Monday, August 20, 2012

Movie Monday: Dead Poets Society


I decided yesterday that I've been posting FAR too many comedies, and that it was time to blog about a movie that is spectacularly unfunny, but still amazing. Apparently I am a masochist. If I ever come to this decision again, please come round and knock some sense into me, 'kay??

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This movie has been in my life for a long time now. If you ever want to make an entire classroom full of 15-16 year old girls cry uncontrollably for weeks at a time, you should make them study this movie for English. (Honestly, it kind of surprises me that we watched this in Year 10, because my Year 10 English teacher was SUPER concerned about us being too young to see stuff. So she would always fast forward through kissing scenes or violence or death, even in Year 12 Literature. For which we studied Tess of the D'Urbervilles and King Lear... Seriously, that happened. Must Be Thrifty can back me up!)

ANYWAY. I love this movie like whoa, but I can only watch it every couple of years, because I end up a snot covered hot mess by the end of it.

Reasons why Dead Poets Society is awesome:
1. Robin Williams. He was nominated for an Oscar for this role, and he completely deserved the nomination.
2. Phone calls from God.
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3. Robert Sean Leonard. I know that to most people, he's Wilson from House. But to me, he will forever be Neil Perry. He had almost nothing on his CV prior to Dead Poets, and he is phenomenal in it.
4. The final scene. Oh my God, so much ugly crying. (Also? Has anyone else ever secretly wished they had a teacher so awesome that it warranted doing this??)
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5. Ethan Hawke. Another one with almost no acting credits to his name before taking on such a huge role. He deserves all the awards for...
6. The scene where Todd finds out about Neil. They did it in a single take, and it's completely heartbreaking.
7. Knox Overstreet (played by Josh Charles). Any time I see Josh Charles in anything, I inevitably squeal "KNOX OVERSTREET!!!!" at the television. Knox is such a completely adorkable character.
8. Meeks and Pitts dancing on the roof when they finally get their homemade radio to work.
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9. Charlie Dalton (played by Gale Hansen). Another truly spectacular character.
10. Flying desksets.
11. The scene where Mr Keating is trying to teach them individuality through walking.
12. Amazing cinematography.
13. I will never be able to think of poor Walt Whitman as anything but a sweaty toothed madman.
14. Knox's "WTF??" face when Mr Keating is giving his 'Carpe Diem' speech.
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15. It's directed by Peter Weir, who's also responsible for Gallipoli, Master & Commander, and Picnic at Hanging Rock.
16. Ripping out the terrible introduction by J. Evans Pritchard, PhD, and Cameron using a ruler to ensure his is ripped neatly.
17. The scene where Charlie plays the saxophone. It always reminds me of Ferris Bueller.
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18. It won an Oscar for best screenplay. It deserved more than just the one.
19. Reading poetry during soccer training.
20. Charlie quoting Shakespeare and Byron to the girls in the cave, and claiming that he'd just made it up especially for them.
21. The scene where Keating takes the Dead Poets Society book out of Neil's desk at the end. Anyone who thinks Robin Williams is a comedic actor should watch this scene.
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22. The scene where Knox finally plucks up the courage to phone Chris, but then hangs up the second she answers.
23. Whistling the 1812 Overture.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "'O Captain, my Captain.' Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr Abraham Lincoln. Now, in this class, you can either call me Mr Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain, my Captain."
- "Dead Poets honour."
- "Exercising the right not to walk!"
- "From now on, call me Nuwanda."
- "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world."
- "I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."
- "We're not laughing at you. We're laughing near you."
- "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race."
- "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
- "Carpe... Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your life extraordinary."
- "Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone."
- "You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all."
- "Welton Academy, hello. Yes he is, just a moment. Mr. Nolan, it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton."
- "Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is - Mr. Anderson? Come on, are you a man or an amoeba? [pause] Mr. Perry?" "To communicate." "No! To woo women!"
- "Close your eyes, close your eyes! Close 'em! Now, describe what you see." "Uh, I-I close my eyes." "Yes." "Uh, and this image floats beside me." "A sweaty-toothed madman." "A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain." "Oh, that's *excellent*! Now, give him action - make him do something!" "H-His hands reach out and choke me." "That's it! Wonderful, wonderful!" And all the time he's mumbling." "What's he mumbling?" "Mumbling truth." "Yeah, yes." "Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold." "[some of the class start to laugh] Forget them, forget them! Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket!" "Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying, it'll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream." [long pause then class applauds] "Don't you forget this."
- "Todd, I think you're underestimating the value of this desk set. I mean, who would want a football or a baseball or..." "Or a car." "Or a car, if they could have a desk set as wonderful as this one? I mean, if-if I were ever going to buy a desk set, twice, I would probably buy this one. Both times! In fact, its shape is... it's rather aerodynamic, isn't it? You can feel it. This desk set wants to fly! Todd? The world's first unmanned flying desk set. [Todd throws it off the roof - papers fly everywhere and things crash and clatter to the ground] Oh my! Well, I wouldn't worry. You'll get another one next year."
- "Excrement! That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard! We're not laying pipe! We're talking about poetry. How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand? "I like Byron, I give him a 42 but I can't dance to it!""
- "It'll help you get Chris!" "Yeah? How?" "Women swoon!" "But why do they swoon? Charlie, tell me why they swoon!"

Seriously, you guys. Please tell me you cry like a baby in this movie too?? And if you haven't seen it, GET ON THAT RIGHT NOW. Because of all the reasons.

K xx

22 comments:

  1. OMG. The ugly cries. So many feels, so many cries. The end leaves me completely heartbroken every time. I haven't watched it for years for that very reason, even though I own a copy.

    And yes. To every single thing on that list.

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    1. Seriously. I own it, I love it, I can't watch it more than once every couple of years because it takes that long to recover...

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  2. No, I've never seen it, even though I've been told to repeatedly. Netflix doesn't have it, but my library does, so I'll have to remedy that sometime soon.

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    1. You really really need to get on that. Even if it's heartbreaking, it's also incredible.

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  3. Can you believe that I've NEVER seen this movie? At least once a year someone is like "OMG I can't believe you haven't seen it. You would LOVE this movie Emily." And I"m always like "RIGHT? I probably would love it. I need to watch it. NOW." Does it ever happen? Obviously not. After I leave this comment I'm adding it to my Netflix queue and putting it in place #1. I will even comment after I've done so.

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    1. I AM SO GLAD YOU'RE WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW.

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  4. And DONE. It's awesome cause I just put a DVD in the mail to return to Netflix... so I should be getting Dead Poets Society in the mail this week. :)

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    1. Seriously. SO GLAD THAT IT WARRANTS TWO COMMENTS.

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  5. Anyone who does not cry during this film clearly has no soul.

    At boarding school we had about 6 TAPES (an extinct word, I know) that were played over and over again including Dead Poets, My Girl, Stand by Me, Dirty Dancing...and some others I can't think of at the moment..so yeah, we watched this A LOT!

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    1. Confession: I have never seen Stand By Me. But it's on my list. Also, that is a really heartbreaking collection of movies! How on earth did you survive???

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  6. Eep, after reading Celeste's comment, I did not cry - but I am not really a cryer in movies...No I save that for no tortillas at the supermarket or a pair of scones gone awry. You know, the important shit.

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    1. See, whereas I rarely cry about real life, but I weep over movies/TV shows at the drop of a hat! WEIRD.

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  7. I've never seen this movie. My motivation for now watching it is that I will apparently either end up a snot covered mess or have no soul.

    I'll think about it.

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  8. First, HOW HAS LOR NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE? We should fly her to Australia immediately and rectify this.

    Second, when I was living in my first apartment in California, I had the most broken DVD player in the entire world. At one point, it would only play one of the dozens of DVDs that I owned. That one DVD? Dead Poets Society (now you know the full bias about why it makes me bonkers).

    Third, it is a slightly comedic film, even though the ending is just ARGH. Robin Williams pulls this one off amazingly (also, Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come are other hints that he's not purely comedy -- the latter makes me cry my face off).

    Fourth, as great as this movie is! Thanks to my DVD player, I no longer have the sympathy for Neil. I think my age also kills me in this because I'm always like "DEAR GOD, BOY. YOU COULD SURVIVE A COUPLE YEARS AND TELL YOUR PARENTS TO GO DIE." PS: He could totally act without telling them. He'd have been cool.

    Fifth (AND FINALLY), I wish I had teachers like that. The conversations between the other teachers/principal made me so annoyed, and they still make me annoyed because THOSE THINGS HAPPEN. *cryface forever*

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    1. Yeah, I've definitely reached the age where I'm like "NEIL. DUDE. Just chill for five minutes. Honestly, you teenagers and your 'everything is the end of the world' shenanigans..." Apparently I am now a hundred.

      And YES. We need to fly Lor here for a viewing session ASAP.

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  9. There are some movies that I love but cannot bear to watch a second time because knowing how it ends doesn't necessarily ruin it, but makes it all the more depressing. Dead Poet's Society is one of these. A brilliant movie with a tragic ending.

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    1. Yeah, that's totally understandable. I think this is why I can only watch it every couple of years. Whereas there are other movies where I'll happily hit play again the minute the credits start rolling! Bizarre...

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  10. After finally getting around to reading this, I discover that even JUST A GIF of Robin Williams reading that bloody book brings the big ugly tears.

    I think I'm in need of a good cry. Where is my Dead Poets DVD *looks around in a panic*

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    1. Oh, and I totally forgot. Another amazing Williams movie? The World According To Garp, which my playstation will unfortunately no longer play. More big ugly cries. More 'my heart is going to motherfucking burst out of my chest' moments. And John Lithgow as a transsexual ex football player.

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    2. I had that problem when I was looking for the gif. I honestly didn't think that a picture of that scene would have so much power. I was wrong... (Just like gifs from the scene in Vincent and the Doctor with Vincent at the Musee d'Orsay. OH GOD INSTANT CRYING)

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  11. I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH.

    I realize that's not usually a statement used in all caps when talking about a rather depressing movie, but for real, I love it. The woods/marrow quote is one of my absolute favorites and I have it at my desk at work and in other random places and I'm thinking about making it into some really pretty design-y thing and getting it turned into a poster and putting it up in my room. For real. I love the movie. So much. It's just so good. So good.

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