Dec 25, 2008

On DVD: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

I wanted to see for myself what this notorious 70's movie was about.
It's fantastic. It is a biting satire, a little clunky, very brutal, slyly funny and also charming and endearing and incredible. How did films like this get made? Now everything feels like product.
I am utterly, desperately, tragically in love with Elliott Gould as he appears in this movie. The hottest, smartest, cutest Jew ever. And what an actor. There is an amazing, brutal scene between him and the fantastic Dian Cannon, who plays Alice, his wife, in which he wants to have sex and she doesn't. It is probably the truest scene of perverse marriage dynamics in the history of film and it is flawlessly executed. So after a give and take of almost Ionesquian proportions, she finally relents and tells him to give her the contraceptive pills. The look of boyish triumph in Elliot Gould's face encapsulates what volumes could be written about male sexuality in a single smile. I think it should be sent to outer space in one of those capsules they send trying to explain the human race to aliens.
This is a guy who never ever looked like he was acting. The most charming, effortless being in front of a camera. Ever. How cute was he. I can't bear it.
Natalie Wood was not only extraordinarily beautiful, she was charming and lovely and fantastic and she carries the movie with poise and grace and intelligence.
It's funny that in those days people were already into the new agey mumbo jumbo that has become a multimillion dollar industry these days but in those days you had to go to Esalen to practice tai chi and get into horrifying group hugs with total fucked up strangers .
The human body in the seventies was in great shape, but men did not look ripped and women did not look muscular and emaciated at the same time. They had lovely violin curves and great, toned legs that didn't look like they belong to the Terminator.
One misses the seventies, where people were far more passionate about everything. They demonstrated against Nixon, they did a lot of drugs, they wore ridiculous clothes with great panache, they were out there. Now it's like we're living in Stepford. We have been lobotomized.

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