Avocado Weekly Movie Thread (4/12)

Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, your place on the Avocado to discuss films with your fellow commenters. Want to make a recommendation? Looking for recommendations? Want to share your opinions of movies, both new and classic?

This week’s bonus prompt: what movie did you not like when you were younger, but grew to appreciate as you got older?

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Lawrence of Arabia, the biographical film of T.E. Lawrence and his exploits in Arabia. It has been perennially been on “Best of” lists. “Movies to see before you die” lists. Being a young pre-teen person who grew up in the 80’s and just loved the big spectacle films of the decade, Lawrence of Arabia seemed to promise that big spectacle on a grand scale.

And I was disappointed with it.

I think what may have affected me was how much of a downer of a film it is.

Something grand and of this spectacle almost means seeing something triumphant, whether its the films predecessor in The Ten Commandments or even its 80’s equivalents like Raiders of the Lost Ark. Even the early shots of Lawrence’s triumphs don’t see so triumphant. So his army just rolls into an empty village and capture it with zero resistance?

This is all well before the Turkish imprisonment scene, the bloody train raid, and Lawrence rejected by all the people he thought were his friends in the end. It’s scene after scene of melancholy.

I think it took me until well into adulthood to appreciate this about the movie. The title character is an extremely lonely man whose self-worth is tied to a romantic image of a noble knight leading armies in the desert. As much of a fantasy this is, others see how useful they can use Lawrence as a tool. All of this is set in its infamous desert backdrop, a blank canvas to where stories can be painted any way you wish.

The minute Lawrence steps into a city, he seems lost. As long as he’s in the desert, he’s the dashing hero of his dreams… and the public’s dreams, who also participate in his escapades. It’s a man who creates a myth while he can because reality is cruel and unflinching.

Next week: Cage