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Old 12-29-2005, 05:46 PM
Blarg Blarg is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,519
Default Re: 100 films: Midnight Cowboy

As has been said, the true title of every story is Lost Illusions. This story has a guy who has illusions among the silliest and most self-defeating, and is punished very harshly for them. Like most people would, he finds that a degrading, miserable experience. Not that Joe was dropped from the heavens to the misery of anonymous big city poverty, but he still wasn't ready for it. Despite his own borderline ethics and the set of personal tragedies he is running from, he is still an optimist about the way the world basically works and what he might be worth to it. His hope and outlook are untenable in the real world, and you feel for him in his long downward slide, and in the way the world bites chunks of his illusions off and transforms him, humiliatingly, piecemeal into itself. Sometimes he loses comically, and sometimes in a soul-wrenching way, but there's always an underlying sadness and inevitability about it. For a guy like Joe, there's nowhere to go but down, at least if he's going to stay Joe. And when he can neither stay Joe nor adapt, he finally runs, but only to another illusion, though this time more brightly lit.

Another one of the beautiful existential films of the 60's and 70's of the type that draws little interest from today's storytellers but is a treasure trove of wry knowledge and understanding of the human condition. Well worth seeing, and more than once. The music ties in absolutely brilliantly in this film, mounting to a real emotional crescendo, and reminds us fondly and regretfully of all our illusions at the same time, how fundamentally linked to decency and humanity some of them can be, and how doomed. This is the type of movie that will make some people angry or contemptuous because they'll see some part of themselves in it, even subconsciously, and hate the reminder. The rest of us will find Joe an old friend.
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