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The Samurai Returns


I’m beginning a new blog life.  For anyone interested in my previous life, it began with http://ballflop.blogspot.com.  It was a fun little experiment with a buddy of mine: I wrote about film, he wrote about sports.  The concept was sound, but our execution was poor.  We both had things to say about our respective areas of interest and moderate expertise, if you’d call it that, but we got tripped up along the way.  As it turns out, once you stop writing for a while, your return is put further and further in check by your own misgivings about how to bring it all back.  Not anymore. I’m back, baby.

Call it a new found resurgence due to a rekindled flame in my life, call it the effect of too much information begging to be spewed out, just don’t call it a comeback.  Ok, you can, I just had to throw that line in there.

It’s strange. I love films. I LOVE FILMS.  All films: action, drama, silent, musical, film noir, foreign, documentary, comedy, and everything in between. From the high end of the quality spectrum, right down to the low end.  Give me them all.  What I don’t understand is my unflinching desire to write about films after I see them, especially the bad ones, but more importantly, the truly great ones.  I search out the “greatest” films of all time and I feel some strange need to speak my mind about them, as if no learned person had ever written about it.  Maybe I feel like I’m unique in my point of view, who knows.  But what I do know is, in watching these rarely seen gems, I’ve discovered my own voice and my own distinct needs and wants in film.  You can’t find them in a text book or in a film class.  It’s mine, my own.  And that’s what I want to start with: my needs in film.  So here they go…

1. A Samurai

2. A hard-nosed leading man who knows how to treat a woman and punch a man.

3. A woman who knows how to outsmart the hard-nosed leading man

4. A good soundtrack

5. No sountrack, when it doesn’t call for it.

6. Character interaction that doesn’t involve dialogue

7. Cursing

8. A Bergman-esque examination of your inner-self

9. A change of pace

10. A happy ending (not that kind)

11. A sad ending, when it’s called for

12. A director with a good eye for human weakness

13. A screenwriter with an even better eye for human weakness

14. Characters, not characterization

15. Toshiro Mifune

16. Tatsuya Nakadai

17. Long, wordless opening shots, a la “Rio Bravo” and “Touch of Evil”

18. Orson Welles, while we’re on the subject

19. Darkness during happy scenes, and light during sad scenes

20. Ascending tension

21. A “Directed by Alfred Hitchcock” credit

22. Decisions that decide the nature of the characters

23. A Janus Films logo

24. John Wayne *

Keep in mind, this is a very incomplete list. Some things will be added in future posts, and many things will be referenced and explained in future posts.

Stay tuned…more to come.

* New addition

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