Earlier I was talking via phone to the Professor, and I said that I was having a hard time blogging every day. She mentioned blogging about a favorite movie. So here is mine.
To date, I have watched "Dances With Wolves" 23 times. I love this movie. I know, it's good, but 23 times? Thats something like 69 hours and 5 minutes, if I did the math correctly, which is questionable itself. But I LIKE it!
First, it has a fabulous cast. Costner is at his best ever. Mary McDonnell as "Stands With a Fist" is wonderful, if you can only get past the fact that she never combed her hair. Robert Pastorelli of "Murphy Brown" fame is great as the crude, belching and farting muleskinner "Timmons." His line, "now why don't he write" is priceless. I think the casting of the Lakota was done with forethought and revealed a wealth of Native American talent. Graham Greene is fantastic as "Kicking Bird" as is Rodney Grant as "Wind in His Hair." Tantoo Cardinal and Floyd Crow Westerman round out the superb cast.
Secondly, the music is wonderful. Being a musician of sorts, I am always interested in the music scores of movies. The music in "Dances" is a thing of beauty. It is haunting, as well as memorable. Maybe that is what makes it so haunting. I have learned to play the "theme" song on the piano, and it moves with a great deal of grace.
I love the scenery. I have always wanted to go to the west. I know that Prof lives relatively near to where some of this movie was shot, and I will get the chance to see that kind of territory.
Mostly, I like the story. I am a history buff, especially the opening of the west. I abhor the way the white man took the land from the Native Americans and I think those people really got the shaft. That is fodder for a whole other blog sometime. This movie shows the gentleness of the Indians, how they lived and loved. They had a close bond of family within their villages. This impresses me. Their struggle just to maintain their way of life was a hard one and the scrifices they made were inumerable. It also showed that they fought among themselves, tribe vs. tribe, for land, and their way of life. Just like the Civil War happening in the East at the same time. Though I appreciate the use of the authentic Lakota language throughout the movie, I tired of the subtitles at first. Now, of course I understand the language by reading the "subs" enough times, that they don't bother me anymore. (I didn't like the subtitles in Tora! Tora! Tora!, either.
Probably my favorite part of the movie is the buffalo hunt. It was so intriguing. How they made it all happen is a wonder in itself. They had "man made" buffalo, called articulated buffalo (made of wire and fake fur) on tracks and runners depicting the buffalo that were shot. They even had trained buffalo that were brought in for the close-ups. No animals were hurt. Amazing! I have read the whole book about the making of the movie, as well as watched all the special effect clips and outtakes. It was a work of art!
All in all, this movie has about everything. It has history, love, hate, war, excitement, and a good story to tie it all together. Even as I write this, I am watching it once again for the 24th time. There are probably better ways to spend 181 minutes, but for me, this is good.