random friday, 2003 edition: warren zevon, “disorder in the house” and joe strummer & the mescaleros, “silver and gold”

what i watched last week

These posts have been absent for a bit. Blame the Giants.

The Warriors. I wonder if people can predict in advance what movies will become cult favorites in the future? Usually, when the film makers try to achieve this in the process of creating a movie, they try too hard, they pour on too much self-indulgent irony, and they fail. Walter Hill, director and screenwriter for The Warriors, never seemed much interested in making a cult classic … his specialty is “guy films,” often with little or no irony. Nevertheless, this cartoonish New York City gang movie, which draws on work by the early Greek historian Xenophon, has many elements which, in retrospect, would seem to ensure cult survival, starting with the part about it being a cartoonish gang movie. Hill has a fine eye for composition … when the gangs hurriedly escape the big meeting at the beginning, the visuals are mesmerizing (Kael compared it to Griffith’s work in Intolerance, a nice piece of hyperbole) … and since the characters are more iconic than “real,” the acting is less important than the look of the film. It’s all a bit of a mess, but once you’ve seen it, you won’t forget gangs like the Baseball Furies, or the crazed eloquence of Cyrus in the opening sequence, or, of course, David Patrick Kelly clicking the beer bottles together and inviting the Warr-i-ors to come out to pla-ay. We watched Hill’s “ultimate director’s cut,” which adds superfluous comic intertitles, as if we couldn’t already tell the movie was more like a comic than like real life. 8/10.