Friday, May 13, 2016

Catch-22 (1970)

Captain Yossarian (Alan Arkin) wants to be grounded so he tells the doctor that he is crazy. But by asking to be grounded he is proving that he is sane, as only a crazy person would want to continue flying dangerous missions. The other pilots are crazy because they want to fly, but they can't be grounded because they won't ask. But if they do, Catch-22.

Based on the Joseph Heller novel and as I understand, a fairly faithful rendition. I took my son's word. Reading books is hard. That's why I watch. The story is non-linear and must be watched to the end for it to make any sense. the screenplay was written by Buck Henry, who also wrote Mike Nichols' The Graduate. Again, I'll say it. So THAT'S why SNL kept having him appear.

Catch-22 is chuck full of familiar character actors. Bob Newhart, Jack Gilford, Norman Fell, Richard Benjamin, and even Art Garfunkel. Future heavies Martin Sheen and Jon Voight, plus heavy has-been Orson Welles. The first cinematic display of someone on a toilet included Martin Balsam (12 angry men, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and this episode of The Twilight Zone I just saw) and Anthony Perkins. The first time a toilet was shown was in Psycho, which also featured both men.

Because of it's very nature, the story cannot be described. There is an absurd, dreamlike quality, and the audience is forced to pay close attention to make sense of it all. Frequently background noise drowns out the dialog, but that's purely intentional. This is not a movie for everybody, but it was definitely a movie for me. AMRU 4. Arkin may be this country's greatest character actor.
"Whoo... That's some catch, that Catch-22.
It's the best there is."

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