Monday, March 25, 2019

Fabulous Faves - All That Jazz (1979)

Fabulous Faves - All That Jazz (1979)

All That Jazz doesn't sound like my kind of film.  I love movies in general, but we all know that I'm a horror guy first and foremost, and I greatly enjoy a lot of pulp.  And a lot of the stuff I call pulp, the rest of you would simply dub trash.  All That Jazz is a musical.  Not really my thing.  All That Jazz is famous for its dance choreography.  Again, not really my thing.  All That Jazz is a surreal narrative that frequently delves into the metaphysical, to include a healthy part for Death herself.  Yeah, just not the type of thing that usually does it for me.  And yet, . . . I cherish this picture.  I fell head over heels for it the first time I watched it, and it is one of those masterful endeavors where I seem to find more to love every time I revisit it.  The plot is a manic exercise that straddles so many genres that it would be hard to list all of them, and I feel that it hits every note that it aims to deliver.  Fosse's dazzling spectacle is buoyed by humor at every turn, but it is an unflinching look at dying.  It showcases the excitement and drama of performing on stage with dizzying grandeur, but it does so while also probing self-destruction and addiction with painful intimacy.  All That Jazz explores the highs and lows of fame, and love, and life as we know it.  With Fosse in the director's chair, the authenticity on the screen is a joy to behold, and Roy Scheider is unbelievable in the lead role.  I have always been a fan of Roy's work, and this is both a big stretch for him and his greatest achievement; he went big, very big, and he delivered something so mesmerizing that it could aptly be described as magical.  Everyone involved in the production of this quizzical and riveting jewel succeeds, and this is one that I can't really find any faults with.  It is a trip, and it oozes morbid humor and surreal escapism while dissecting immense and controversial behavior issues with shameless attention to detail, so I can see where many would be put off by it.  That's okay, some of the best movies ever made can be uncomfortable and astounding in equal measures.  This is one of them.

Final Grade: A+*

*All Fabulous Faves get an A+ from me.  That's why I call them Fabulous Faves!

To truly understand what Roy is capable of, you must watch this movie.  Seldom has a performance been dubbed "a revelation" for such good reason.  My take: it is absolutely one of the most powerful star turns ever realized, and it shows that while he is rightfully regarded as a legend, Scheider could have gone much farther given the chance.

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