Mad Max

I went out to work and got a lot done. I talked about some of the movies I’d seen recently. I was eager to return home and take a nap. I watched the Blu-ray edition of “Mad Max,” the first movie in the series starring Mel Gibson. I hadn’t seen it in years, and I had forgotten how the world looked in the movie. Max had a job, and he lived in a normal house with a stove and a mobile in the shape of a pig. This film had some of the trademark car collisions and bizarre, degenerate characters we would see in the later movies. This Max behaved like a person with normal emotions. He had a wife named Jessica, who reminded me of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. She went out for ice cream, which didn’t look too good. I will never understand why she ran down the middle of the street when she was running away from the bikers. In the early 1980s, Mel Gibson was something of a sex symbol. After all these years, I’d like to confront those girls who thought he was so sexy and hear what they have to say about him now. I thought about the most recent Mad Max movie and the lack of water and talk about The Green Place. There were shots of trees that were quite beautiful. The movie got to be suspenseful when the motorcycle gang pursued Jessica. It seemed that they just should have kept going until they were on another continent or something like that. Television was still on in this first movie. I saw a sign in the town that said Milk Bar, which made me think of “A Clockwork Orange.” The quality of the images on this Blu-ray disc was impressive. The film looked sharper and better than I ever remember it from the past. I’m not sure, though, that I wanted to see Mel Gibson’s face that clearly. The dealings of the police brought to mind “Dirty Harry.” The last movie suggested that Max wouldn’t ever get his car back because it was taken apart. There was a dog in this first movie, just as there was a dog in the second. The Road Warrior dog, though, had a lot more personality and was a bigger part of the story. Max’s last name, Rockatansky, is prominent in the first movie, contrasting with “Fury Road,” where he doesn’t even want anyone to know what it is. Some of the stunts looked extremely dangerous. I found that I enjoyed the absence of CGI. Max couldn’t be a family man and do the things he would do in the next three movies. It’s a shame that there was a thirty-year gap between “Beyond Thunderdome” and “Fury Road.” Mel Gibson got old. I have actually forgotten all about what was in “Beyond Thunderdome” except for Tina Turner. If you took a poll of Mad Max fans, would they say that “The Road Warrior” was the best of the films? You could say that the first film was preparation for the second. George Miller was able to use more money to make films with more impact. The first film had your moments of domestic bliss and comfort. Max does a Tarzan imitation in one scene. He hasn’t been hardened into thinking that everything is a trap. He gets hurt from misdirection tactics at two points, one resulting in his leg injury. It’s tragic to see him turn from good guy to cold and sadistic and bent on revenge. Max couldn’t escape the brutality of the deteriorating world. He loses everything. One interesting thing in watching this first film is seeing the images that would be repeated in the succeeding films, like the swaying poles to board vehicles, and the theft of gasoline. At one time, we were looking at films like “Breaker Morant” and “My Brilliant Career” as representing the best of Australian cinema. I don’t think we expected anything like the Mad Max series, which has made a lot of money. Paul Hogan became famous, and we got sick of him very quickly. After we had years getting to know Olivia Newton-John from her rotten records like “I Honestly Love You,” we thought we were going to get soft films from Australia. What happened to Peter Weir? Well, he had his period of fame. Judy Davis turned in some good performances. Mel Gibson went on to appear in “Lethal Weapon” and “Braveheart,” and he seemed to get a big head while become increasingly controversial. Movie stars tend to be likable before they see success. That’s when they’re still struggling like the rest of us. I was amazed that George Miller was able to make another Mad Max film after 30 years. I am younger than Miller, and I wouldn’t have the energy to direct a movie like “Fury Road.” How is he going to make another two sequels without dropping dead? I have to admire Miller for showing some imagination and some strong directions and ideas in the making of the film. Most directors have nothing going on in their minds. I graded some papers and listened to part of the baseball playoff game. It was a shame that it wasn’t much of a contest, with the Blue Jays scoring a lot of runs early. Are the Blue Jays gaining momentum? Joe Carter was on the radio, but since the score was so one-sided, I barely paid attention to him. I thought back to 1993, which was a better time for me. I felt that I was still a young person back then. I watched The Big Bang Theory, thinking that the show didn’t seem to have much juice left. I thought the fencing scene was not too funny. I have the feeling that the series is moving towards a finale that will not be too good. Bill Murray and Ryan Adams were the guests on the Jimmy Kimmel show, but I was too tired to stay up to watch it. I heard that Pat Venditte is not with the A’s anymore. Some of the people who died on October 20 include Anne Sullivan (1936), Herbert Hoover (1964), Anthony Quayle (1989), Joel McCrea (1990), Burt Lancaster (1994), and Jane Wyatt (2006). Today is a birthday for Viggo Mortensen (57) and Tom Petty (65). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 20, three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd died in a plane crash in Mississippi in 1977. In 1991, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman were married. In 1992, Madonna’s “Erotica” album was released. In 1994, Burt Lancaster died at age 80.

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