For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!
There are so many different emotions in ‘Modern Times’ written, directed and starred in by Charlie Chaplin. The film can go from sadness to the heights of comedy without a blink of the eye- and tests out the waters everywhere in between. No matter what Chaplin’s character is going through there is always the common thread of his good-nature and comedy as the times he finds himself in are changing.
Believe it or not, this was my first Charlie Chaplin movie and it did not disapoint. It was his last ‘silent’ movie although it could also serve as his first ‘talkie’ as there is sound here and there. Chaplin starts out as a factory worker doing back breaking repeititive work, but with lots of spunk. There’s a really hilarious scene in which they have him test out a machine that automatically feeds the workers. He has a nervous breakdown after the test and is sent to a hospital where after his recovery he is mistaken for an instigator in a communist demonstration and is arrested. In jail he inadvertanly stops a jailbreak and is released. Once he’s back in society he realizes the environment is difficult to get work in and he’ll do anything to go back to jail. He runs into an orphaned girl and they become friends after he tries to take the blame for stealing a loaf of bread she actually stole so he can go to jail. Eventually – through several jail stints and miscommunications with the police they are both out of jail and working at a restaurant. She as a dancer and he as a waiter/singer. I loved his act where he improvised his forgotton lyrics by singing a story using an amalgam of word play, words in (or made up of word parts from) multiple languages and mock sentence structure while pantomiming. So funny. That and the scenes where he can’t get the in/out doors to the kitchen figured out. In the end the police come for them, but they escape and walk off into the sunrise in a mood of hope and expectation. It was a fun movie to watch- another one that makes me glad I am going through this list of movies!
In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns: