Dog Day Afternoon Thoughts

The other day I received a mandate from heaven ordering me to watch some DVDs. Actually my cable box broke, but people take you more seriously if you say that God tells you what to do. I suggest you try it whenever you want people to nod at your every word - just don’t be surprised when people ask you to lay hands on their genital warts.

As per the Lord’s directions I had a movie marathon and saw three films. The first film I saw was Dog Day Afternoon. Based on a true story, it follows Sonny (played by Al Pacino) and his pal Sal as they try to rob a bank. Hilarity and tragedy ensue.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the movie:

-Filmed in 1975, this is the performance that shaped Al Pacino’s career. There’s one scene where Pacino is screaming at the police to put down their weapons and the crowd of hippies/curious onlookers begins to cheer for him. The crowd feeds off of Pacino’s energy and you can practically see a conditioning experiment taking place in his brain. He screams, the crowd rewards him with admiration. He flails around and he garners critical praise. Forever after this movie Pacino will yell and flail and expect a positive reaction because he was trained so well by his role as Sonny. It’s too bad he frequently forgets that his incredible performance in Dog Day was as much about his heartfelt silences and subdued emotions as the screams and gyrations. Oh well.

The white flag is the universal signal for don't shoot my ass

-Fredo lives! (Until he dies a few years later in 1978)

-I hardly every notice the music in a movie but Dog Day was an exception, kind of; besides the opening sequence, there is absolutely no music. This made every conversation, every glance, and every scene so much more compelling without some halfway appropriate song telling me what I’m supposed to be feeling. I finally had the freedom to concentrate on the feelings and reactions the scene generated within me and it was as exhilarating and freeing as going commando. Or so I’m told.

-This is the way humor should be incorporated into a dramatic film. When the third robber decides to back out within the first five minutes of the heist, it’s unexpected, hilarious, and yet completely authentic to the movie’s tone and plot. Think Little Miss Sunshine but without the occasional feeling that the ongoing “quirks” were forced and artificial.

-This is my new favorite Al Pacino film. Of course, I haven’t seen S1m0ne yet.

[Editor's Note: Sorry, I couldn't help myself]

Agree or disagree with my thoughts? Let me know. And stay tuned for my thoughts on the second film of my divine movie marathon: American Graffiti.


Dan said...

Attica! Attica! Attica!

Pacino rocks. I saw him on Broadway a few years ago in "Salome" with Diane Weist, Marissa Tomei (who took her top off ... awesome dude) and some other cool actors. But Pacino took over. Amazing actor.

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