(I’m on vacation right now celebrating my 30th Birthday! To fill the void whilst I’m away I’m posting some old movie reviews that I wrote for the blog I had before I started Often Off Topic. I’ll be back in early September.)
Gather round ladies and gentleman, it’s storytime. I come from a movie-loving family, as you well know by now. I grew up watching National Lampoon’s Vacation every Bank Holiday. Nowadays, every Sunday the talk over the dinner table is usually themed around what movies we’ve seen that week, and once every couple of months we all get together on a Friday night for a family movie night which involves take out, and far too many pause breaks.
Our Whatsapp group will ping like crazy before these nights, with suggestions thrown in for which movie we should see. Our audience ranges from very young (under 10) to very old (sorry Grampy) with all ages in between, so finding the perfect choice is difficult. But you can guarantee every time, my Dad will suggest Lawrence of Arabia. Why? It’s his favourite movie, apparently! For years we’ve put up with this, and in turn, he’s had to put up with us laughing at him. It was his birthday on 1st November though, and I suggested that we all give in and watch it together for his birthday. So we did!
Suddenly, one part of the family were ‘busy’ so our numbers were diminished. This might have had something to do with the fact my Dad announced he had a remastered version on DVD which included an interlude, bringing the runtime to just under 4 hours. Good Lord! Nonetheless, pizza was ordered, and we started the movie. Well, we started Disc 1 of the movie, because the thing is so big it won’t fit onto one disc.
Oh, were you expecting an actual movie review here? No, sorry, that’s literally impossible for me. I don’t know how to review this I’m afraid. I will announce a spoiler alert from here on out, however, because I truly don’t know what can be considered a spoiler in the tale of Lawrence of Arabia.
We start out with a message from the composer, who said something about his music being so bloody fantastic that any visuals would distract us, so we were greeted with a black screen and almost 10 minutes of music before we even started. Following that, confusion as we see Lawrence get his motorcycle gear on and go out for a ride. We were fairly sure a desert was involved in this movie. After that? Um. Well. He died! I mean, spoiler alert movie, GAWD.
To begin with, we all got quite invested in the story. Lawrence was a bit of a full of himself guy, but we liked his spirit and we took a liking to the guide that was with him in the desert. I think we were gearing ourselves up for a road-trip-buddy kind of movie, but then the guide got killed and we all felt a bit sad for him for a while. Who knew wells were so important in the desert? We mourned the guide collectively until we came across the two young lads that eventually worked for Lawrence. Our favourite moment was when one pompous guy shooed the pair away, and they retaliated by shoving their stick up his camel’s butt. That moment killed me!
So, some more things happened, lots of talking, some war, and the oldest of my two little brothers announced we were well over halfway through the movie. Great, we thought! This hasn’t seemed so long after all. Then approximately thirty minutes later, the screen went black and asked us to insert Disc 2 to commence the interlude and the second half. WHAT. At this point our enthusiasm was shattered, my youngest brother fell asleep, and we sat quietly through the rest of the story. Even the dog had enough at that point. Let me tell you, much rejoicing was done when the credits finally rolled.
On a more serious note, the story of Lawrence of Arabia is quite fascinating, as we learned that the whole time he was just being used by both sides, his passion taken full advantage of. The music was beautiful and fit the moods perfectly. The visuals were a sight to behold (my youngest brother shouted out ‘hashtag silhouette goals’ so you know these visuals are on point). It was just at least 2 hours too long for me, for any of us, other than my Dad of course.
Our next family movie night is in 2 weeks time, and my Dad has stayed unusually quiet in the Whatsapp group. We’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to find out what his next suggestion might be.
So, to finally finish, I do recommend Lawrence of Arabia, but watch it over a couple of days.