gently baby, it’s mother’s day

billy wilder. can that guy even make a bad movie? wait. what i meant to ask is this: can that guy make anything other than excellent movies?

clarifications on the question:
(1) i think it’s rhetorical,
(2) i’m using excellent in the same way bill and ted use it,
(3) i understand and firmly believe that the qualification of an excellent for a movie is a matter of personal taste,
(4) an excellent movie, imo, is one that blows me away,
(5) i haven’t developed an aesthetic or theoretical framework for movies that blow me away because those movies that do blow me away can seemingly be so different from like star wars: episode 3 to the passion of joan of arc,
(6) even though billy wilder has made films in like ten different genres, every film i’ve seen by him has blown me away,
(7) kiss me, stupid was no exception.

one of my favorite things about wilder is he knows how to pack in the jokes.  i mean that’s a three-way love seat.  and kim novak is actually a prostitute pretending to be that other guys wife so that when dean martin has sex with her he’ll have to buy one of that guy’s songs.  and his wife doesn’t know about any of this.  and he wears a beethoven sweatshirt for half the movie.  and has a schubert and bach sweatshirt in his closet.  because he’s a piano teacher.  and the whole thing takes place in climax nevada.  in fact, half of the movie is terribly funny sex jokes, but thinly disguised sex jokes since it is the early sixties and everyone is still uptight about all that.  and dean martin is hilarious.  he plays himself and he’s always drunk and is addicted to sex.  if he doesn’t get laid, his head just doesn’t feel right in the morning.  (that’s funny.)

i could go on and on and on listing all the jokes, but you should just watch it.



Filed under Brian

3 responses to “gently baby, it’s mother’s day

  1. One Wilder film that I’m going to have to give another try is The Apartment. I remember not really enjoying it as much as his other work. With everyone loving it as much as they do, I’m just assuming that I’m wrong. What did you think of The Apartment?

  2. Billy Wilder was a film god — maybe not a film Jesus — he went from noirs to straight drama to comedies and back again.

  3. brian

    i really liked the apartment. mostly because it’s so funny. wilder packs like 20 jokes into every minute of the film. it looks great. i love the shot of all the desks lined up, everyone typing away on their calculators. i think it’s pretty similar to a shot in metropolis, i think. and, like all his movies, even though everything is so funny, there’s this really dark, cynical edge.

    another lesser known wilder film i really like is ace in the hole. it has kurt douglas exploiting this guy trapped in a mine so he can get his old job at the new york times back. it was on tcm the same week these people got trapped in a mine in eastern utah.

    and i forgot to mention how great the music is in kiss me, stupid.

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