Five Score and 3 Years Ago

Note: There are a few very minimalist spoilers in this review. Nothing major, but still, fair warning…


We recently went to see “1917” at a local movie theater. Most of you who have followed me for a while now know that I’m not really a fan of the movie-going experience. It used to be great fun, when I was a young gayling stumbling my way toward whatever I was meant to be. Back then, centuries ago, people knew how to behave, and there were certain protocols that one simply did not breach. You sat down and you watched the movie and you didn’t intrude on the experience unless it was to laugh or cry at the appropriate moment to laugh or cry.

Things have changed since, because society has changed, and not for the better in certain aspects. Some people, having not been raised right (let’s be honest) and never having their actions tempered by a firm “No!” from their parental units, don’t know how to function in public. These folks have no appreciation for personal responsibility, with the concept of “consideration of others” never even crossing their coddled minds.

Thusly, said movie-going experience degenerated into a cesspool of annoyance. A decent person couldn’t enjoy the feature presentation, what with all the intrusive conversation, lack of respect for the right thing to do, and those blinding flashes from cellphones that shouldn’t be flashing in the first place. (You came here with the sole intention of taking a selfie of you pretending to watch a movie instead of actually watching the movie? Sometimes I just can’t stand people.)

Luckily, a budding theater chain that understands the sanctity of the film-watching experience established a location that is not that far from our neck of the woods. (I suppose “neck” is not the proper term, implying a rural atmosphere that doesn’t really apply, as the location is essentially in downtown Dallas. But we live mere minutes from said downtown, and I’ll claim that as a neck.) This chain does not play when it comes to proper behavior. If you act a fool, they will escort your ass out of the theater.

This thrills me. I wish the concept was more prevalent in all aspects of society. Stop expecting others to put up with your nonsense and own what you do.

All of the above is a preamble to underline that I do understand how some folks are leery of perusing a movie in public. I get it, been there and not enjoyed that. But “1917” is a movie that can only be fully appreciated on the big screen and not in the confines of your own dwelling, no matter how progressive you think your TV might be. It just won’t play as well.

From a plot perspective, there are some quibbles. (The “happenstance of milk” bit seems forced, for instance. The main characters are somewhat flimsy in development, and it’s a fair argument that the special effects can overtake the story at points.) But from a technical perspective, this movie is a marvel. There are so many amazingly-shot scenes that it’s almost overwhelming, to the point that you might not fully appreciate all of it, saturated as you are. (My favorite scene? Perhaps that desperate run along the front line. Or maybe the awful beauty of the fire-lit village. Or the unexpected song. Still deciding.)

Right after watching this movie, we joined some of our friends for a happy hour, a regular thing that we do. One of said friends asked if I experienced motion sickness during the show. Motion sickness? Is that really a trending topic? Apparently, it is, considering the movie appears to be shot in two very-long takes, with a single “break” toward the middle. I suppose some folks might find that taxing, with your constant attention required. (Shouldn’t a well-crafted movie expect you to pay attention, though?) I was invested the entire time, no motion issues whatsoever. It is not the greatest flick you’ve ever seen, but it is very well done, regardless of your own thoughts on the subject matter. And that makes for a good theater experience, losing yourself in a different time and place.



29 replies »

  1. Given the theme of the film, it was a must not see on my own list. I’m glad you had a semi-good time even with the selfie idiots out en masse. Who knew they (selfie idiots) enjoyed anything historical? O_o I get motion sick at the filming of certain movies. Blair Witch (even though it was viewed in my house) made me so ill that I couldn’t watch it and had to leave hubby to enjoy it (he didn’t) after five minutes. Anything that uses the hand held camera and then doesn’t hold the $!#*& piece of shit STILL, will have a similar affect on me. I used to have issues with COPS when I used to watch that show. But I’ll get vertigo and dizzy at the merest whiff of peripheral movement these days. Which is yet another reason I don’t go to ‘pay to see’ movies any more. Puking is a personal thing..

    Liked by 2 people

    • You made a wise decision, if a moving camera does not play well with you. The camera only stops moving to focus in on critical conversations, and then we’re off again.

      By the way, and I may have shared this story, can’t remember, I watched “Blair Witch” whilst semi-stranded at a hotel in Aurora, Colorado during a snowstorm. The parking lot was completely deserted except for my rental car, so I think I was the only guest. But hey, the pay-per-view worked, so I dove in. I didn’t get vertigo, but I did get creeped out with the “all alone in the middle of nowhere” angle…


      • At least it wasn’t “The Shining” with Jack Nicholsen (the BEST version IMHO) of that film! Now that film would have given the whole “stranded in a Colorado Hotel in a blizzard” a far more sinister twist….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to go to a very small movie theatre near the condo I lived in for work. It was licensed, which was awesome, but the crowd was the most inappropriate I’ve ever seen (maybe because it was licensed). I remember watching both Split and Get Out there, and the audiences both times laughing hysterically as if they were comedies. It was bizarre. I’ve never gotten motion sickness from a movie though, but then again, I don’t get seasick either. Glad you enjoyed 1917–it’s still on our list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It just kills me, the way some people act. At the very least, why are these folks spending good money if they have no intention of properly enjoying the experience? Don’t get it. But it DOES explain why some people vote the way they do, because they aren’t paying ATTENTION. Sigh.

      Based on what you’ve shared on your blog, I think you’ll like this one. I’m not a big war-movie fan, usually, but in a way the movie is not quite exactly about war, even though it very much is. I know that sounds odd, but hopefully you’ll get the chance to see what I mean…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some movies have to be watched in a cinema, no question. They are meant to be big. I’ve wondered about the quality of this movie because my family lost people who were on the front-line of that war, so thanks for the review.

    As to cinema manners, I’ve not really noticed much difference. Sorry to hear that it’s generally become a trial, but it sounds like the effort is being made to change that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually considered the “family lost” angle before posting, and I almost didn’t share this for that and a few other reasons. (I don’t want to come across as a pro-war kind of guy.) But in the end, I was compelled to encourage folks to see something that is an admirable technical achievement.

      Cinema manners are wretched in some cases, but I think that’s a reflection of the self-entitlement of American society in general. Most people are still decent, but it only takes a few fools to ruin it for everybody…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Down here we don’t have the same level of cellphone flashing idiotic cross conversation call-and- response celebrants at our local Roxy. Thank God. Perhaps the wide screen eye opening cost of a ticket causes most to actually watch what they paid for. I know we were and stunned before we even sat down. Not worried about the vertigo leaving me light-headed but the lightened pocket still leaves me nauseous now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the ticket prices can be a little daunting, especially when (if you’re a smart shopper) you can eventually find a Blu-Ray DVD of the movie for the same price, which you can then watch as many times as you want. (And you are graced with that all-important “pause” button when nature calls or the beer is low.) Still, for the right movie, I find it personally worth it. I’ll figure out how to pay my utility bills later… 😉


    • The movie is not for everybody. And honestly, I wouldn’t have paid to see it in a theater if my trusted movie critics hadn’t praised the technical aspects of the movie. (I read voraciously about movies, as if my passion isn’t obvious with all those Past Imperfects.) But I was very impressed, and I just had to share…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We went to the movies only once while living in Italy. Everyone and I mean every single person was on a cell phone. The lady behind me blathered on for 45 minutes about her “torta” and I felt I was on a cooking show. The movie, The Passions of Christ, was totally ruined. Then and I kid you not, halfway through the movie a guy appeared to the left of my aisle seat dressed in a long white robe and sandals, sporting a beard, asking to move past us to get seated. I looked at my wife and said, “Cool, he came to his own flick.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now see, in your particular case, with the sudden cameo by Robe and Sandals Guy, I don’t know if I would have been able to refrain from whipping out my verboten cell phone. So I suppose I’m a little bit of a hypocrite… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 1917 just didn’t sound interesting. Now there have been a few great WWI movies. I think “Gallipoli” was pretty good but that was 1981.

    We must be blessed in California. The theater audiences I experience are almost always quiet and respectful. If some one were ruining my show, first I would shush them and should that fail I would complain and get my money back. But it just doesn’t happen.

    Afternoon matinees are different. That is when mothers bring little children. You expect noise and crying and such. I avoid those times.


  7. I haven’t been to a movie theater in years, but when I went it always seemed that the tallest man in the world would plop down right in front of me. It didn’t matter if there were five million vacant seats…somehow, I always had the pleasure of sitting behind a giant. You might ask why I didn’t move. Umm…POS was comfortable where he was…and we all know that it was always all about him. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to have a problem with women and their bouffant Texas hair piled to the sky. Ugh. But you should be able to avoid the “tall thing” with the newer, nicer theaters. They usually have stadium seating where the seats are really staggered. The whole Dallas Mavericks team can sit in front of me and they don’t block a thing.

      As for POS, well, he’s POS. I wouldn’t expect any better behavior…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I usually just buy the DVD and watch it at home. Maybe I’m too traumatized. LOL
        We had tickets to see the Stones when they came to Orlando. I gave up my seat for a visiting Dane and he and POS were all about that! Hmm. Got to hear the Stones, but I was seated behind a huge concrete pillar. Last time I went to a concert. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  8. We saw it a couple months ago and I’m in full agreement with your review. I thought it a great film in many respects. Not perfect, but pretty darn good.
    Have you seen Parasite yet? If not, it’s worth the big screen as well. Not only is the filming and storyline wonderful, the acting is too notch.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.