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Mouvie Night at Oikos mou

June 3, 2010
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As part of this week’s festive birthday week celebration, the master and mistress of Oikos mou thought it might be a simple and enjoyable thing to watch Once upon a Time in the West. The plan appeared to be on smooth course when the DVD I reserved at the library arrived on my birthday. Somehow, I had never seen the movie before, but my husband had seen it at least four times, he thinks, which likely accounted for his ability to track the plot fairly early on. So after dinner, I popped the DVD into my computer, and we sat down, held hands, and heard nothing at all when the incredible cinematography opened on my big screen.

My husband removed the microphone I use with my Dragon NaturallySpeaking software that overrides the computer’s sound controls, and made sure that the computer speakers were connected and set to be the default destination for the sound; but the speakers were simply shot.

We tend to have a lot of components in various degrees of post-necrotic utility around the house, but alas, we had no additional loose speakers. My old Bose powered speakers have been put to their highest and best use ever inside the theater organ my husband midified this year. He said it would be nothing to remove them, use them for the movie, and put them back in the organ.

“Nothing” was fairly close: after moving the harpsichord out of the way, removing the organ’s back panel, and removing the speakers from its wiry bowels, my husband plugged them into my computer. Unfortunately, this move proved shrilly aggravating to his acutely phonophobic birthday wife’s ears when the speakers emitted a very high, very loud, very, very horrible noise. With unsanctified instinct, I clapped my hands to my ears and screamed. Then I remembered that the bedroom window was open, and realized to my great relief that our neighbors do not care whether I am murdered; in any case, the police never came.

Additional birthday festivities ensued. We went to Fred Meyer, procured a pair of competent new speakers for $15, and returned home and plugged them in. Exquisitely haunting music described implicit tragedy in the beautiful, harshly angular features of Monument Valley, and for the next two hours and 45 minutes, I was transported by the original aesthetics of the best movie of any genre I have ever seen. The music and cinematography undulated with colors, angles, and nuances of proximity and distance to the theme and its tensions and sheer magnitude. I want the soundtrack and every poster ever printed. The story line, flinty as Henry Fonda’s facial planes, inspired me with wonder that such a film could be produced in the 1960s, or ever. The screenplay is so superb, that it makes absolutely palatable the notion that unrestrained depravity is assuredly part of the Western ethos; we like the good bad guys better than the bad bad guys, and the story asserts privilege as to what it will resolve and what it will not. But throughout the drama, the story mines silty light from dark tombs of the soul.

Once upon a Time in the West is a masterpiece. I am so glad Sergio Leone did not take Fonda’s first no for an answer when America’s quintessential leading man was asked to play a psycho killer villain. Charles Bronson’s signature phlegmatic mystery man character finally got me to look him up in Wikipedia. In case you were wondering, he was Lithuanian. And if you don’t love Jason Robards, go away.

Conclusion: I loved this movie. If I were an operative of the categorical imperative, I would say that everyone should have to see this movie.

One Comment
  1. Laura permalink
    June 3, 2010 8:38 pm

    Hilarious, Lauren. I’m glad at the end of all that trouble was such a winning cinematic selection. I will notify my husband to look out for this one in his movie sale shopping.

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