Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Movies I should like... but don't

My sister and I were talking about certain movies that seem like they should be not only right up our alley, but favorites to boot... but instead, we can't stand them. I thought this week I'd blog about a few of my own "Movies I should like... but don't." Some are old, some are newer.

I think the biggest one on my list is The Bridge on the River Kwai.

I mean William Holden is my favorite actor! Right there alone, you'd think this would be high on my list, particularly as he spends a large portion of the movie shirtless. Rowr. I also love WWII movies. My favorite genre behind Westerns. And I love Jack Hawkins and James Donald. But I hate this movie. God, how I hate this movie. I can't even watch it for William Holden. The characters, the narrative, the themes, the music... none of them work for me. They just don't push my buttons, and what I'm left with is a gigantic snoozefest of truly gorgeous, panoramic, but endless jungle shots, a bunch of characters I can't stand, doing things I'm supposed to care about, but don't.

There's only one part of this movie I actually enjoy, and that's the bit of dialogue in the middle where they tell William Holden he's going to have to parachute in without any practice jumps. His reaction is great. That's the only part of this film I willingly hold onto. Okay, I also enjoy the bridge explosion and train crash (because I'm shallow that way), but not enough to sit through this movie just to get to that part.

The rest... sorry. I know it's famous, I know it's David Lean, I know it won a jillion oscars. I don't care. This one's just not for me.


  1. Hi D.:
    You're not alone. I share your love for Jack Hawkins and James Donald, but give me David Lean before his epic period and preferably in black and white, please.

    The Bridge Over the River Kwai always makes me root for one of my other (all too numerous) faves, the incomparable Sessue Hayakawa, as the Japanese commandant. There is something forced about the whole movie that I believe is supposed to make me feel moved by Alec Guinness' wrong-headed desire to build that bridge with his men, but instead, I kept wishing I were watching something equally British but really effective, small scale and in shades of moral (and visual) grey, such as The Cruel Sea (1953), A Town Like Alice (1956), Ice Cold in Alex (1958), or Carve My Name With Pride (1958).

    Anything with some real people in it.

    Keep up the great work, D. I love reading your posts.
    All the best,

  2. Thanks, Moira. And yes, Sessue Hayakawa is fabulous. Should have mentioned him! I think you're right about the "forced" feeling to it. Good way to put it.

    I've seen the Cruel Sea, but I'll keep my eye out for the other films you mention.