Apocalypse Now

“Charlie don’t surf.”

The famous line, like a lot of things in this movie, has multiple meanings.

Writer John Milius said the implication is “we’ve killed them, and now we’re taking their waves.”

Plunge into a hazy, drug-fueled tale of lives being brutally ended, with each survivor looking for a small slice of personal happiness in the middle of carnage.

Martin Sheen, who suffered a heart attack while filming, enters the unforgiving jungle, intent on murdering a renegade Marlon Brando.

The end result? The viewer is left dazed and drained, forever changed by the voodoo magic of the movies.

 

Guys and Dolls

“Sit down, you’re rockin’ the boat.”

Guys and Dolls features two of the biggest male stars to ever make movies, but it’s Stubby Kaye who steals the spotlight, at least for a song.

Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra got the big paycheck, but it was a Broadway vet, playing the role he originated on the stage, who gets my favorite moment in this bouncy musical.

As genial gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Kaye shows the matinee idols how it’s done.

He was on a highway to Hell, only now he’s been saved, and the dice are rollin’ hot in Heaven.

 

On the Waterfront

It never ages.

It’s been 66 years since Marlon Brando first raged in the backseat of a cab, telling Rod Steiger, “I coulda’ had class. I coulda’ been a contender. I could’ve been somebody,” and none of the power has drained from the scene.

Corruption swirling around him, beat-down boxer Terry Malloy is a lone man standing against the wolves who run the docks, his only true friends the pigeons who can’t backtalk him.

It’s a master class in method acting, played out in gorgeous, moody black and white.

One of the few times the Oscars got it right, really right.