Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sometimes Sad is Good

I mentioned the film SORCERER yesterday here on my blog. It's an intensely sad and depressing film,but no less worthwhile for all that. Sometimes the impact of sadness is what's needed.

Along with SORCERER I include a couple of other movies as my favorite "sad" films. These are movies which, through plot, and story, and performance, leave the viewer with a feeling of overwhelming sadness and depression, but which are so powerful and so well wrought that it's impossible to forget them or dismiss them.

First in this realm of sad movies is the Lee Marvin film,
MONTE WALSH. I've been told that this was remade for television, but I have no desire to see a secondary attempt at what was already a work of art. This is something that has always been a mystery to me. Why would you want to remake a film that's already been done; and perfectly, at that.

In MONTE WALSH, Lee Marvin plays a character that was pretty much the perfect foil for him. There is something about Marvin's personality and voice and movements that made this role a priceless one in his career. We meet and know this old-time cowboy and his fellows as the world grows far too small for them. In addition to Marvin as the title character, the movie was additionally well cast with all of the other roles, and with tremendously evocative performances from Jeanne Moreau, Jack Palance, Mitch Ryan, Bo Hopkins, and others. While the film involves itself in the extinction of a way of life and in the dissolution of one man, it remains so powerful an experience that it's worth the time. This would be the #1 film on my all-time list of sad movies.

Second on this list is a more recent film and one which remains largely unknown when I mention it to other film fans.
HOMEBOY was written by the star of the movie, Mickey Rourke. In this movie, he plays a club fighter, Johnny Walker, who's at the end of a brutal career moving from bout to bout. He's punch drunk and adrift, but in this later part of his life he's given a chance at actual training and physical conditioning for the first time, and has found friendship and a love along the way. Rourke's performance as the aging boxer is probably the best of his own career. I reckon he knew enough of these brain damaged athletes to write about them convincingly and to portray one of them so perfectly.

Once again, if you're feeling depressed or can't handle a major downer, I would avoid this movie. But if you want to watch a supremely human experience on film, then HOMEBOY is definitely a must-see priority.

Unfortunately, I don't think that either of these films is currently available on DVD here in the USA. We'll just have to wait.

Speaking of sad, Alex Ness recently requested that I take part in an interview of former comic book retailers. He asked me some pertinent questions which I was quite happy to answer. If you're so inclined, you can read them here.


alex-ness said...

Thanks Bob.

It is a sad thing when some stores go belly up, and as I've told you I liked your store best in Charlotte. It wasn't as big as, well, that other one, but it was nicer, had better prices and I thought it was better run than, well, that other one.

I am not sad to see some other stores go DOA. I went to one in a city that only stocked Marvel, both new and back issues. When the owner asked what I liked I mentioned Vertigo, even maybe Image, and he struggled to name one of their titles let alone stock them.

Thanks for participating in the interview.

HemlockMan said...

Thanks, Alex!

The only really cool comic shop I've been in for many years is CRIMINAL RECORDS in Atlanta. Yeah, it's mainly a music store, but it's also the finest all-around new comics shop I've ever seen. They carried EVERYTHING. If I lived in the Atlanta area, that's where I'd shop.

Heck, if I lived anywhere NEAR Atlanta, that's where I'd shop for comics.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, Bob. Glad you mentioned Lee Marvin and Jack Palanc, you can't remake ceratin films that starred certain actors. And I am trying to find HOMEBOY.

HemlockMan said...

HOMEBOY was around on VHS. You should be able to find it in that format if you look hard enough. But I'm fairly certain it's not available on DVD.