So you went to see Giant Soul-Sucking Blockbuster Part XI and — if we are to believe what you’ve written on the internet without vowels — it is the best movie ever? Or maybe you special-ordered the out-of-print laser disc of some obscure black & white Mongolian film about decomposing yak droppings and you declare, in a 200,000-word monograph, that that’s the best film ever?
I don’t want to be judgmental about your taste, but you are a miserable licker of soiled subway seats and you make me laugh. HA HA, I laugh at you, unwillingly and judgmentally.
I can say this definitively, without fear of contradiction now or ever, because the best movie ever made is clearly a double feature.
Bam! Didn’t see that one coming did you? But now that you see it written in fire; now that those words are skritching into your eye holes and urinating in the corners of your brain, you know — YOU KNOW — that they are holy and true.
Why should this be? Is it even appropriate to try and explain something this sanctified? I don’t care, may god strike me dead if it isn’t (appropriate or holy or true); that’s how important I feel it is to I share this with you, you poor poor person who is looking forward to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
The reason why the best movie ever is a double feature is simple and undeniable and illustrated by the following parable, which acolytes reveal was passed down by the Step-Nephew of God himself as he waited in line for free samples of fried mozzarella sticks. And here it is.
Imagine that a man had, in his whole meandering, directionless life, seen just one film. Let’s even say, for the sake of this questionable parable, that it was a good one, like The Third Man.
If that were the case, what would be the best film this man ever saw?
Well, duh. It would be The Third Man. And what would it mean to say that The Third Man was the best movie he ever saw? Not a goddamned thing. It would be like saying you’re the hottest dik-dik I ever rubbed down with butterscotch paste.
By which I mean it would be wrong in many ways.
Now, imagine that you were this man, and that you had seen TWO movies? One of them was still The Third Man, because you can’t unsee that once it’s been seen. The other movie is Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove. I’m sorry about that. Someone had to see Free Willy 4 and it ended up being you. Tough luck.
You’d probably either now say that the best film you ever saw was The Third Man or infuriate me to the point where I’d be forced — FORCED — to rub you down with butterscotch paste. Either way, your choice still wouldn’t mean too much. In fact, even if you’d seen a ton of films, what tiny percentage of all the films that have ever been made have you seen really?
I mean, look at me. Gaze upon my demonic form. Practically all I do is watch films and I still haven’t seen a single film by John Cassavetes or Michael Haneke. Shocking, right? But true. Plus I’m old. I watch about 5 films a week — sometimes as many as 10 — and I’ve been doing that more or less for over 25 years. Do that math. That’s at least a flibbitybillion movies.
And the best movie I’ve ever seen is a double feature.
You want to know why and I’ll tell you.
Watching two films in row, particularly when those films are related in some way — through theme, or the creative personnel involved, or genre, or historical moment — not only sets each of the features off in contrast to the other, but adds an exponentially greater amount of skull expansion potential to the combined pair.
It’s like this: Chocolate is good. Oranges are good. A chocolate covered orange slice is like angels massaging your uvula with their heavenly toes. Together, things become more than the sum of their parts.
Together, we are mighty. United, we are valiant. Today, Saint Crispin’s Day, is the day we will rise to victory, like Kenneth Branagh in a sheer summer frock. All we need to do is watch more double features.
You want some examples? Fine. Here’s an example or two just to give you an idea of how almighty the double feature is. Imagine, if you can, watching The Third Man and then, with only a short break to eat a chocolate-covered orange slice and urinate in the corners of your mind, you watch Miller’s Crossing — another film with a complex, death-hinged plot about divided loyalties.
Now what’s your favorite film, sucker?
More? What about if you watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Election — two high school-themed films which might make you relive the agony and ecstasy of your fumbling youth. What if you watched The Devil’s Advocate and Wild Things, submerging your consciousness in meaningless but attractive over-acting boobs (I’m taking about both Keanu Reeves and Denise Richards twice).
Now what’s your favorite fim?
You see, things — filmy things — take on meaning and importance only in contrast. To say that something is the best requires this comparison. It demands it. And saying Argo is the best or worst film of 2012 only means something interesting if you’ve seen other films like Argo — and enough of them to realize that the only thing special about Argo is that it completely avoids distinguishing itself except in how undistinguished it is. Watch it with, say, All the President’s Men or even Escape from L.A. fer chrissakes and then consider how good a film it is.
Perhaps you begin to see what I’m getting at?
If only there were some friendly pair of curmudgeons who might curate a list of excellent, mind-expanding, tummy-patting, artery-clearing double features. If only they posted a new double feature every week for us to watch.
Oh, what a glorious dream!
Then, if that magnificent dream were to become true, we could watch those films together and when someone boring at some boring party asked you the boring question, “What’s your favorite film?” You could respond, “My favorite film is a double feature.”
And then you could have a fascinating conversation in which you sounded so erudite and sexy they’d beg you to take them home and rub them and their dik-dik down with butterscotch paste.
Also, while we’re talking about how awesome double features are, did you realize that there is a chance that one day soon The New Parkway theater in Oakland will invite the editors of this blog to host a regular double feature night for you to attend? It is true. All that needs to happen is for you to share the joy of Stand By For Mind Control with all of your friends and those boring people you meet at boring parties, and for you to tell them to read our double feature posts.
Share a link to your favorite one of these posts on your Facebook page, too, while you’re at it, huh? Or even — and this is nuts — leave us a comment suggesting some of your favorite double feature ideas? Perhaps we will be moved to write up your ideas and then you will be so famous you’ll need a protector robot and an armored dik dik.
Hopefully soon our evil plan will come to fruition and we will all watch the best film you ever saw together, both of them, with plenty of beer. Bring your own butterscotch paste.