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Mr. Stanley Kubrick Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The Movies

Nobody better. Ever.

After years of movie worship, I’ve found that I believe more and more that Stanley Kubrick is the greatest film director that has ever lived. Trust me, I’ve read a lot about the guy. Actually, that’s really not that impressive considering he was one of the most private famous people of all time.

Kubrick would have been 82 years old two days ago. It’s probably a date I should save on my iPhone as Kubrick’s movies are as responsible for me leaving the casual movie fan world and becoming a hard core film lover. I mean, only Kubrick could make someone start paying attention to aspect ratio or composition (of which he was a master). His movies made me learn some of these terms, they made me pay attention to more things on that screen other than people saying words. Kubrick made me absorb every frame of every movie that I see. Well, almost. It’s tough to really absorb all of “Clash Of The Titans”.

I learned about Kubrick in a roundabout strange way. In 1985, my mom and I made a trip to our locally owned rental store. Remember those? You know, the ones that had little circular tags hanging under the VHS cases? For some reason, I decided that I wanted to take “2010” home. I was ten, what did I know?

So I watched Helen Mirren do a crap Russian accent in that movie and wondered, “Why does this seem like I’m missing something here?” After the next trip to the store, I found out that “2010” was a sequel to “2001”. I guess the VHS box to “2001” wasn’t appealing enough to me because I didn’t rent it and moved on with my life of GI Joes and comic books.

That very year, I watched “2001” in school. True story. I grew up in an area with lots of snow and when it was ugly outside, we all went to our school auditorium for lunch and recess. Well, they usually popped movies in and over the span of three or four days, I saw all of “2001”. I was fascinated. What the hell kind of a movie doesn’t have people talking in it like this? Who does this? It was almost 30 years old but nothing like I had ever seen.

Well, that got the ball rolling. Thanks to HBO, I was able to see most of Kubrick’s older movies. Once I got to college, it was over. I made sure that I saw them all. “Barry Lyndon”. “Lolita”. “Paths Of Glory”. And, of course, “A Clockwork Orange”.

Which leads me to perhaps my most controversial opinion on Kubrick: I despise “A Clockwork Orange”. I just don’t get it and I never will. It doesn’t have much of a point to me and the shock value seems to be there only for shock value’s sake. Another odd opinion? I totally dig “Eyes Wide Shut”. I think it’s oddly creepy and a real underrated performance from Tom Cruise. Honestly, tell me one actor that Kubrick didn’t get a great performance out of?

So I feel completely indebted to Stanley Kubrick. That one movie, “2001”, got my movie brain going and I wish he was still alive today. You’d have to think he had at least one more movie in him and who knows, it may have altered film making for this century too.

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  1. July 30, 2010 at 3:20 AM

    good shout on Eyes Wide Shut, a real grower
    basically a film based on Tom Cruise walking around, yet somehow very enthralling

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