Still Watching is a weekly examination of old TV shows or films.
I’m taking a break this week from the Lost Re-Watch. I still plan to keep going through the series, deciphering what I can from it, for my own benefit as much as yours. But I also need time to explore some older movies and other television shows as part of the “Still Watching” column. I recently joined Netflix- nothing like being on the cutting edge of pop culture, right? It only took me years to get on that bandwagon. I don’t know why I waited so long, actually, but now that I’m in, I’m loving it. I can spend, and have spent, literally hours in one sitting rating movies and adding them to my queue.
I think one of the reasons I waited so long to join was a general reticence to how digitized everything is becoming. A friend of mine told me recently that she heard Netflix would eventually be all digital. To my great dissatisfaction, books are heading in that direction, as well. Soon, there won’t be any new hard copies of anything. This may sound fine and even great to some people. I find it a little frightening. But I’ll save my paranoia for another article. The point is that I won’t be encouraging readers of this column to watch only instantly through Netflix. I encourage you to watch both. Give Netflix a reason to keep some good old three dimensional, though strangely still thin and lightweight, dvds around.
I have always been a collector of movies, for my living room shelf, and the shelf that sits in my head, which thankfully holds a lot more. I can watch some movies over and over, but I also like to check them off as I see them, kind of like a movie bucket list (I haven’t seen that one yet, either). Not that I am on a mission to see every movie that was ever made, but I would like to see as many good ones as possible. Netflix is making that goal into a reality for me more than it ever has been.
One movie I watched recently, that I have always wanted to see and just never went to the trouble to go out and rent, is Sydney Pollack’s The Way We Were. (Spoilers ahead) I went into this one with high hopes, as I love Pollack’s Out of Africa, and typically enjoy heavy and depressing love stories. I found this one not heavy, and only depressing because the story didn’t engage me enough to make me care that Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand didn’t stick it out. The characters were selfish from the beginning and in the end, simply found a different way to express their selfishness. Their clichéd “growth” was finally coming to admit they were wrong for each other and divorce, and follow their hearts, even though they were married and expecting their first child at the time. They were shallow, and the filmmaking was, as well. But hey, I’m glad I saw it, and it is checked off the list. If anyone would care to prove me wrong, I am open to other opinions. To a point.
By the way, Robert Redford is good looking and all (especially back then) but does anyone else find him a little stilted? I like him in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and used to like The Natural, though it’s been a while since I’ve seen that one. High drama does not seem to be his strong point. I need to explore this further. Could it be that the great Mr. Redford is a little overrated as an actor?
My suggestion: watch Out of Africa, a visual masterpiece of storytelling, based on the true story of Danish adventurer Karen Blixen’s farm in Africa. The most interesting love affair in this film is between Karen (played by Meryl Streep) and Africa. Ditch The Way We Were.