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Figuring it might be worth watching since it was remade, I taped and finally got a chance to watch the original 1966 Alfie.

And boy what a dated rambling artifact of dead times it is.

And ramble it does. I'm not much for movies that don't have a coherent story in favor of simply ping-ponging from situation to situation (see my earlier entry on Blake Edwards for examples) and letting the strength of the characters mask the fact that there's no point. And Alfie's no exception. There are a couple of interesting (and even disturbing) scenes, but they're hidden under a pile of uninteresting and interchangable scenes of Alfie mistreating women.

Which brings me to my next point. Despite the moviemakers' apparent want to make Alfie's character charming in a "not my fault" way, he's the most one-dimensional character ever penned. His single-minded pursuit of sleeping with married women can't carry a movie. Heck, even the guys who did the Beavis-and-Butthead movie realized that characters bantering about getting laid gets tiresome after ten minutes, so they gave the movie an actual plot. Something that "Alfie" neglects.

Finally, the movie's badly dated. I mean, it's a movie about the swinging lifestyle (coupled with the lack of effective birth-control) and back-alley abortions. It's as ripe for a remake as Easy Rider.

And that ain't so ripe.

If you're interested in a more watchable exploration of morals displayed in 60's films, get the 1963 version of Tom Jones with Albert Finney. The main character's a "randy rogue" like Michael Caine's character, but his character is actually likeable. The scene where adopted-illegitimate son Jones is elated to hear that his adoptive father will recover from near-fatal illness while the rest of the (much-better-bred) loved ones secretly pout because they won't get to split up the estate is priceless.

On another note, we also rented Shaolin Soccer, and it's an absolute hoot. Best way to describe it is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon meets Rocky IV meets Ernest Goes To Camp. It's also the best lampooning of Matrix-style special effects and wire-fu I've seen so far. Shelly and I giggled at it all the way through. It's a ton of fun.

Also, it's fairly suitable for kids. I don't recall any sex or foul language to speak of, and the fighting is so cartoonish that it shouldn't bother anyone. The DVD has English dialogue available, so you can watch it with kids.

See it. You'll enjoy it.
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