Chinatown (AFI #21)

“I actually started watching this one last night, but fell asleep at around the 45 minute mark. Thats not a reflection of the movie at all. I was really getting into it, but sometimes a long work week just catches up with you. My kitty, Lestat, spent about 45 minutes climbing on me and pawing and mewing to wake me up so I’d feed her.

This was also an experiment in Amazon’s online movie rental service. I dont typically like watching stuff on my computer, but I got used to it last spring watching DWTS online. Overall, its pretty good deal. $3 and you get 1-3 days (depending on the movie) to stream it online or download it. That’s def gonna save me some $$ when Im trying to acquire all the AFI films.

Anyways, this is one that’s been on my list of “”movies I really need to see”” for a while. Mostly cause I keep coming across references to it. Sadly, coming across references also means that I sorta knew one of the big twists at the end, but I dont think it really impacted the film other than decreasing some of the shock value.

This was a very well written mystery story, although the placing was just a tad slow for me. The story was very streamlined, without a lot of distractions. And I absolutely loved Jack Nicholson’s character, private investigator JJ Gittes. Its always a sign of a good movie and a good character when you watch something like this and wish you had their profession. He was slick and cool and smart and crude. And Nicholson just owned it. I’ve had mixed feelings about him in general. Granted, I haven’t really seen too much of his classic work (that’ll change over the next couple months) so my usual thought about him is “”that crazy guy at the Lakers games””. Keep in mind, Im a die-hard San Antonio Spurs fan, and there’s been some bitter rivalry there. That aside, The Departed taught me what a \m/ badass he can be, and Chinatown helped prove where that reputation came from.

Another thing I have to admit is that I didnt quite “”get”” some of the details and motivations and such. However, I am in the habit of reading IMDB trivia and FAQ’s immediately after seeing something and that actually cleared up a lot of that confusion. Some of that stuff’s pretty intense.

Also wanted to comment on the 1930’s style. From my limited viewing of 1930’s movie, it looks like they nailed it completely (Chinatown was made in ’74). I got a total His Girl Friday vibe (okay so that was released in 1940, but early 1940) right away. And while older movies dont usually do it for me, something about that totally sucked me into this one.

That’s 2 movies down, 98 to go and lovin’ it so far.”

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