Have you seen a Stanley Kubrick movie? If you have, you’ve noticed it sucks you in and yet it creeps you out. I can’t say I’ve seen his full body of work, but the other night I had the “pleasure” of watching Full Metal Jacket. I put pleasure in quotations as I enjoyed the cinematography and the storytelling elements of the movie. I just kept thinking this movie is f-ed up the whole time. I figured this blog is a pretty good way for me to express my feelings over the different movies I’ve seen of his.
The earliest movie of Kubrick’s I’ve seen was Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. I actually watched this movie in college for a class. My senior year I took an American History through Film class. In general I really liked it, but we watched Rambo II for our Vietnam era movie instead of something like Platoon… Ridiculous. On to the movie. Again, not having been around during the height of the Cold War, this movie was unbelievable. Why would someone think that the U.S.S.R would pollute the U.S.’s drinking water supply in an effort to destroy America?! But that is the issue that this Air Force General thinks is going to happen. Well, then the General goes a little nutty in the head… And then the Russians let the Americans know about a Doomsday machine. Oh, and of course there is Dr. Strangelove himself, an ex-Nazi genius with a hand that is uncontrollable. In the end they are able to recall all but one bomb that this crazy General has activated. This one bomb goes down, with a character riding it like it was a horse at the rodeo. There is some more in the plot, but then the story seems to abruptly end. I didn’t dislike this movie. I just found it REALLY strange. It’s a dark comedy about a time that I don’t have a good connection with.
I have only seen about 30 minutes or so of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I can’t comment on it fully, obviously. I will say it was definitely interesting to watch a movie where the first 10-ish minutes there is no dialogue. I hope to watch it fully at some point so I can add to my Kubrick knowledge.
Kubrick’s next movie is A Clockwork Orange. My sister and I thought this would be an interesting movie to watch one evening. Interesting, yes. Disturbing? Hells YES. I get the idea about this movie. To what lengths can a goverment go to control a population without taking away the basic ideas of its people. This is a story of Alex, a very demented teenager, who gets off by causing harm to others. He and his group of friends go around stealing, beating, and raping whatever and whoever they want. Unfortunately for Alex, he beats on his comrades a few too many times. Therefore, they double cross him and leave him behind to get picked up by the police. He gets sent to jail for killing the lady at the last place he was robbing. In jail he hears about a treatment the government will give you that will allow you to leave. Alex acts reformed and gets selected for the Ludovico technique. Using Beethoven’s 9th, movies of terrible violence, and a drug cocktail that causes physical reactions to the violence/music, Alex is “reformed”. He is released back to his parents’ care, where they have taken on a boarder and essentially kicked him out. I won’t give away the ending, but things do not go well for Alex. This movie is disturbing on so many levels. I honestly would not watch this movie again. BUT, I also recognize how well this movie was made. The acting is amazing. Malcolm McDowell, who plays Alex, does an amazing job bringing you this thug character.
The Shining is the next Kubrick movie I’ve seen. Of all the Kubrick movies, this is the best. By far. This is also the only movie by Kubrick I’ve watched multiple times. It might also have to do with the fact that this movie is based on a Stephen King novel. And I do love me some Stephen King. FYI: if you ever think you should see a different version of this movie, don’t. Jack Nicholson plays the best crazy ever :). The premise of this movie is that a man, Jack, agrees to be a caretaker of a hotel in the middle of nowhere Colorado for the winter. He brings his wife and son with him and thinks this will be a nice relaxing time for them and will allow him to finish his book. As it turns out, Jack goes a little stir-crazy. Then he goes full-out crazy. He attacks his wife and son. There is the famous line “Here’s Johnny!” in this movie. I won’t give more away. Again, it gets a bit weird. It is Stephen King. But if you like horror, suspense, and a bit of the super-natural, then you will really like this movie.
The last movie by Kubrick I’ve seen is Full Metal Jacket. This is a story about Vietnam. While I was not around during this time, I found myself more able to understand the people of the movie. Maybe it is because I’ve seen many more Vietnam movies. I dunno. What I do know is this is again an f-ed up movie. It starts as you meet a class of recruits for the Marines. We are introduced to the drill sergeant and the recruits. One of the recruits, nicknamed Joker becomes the squad leader as he doesn’t back down to the sergeant. Another recruit, nicknamed Gomer Pyle is the “runt” of the group. He is the oafiest guy there and can do nothing right. Even with Joker’s tutelage, he still struggles. The sergeant gets angry at Pyle, but realizes maybe punishing him doesn’t work so he’s going to punish the rest of the squad every time Pyle makes a mistake. The squad gets angry and holds him down one night and they all beat him with towels and bars of soap. This turns Pyle and he starts to go crazy. You’ll have to watch to see what happens to him. We get to the second part of the movie, which takes place over in Vietnam. Joker is a reporter for the Marines who asks to cover the war from the front lines. When he touches down, he is able to find his friend from training and follows his group for the battle. The group goes out and ends up sustaining heavy fire and multiple casualties. Again, you’ll have to watch to see the end, but do know that Joker is very much a changed person by the end of the movie. I realize this is a war movie, so there is going to be more carnage than most movies, but this movie seems to show the evolution of these characters that are just f’ed in the end.