Friday, April 1, 2011

The Great Alphabet of Films—A is For

 Apocalypse Now

      On this dubious Spring day—where foolhardy pranks take center stage—I've set aside any shroud of reluctance, and instead, I've decided to partake in the fantastic A to Z Challenge. My initial hesitance is owed to the fact that I do not consider myself a "daily blogger," nor do I possess the shrewd discipline, to contribute a meaningful blog post every day. But alas, I'm willing to test myself. Above all else, I am hoping, however naively, that I will gain many new followers. Thus, my primary objective in this undertaking is the prospect of engaging a broader audience.
      With this daunting challenge in full-bloom, some of my "expected" content may take a back seat. But this dilemma will persist only through the contest. By then, hopefully, I will have a larger audience to present my cinematic ramblings. And consequently, more blogging interactions!
      Given the inherent tardiness of my decision (I've decided on this inaugural Challenge Day to sign-up), I've decided that my "theme" will embody a novelty commensurate with my interests—well film, of course. In fact, I will title it, "FilmMattic's Great Alphabet of Films."
      My objective is quite simple. I will highlight a different and uniquely compelling film, spanning each letter of the alphabet, for every day of the Challenge. My debut film is Apocalypse Now.
      Renowned auteur, Francis Ford Coppola, undertook a meteoric challenge himself, in a calculable effort to capture the tragedy of war. His immense military epic, detailing the pervasive horrors of the largely misunderstood Vietnam War, is a tremendous work of art. It is as rhythmically touching, as it is viscerally terrorizing. Coppola's taut command of his tremendous cast—featuring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and a young Laurence Fishburne, among many others—is unrivaled.
      His film masterfully explores the bleak and harrowing costs of the Vietnam war while simultaneously retaining a faithful adherence to famed author, Joseph Conrad's stunning literature, Heart of Darkness. The unwieldy tone that permeates Conrad's novella—a mesmerizing contrast of darkness and heroism—is beautifully visualized in Coppola's adaptation. I can laud this film for another 1500 words, but I suspect, no one wants to invest that much time. So, I'll simply conclude by reverberating the sentiment that this film is an absolute must watch.
      Thanks for stopping by!

 *The original, extended Apocalypse Now trailer.


  1. although I usually don't like war movies, because they tend to be the tools of political propaganda, this famous classic was actually a rather great psychological study of what war can do to people.

  2. Yay, you've taken up the gauntlet of challenge! I'm so glad you've joined and I wish you much success my friend. You have an incredibly intelligent and provocative voice.

    Apocalypse Now is a stunning film and while I found Heart of Darkness a tad tough to read, I did enjoy this cinematic tribute to Conrad's work. My favorite story of Conrad's is the Most Dangerous Game. I cannot even tell you how many times I've read and reread it.

  3. With a first-class director, great writing, and an all-star cast, Apocalypse Now is a film that lives up to its hype. This is an absolutely unforgettable film every movie buff should see at least once.

  4. Welcome to the blog challenge. You started off with awesome post. I should include one more in my A-Z challenge, to atch the movie u write rview about..Let me watch this movie :)

  5. @ Dezmond

    I completely agree. This film, above all else, illustrates the horrific nature of war. It is an unabashedly honest depiction.

    @ Melissa

    Thanks so much! Conrad and Coppola are both fantastic storytellers, each with their own strengths. The combination of their excellence helped craft a film that will never be forgotten.

  6. @ Jaccstev

    You are absolutely right, my friend!

    @ thinkingcap

    Thanks a lot! This movie deserves your attention. Get on it!

  7. It's a great movie, for sure, and as often happens with great movies - the story of its production is an equally compelling tale - one that has generated a feature length documentary feature called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse; directed by the late great George Hickenlooper. I suggest watching both! Great post! Cheers!

  8. Thanks for the comment! I'll have to look for that documentary. I am vaguely aware of the back story for Apocalypse Now, and from what I've read and heard, it is fascinating stuff!

  9. Yes! My favorite film has to be the A pick. What I love best is the surrealism. It's a crazy hodgepodge of nonsensical events that make sense on one level like a dream makes sense. I think of it as a scary adult version of The Wizard of Oz taking place in Viet Nam. One of the films that I have watched repeatedly and never grown tired of

    And, yes, Hearts of Darkness is one of the best documentaries about film-making ever made. See it for sure.

    Contrary to my usual practice of subscribing to comments, to save time during this early part of the challenge I will not be doing so at this time. If you want to respond to my comment, please email me directly from your email notification for the comment.
    Thanks. And I truly appreciate your efforts.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  10. @ Arlee

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

    You are so very right about the surrealist elements of the film. They are astonishing! Your comparison is pretty bold, but it makes a lot of sense.

    Coppola's vision was audacious, and for that, need to be applauded. Not many filmmakers were willing or capable of truthfully painting the grimacing horrors of the Vietnam war. It was a story of national anguish.

    Another reason for me to watch the documentary. I'll get on it very soon!