I’m a movie guy. For me, cinema is the ultimate archive of humanity’s last gasp…an archive and a mirror, reflecting back to us our best and worst qualities, impulses, desires and proclivities. On a personal level, the films I’ve seen throughout my life are like mileposts, each movie has a connected memory attached to it; the small story of how I came to watch it, what ways it affected me and where I was at that point in time (physically and mentally). For the next 365 days, I am committing myself to see – at least – one film a day, which I will not only review but also diarize my associated thoughts. Why do I choose the movies that I do? How did I feel when I made the selection? Was some sort of anxiety gnawing at my chest? Did I just ingest a poisonous tuna melt from the unreliable diner down my block?
Here are the rules – there are no rules, journalistic or otherwise. The genre/era of film is of no consequence…only the reason why I picked it. It can be something I see in the theatre, but more likely it’ll be a streaming deal. I don’t have cable…so probably a flick off YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes.
It’s a grand experiment, to be sure. At the end, I hope to gain some insight into how our daily lives influence the reasons we watch the movies we do, and in turn, how the movies we watch influence our daily lives. I think I’ll call it…shit what do I call it? Daily Movie? Nah…too mundane. My Movie Year? Nope…too…something. Living With Movies? Sounds like I’ve got a disease. Hmmm…how about, 365: A Cinematic Sojourn? Now, that has a bit of class – and alliteration. I think I’ll go with that…for the time being anyway.
25 June 2017
I’ve got to attend my friend’s birthday party today and I need to get a gift. I am in a state of inertia. The idea of leaving this bed is incomprehensible at this point. Perhaps a movie might help motivate me somehow. Nothing too relaxing. I don’t want to slip further away. The herringbone jacket hanging on the back of my bedroom door has sparked an association. Robert Redford…Three days of the Condor. Luckily, I’ve already purchased it from iTunes. It’s a classic ‘70s spy flick, featuring both Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in their prime. Ok…here we go – I’ll see you on the other side.
Review: Three Days of the Condor (1975)
What more can be said about this film that hasn’t already been said? It’s considered one of the best thrillers of all time. Directed by the late, great Sydney Pollack, the film opens up on Joseph Turner (played by a very handsome Redford) bicycling to work clad in the aforementioned herringbone jacket. It’s winter…jeebus mamaloocha he must have been freezing his ass on that goddamned thing. Turner arrives typically late and is received at the door with bemused resignation. Where does he work? The CIA. His girlfriend works there too. Turner reads books for a living, surveilling for secret messages and codes. He’s picked up something strange, texts that have been translated in odd languages…it’s a red flag and he has made some inquiries. His girlfriend thinks he’s imagining it. At lunch time, he ducks out a back way to get food for his colleagues. While he’s gone, their headquarters is attacked by a professional hit squad and everyone is killed. Turner returns to a building full of dead people.
Thus begins a ‘three day’ adventure which will find him struggling to survive as he’s pursued by an ingenious hit man.
Along the way, he kidnaps an icy beauty named Kathy Hale (Dunaway) and ultimately enlists her to help him escape from the people that want him dead. He’s got someone at the home office that appears to be on his side, J. Higgins (Cliff Robertson) – but is he really? The plot twists and turns and crescendos to a satisfying, well thought out conclusion. So who’s is after him? Well, it’s all about that secret stuff he picked up while reading his books…he should have never made those inquiries. Condor is a stylish blast from the past that continues to hold up due to the powerhouse performances (particularly Redford and Robertson’s) and the agile direction of Pollack. It’s one of my all-time favorites. For those sartorially inclined, the clothes alone are worth the price of admission. That peacoat Redford wears? Looks like buttah!
- Redford has the best head of hair of all time… his hair should have won the Oscar that year.
- One day I was walking home from work and spotted Sydney Pollack. I live in Manhattan, so the occasional celebrity sighting is no big deal, but this time I introduced myself and told him how much I appreciated his work. He was very kind and did not seem to mind me imposing at all. He died a few years later.
- The vetements… goddamn. The perfectly tailored peacoat…the herringbone jacket with red silk lining…the wide ties and jean shirt. It’ll give you a clothes-gasm.
- Most old spy thrillers could have been resolved very easily if there had been cellphones.
Final Verdict: It’s an unimpeachable example of the genre. Deliberately paced, beautifully edited…colossal hair and vetements.
How I feel: I think I can manage to get up. Not much scratch in the bank. My gift will have to be of the ‘it’s the thought that counts’ varietal. This movie is in my bones. It’ll always be part of my cinematic DNA.