weaponry, Godzilla (or Gojira in his native land) soon became a mascot of sorts, owing to his portrayal as a powerful yet misunderstood creature.  A 165 foot-tall nuclear Frankenstein’s Monster, a sympathetic beast that was roused to defend itself.  Longtime franchise director Ishiro Honda had said at one point, “monsters are born too tall, too strong, too heavy—that is their tragedy”.  The original Japanese Godzilla is a dark, spooky, and ominous film, but future iterations would find the monster’s menace diminished as he became more of a heroic figure in the films.  Here in the sixth feature, Godzilla is in full-on sympathetic portrayal mode, even comedic at times.

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