Badlands

I gave a lackluster lecture to my student after I had spent hours grading papers. I returned home and watched Charles Nelson Reilly and Garry Shandling on the Tonight Show from April 28, 1983. I watched the Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of “Badlands.” It looked brighter and better than I remembered from either the movie screen or the previous DVD edition. I noted the images of dead animals. Kit didn’t seem to know his breeds of dogs, or he had never seen Lassie before, because that dog was not a collie. Kit also steps on a dead cow, perhaps not quite believing that it was dead. Holly throws out the pet catfish into the melon patch, leaving it to die. As punishment for her relationship with Kit, Holly’s father shoots her dog, which I really didn’t understand. The people in this film don’t make much sense. Warren Oates was a great actor. His character should not have announced his intentions to such a dangerous person. I don’t know if he could have saved himself by playing along with him. Apparently, two of the boys out in the street were Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, who had to be less than ten years old at the time. I thought it was strange that Kit would end his speech that he recorded with a thank you. I noticed that the house fire engulfed the record player. He had this odd desire to be remembered or noticed. He attached those items to that red balloon, and he put together that time capsule for someone to discover in a thousand years. He gave away personal items like a lighter, comb, and pen to the National Guardsmen. He recorded some of his thoughts into a Dictaphone, and he made a marker with rocks at the spot where he was captured. The sky and the open country was beautiful in this picture. The music included Orff and Satie. Kit and Holly also danced to Mickey and Sylvia’s “Love is Strange” and Nat King Cole’s “A Blossom Fell.” Another of those weird things that Kit did was to make Holly get her school textbooks out of her locker to take long with her on this Bonnie and Clyde trip. When he asks her how to say “I quit my job” in Spanish, she says “Something mi trabajo.” Both Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are playing characters about ten years younger than their real ages, but they’re both convincing. When they set up that treehouse hideaway, I could see how Sheen ended up in “Apocalypse Now” several years later. It was amazing that Sissy Spacek still played a teenager in “Carrie.” Cato was very foolish in his attempt to fool Kit about the gold coins in the field. It wasn’t a believable story in the first place, and then he started to run. I wondered how Kit refilled the gas tank from those pipes. When Holly stops running, it’s because she’s tired of not having good things to eat or a place to bathe. There is a sense of eternity in the stereopticon images. We wouldn’t know that it was the late 1950s aside from the cars and a few other reminders. Holly reads about Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth in a movie magazine. There was a scene with a train passing, which is something like what we also see in “Days of Heaven.” Kit spins a Coke bottle to leave it to fate which direction the couple should travel, but he rejects the result. That says almost everything about him. He also tosses Holly’s clothes into the trash but takes the book she’s been writing in. This film apparently was a troubled production, with a shortage of money and two cinematographers leaving. Holly does the narration. Usually I don’t like a lot of voice-over in a movie, but Holly is so fascinating that you don’t notice. The ending of the film shows clouds. It’s remarkable that Terrence Malick held things together and created this film that has lasted for more than forty years now. The film made its debut next to Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets,” and after all this time, it’s the Malick film that seems more powerful and lasting. Malick made his reputation with “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven.” I thought that “The Thin Red Line,” “The New World,” and “The Tree of Life” were good movies, but they couldn’t possibly match the first two, which felt revolutionary. I saw the trailer for his next film, which has Christian Bale in it. I will be sure to catch this movie. I feel that I have to because of Terrence Malick’s place in film history. I think we all wonder what Malick’s career would have been if he hadn’t taken twenty years off between “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line.” I’m not sure that he could have continued to produce masterpieces because I already saw similarities between the first two films. How much more could he have put into his films? Malick’s films have an unreal feeling to them because they’re not really fixed in time. They float in and out like those clouds. Their characters die. “Badlands” is another of those movies that cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. It runs only 94 minutes, but it feels like we’ve seen a lot of these characters. I think it was partly because we lost track of time at the treehouse and the drive towards Montana. “Badlands” was one of the best Criterion Collection Blu-ray discs I have seen. It’s one of those movies that I wouldn’t mind seeing over and over again. Martin Sheen gave a performance for the ages. I’ll always remember him for this movie and for “Apocalypse Now.” I heard the news that Charlie Tuna, famous Los Angeles DJ, had died. The Warriors had played without Stephen Curry but still managed to win their latest game. The results of Super Tuesday revealed that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was the probable nominees for the presidential election this year. Some of the people who died on March 2 include D.H. Lawrence (1930), Charlie Christian (1942), Randolph Scott (1987), Sandy Dennis (1992), Dusty Springfield (1999), and Hank Ballard (2003). Today is a birthday for Daniel Craig (48). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for March 2, Jay Leno made his first appearance on the Tonight Show in 1977. In 1985, Wham! had the Number One album on the charts, “Make It Big.” In 1992, Sandy Dennis, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” died from ovarian cancer in Westport, Connecticut, at age 54. In 1999, Bono joined Bob Dylan onstage at the Las Vegas House of Blues to sing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

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