Diary Blog. It’s been a long time since my last Epic Film Quest post. Almost two months to be exact. Here are the things I blame, (because really, it wasn’t my fault): Kerry Washington’s fine ass (Scandal!), Curtis for telling me to watch Scandal, a REALLY GOOD SEASON of Survivor, Jessica Lange, and Veronica Mars.
Now that I have more than proven that said procrastination was nowhere near my personal fault zone, I’d like to tell you about All the King’s Men – the 1949 Best Picture winner that I viewed recently. This story is about a politician named Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford) who starts out as a man of the people, but later becomes a ruthless douche as corruption takes over his soulllllll.
Stark teaches himself law and becomes a lawyer. He corrals the locals as he rises in power. He conducts some pretty impressive business, until he conducts some pretty shady business. He becomes a philanderer, cheating on wife, and paying people off to hide the skeletons in his closet. But once his son becomes paralyzed following a drunk driving incident that kills a female passenger, Stark’s world starts to downward spiral as he learns that money can’t solve all of his problems.
One thing I’ve noticed with older movies, especially those from the 30’s and 40’s, is how black and white these old-school characters are. They’re either Dorothy Gale Good or Wicked Witch of the West Bad. Even in a case like Willie Stark…he wears a white hat until he wears the blackest of hats. There’s rarely any in-between. This is interesting today, living in a society that now celebrates the antihero – where the Don Drapers, Tony Sopranos, and Walter Whites run rampant across our screens. That’s not to say that older films are devoid of characterization – it’s just that it happens more abruptly than subtly (and maybe because writing these days is far superior? Perhaps this generalization isn’t fair, though.).
It also begs to be mentioned that this movie had the best Newspaper Headline Montage in the history of Newspaper Headline Montages! (Insert Team America: World Police song here) Perhaps while we were all staring at the headline montage, Stark changed into his black hat and we just didn’t see it happen off-screen. BUT WHO KNOWS? I didn’t write the thing.
Overall, All the King’s Men was a good movie with good performances, but it was no All About Eve (And in case you were wondering, I’m all caught up on Scandal now). Minus one distraction, 29 films to go.