A funny movie reviews on Warren Beatty’s cinematic “tour de force” REDS!
• My sacred cow is "Reds," Warren Beatty's 1981 ode to John Reed. I saw it then and remember it like it was yesterday. Clocking in at 200 minutes, the movie just dragged, on and on and on. Around the 60 minute mark, people started stirring, heads bobbing and turning, the realization dawning that we're not even a third of the way through. After the intermission, fewer than half of my fellow theater-goers returned. I sat in an aisle seat, one foot wandering left to the aisle, the other uncertainly planted in front, as the seats around me continued to empty out, frustrated theater-goers muttering to themselves as they all but ran up the aisle. As the movie slowly ground its way into its third hour, I stopped debating whether to leave, the whole thing having become a weird sort of endurance contest, one of those things you do just to say you did it, no matter how excruciating the pain.
And then, of course, Beatty won an Oscar for best director.
Googling "Reds" just now I was heartened to note that no less an authority than Paul Schrader, the writer of "Taxi Driver," among many others, had a similar experience:
"Paul Schrader likes to talk. Fortunately for his listeners, he is a very good storyteller. 'I remember I was over at Paramount, and Warren Beatty and I had been fooling around, doing this Howard Hughes thing. He had made the film "Reds" and he was showing it on the lot, and he wanted me to come. I was so tired. I thought, "Well, I'll sit way in the corner, way in the back. If I fall asleep, I'll fall asleep, and nobody will know." Nobody told me there was an intermission. So the lights come up, everybody from Barry Diller on down is in the room, all of Warren's friends, and I am sound asleep. Afterward, one of Warren's minions came over to me and said that Warren had expressed his displeasure. And I said, "Look, I know it took Warren 10 years to make this movie, but it took me three hours to see it, and I can guarantee you that three hours of my life mean more to me than 10 years of Warren's.'"
posted by terryteachout @ Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Permanent link