Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A word on my side-quest to consume SPARTACUS (105)

I've been hankering to watch Stanley Kubrick's amazing Roman Epic Spartacus (105) for days now. Days. This can be a rarity for Criterion films, as much of the time I'm staring down the barrel of six hour Japanese romantic comedy (or something of its ilk) and though I usually find myself truly enjoying the film, it's a struggle to get that enjoyment ball rolling.

Not with Spartacus (105). This is a big, beautiful Kubrick movie, and I've seen bits of it in the past, and I can not wait to re-expose myself to the film as an older, more film-savvy gentleman. Then why might you ask have I not stopped everything and consumed the movie in one big sloppy gulp?

Three reasons:

1. It started with Alex's excitement about watching Spartacus (105). I'm pretty laissez faire when it comes to watching films. I'll pick at them in bits, squishing them in to the open spaces in my day, until their gone. I've actually wondered on many an occasion how this effects my final thoughts on a film, if I lose some aspect of the meaning and enjoyment from watching it in this way. Alex, literally my favorite person on Earth, got word of Spartacus (105) hurtling down the pipe and was consumed by excitement. But Alex doesn't want to watch the film in bite size chunks like me, she wants to immerse herself in Kubrick's Roman legions in one fell swoop. Thus dates were made, imaginary popcorn was popped, excitement built. But ...

2. Spartacus (105) is nearly four hours long. Yup, four hours of Kirk Douglas, shirtless, fighting off the Romans. Tickle me pink. Four hours isn't an egregious length for a film made before, hell, 1995. On average, film lengths have decreased thirty minutes to an hour over the last fifteen or so years as our internet addled brains have stopped being able to process "long form" films. But films prior to this were lengthy. Serious films dictated serious minutes, and short films, were often considered "pithy", better suited to comedy or romance. Thus, Kubrick's Roman opus, as serious as a heart attack, is a sweeping beast of a film. And devouring a four hour film isn't just something you sit down and do, it's day-eater and you have to have dedication and you have to have a chunk of your time to spend. Thus, we've made dates, but Alex and I are flighty and prone to forgetfulness, thus the four hour opus still sits in its beautiful little case on my desk.

3. Finally, we decided last night that we were going to give it a go. Make some popcorn, pop the flick in the old computer and watch a four hour wide-screened epic on my 14 inch laptop ... until Alex proposed that we wait until the end of the week, as we'll be house-sitting two beautiful homes, each equipped with enormous televisions. Um, yes. I will wait another two, three days for the glory that is Spartacus (105), so I can enjoy spearings and slave revolution on a forty-inch flat screen plasma.

Thus, my Quest, for a moment sits idle.

Oh and if you're curious Criterion just released their films for March. Does this make anyone else as excited as it does me?

Wednesday: A Cloony Twoony.

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