Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The way it works with Netflix in our household is that I'll see a reference to a movie that looks like it might be interesting and add it to the queue. Then A. will think to herself, "It has been several months since we have seen X," and she will add something. Then LCA will add something, and then CLA will come home and shuffle the whole works so we have three full seasons of "One Tree Hill" or something. Occasionally one of my picks sneaks through and percolates to the top, but by the time it does I have no idea why I thought the movie sounded interesting. Thus it was that "Zulu" appeared in our mailbox. It wasn't until the words, "and introducing Michael Caine" appeared in the credits that I had any notion of what might have piqued my interest. And, to be honest, I'm not so sure that's what it was. Caine has mostly only been notable to me in the past by reason of his ubiquity. Come to find out I've been under-rating him. He is fine in "Zulu", which is a better movie than I'd have ever guessed, but what really jumped out at me was how pretty he was-- he looks like an English Robert Redford. We've embarked on a little Michael Caine festival now-- I'd never seen "Alfie" before, and now that I have I'm starting to get it. Caine's oeuvre is vast and sequel-filled, but he is a real pro, a pleasure to watch, even when the movie itself is nothing much. When he has something to work with, as he did in "Alfie", he brings all kinds of nuance. It is a happy thing to find something like that-- an artist with a large body of work that you can dive into and enjoy. I read novelists like that once, and I suppose I will again at some point-- Sir Walter Scott, or Anthony Trollope-- someone with a long shelf that I can work my way through. For now an evening with "Get Carter" or "The Man Who Would Be King" will suffice.