Sunday, November 14, 2010

"A Clockwork Orange"(1971)d/Stanley Kubrick

There is me,your humble narrator,that is Big Wop,making up me rassoodocks about what film to govoreet upon this fine nochy,little brothers 'n sisters,when it tolchocked me reasonness as I puffed away real horrorshow on another cancer,that we hadn't
wrapped our mozggies around a bolshy lomtick of cult sinny by that sammy moodge eemyaed Stanley Kubrick,droogies.Feeling razdraz,I rabbited away on my oddy knocky,brosaying slovoes and messels like the baddiwaddest bratchny,and like,the interessovatting oomny malchick all the devotchkas wanna show their neezhnies and groodies to,little bratties.So,put away your nozhes and britvas,tell that horning molodoy ptitsa to stop skvattying your pan-handle,pour yourselves a chasha of moloko vellocet(or drencrum)and viddy well,oh my shaikas.
Putting the nadsat slang aside momentarily,Kubrick's 1971 cult classic was a life-affirming experience and rip-roaring good time for a lot of people.Maybe a life of drugged milk,fighting,and the old in-out didn't appeal to everyone who read the Burgess novel or caught the big screen adaption years later,but it certainly spoke to me,and the vast majority of my particular group of associates.Sure it bogs down to a crawl in the middle,and what was designed for the "near-futuristic" look of the film hasn't aged very gracefully at all against the years,but overall,it's a hard movie not to love,a paen to the masterfully executed use of celluloid to influence and play on the emotions of an audience,that came as second nature to Kubrick.If you have reservations about that statement,remember you're cheering on a gaggle of young criminals as they commit horrible crimes before your very eyes,and most probably,to your delight,as well.You might even say that old Stanley reverse-Ludovigoed moviegoers here,and you wouldn't be wrong.
These space age footrests probably weren't designed by August Bebel.
Sometime in the near future,we meet Alex(Malcolm McDowell) and his three-man gang at the Corova Milk Bar,as they prepare for an evening of great energy expenditure by drinking drug-laced milk.They lay the boot in on a horrible old drunkie in a motorway underpass,then interrupt Billy Boy and his gang in their attempted rape of a young girl in an abandoned casino,consequently kicking six shades of shit out of their rivals,before making off in a stolen car prior to the police's arrival.They run people off the dark country road,hooting and hollering,before arriving at the homestead of a writer named Alexander(Patrick Magee),who they beat mercilessly and force to helplessly watch the gang rape of his wife.Back at the milk bar,Alex thrashes Dim(Warren Clarke)across the thighs with his cane for interrupting a woman singing Beethoven's Ode to Joy from his 9th Symphony,Alex's favourite.While skipping school the next day,Alex is visited by his probation officer,Mr. Deltoid,who warns the young hooligan to change his ways,then punches him in the eggbag.Alex shops at a record shop,where he picks up two young girls sucking on cock-shaped lollies,taking them back to his flat and cocking them down himself.He meets with his "droogs" in the lobby of his tower block afterwards,surprised to hear Georgie(James Marcus)and Dim wanting to relieve Alex of his leadership and commit bigger crimes.As they walk along a canal,Alex beats the christ out of his whole gang singlehandedly,but then allows them to choose their next crime target,an old broad in a big house full of cats.In the ensuing melee,Alex kills the old bitch with her own sculpture of an oversized dick,but is shanghaied afterwards by his own gang,who smash a milk bottle in his face,leaving him bleeding on the doorstep for the authorities to discover.
One person's giant ceramic pan-handle is another's "important work of art".
After being incarcerated for murder,Alex undergoes the Ludovigo Treatment,which effectively removes all of his will to commit acts of violence or even sexuality,replacing these with an overwhelming physiological ill sensation anytime he makes the wrong choice,speeding up his release back into society.Back on the outside,it gets worse for Alex.His m and p have rented his room to a lodger,forcing him out into the street,where he is recognized by the same bum he and his droogs kicked up,who gathers a small homeless army to return the favour to the boy,who can no longer fight back,due to his reconditioning.He is then picked up by Georgie and Dim,now cops(!)who beat him with billy clubs and nearly drown him in a cattle trough.Finally,he stumbles to the door of Alexander,now an invalid widower protected by a hulking muscular manservant(David Prowse).The subversive writer recognizes him as the experimental prisoner(planning to use him against the government),and later as the main thug who raped his wife,when he hears the boy singing the same song he had sang on that fateful night.He drugs Alex and locks him in an attic,forcing him to listen to Beethoven's ninth,which now has the same harrowing effect on him that his previous extracurriculars do,and he jumps out the top window to avoid the sickness.He awakens in traction in a hospital,where a doctor and nurse are having sex next to his bed,having dreamed of doctors messing around in his head.He's given a series of psychological tests,then visited by the Minister of the Interior,who apologizes to him for all he's been through,handfeeding him,giving him a government job,and wheeling an enormous stereo into his room for a photo opportunity with the media,as Beethoven's ninth blares away,only Alex's feelings of sickness have gone,and been replaced by thoughts of sex and violence once again.Now there's a happy ending for you.
"Forcing me to watch my own performance in Rob Zombie's Halloween,you bastards??Uncle!Uncle!UNCLE!!"
Nearly forty years later,Clockwork remains a lightning rod for cultural references in movies(unoriginal bastard,Quentin Tarantino borrowed from it in two signature scenes in "Reservoir Dogs",and more recently,the late Heath Ledger based his "Dark Knight" performance as the Joker on Alex),television(The Simpsons and South Park regularly throw Clorkwork refs into their comedy mix),and all genres of music(naturally,punk and oi having the greatest number of clorkwork bands,albums,and/or songs).It was nominated for four Academy Awards in 1971,including Best Picture and Best Director,and has won several more over the years,despite negative critiques from high profile douchebags like Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael,who obviously don't know their own asses from applebutter.Reading the novel is quite a different experience than watching the film,as Kubrick's screenplay conveniently leaves out whole sections(including the whole final,"feel good" chapter)and changes details outright(e.g. all the female objets d'rape are ten years old in the book where Alexander the writer is young and likeable as opposed to Magee's film portrayal.).I prefer the movie,of course.You can insert your own personal ramblings about dystopian societies,totalitarian governments,and freedom of choice somewhere in here,since I'm not gonna bore you to tears with mine.One of my all-time favorites,with a perfect four wop rating bestowed upon it,and my full recommendation.
Skvat those groodies,little droogie.

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