Unpopular Opinion: A Clockwork Orange really isn’t all that great

Unpopular OpinionsThere’s a scene early in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange where Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) and his gang of “droogs” run into a rival gang midway through engaging in an evening of “ultra-violence”. Alex and the droogs stop what they’re doing (raping a group of women) and fight the rival gang. While the scene unfolded, I couldn’t help but think of a of a quote from the seminal Australia young-adult novel, Tomorrow When the War Began. It reads:

“People, shadows, good, bad, Heaven, Hell: all of these were names, labels, that was all. Humans had created these opposites: Nature recognised no opposites. Even life and death weren’t opposites in Nature: one was merely an extension of the other. All I could think of to do was trust to instinct. That was all I had really. Human laws, moral laws, religious laws, they seemed artificial and basic, almost childlike.” Continue reading

MM Retro Review: Grease

Grease movie posterGrease is not a good movie. Grease is not a particularly good musical either. By any ostensible measure of quality Grease is average at best, and that’s being generous. It is poorly structured, poorly plotted, and poorly made… and yet there is something undeniably infectious about it.

Just look at the showstopping “Greased Lightning” to see what I mean. I use the word showstopping because it’s a wonderfully cheesy musical set-piece, akin to Gene Kelly singing in the rain in Singin’ in the Rain. I also use the word showstopping because it literally stops the movie dead in its tracks. There’s no reason for “Greased Lightning” to exist in the context of the movie. The song doesn’t progress the plot in any meaningful way and we don’t learn anything new about the characters either. Continue reading