One line review: A dream-like story is brought to life in a wonderful tale.
Movie Title: The Wizard of Oz
Actors: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Laher, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick
Director: Victor Fleming
Genre: Fantasy / Musical
Method of Viewing: Netflix Online
Location of Viewing: Home
Viewing with: Friends in #Jazzmess
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% – An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant. A must-see film for young and old.
My rating: ***** – A Perfect Movie
My assessment (the first 101 words at least): Perhaps it’s silly to even do a review of a movie that is such a classic and so universally loved. This movie was shown on Netflix to celebrate it’s 70th anniversary (and it may be the oldest movie I have on my list), yet the themes and spirit of this movie still feels fresh to me. The entire world they create just makes you feel like a child, in constant wonder at the marvels of the world. This is the definition of a movie that should never be remade or recreated, it simply is perfect as it is, a fantastic tale.
Let’s get the praise out of the way. This is a fairy tale world that manages to go beyond my imagination, and beyond any child’s imagination. It’s something so beautiful, and so pure, that it just makes me smile thinking about it. I regret not seeing this film as a child, because I think it limits how much I can enjoy this movie. I can’t imagine what a young child, who doesn’t understand that movies are not real life, would think of this word. Movies like this are part of the reason I even started this 101 list (even if this movie isn’t on that list). I knew there were worlds out there I had missed as a child, and I’m glad I’ve managed to catch up with this one.
Dorthy has been analyzed a thousand times over, with my favorite analysis coming from Todd Alcott. But I want to focus on a character that doesn’t get enough attention, probably because he’s too bad ass.
And that’s To-mother-fuckin’-to
Beyond the fact that Terry, the dog that played Toto, is an animal trained so well that you often forget that he isn’t simply an actor or computer generated, Toto is just a badass.
Pretty much the first thing we hear about Toto is him biting Miss Glutch, I assume because she was about to poison the water supply or something. You may think that Toto is a little weak for getting caught by Miss Glutch, but I assure you he only allowed the old hag to capture him in a basket so he could learn where she lived.
After Dorthy messes around with running away, and manages to get caught in a Tornado (forcing Toto to go with her if only to keep an eye on the dumb bitch), Toto and Dorthy end up in Munchkin land. Toto is not amused by Munchkins, they are creepy, and sing creepy songs with lyrics like, “You killed her so completely, we thank you so sweetly”. Seriously, that’s fucked up dudes.
After a few more minutes of disturbingly pleasant singing over the death of a woman, The Wicked Witch of the West shows up. She threatens to get Dorthy and Toto, Toto threatens to piss on the Witch (not necessarily in human speak mind you, this is a family show).
Glinda tells Dorthy that the witch will probably try to kill her for the ruby slippers that Glinda FORCED on Dorthy in the first place. Then Glinda flies off leaving Dorthy defenseless. Good job there Glinda, thanks a lot. Well at least Glinda told us to follow the yellow brick road….
…. the same road that happens to fork just a block away. Thanks a fucking lot Glinda. At least there’s a Scarecrow there to show the way (note that since his guts are made of straw, he’s constantly bleeding guts everywhere, making him the goriest character in this movie). Along the way Toto also recruits a Tin Man (whom he doesn’t like because it’s hard to bite a metal ass), and a Cowardly Lion (who from this point on will be known as Toto’s bitch).
Eventually the whole crew comes across a garden. The Wicked Witch puts Dorthy and Toto’s Bitch to sleep with some kind of spell. Toto coincidentally falls asleep, most likely due to boredom. But don’t worry, The Good Witch Glinda will help by making it snow!…. and rusting the damn Tin Man til he’s paralyzed!
Seriously, it’s hard to tell which Witch is more of a bitch in this movie.
So the gang finally makes it to Oz, where they’re treated to a musical describing how awesome the Emerald City is. When they find out they’ll get to meet the powerful Oz, the gang celebrates with another musical, this time causing property damage just to give the Cowardly Lion a crown (made of a broken vase).
The gang enters the lair of Oz, which could easily be mistaken for any set used in Star Trek: The Original Series. The Wizard tells the gang that they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West, but doesn’t even have the kindness to give them another home to drop on the bitch.
So, the gang goes in armed. Tin Man has his axe, Lion has a net (seriously, what a pussy), Toto is obviously armed with his badass-edry, Dorthy is armed with her accident prone ability to not get hurt, and SCARECROW’S GOT A GUN!
Seriously! Go back and watch the scene if you have to, Scarecrow’s got a gun! When I went to search for the screenshot, I actually found a freaking website called Scarecrows Gotta Gun, so I’m not the only one surprised by this. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that when you go to fight a witch, you bring everything you’ve got. But still, does the one who doesn’t have a brain have to have the gun? This can’t end well.
At least it’s comforting to know that when he shoots his gun, the recoil should break his arm off. It’s not like a gun helps much when you’re facing down Flying Monkeys. The Monkeys kidnap Dorthy (which forces Toto to go with her just to save her ass), and then RIP THE GUTS out of Scarecrow before flying off.
So the three shmuckleheads are kinda screwed, but thankfully, Toto just runs away from the Witch and goes to retrieve them. In a castle surrounded by flying monkey guards, Toto just walks out. He’s that bad ass.
ToTo leads the gang back to the Witch’s castle. Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Lion all have to dress up in costumes to get past the guards. Once again, Toto just strolls in no problem.
Tin Man goes all “The Shining” on the door leading to Dorthy, and finally the gang is reunited, only to be cornered by the Witch’s goons. The Wicked Witch of the West then lights the Scarecrow on fire.
Toto doesn’t want to bother to put out the Scarecrow, since The Scarecrow is freaking useless, but Dorthy is a soft heart, so she puts the Scarecrow out and melts the Witch.
So Ding Dong, the Witch is dead, so they take the broom and go back to Emerald City. The Wizard of Oz tries to stiff the gang on their bounty for killing the witch, but Toto is tired of his bullshit and reveals him to be a very weak, and easily bite-able man. So, under threat of being ripped to shreds by Toto, the “Wizard” of Oz gives little trinkets to each of the gang just to get them to shut up and go away.
The “Wizard” offers to fly Dorthy back to Kansas, but Toto knows that the nasty Wizard would probably try to feel up Dorthy along the way, so Toto gets Dorthy the hell out of there. With Dorthy’s only chance to return to Kansas gone, Glinda the absent minded “Good” Witch shows up. I don’t even have to mock this, Fata Morgana from the chat did a better job of mocking it than I could ever:
Fata_Morgana: Glinda: “Man, Dorothy, you still alive? Haven’t you figured out how to use those shoes yet? Ha ha, you’re even dumber than I thought.”
“Seriously, bitch, I’m just fucking with ya. You could have gone home immediately but I wanted to see how long you’d last.”
So Dorthy clicks her heels and goes home, just happy to get away from that Bitch of a Witch Glinda.
Okay, seriously though. This was a fun movie. I really do wish I had seen it as a child, and when my niece and nephew are old enough, I’ll be sure to show them this movie. It’s the definition of a classic.
Coming up next is Young Frankenstein, followed by Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, then Deer Hunter.
Also, October 17th (Saturday) at 7pm CST, Netflix movie night, we’ll be watching The Princess Bride