April 22, 2004

Viewer Discretion Advised

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This Tuesday marked the celebration of a national holiday with a storied and patriotic tradition. No, there weren’t any glowing trees (though you may have seen some) or scowling pumpkins (again, you may have seen some), but there were certainly some gifts exchanged, some brownies eaten, and some fireworks set off. If you didn’t observe Tuesday, you’re probably better off for doing so. But if you did, why not make every day a holiday? And what better way to add to the festivities than to grab a group of friends and a flick. Here are some films sure to have you thinking all philosophical.


The genius of this film often evades the sensory perception of the average person. When taken in the right state of mind, the fluidity of form, layering of color, and sonic detail of Fantasia are incredible. Mickey Mouse fighting dancing broomsticks to Beethoven — it’s like Tug Boat Willie ground and spat out through Anthony Burgess’s juicer. Krovy good rot!

Full Metal Jacket

Let’s be honest, this movie is terrible, and not even the deadpan virtuosity of R. Lee Ermey can save it. However, upon close viewing, this film is absolutely hilarious. Ermey delivers some of the funniest lines ever (“Your days of finger-banging Ms. Mary Sue Rottencrotch are over!”) as the insane, ball-busting drill sergeant. Not to mention, there are some gems in the Vietnam half of the film (“Me so hooorny, baby.”). The drama and emotion in this film may be as cheap as a Vietnamese hooker, but the final scene will have you humming The Mickey Mouse Club theme song for at least three days.

The Never Ending Story II

Flying horses, an evil temptress, seas of acid, a giant, pink shitzu-dragon, bipedal dung beetles, friendly rock-monsters, and talking dodo birds. This film is a poetic ode to the sublime. The follow-up to Wolfgang Peterson’s classic, The Never Ending Story II finds Bastian returning to Fantasia. Okay, so perhaps I’ve been laying too much praise on this film. There are gaping plot holes, awful acting, and a rendering of Fantasia that looks like someone went to work with construction paper, Elmer’s glue, and crushed Smarties. I consider this a “chemical reaction” film, one that doesn’t always work, sometimes explodes, but can sometimes form a beautiful crystal.

Waking Life

Tuesday was a day not merely of revelry, but also a celebration of the world’s greatest minds. Observers no doubt engaged in profoundly meaningful discourses on the nature of life, numbers, and Hawaiian topping pizza. Waking Life is the perfect mediator for such epistemological discussions, coupling bizarrely beautiful animation with academic arguments. It’s as dense as a Bresson film, but with the soft, fuzzy drift of a Care Bears episode. There may be no plot, but if viewed late into the night, it probably won’t even matter.

Archived article by Zach Jones
Red Letter Daze Associate Editor