Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (PG)
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This came out in 1964 (eleven years before I was born). It was directed and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. It's something I've wanted to see for a long time, despite having only a very limited idea of what it was about. And I always thought it was more of a comedy than I felt like it turned out to be. Oh, there's plenty of humorous content, especially in the latter part of the film. But for awhile at least, it felt pretty serious, to me. And it does involve the potential end of all life on Earth. Anyway, if I wasn't listing it under "classics", I'm not sure where I would put it. Probably not "comedy", but also not "serio-comedy". More likely "weird".
So, there's this Air Force general named Jack Ripper, who orders his wing of B-52 bombers to launch a nuclear attack on Russia, in retaliation for a supposed attack by Russia on the U.S. However, his second in command, a British captain named Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers), eventually discovers that there has been no attack by Russia, and that Ripper is basically a conspiracy nut. Mandrake wants to call off the attack on Russia, but he needs a security code that only Ripper knows. Meanwhile, there's an emergency conference in the Pentagon including the President of the United States, Merkin Muffley (also played by Sellers); a general named Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott); Russian Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski; and a former Nazi scientist named Dr. Strangelove (Sellers); and a bunch of others who are mostly unimportant to the story. (I feel like saying Strangelove himself has a surprisingly minor role, given that he's the title character.) President Muffley phones the Russian premier in the hopes of staving off all-out war, but he then learns that the Russians have a doomsday device that will be automatically triggered by a nuclear attack on Russia, which can't be deactivated. We also see the crew of one of the planes that is en route to a Russian target, including Major Kong (Slim Pickens) and bombardier Lt. Zogg (James Earl Jones), and a few others. And... yeah, I guess I don't want to say any more about the plot, or how it all ends.
Well, the whole thing kind of reminded me of Catch-22, in tone. It's highly satirical, and it did amuse me at some points. Despite its absurdity, I'd say it's also a bit scary, certainly very tense, as any movie about potential nuclear war is bound to be. I can understand why the film is highly regarded, but I'm not sure my own appreciation of it is quite as high as that of most critics or viewers. I'm definitely glad to have seen it, and I hope I'll find it memorable, long after watching it. Though I don't know if or when I might feel like watching it again. Honestly, I feel like I should be saying so much more, like I should try to analyze it to death, or something. But I really can't think what else to say. I just hope nothing like this movie's plot ever happens in real life. (And I don't think anyone in the movie ever learned to love the bomb.)