Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

27 March 2011

In Old Arizona Redux

My friend Charlie has set himself a project. He is going to watch all of the Best Actor Oscar winners in order, starting with Emil Jannings in The Last Command up through Colin Firth in The King's Speech. He, of course, has already seen some of these, but I think most of them will be new to him.
I recently watched The Last Command myself, so we chatted about that recently and about the next movie on his list: In Old Arizona starring Warner Baxter. I saw the movie in 2005, so I don't really remember it very well, but I told him that In Old Arizona was one of the first sound films to be shot on location. It was rather a big deal because the technologies were brand new for recording sound in an unconfined space. Anyway, I had remembered that the movie was fine, or make that unmemorable. Today, however, I got a message from Charlie. 

Charlie: Okay... I started watching In Old Arizona the other day. I got about halfway through until I decided to take a nap instead. 
Me: Haha. 
Charlie: It's awful. Even Warner Baxter isn't good. I'm going to finish it, don't get me wrong. 
Me: Just 'cause it is an important movie doesn't mean it's gonna be a good one. 
Charlie: True. But i don't see why he got an Oscar for this! 
Me: Well... I mean, sometimes they want to award people for all sorts of things.
Charlie: I mean, I haven't seen the whole thing yet.
Me: I haven't seen any of his five opponents.
Charlie: I wouldn't want to.
Me: Haha. You really hate this movie! I didn't think it was that bad.
Charlie: I like his chemistry with the girl. It's the most believable.
Me: It's a very '20s movie if I recall correctly. 
Charlie: Oh yes. It's like a musical on film. Bleghhh
Me: And I seem to recall he has weird (i.e. bad) makeup.
Charlie: Yes. The mustache is so stupid.
Me: Does he sing? I can't remember.
Charlie: Yes, but not in a musical way. He sings in the bath tub. 

Me: well, AMPAS does love a song. 
Charlie: AMPAS?
Me: The academy. AMPAS loves a bathtub scene, too. Haha.
Charlie: Ohoh, I read your IM wrong. I thought it said "AMPAS does a love song."
Me: oh hahaha
Charlie: It was hardly a song though. He was just in the bath tub, singing. Anyway, I am not looking forward to finishing it, but I suppose I should just rip it off like a band-aid. At least Emil Jannings was good.
Me: It is short, no?
Charlie: 90 min or so.

Me: Well, you will probably not think much of Disraeli either. Should I warn you? 
Charlie: No, let me just realize my mistake while I'm watching it, knowing I need to watch every movie anyway.
Me: You will get to The Champ and be in love with Wallace Beery. So you have that to look forward to, at least. And A Free Soul is also really really good. If I remember right.
Charlie: They should all be really, really good! Or at least good.
Me: Well, they aren't, I'm sorry to tell you. Haha. There are plenty of Best Picture winners that I hate. No way around it.

Charlie: Why did they do this?? Was it because something about it was just revolutionary to the time? I don't see how actual words coming out of Warner Baxter's mouth can help his cause. If anything, it should hurt it.
Me: Hahah. You are so mad about it. Hahahahaha. This is amazing. Poor Warner Baxter.
Charlie: Haha. I'm glad you're enjoying this... at least someone likes something that's a result of In Old Arizona.
Me: I just spit my coffee out onto my desk. I'm posting this on my blog.
Charlie: Good. Tell the world. No. Warn the world. Warn is a better word. 
Me: You are putting me in an excellent mood.
Charlie: Haha well I'm glad, because this movie didn't put me in a good mood whatsoever. You must enjoy misery.
Me: I am laughing so hard right now. I really didn't remember it as that bad. I feel like a 90-minute movie can't really be as soul-crushing as you are describing it. It's not like it's Alexander or something.
Charlie: I'd tell you to watch it again to refresh your memory, but I REALLY don't think you should. Trust me, it's that bad.
Me: I just looked to see if I wrote a review of it in '05 when I watched it. I didn't. 
Charlie: Wow, shame on you. You should've told everyone how awful it was. Okay, again, I'm jumping ahead. I haven't seen the whole thing. I need to watch the whole thing and I'll tell you if I feel the same way or not. I doubt I'll change my mind though...
Me: Alright. Go watch the rest of this movie.
Charlie: This is only my second movie! I've got so many (bad) movies to go.