music friday: jeff davis
leaving high school

what i watched last week

Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978). I saw Badlands when it came out, and thought it was a nice first picture. I saw Days of Heaven when it came out, and thought I probably wouldn’t bother seeing any more of Malick’s films. He didn’t make another movie for twenty years, so it’s not like I was missing anything. Somehow, as time passed, I ended up seeing every movie Malick has directed (with the exception of his most recent). Watching Days of Heaven again, I saw that there was more to it than visual beauty, which is progress of a sort. In general, I admire Malick for his ability to make the movies he wants to make, but don’t much care for the final products. Since his first two films of the 21st century were my least favorites so far, I tend to think poorly of him, and it’s very annoying that people who love his movies act like anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a moron. One thing is indisputable: Malick’s 1970s movies ran just over 90 minutes, while his movies since his comeback have all been well over two hours (with The Thin Red Line approaching three hours). I’m of the opinion that a little Terrence Malick goes a long way, which may be why I feel kinder towards Days of Heaven than I do towards The New World or The Tree of Life. Still, The Thin Red Line was the longest of his movies, and I liked that one OK. I’m glad I took another look at Days of Heaven. There are a few breathtaking moments, Linda Manz is excellent, and Richard Gere is perfectly cast … he doesn’t do anything, so he doesn’t get in the way of Malick’s visual compositions. Obviously, a movie this gorgeous should be seen on the big screen, but it also serves as a great advertisement for Blu-ray … the Criterion disc does the film justice. #131 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 7/10.

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