In an effort to obtain new visual stimulation the other night, I hied off to the library and rented two super-old movies:
The Italian Job
Almost everyone has seen the remake of this with Mark Wahlberg, but the original, starring a very young Michael Caine (he looks exactly like he does now, by the way, which is weird), is less well-known and at the same time more critically praised. I have to say, though, I thought it kind of sucked. Basically this is a giant commercial for Mini Coopers, which face off against Italian Fiats. Spoiler alert: the Mini Coopers win. I might care if I was British, but since I'm not....
This movie is seriously silly, and the ending is abrupt to say the least. I'd say skip it unless you have an obsession with either Michael Caine or British engineering (side note: I couldn't help but notice the Mini Coopers didn't face off against German cars. I guess Mini Coops crushing BMW would be too unbelievable even for this film).
The Maltese Falcon
I know, this is a classic. But I have never seen the whole thing until last week. This movie was pretty good, although it had absolutely zip to do with the Maltese Falcon. Sam Spade (aka Humphrey Bogart, who is the awesome) is a PI in San Francisco along with his partner, Miles Archer. One day a woman who is supposedly really hot (personally I didn't see the appeal AT ALL) comes into the office asking them to follow some sketchy guy who's dating her sister. Archer calls it, then gets shot on the job. Sam isn't too broken up about this. Apparently Sam is a playa playa, since he was sleeping with Miles' wife and I'm guessing sleeps with the mystery woman client as well. Not that that has anything to do with the plot.
My favorite part of the movie was Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo. There's another actor who is the awesome! Why is he not in every movie I watch? He should be. The characters as a whole were wonderful; the plot was ridiculous/borderline indecipherable; and the extended metaphor about the Maltese Falcon being like love (the stuff that dreams are made of, etc. etc.) wasn't really convincing because the idea that Sam Spade is in love with crazy client bitch was laughable. But overall it was a good movie.