Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Dances with Wolves and Dolores Claiborne

There are plenty of D films I could choose here such as Donnie Darko, Dirty Dancing, Dracula, and Dazed and Confused. I narrowed the category down to two films that I’ve seen tons of times (though I’m sure I’ve seen Dirty Dancing more than any of these) and, yes, are both based on books (even though Dracula was too, obviously, but Keanu Reeves’s acting ruins it in parts for me.)

Dances with Wolves: This one is an epic journey of one man who is searching for some place to belong. After attempting suicide during the Civil War, John Dunbar is given the chance to see the frontier before it is gone. What he doesn’t realize is that no one in the Army knows he’s at Fort Sedgwick and he is more alone than he ever was – until he befriends the local Sioux tribe. Becoming a Native American makes him finally feel alive and John Dunbar becomes Dances with Wolves. Some people don’t like Kevin Costner or they don’t want to bother watching a film four hours long (I love Costner’s own Director’s Cut) but it really is an amazing story. When I first saw Avatar I remarked that this story had already been done in Dances with Wolves. It’s well worth seeing just for the historical context and the scenery of what the West was like in the 1800s. For the more geek-minded folk, it also stars Mary MacDonnell from Donnie Darko, Independence Day and Battlestar Galactica

Stands With a Fist: [translating for Kicking Bird] He thanks Dances with Wolves for coming.
John Dunbar: Who is Dances with Wolves?
Stands With a Fist: It is the name all the people are calling you now.

Dolores Claiborne: Based on my friend, Stephen King’s novel, Dolores Claiborne St. George is being investigated for murder. Her daughter, Selena, is a reporter from New York who reluctantly comes back to Maine to help her mother. Aside from the murder of Dolores’s employer, Vera Donovan, Dolores has been investigated for murder before and only the relentless Detective Mackey and Selena know what Dolores may be capable of. But Dolores isn’t a violent murderer, nor is she a shrinking violet. She is a poor, hard working, loving, mouthy and clever woman who had a hard life, especially due to her rotten, drunk of a husband, Joe. Since this film stars Kathy Bates, it’s immediately an outstanding film for the acting alone. While most people know her for Misery, this film is another masterpiece of King’s where it’s a chick movie with a gruesome twist. That’s what makes it so good. It’s creepy and suspenseful and while it’s not full of a lot of special effects, the contrast of future to past is done so nicely that it transfers well enough that you can still get into the storyline without being distracted with its 1995-ness.

Kid on street: Look!
Kid on street: Hey Miss Claiborne!
Kid on street: Kill anyone else today?
Dolores Claiborne: Not just yet, when I change my mind I'll know exactly where to start.


  1. Here I am! But you've got pictures and dialogue, not just words and paragraphs, so I read it all. Mostly.


    1. Haha. I love pictures! Thanks so much! :-)