Friday, August 1, 2014

Maybe he could sing, but he couldn't fly.

Thanks to Fisti inviting me to participate in his Twice a Best Actor project, I've been watching a lot of classic movies - which is something I rarely do. But prior to accepting, I hesitated because I felt completely out of my element. I knew I'd be exposed for the idiot, at least in cinematic terms, I am.

And while I'm sure that's the case anyway, I've settled in and seen some fantastic performances in some fantastic films. Recently, we covered Marlon Brando's two wins, and I was excited to revisit The Godfather again (I'd only seen it once prior). After that, I  told a friend, I'm gonna watch that Brando movie with one of the most famous lines ever! Oh yeah. What line? Hey, Stellaaaaaaaaaa!

What's even worse than generally having no idea what I'm talking about, even as I was three-quarters of the way through On the Waterfront, I was still expecting the line. Yes, even though the lead female character's name was clearly not Stella (it's the decidedly un-Stella, Edie), I kept wondering how they were going to pull it off. When it comes to having a working brain, well, it's quite obvious, I coulda been a contender.

Anyway, I enjoyed On the Waterfront, even if I didn't watch it under ideal circumstances (I started it at 1:30 in the morning, after work). The story revolves around Terry, a handsome and likable, do-nothing guy, doing odds and ends for one of the local union heads. One night, he unwittingly sets up one his pals to be murdered by some unsavory individuals, and slowly vows to make that right. Terry isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he used to be prizefighter, and the kid's got heart. And with the encouragement of an energetic (and possibly insane) priest, not to mention the affection of the dead guy's beautiful kid sister, Terry's gonna see this through. Even if it could cost him his life to do so.

The mob? Who knows? But who you shouldn't mess with, ever, under any circumstances, are the Yays and Boos. No, they won't throw you off of a roof for squealing, but they might make you jump off one instead.

I could live a hundred times, and I would never be this cool, total.

  • Johnny Friendly, the big boss, having everyone count the money they're handing him. I mean, everyone. I think his first six lines are either Count it, or Oh, yeah? Count it.
  • Edie, played by Eva Marie Saint, is pretty fine if I do say so myself. I'm not sure she's fall on a bullet sexy, but close.
  • Now I know why Mike Tyson used to raise pigeons on the roof. It all makes sense to me now.
  • Father Barry (played by Karl Malden). Outside of the priest in Dead Alive, I don't think I've ever seen a man of the cloth kick so much ass in one movie. 
  • There's some newspaper guys/investigators following Terry around and there's one point where he tells them about some of his old fights, and it's awesome. If you've never understood people's fascination with Brando, check out this scene. Also, stop being a f--ker. It's Marlon Brando.
  • And finally, that final scene. Terry finally faces off with Johnny Friendly down at the docks and it's amazing. He's throwing rocks at buildings, yelling like a madman, not taking shit from anyone. From where you stand, maybe, but I'm standing over here, now! It's magic. And that's all before the huge ass brawl and its aftermath.
Johnny Friendly, Terry, and Terry's jerk brother, Charlie.
  • Kayo. Cause of death? Whiskey. Which as an old surly dockworker, shouldn't be such a surprise. But he didn't die from drinking it.
  • Joey's jacket. I'm just saying, even if you're cold, you don't want it. 
  • Damn steam whistles! Always ruining confessions to pretty dames.
  • Man, that bartender was a huge dick.
  • That damn kid on the roof. I kind of hated him from the beginning, but by the end, I wanted to punch that f--ker in his bitch face.
  • Way to go, dockworkers. You bunch of pussies. I was hoping Terry would come to and fight all of yous. Luckily you took your little stand, ya rat bastards.
If you've never really seen Brando at work, you should probably start with The Godfather, as the entirety of that film is classic. And you'll get to correctly hear one of the greatest lines from movie history, again uttered by Marlon Brando.

The horror...the horror.

I'm pretty sure that's it.


  1. Great review. Can't believe I've still not seen this. Now, I just have to see how Kayo dies.

    1. Ha, thanks Wendell. Definitely check it out, as apparently Brando delivers the best piece of acting ever. I gave it a B+ or something, you know, because I'm stupid.

  2. This is one of those movies I've been meaning to see for years. Admitting I haven't watched it diminishes my film buff cred. :-)

    1. Eh, I hear you on your cred, but I wouldn't sweat this one too much. And honestly, i had a bitch of a time tracking this one down. I actually had to buy it digitally for $10. What the shit, On the Waterfront? Do you want to be seen?

  3. BAH, I love you man! I'm glad that my series has broadened your classic film horizons. I hope you keep digging. TCM is my godsend. I have like 80 movies on my DVR from it, and I watch them all the time. Classic film is incredible.

    And you should watch Streetcar Named Desire ASAP...

    1. Definitely, man - totally broadened my film horizons. I've probably doubled my cred, easily. I'm actually down for some TCM, but I'll likely keep to a once a month type of thing at best. Hopefully.

      Ah, Streetcar. I know, I certainly need to catch it. Shouldn't be too much trouble to find...I'm assuming.

      You know, of all the movies I've watched for 'Twice a Best Actor', On the Waterfront was the hardest to come by. Can you believe that? I actually had to buy it digitally FOR TEN BUCKS. Everything else I could rent, or find On Demand or at Netflix....but not this f--ke. Damn, dockworker unions, making it hard on the little guy.