We’re already at week three? March is moving so quickly! Thankfully I was more productive this week than last, and got my butt into gear to watch some movies, most of which I’d never seen before. This week contained some television new and old, some fun re-watches, and, as I move into a new year of uni (where I’m studying classic film this year), some class-assigned movies and a few classics sprinkled throughout my week. What have I seen? What have I been up to? Read below for my weekly roundup:
Alas, more Riverdale. At this point I’m probably the only person left still watching this show, but it’s a really great vehicle of drama for me – I can take it as seriously or as campy as I want in any given moment. I think we’re ramping up to the end of the series which is a scary thought; what am I going to do without my Thursday night Netflix ritual?
16/3: West Side Story
Oh man, this musical has a special place in my heart. When I was in high school, my school put this on as the school musical, and whilst I wasn’t involved (one of my many school-related regrets), the music, characters and story seeped into school life, and I soon became enamoured with the star-crossed romance of all-American Tony and Puerto Rican immigrant Maria. I’d never seen the 1961 Oscar-winning film until last Friday, but boy am I glad I did now: Richard Beymer as Tony is so lovable, Natalie Wood is sublime as Maria, and Rita Moreno’s Anita is a whirlwind of a performance, equal parts witty and tragic. It’s bound to get its music stuck in your head, but when you hear the score, you know it’s not a bad thing.
17/3: The Lion King
I think the last time I saw the Lion King was actually this time last year, during the inaugural Movie March, and I loved it even more this year, probably because I saw it at the drive-in. I love the drive-in for several reasons, mostly because of its retro aesthetic and the fact that I can talk through a film and nobody gets mad, and the ability to see The Lion King on the big screen for the first time, set against a night sky backdrop, was truly special. I’ve always loved the music and the characters of what is arguably Disney’s most beloved film, but this time around I got even more out of the father-son relationship explored in the movie, and was moved even more by the tragedy surrounding it, and the ideas of dealing with death and becoming the person you need to be after experiencing trauma. Heavy stuff for a movie with a singing meerkat, huh?
18/3: Gone with the Wind
Confession time: before Sunday, I had never seen Gone with the Wind. Actually, I don’t think that’s much of a surprise, since the 1939 Oscar-winning film is incredibly long and incredibly of its time, so most people my age probably haven’t seen it. We all have pre-conceived notions of what Gone with the Wind is like: the epic romance, the epic racism, the Civil War melodrama, but Gone with the Wind really managed to surprise me. It’s still racist, but it’s not quite the epic romance I’d thought it was – although Scarlett (Vivian Leigh) and Rhett (Clark Gable) do have a fantastic report – and this was, in my belief, for the better, because I got to focus more on the main star of the show, Miss Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett is a feminist icon of her time if ever I saw one: cunning, clever, owning her sexuality and driven, doing whatever it takes to survive the Civil War and ensure that she lives the most successful life possible in the aftermath (‘As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!’). She’s also incredibly emotional, and feels deeply as she struggles with her love and abuse of different men and romantic partners over the film’s almost-4-hour runtime. There’s so much to love about this film, with its melodrama, its Civil War history, its romance and its wealth of great characters, moments, and dialogue – “Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett”, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”, and countless others. I really did love it, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in film or classics.
20/3: I’m Not There
Skipping over Monday, I’m moving onto I’m Not There, the Todd Haynes-directed biopic of sorts about legendary music icon Bob Dylan. Rather than telling a linear story about Dylan’s life, the film focuses on six different personas, all representative of Dylan in one way or another, with their own mini stories told in separate filmic styles. There’s 70s actor Robbie (Heath Ledger), born-again folk singer Jack (Christian Bale), early-1960s icon Jude (an androgynous Cate Blanchett), young African-American boy Woody (Marcus Carl Franklin), poet Arthur Rimbaud (who was a real person, here played by Ben Whishaw) and older cowboy Billy (Richard Gere). What’s funny about this film is that, although I learned absolutely nothing about Bob Dylan, this film gives me a much better idea of the KIND of person Dylan was: introspective, poetic, and ever-changing. A fascinating film to check out if you’re a fan of biopics, and especially Bob Dylan, as his music plays throughout the film.
21/3: Fresh Meat
I’ve been obsessed with the stand-up comedy of Jack Whitehall lately, and I love his Netflix show Travels with my Father, so I’ve been watching Fresh Meat, a show about university students in Manchester living in a share house together. Whitehall plays JP, a private school lad who takes over the house and seemingly can’t play nice with the rest of the ensemble of students, who include Vod (Zawe Ashton), an uber-cool party girl, Howard (Greg McHugh), an older student who needs to learn boundaries with his fellow housemates, and Kingsley and Josie (Joe Thomas and Kimberley Nixon), who are navigating the awkwardness of sexual attraction whilst sharing a bedroom wall. It’s full of fun, sometimes cringey comedy, and it’s a great way back in to British comedy for someone who used to watch a heap of it.
And that’s week three done! I’m hoping to fill the final week of Movie March with some Wes Anderson hipsterism, Alex Garland sci-fi, and hopefully a rewatch of my favourite film of last year. Want to know what it was? Tune in next week to find out!
Photos taken from IMDb.com: