Because AFI has dropped the ball again and does NOT have a prerequisite list for some of these movies – I have provided one for you for “Vertigo”. I will make a second plea to AFI – please redo this list, hire me, and let the people know what they’re really getting into.
Here are a few things you need to do BEFORE you watch this movie:
1) You MUST watch one of the following movies with Jimmy Stewart in it. “Vertigo” should not taint your perception of him. He is a desirable match, ladies, I promise. So please watch one of these prior to viewing “Vertigo”:
The Philadelphia Story
Shop Around the Corner
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It’s A Wonderful Life
2) Make sure you have enough time in the day to watch a second movie after. If you are more of a TV Show type of person, then make sure you have at least 40 minutes to spare after this movie is over. You will need it to clear your head and potentially make you forget what you just saw.
3) Call up a friend and ask them if they’re free to keep you company for 4 hours (2.5 hours for “Vertigo”, 1.5 hours for the movie after). If you don’t have a friend: dogs, cats, and grandparents work too.
OK, now you are ready. You may rent, buy, or go to an old black and white theater and watch “Vertigo”. However, let me give you some very bias opinions on this movie so you know what to expect.
“Vertigo” is creepy. Now it’s not the “Ew, gross that man won’t stop staring at me” creepy, it’s more like “Um, why does my boyfriend look exactly like my dad ” creepy. Just remember that as weird as things get in the middle – they get SO MUCH WORSE at the end.
True Story: I watched this movie at 11am on a Saturday and could not stop thinking about the ending until 8am Monday. ALL DAY SUNDAY was like a terrible version of Ground Hog Day. I just kept thinking about it, then getting freaked out by it, and then thinking about it some more! It’s like the worst Catch 22 ever (Major Major Major).
Secondly, and this is more of a complaint than an opinion, why does Hollywood allow people to “fall in love” in 3 days? WHY? I mean, yes, if you are a lion and your lioness friend finds you in the jungle and makes you king – then maybe, MAYBE you can fall in love in 3 days. But Hitchcock! Really? Jimmy Stewart is a retired detective and all it takes is 3 days of stalking a women and he’s head over heels?! DISLIKE. And don’t get me wrong – I am a HUGE sucker for love, but COME ON! How am I supposed to pick a side when I truly believe EVERYONE in this movie needs to be institutionalized.
Finally, (SPOILER ALERT) Jimmy was an idiot for letting her near the bell tower. I know this inner dialogue happens in every thriller/horror movie: “Don’t open the door, don’t do it. You heard scary noises from behind the door so just call the police and walk away. NOOOOO. WHY? Yea, well ya see – I knew you were going to die. Ugh. People are dumb”. HOWEVER – I honestly thought Hitchcock was better than that. But no. He has to include a scene where the audience is SO much more intelligent than Jimmy Stewart. They must watch him make a mistake, realize he made it, try and fix it, and then watch someone die. I can’t. This is why I never watch the elevator scene in “Serendipity” – the audience needs to be in the dark! It’s way too frustrating and completely unsatisfying to watch scenes where you KNOW the bad thing that is going to happen next.
In conclusion – “Vertigo” is a good one-time-only, not-on-a-first-date kind of movie. It will bothers you for days, so if that is your yardstick for measuring a good movie – knock yourself out.
Popcorn Rating: 3 popped, 1 kernel