Number 22: “Apocalypse Now”

“Apocalypse Now” my favorite war movie ever that’s not really about war.  #ChrisTop30Films

I was introduced to this movie at a very young age.  I remember obsessing about the level of detail and the crazy freaky world of Vietnam in the sixties.

As a boy I was raised with the motto that America was always right, true, and for the good of humanity. Watching “Apocalypse Now” you quickly realize none of that is true.  We we’re out for number one through and through.  The amount of horrid catastrophes and unforgivable atrocities in this war is so high it’s almost comical.  And a perfect setting for a remake of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart Of Darkness”.

Which I have attempted and failed to read on three separate occasions (add/anxiety/lol).  That’s how freaking good this movie is.  It inspired me to go to Barnes and Noble.  Find this book (on sale for $4.99 what luck!) and then attempt to read it.  Holy jeeze this is dense and not really anything like the awesome, funny, violent, and insanely well made movie with which I was inspired by in the first place.

I can’t imagine seeing this film in theaters in 1979 in some run down theater filled with disco coke heads.  What an experience!  The projector, the color, the sound, the amazing characters!

And the story behind the movie is practically better than the film itself.  With the apt title “Heart of Darkness.”  Thomas Lennon in his book “Writing Movies For Fun and Profit” he says to watch “Heart of Darkness” and “Burden of Dreams” to squash any aspirations of wanting to become a film director.  I watched these films (loved them!) and was deeply terrified of becoming a director.  Definitely a wakeup call but unfortunately I still really really want to be a film director.

Anyway back to the film.  This movie is long as fuck!  A quick google search claims it’s four hours and forty nine minutes long. Good grief!
I remember buying the extended edition and being super stoked to watch it.  I popped it in and enjoyed the scenes I had already enjoyed.  Then noticed there was like forty five minutes of this odd scene with a french family who had lived in Vietnam for generations.  I was like “wow I’m kind of glad that wasn’t in the movie.  It throws the pacing all off and there is no payoff whatsoever.  It’s just some social commentary.  Which is important I suppose.”

I love the soundtrack to this film.  I didn’t realize it until years later but it’s just one song, “This is the end” by The Doors.  I was obsessed with The Doors for a few years in High school and college.  What a perfect song for this film.  Matches the tone and message perfectly.

My favorite pop culture reference among the dozens I’ve personally noticed is a later episode of The Simpsons when Marge referred to Marlon Brando, who is supposed to carry the weight and presence of God in “Apocalypse Now”, as “the comic relief.”  That never clicked with me until I saw “Heart Of Darkness” and realized Brando showed up one hundred pounds overweight.  Like WTF! How is that even a thing that exists?

And this was just like the umpteenth horrible obstacle to jump up Francis Ford Coppola’s butt during this production.  Truly my hat is off to that genius for completing this film.  What an inspiration.  And thank God he did.  Because this movie is insanely entertaining, genius, and brilliant.

If you want to be insanely entertained, become a genius, and maybe pat someone on the back for being brilliant than come on down to The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.  I promise it will be a million times easier than making “Apocalypse Now” or “Fitzcarraldo”.  #ChrisTop30Films

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