Kubrick Fest Recap

I finally finished. It took me way longer than it should have to watch 15 movies especially since some of them were extremely short. The biggest hold up was my work schedule, which was changed just as I started this project. I did end up getting almost all of the films from Netflix. A few of the shorter ones are streaming for free on YouTube. I’ll provide links to those. Here goes:

Day of the Fight, 1951, black & white: A 12ish minute long short doc about a boxer. Kubrick financed it himself and based the film on a photo spread he had done for a magazine in 1949. He also makes a cameo in it (he’s the guy ringside with a camera). It reminded me of what I think those old black and white informational type videos that appeared before a feature film might have been like. Watch it on YouTube.

Flying Padre, 1951, black and white: Another short doc around 8 minutes long. This one is about a Catholic priest in New Mexico. He’s got a really big but rural parish and has to fly around to tend to his peeps. Again, it made me think of the old news reels that showed before movies before I ever went to a movie. Watch it on YouTube.

Fear and Desire, 1953, black and white: Kubrick’s first feature film. Can’t say that I’d recommend it. It’s a little over one hour long. It’s an anti-war flick between two unidentified countries. It’s a little forgettable. It's available on YouTube.

The Seafarers, 1953, color: A short doc made for the Seafarers International Union. I did find this one interesting because I was in the Navy for so long. Also, Kubrick used a long, sideway dolly shot that because a signature technique of his. Also, available on YouTube (subtitled).

Killer’s Kiss, 1955, black and white: Film noir crime flick about 67 minutes long. Boxer at the end of his career begins a relationship with a neighbor. Crime ensues. Meh. I think I had to rent this one from iTunes.

The Killing, 1956, black and white: More film noir, this time starring Sterling Hayden. Based on the book Clean Break by Lionel White. Dude plans one last heist before getting married and settling down. Things don’t go as planned because they never do. Well, okay, things rarely go as planned. I actually enjoyed this one. Available through Netflix DVD.

Paths of Glory, 1957, black and white: Anti-war flick starring Kirk Douglas. Based on the book Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb. Douglas’ character tries to defend some French soldiers charged with cowardice after a suicide attack. This one made me glad that we now have actual rules about court-martials. They might not seem like fair rules to the average civilian, but most military would agree that they are fair per the UCMJ and the way the military works. Anyway, thumbs up. Give it a shot if you like war flicks with feels. I understand the book is based on actual events. Available through Netflix DVD.

Spartacus, 1960, color: EPIC historical drama and, again, based on the book Spartacus by Howard Fast. This one has even more big names: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis, probably more that I’m too young to remember. It won 4 Academy Awards (Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Cinematography, Color, and Best Costume Design, Color). If you don’t know, Spartacus lead a slave revolt during the Third Servile War in the Roman Republic. The movie is about the revolt and what happens to Spartacus. It’s long. 184 minutes long. Available through Netflix DVD, if you feel you must. I’m not saying that it was bad, just long. Noticeably long. Maybe don’t watch it all in one sitting like I did.

Lolita, 1960, black and white: Based on the book by Vladimir Nabokov. THAT book by Nabokov. Starring James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon (Dolores), and Peter Sellers. Hated it. Not because of the subject matter but because I’ve read, and love, the book. Not surprisingly, Kubrick had MPAA problems and had to tone it WAY down. It won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (wut?) and Sue Lyon won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer. I can’t recommend it, but it’s available from Netflix DVD if you wanna try it.

Dr. Strangelove, 1964, black and white: Shocker! Based on the book Red Alert by Peter George. Political satire, black comedy starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens (that’s a name!?), and Tracy Reed. It’s about a USAF general that goes rouge and orders a nuclear strike on the USSR, and the people that try to stop it. It also follows the crew of a bomber that’s part of the strike. Nominated for four Academy Awards and seven BAFTAs. It won four of the BAFTAs. I’ve seen this one twice and have only ever come away thinking, meh. It’s available through Netflix DVD it you wanna give it a shot.

2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968, color: Sorta inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel.” Clarke wrote a novel of the movie at the same time that was released after the film. I understand that Clarke and Kubrick did work on the book together but I don’t know how well the book and the movie work together. It was the first in the Space Odyssey series. The movie is fucking beautiful. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s fucking beautiful. The parts that I’ve seen are fucking beautiful. Unfortunately, something about it causes me to fall asleep around the time HAL is lip reading Dave and Frank. I wake up around space fetus. Every single time. My mom loved this movie. It’s available via Netflix DVD.

A Clockwork Orange, 1971, color: Guess what! Yup, it’s based on the book by Anthony Burgess. Apparently, the original book has 21 chapters. The last chapter was omitted from publication in the US prior to 1986. Kubrick used the US version for his screenplay and everything I’ve read indicates that he wasn’t aware of a 21st chapter until after the screenplay was finished, or nearly finished. Either way, he didn’t use it. This one clocks in at 136 minutes and features a very young Malcom McDowell. There’s some nice commentary on crime and what could go wrong with trying to “fix” a criminal. It’s weird, violent for its time, and makes one go hmmmmm. I had actually never seen it before and now that I have, I don’t have to watch it again. Available via Netflix DVD.

Barry Lyndon, 1975, color: period drama. Based on The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. No. Just no. Apparently, this is now considered one of Kubrick’s finest films. It does have some very beautiful scenes but no. I found it to be 187 minutes of OMG is it over, yet. Available via Netflix DVD if you feel you must. Take a break at the intermission.

The Shining, 1980, color: Based on Stephen King’s book of the same name. Depending on what film circles you run in, this might be THE Kubrick film you know. It stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. It’s now considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. Basically, dude takes his family to hotel sit during the winter. The hotel is built on a Native American burial ground because of course it is. Horror shit ensues. People die. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’ve never had an kind of reaction to this film. I think it’s beautifully shot and has some really amazing scenes but I’ve never had any kind of reaction to the horror/thriller part of the movie. I’ve not read the book. I don’t know what the differences are. Maybe the book would fuck me up. Stephen King has been known to do that to me before. I’m sure it’s available lots of places, probably even runs on TV, but you can definitely get it from Netflix DVD.

Full Metal Jacket, 1987, color: war flick. Based on the book The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. This is the reason anyone cares about R. Lee Ermey. There’s a lot of young faces here: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, more but those are the ones that I still know. I’ve always thought the Parris Island part of this movie to be the most entertaining. It’s a good war flick and I watched it many times at the Marine Corps barracks dining hall over pancakes because Marines love a good war flick over pancakes. Available on Netflix DVD or your nearest Marine Corps dining hall. Occasionally, it’s streaming on Netflix, too. Make your own pancakes.

Eyes Wide Shut, 1999, color: erotic drama. Based on the 1926 novella Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler. I really liked this one when I first saw it. When I watched it this time, it pissed me off. Basically, dude thinks women are more faithful than men and gets mad when wife challenges his little brain. He gets so upset that he almost bangs a prostitute. He ends up at an upscale sex party. Shit happens, not really to him. He confesses everything to his wife. They go Christmas shopping with their daughter. If you wanna see Nicole Kidman in various states of undress, including naked, a lot, watch this film. She’s naked within the first 30 seconds of the film. Eyes Wide Shut was actually released after Kubrick’s death. I don’t know if I’d recommend it or not. It’s available via Netflix DVD. Sometimes they have it streaming, too.

A.I: Artificial Intelligence, 2001, color: Kubrick didn’t direct this one. There seems to be some dispute about what his input was, if any. Some filmography lists include it and claim he wrote the concept and original story outline. Some lists don’t included. Steven Spielberg directed it and calls it a collaboration with Kubrick. The film is dedicated to Kubrick, also. My goal here was to watch everything that Kubrick directed so, I didn’t watch it. Netflix DVD has it. You watch it. Let me know what you think.

Well, there it is. I’m done. Got any Kubrick favorites or disagree with me? Let me know.

Stanley Kubrick, 1949

Stanley Kubrick, 1949