There were a lot of great films that played out on the screens I found myself sitting in front of this week…but it was one clunker that seemed to mark the time.

Last spring, when I read Mark Harris’ Pictures At a Revolution, I found myself at a minor disadvantage. You see, I had watched the four gems – the groundbreaking titles that would shape 1967 as one of the great years in cinema history – I hadn’t seen the clunker. I knew THE GRADUATE, BONNIE & CLYDE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER backwards and forwards. I didn’t know diddly squat about DOCTOR DOLITTLE.

This week I corrected that disadvantage…and I sorta wish I hadn’t.

The classic musical had been sitting on my PVR since late winter, and perhaps daunted by its length (or because I knew it was a weak watch), I never queued it up. This week though, when I found myself sick at home with a summer cold, something inside of me decided it was time.

In hindsight, I can merely call this adventure a fact-finding mission. After hearing so much about how this was studio bombast at its worst, I needed to see for myself. Well, it turns out none of it was exaggerated. DOLITTLE managed to distract from my coughing and sinus headache by making me bear witness to something far worse. It’s supremely ridiculous, with atrocious music, and broad silliness trying to pass for family entertainment. In short, “Ick!”. How this managed to score that fifth Best Picture nomination over COOL HAND LUKE, or IN COLD BLOOD, or THE DIRTY DOZEN is a pure sign of studio clout gone brutally awry.

I can safely say, that this was watch happening for completist purposes.

On the other hand, the whole experience left me fascinated. During his appearance on Matineecast 60, Matthew Brown told me that on his sick days he preferred to watch dumb movies. His analogy was that when one is feeling feverish, one sometimes feels like taking a hot bath to momentarily feel worse and draw the fever out. Having given this little concept a spin, I can safely say that it ain’t for me. It didn’t draw the pain of my day out so much as it made me hyper-aware of my discomfort and even added to it.

It made me reconsider my proclivity for heavy dramas on sick days. My guess is that it’s like eating something starchy during a night of heavy drinking…the thick heavy cinema soaks up the sickness and makes it easier to tolerate.

So I suppose in the end, I must call this week educational; I finished the required reading to fully understand The 1967 Revolution, and I learned how to make myself feel even shittier when I’m home sick.


Here’s The Week at Hand…


THE IMMIGRANT – Really interesting stuff. More on this tomorrow.

Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
EL MARIACHI – I suddenly have the urge to re-watch DESPERADO
BABY BOOM – For podcasting purposes
DOCTOR DOLITTLE – Again: “Ick!”.
PAT GARRET & BILLY THE KID – Peckinpah helped wash away the Dolittle.
JANE EYRE (2011) – When you know this director would become the showrunner for True Detective, you start seeing a lot of similarities in the look of the two pieces.

Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
12 YEARS A SLAVE – Yep, still amazing.
HER – I love this film more and more with every rewatch.
KNOCKED UP – This, on the other hand, not so much!

Boxscore for The Year
138 First-Timers, 99 Re-Watched
39 Screenings
237 Movies in Total
How’s about you – seen anything good?