Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cool Hand Luke review

Besides having the best walk/gait and best freeze frame smile, Cool Hand Luke serves as one the boldest pop culture generation links between young and old men today. The link is rusted because of stupid CGI and the cliche "They don't make 'em like they used to" applies here. Every father over 40 showed his kid this movie as a makeshift initiation into ideals that to most of us are abstract. I'm talking about being giddily suicidal as a reaction to "rules and regulations." Our fathers want us to see Luke in them, an ecstatic illusion. The movie is tragic, but also sad is the fact that this movie is cool for young people to pretend they like (like me lol). John Cusacks character in High Fidelity cites Cool Hand Luke as his favorite movie. That's cool, but this movie demands respect.

This is an adult movie. I don't mean it is overtly sexual or violent (rated PG). In fact, props to Paul Newman for taking the role of a leading man who doesn't have to get laid. This is an adult movie because a child couldn't realize how amazing this movie is. They can laugh at the egg scene and agree that Luke is a cool guy-- a teenager can disect the alpha dog politics and perhaps idolize Luke, which would defeat the purpose. But what about the last line: Luke mocking his oppressors in a way so much better than saying "fuck you." What about escaping from prison when you only have months left to serve? What about the gait and smile?

"I've never planned anything in my life" says Luke. As his peers worship him he doesn't notice or care. The relationship between viewers and the movie itself is similar. The movie tapped into something, don't watch it lightly. Only the heavy handed Jesus imagery hints at an unflattering self-awareness (this is something that I don't think was in the book). Fathers and sons can connect on other things, loving this movie is not mandatory. Still, you can bet I'm going to show it to my kid someday.


Blogger bcberg said...

Good review. I don't know why we show this to our sons. Bad things can happen from not following rules and never planning. Maybe it's to convince you there is still a wild man in here underneath the facade of respectability and decorum.

7:55 AM  

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