Biker gangs and vicious intent stormed America in the immediate post-war period. An outlandish cry for help and grasp at freedom for the young souls who were lucky enough to return from overseas. Best known were perhaps the Hell’s Angels, who tormented the smaller towns and rural roads of America for decades. The Wild One is not so much about the Hell’s Angels, but what they would soon become. As the amoral Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando) bike gang leader rolls into town, the ambiguity of his moral circumference is rightly noted by director László Benedek as his primary draw. But it is what he does with this that should surprise and shake audiences to their core.
Bolstered by the fine writing he had offered in the Oscar-winning Patton, Francis Ford Coppola, now seemingly on top of his game, sauntered into Paramount Studios in need of work. His production studio owed hundreds of thousands to Warner Bros., and his previous film, The Rain People, had bombed. But he had an Academy Award in the bag and showed no signs of stopping. His initial hesitance to take on Mario Puzo’s The Godfather as his next project stemmed from the “cheap” nature Coppola had assigned to the book. Still, that mounting financial pressure changed his mind, and that is indeed for the better, for The Godfather is a stroke of pure, raw passion.
From its explosive introduction to The Doors’ The End to its final, unflinching moments, Apocalypse Now is the maniacal, dangerous creation Francis Ford Coppola trooped on through to accomplish. His shaky and loose adaptation of the values found in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are established alongside the waning post-Vietnam war fallout, which inspired so many for the decades to come. It is hard to argue against Apocalypse Now as, at the very least, a definitive, stalwart remedial on the effect the war had on those involved. It is with that in mind that Coppola heads into the heart of darkness, combating not just the powers and horrors between America and Vietnam, but his own demons as well.
I hate Superman. I hate his smug, chiselled face. His obnoxious smirk as he saves the day in no time whatsoever. A man that can do quite literally anything, can also be made entirely redundant by a green rock if it gets too close to him. But even with this innumerable hatred towards the Last Son of Krypton, I’ve managed to avoid more or less every reference, recommendation or mention of him in the wider media. I know nothing of the character, and my exposure to possibly the most famous face of comic books comes only in the form of an episode of Smallville, an early Xbox 360 game entitled Superman Returns and whatever it was Henry Cavill was doing in Justice League. Whatever the case, I went into Richard Donner’s Superman with an open mind.