Some movies, I have to dig to the roots of my useless knowledge to find something even remotely interesting to say. This one, I could go on all day. I'm going to break this one down into four very short chapters, and I'll save ranking the Kubrick movies until I re-watch all of them, or at least the very good ones.
1. BEING A GLADIATOR - IT'S NOT ALL BAD
Being a gladiator may even be better than being a slave. After all the rigorous training exercise, the gladiators are put into their individual cells for the night, and they are given women! I'm not exactly sure why, because I would think sex before a gladiator match would follow the old boxing adage of no sex before a fight. I can only come up with a couple explanations for this, and the latter is probably the correct one.
My first one is that the lanista (one who owns gladiators, and yes this is my word for the day) purposely knows this will sabotage them and make them easy bloody killings. To put this in 80s Wrestler Terminology, Vince McMahon probably threw a hooker into Moondog Spot's cell before Saturday Night's Main Event, but made sure Tito Santana was sex deprived, so on fight night, Tito came up whooping ass. Spartacus was way to smart for this though, or in my personal opinion, a complete idiot. If I was forced into gladiator battles, I'd take whatever perks I could before my ultimate demise.
The gladiators were really given women though because this was directed by the best pervert of all-time, Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick could re-make Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and sneak in a couple extra cleavage shots or sexually suggestive material. Here we are in the early 60s, way before nudity is allowed and he already has a girl getting topless, even though you can only see her back. In Dr. Strangelove, a comedy about the end of the world, he has a random woman laying on a bed in lingerie. If he can get sexy in Stangelove, he can get sexy anywhere.
2. WHICH GLADIATOR WEAPON WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
My natural inclination is to go mace. Who can resist a good mace? One guy chooses a net, which seems like a waste because if someone is coming at you, a net doesn't seem like it will do the trick. The most popular has got to be thee ol' sword and shield. What would be more reliable? Sure the mace has a little more flash than a sword, but is a lot less stabby.
Another weapon of note would be a trident, which is just saying, "I want to die, please kill me!" What would that thing do? Spartacus' opponent grabs a trident and net. He was the favorite going into the fight, but the odds must have swung rapidly when the crowd saw the weapon selection. You know how pissed I'd be if I thought I had a sure money favorite going into a good match, and then my selection comes out with a trident and net? It'd be like Joe Frazier coming out against Ali with a broken arm.
That's another thing is that you have two arms, so you get to choose two weapons. The cockier gladiators probably went two swords sans shield, whereas the smarter ones kept is simple. The really dumb ones probably went for the flashier weapons, like say, a flail. Any weapon that you have to build up swinging momentum would fail simply out of timing. I doubt crossbows were allowed because that would be a really quick fight, but man if you missed, that thing takes up both your hands so you'd have no protection. Some of the these gladiators could probably take an arrow or two and still get to you as well. Not to mention, if you had a crossbow, you'd probably just start aiming at random spectators.
Case in point, after Spartacus loses the fight, he's only spared because his opponent loses it and throws his mace at the Roman onlookers. If you're dim enough to choose a trident and net, you're probably dim enough to try to kill the Roman leader. This scene kind of reminds me of that dude who threw a grenade at Dubya, but it didn't go off. Sure, it may seem like a good idea at the time, but you have to look at the big picture.
3. FROM GAY LOVE TO SLOW LOVE
It's 1960 and times are different. Homosexuality is so taboo, that you can have a man giving a man a bath scene and it's not a big deal. If you watch that same scene today though, with all the progress gay people have made since then, and how much more open homosexuality is within our culture and "What's on TV", a man giving a man a bath scene is kind of ... unique. Again, this is Stanley Kubrick though, and I feel the need to point that out. Kubrick knew what he was doing.
Part of the script even has the guy receiving the bath asking his bather, "Do you like oysters?" Certainly Kubrick is suggesting homosexuality by this because after all, oysters are sort of like the Grandfather of aphrodisiacs. Trust me, if you're a man and find yourself giving another man a bath, and he asks you if you like oysters, he's coming on to you. That's the one thing I know about homosexuality, which has me tied for everything I know about women.
Something else I've noticed in all these classic movies is that once the love story gets introduced, the movie slows down tremendously. Is this something that happens in life? Does it slow down once you fall in love? Now, I'm not sure if I've ever been in love (which probably means I haven't) but something I've noticed about life is it seems the older you get, the faster life gets as if life is itself a perpetual motion machine. If love slows this down, sign me up, but I doubt it does. If anything, love leads to procreation and once those kids start popping out, life has to move even faster. Also, what could move slower than loneliness?
If they made movies about lonely people, they probably wouldn't move so slow though would they? Or do they not make movies about lonely people because they'd be terribly slow? Of all the movies I know about lonely people, the characters are borderline psychotic, if not deranged lunatics, so naturally they're up to some crazy shit and the movie is paced nicely. For the life of me, I cannot think of a movie about a lonely person who's not deranged.
4. BATTLE SCENE: ROMANS VS. THE PEASANTS
Always bet on the bigger army with better weapons that isn't food deprived. If there's anything you can bet on and win consistently, it's this.