Whether it's Joseph Conrad's initial tale of travelling deep into the heart of Africa, or Francis Ford Coppola's genius interpretation of Martin Sheen going up the river during the Vietnam War, you have arguably the greatest story ever told. Seeing this is random observations about movies, and not famous literature, I guess I'll discuss Apocalypse Now, and get this, I'm even going to try to discuss it intelligently. Let's see how long that lasts.
First off, to honor Chuck D, I'm going to say Apocalypse 91 ... The Enemy Strikes Black just to get it out of my system. One of my favorite things Public Enemy did, was take modern pop culture references, or cliched phrases, and turn them into something the Black Panthers would've liked. As a rebellious teen, how can you not love that angst? Don't believe da hype!
OK, so that's out of my system. What's so great about this movie is that it keeps getting darker and darker. It doesn't get more depressing, just darker. In fact, the reason why this is such a classic film (Probably Top 10 All-Time), is the fact that for such dark subject matter, it never becomes sad. It's not sad when Clean, Chief or Chef die. It's a little alarming that Lance never dies, despite the fact that he's the most careless person on this ship (ultimately leading to Clean's death). Of course, Lance doesn't die because this movie is targeted towards the stoner set. Kinda weird that a movie about Vietnam is targeted towards a group of people that make up a large percentage of those we refer to as hippies and therein lies a major difference between stoners and hippies, and that's that this movie isn't targeted towards peace loving stinky beatniks, but targeted towards intelligible people who have a tendency to get high and watch movies.
The brightest spot of the movie is watching Robert Duvall act. Everything that comes out of his mouth is pure brilliance. From there, they go down the river. Chef almost gets eaten by a tiger. They stop off at a post in which they get to see a Playboy bunny show, which may seem bright, but for those who have seen the extended edition, we know what ends up happening to those bunnies, and it's darker. Then, as it gets physically darker and they enter the war zone with no commanders, and its just a bunch of American kids and Vietcong destroying each other from across the bridge, you can tell madness is near, if it hasn't been already reached.
After they leave there, they're encountered by the natives, and it's no longer about the Vietnam War, or Vietcong. They're being attacked by arrows and spears to show just how out of reach the characters are getting of your average American's reality. Naturally, it reaches complete madness when they finally meet up with Kurtz, and Chef loses his head over the situation (I'll be here Thursday through Saturday this week, 2 shows a night).
This tale of man descending into madness is obviously much better told in The Heart of Darkness, but despite the fact that my dad once referred to this as "a drug movie" he missed how truly incredible of a story it is, how incredible the cinematography is ... and speaking of which, Coppola has Apocalypse Now, The Godfathers and then there's a considerable drop. It's like he owns Boardwalk and Park Place, and maybe one of the oranges and one of the light blues. Bizarre career for Coppola, but he makes a good wine too. I'm pretty sure I just broke some major rules of grammar right there, but oh well.
Anyways, it's gotta be tough as a parent when your kid is either in late high school, or college and he tells you he's a big fan of this movie, or loves Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon or says he's going to be camping all weekend at a musical festival. You know your kid is smoking doobies, and there's really nothing you can do about it. Of course, it's better if it happens at the times I mentioned and not in 6th grade.