My Dad Watched it Twice

My Dad has said his favorite movie ever is Lawrence of Arabia, so one year I gave him a DVD of it for Christmas. He said "I've seen this before," and I'm not sure he saw it on DVD. I'm sure some of that is that he charished the experience of seeing it on a big screen. With that standard in mind it was fun to hear him recommend the movie Dead Man to someone by saying "I've seen it twice," with a smile on his face.

Yesterday I saw:

Dead Man (1995)

Traffic (2000)

Meet the Patels (2015)

Dead Man

I saw this movie for the first time in a Film Studies class in college when we got to the westerns portion of the class. We would see one older film of each genre covered and one newer film of the genres. I think we saw Dead Man with The Searchers but I'm not sure because I'm pretty sure I saw that in a Westerns class. I don't think I knew much about the movie before the class but the director Jim Jarmusch's name would be referenced a lot in my friend Pat's family's house.

I have found it to be the perfect western and it holds up through the 12 years of viewing that I've seen it, especially for a 20 year old movie. I think because it is a stylized black and white that looks to me the same kind of focus and contrast of light and dark that Civil War photos have. This stylization doesn't look like anything from now or 20 years ago yet is so clear and quickly paced that it matches well with the movies made now. The editing makes some of the scenes very short yet has this sense of breath that is meditative.

When I saw The Revenant, as amazing as some of the filming techniques are it made me long for the storytelling, poetry and humor of Dead Man. The Revenant has very similar story beats although that just made me long to see Dead Man again rather than see more of The Revenant. At least Dead Man lives up to the bear sex hype The Revenant could not... even if it turns out to just be the character No One wearing a bearskin.

Traffic

This was the movie that inspired me to realize there was more to movies than what was on the surface. I believe when I saw it as a senior in high school I was surprised to see the scenes shot in blue and black and yellow and black, the shot of a helicopter that flips the screen upside-down and the sparseness of the score that lets the movie breath.

Watching it now was slightly disappointing because I hadn't seen it in a while. I found it seems transitional in style from the indie movie explosion in the 90's from Miramax and the movies of the 200's. That's right, the two hundreds... nope, the 2000's. Ocean's 11, Soderbergh's next movie, seems to get just a better hold on stylization than Traffic.

It's almost like a great documentary about the drug trade with mixed with the affects on the people who use the drugs in the US as well as the complexities of drug policy in the US government. In contrast to The Revenant and Dead Man, Sicario reminded me of Traffic, but I think it expanded on the story telling to enforcement and was just a bit better of an action/drama film.

Meet The Patels

The first reason for seeing this was that it was just the right length of time before the Super Bowl and that I had heard Ravi Patel talk about his documentary about looking for a wife with the help of his family on a few podcasts. It is funny and an amazing insight on the culture of match making in India and for Indian-Americans as well as the concept of family for Patels. I found it incredible that there are conventions in North America where young single people with the last name Patel can meet so that they can see if they want to marry eachother. It's not quite incest because Patel is such a prevelant name in India, Ravi says his name is the equivalent to John Smith. Patel is said to be the most popular last name in the US.

The story of Ravi's search for love, and to an extent his sister's struggle with being set up by parents from behind the camera, is fresh and unique to American film. It may fit with Indian culture but humanizes beyond steriotypes to the point the family members grow beyond steriotypes they have that are completely different.

It fit the requirement of the time requirement before the game, but did so much more than that. It is a very real, very non-reality TV view of finding love in a documentary way and introduces us to a great immediate and extended family. I had only noticed Ravi in his recurring role on Master of None but I feel this gave me a great introduction and expansion to his real personality that came throug in his Master of None character as well.

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