You Better Give Me Something. You Better Give Me Something Fast

In Movies on July 31, 2012 at 12:31 am

The life of an American teenager according to “Rebel Without a Cause”:








Becoming infatuated with James Dean quite quickly

Being dramatic

Tonight, I had the pleasure of viewing “Rebel Without a Cause” at Bryant Park for their HBO movie summer series. I have always wanted to see the brooding James Dean in his most famous movie of them all and have always managed to miss it, somehow. But tonight, I sat alongside a friend and a girlfriend waiting for the stars to come out and the movie to start playing. If you haven’t experienced a movie in the park, DO IT. It’s free, hilarious, they had a dancing segment, WTF?, and it is a right of passage. I feel connected to my fellow New Yorkians, now more than ever. BUT I DIGRESS.

“Rebel Without a Cause” is a 1955 classic starring James Dean as Jim Stark, Natalie Wood as Judy, and Sal  Mineo as John Plato Crawford, and one very creepy individual. It has a received a 95% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomato and was directed by Nicholas Ray who also directed several other movies, this being the most famous, I BELIEVE. James Dean only starred in two other movies, “Giant” and “East of Eden”, which I have not had the privilege to see BUT I have heard that he is quite good in all three but EXCEPTIONALLY good in Rebel.

The movie begins with Jim Stark wallowing on the ground with a toy duck, wasted. Then Judy and Plato appear on the scene within the police headquarters, with their own problems. Judy has a strange relationship with her father, while Plato has been brought in because he has been shooting dogs. These three characters come together because of their situation, mainly due to the relationship with their families or lack thereof, and come to find out how much they need one another.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: I loved James Dean in this film. After seeing this, I truly wish that he did not die so tragically and so young because I would love to see him act now. He would have been a wonderful and powerful actor. I loved this scene especially, one of the most emotional scenes in the movie aside from the end. He does such a good job portraying the angst and turmoil within himself and how the problems within his family has had such a profound effect on him.

Natalie Wood, not so much. I was confused by her role and I know she was sexually confused, I think she may have been sexually abused by her father, but she fell in love with Dean very quickly, I mean who wouldn’t? AMIRIGHT?. But in all seriousness, it seemed a little rushed and she seemed very unstable. Not acting like she was an unstable girl, rather Wood was having trouble determining who she was supposed to be within the film. I like strong female characters and she seemed much too confused to have any strength.

Sal Mineo is the tragic character of this film. He develops an instant attachment to James Dean, because well he’s fucking James Dean. He has no father figure or mother figure and he appears sexually confused. Mineo played this character superbly, showing how strained his psyche was and how confused he felt about his relationship to just about everything and everyone. He appeared happy when with Dean and Wood but the minute they left he became scared and defensive. He retreated back to his old self, and Mineo did this perfectly.

Lastly, Jim Backus who played Frank Stark, Jim’s dad, did a spectacular job. He played the spineless father quite well, and the scene in which he is wearing the apron was just superb. I also loved how he appeared to be living through James Dean trying to get him to not make the same mistakes he did. When confronted with this idea, however, he wilted back into himself. Backus played the character that not many see within a 50s film, the weak feminine father.

So, if you haven’t seen this movie, Netflix it. James Dean is great and if you consider yourself a movie buff, well you shouldn’t unless you have seen this movie. It’s over dramatic and silly at points, but what it represents is still relevant in modern-day. These fights and tensions still occur within families and it is the relationships that people have and their strength that will help them weather these storms.

  1. my favorite line,was.always -you’re tearing me apart!

    what, no shout out for the griffith park observatory?! C’mon remember Texas Christian at the Rose Bowl 2 years ago…

    poor sal mineo…

    great blog, btw

    • I liked that line, as random as it was, and yeah I remember all the TCU fans. I liked how pivotal a place Griffith Observartory was in the movie. A lot happened there! Thanks dude

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