Almost half of the films that I’ve watched over the last month have been ones that I’ve stumbled upon on tv.  I feel completely blessed to have access to TCM and its constant commercial-free fabulousness, and I’m thankful for all it has done to get me out of my movie-watching comfort zone or, at the very least, bring me things that I didn’t know existed that I might have otherwise missed.  Here’s an example:

Lust for Life (1956)

I’m not usually fond of biopics, and one about a painter might seem a bit sluggish on the surface.  But when you say Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn doing a biopic about Van Gogh, one of the good-and-crazy painters, well…I still probably wouldn’t have bought it online.  But when it’s right in front of me, and when it would be more effort for me to actually change the channel, it sounded like a good idea.  And you know, I’m glad I stuck around.  Kirk Douglas is amazing as the tortured artist, completely capturing the essence of loneliness and the lengths it can drive one to.  Anthony Quinn plays Gauguin, Van Gogh’s foil in every respect, and plays it quite well.  Their rages, as well as their amicabilities, feel genuine; neither side is more sympathetic than the other (or pathetic, for that matter), and both actors really seemed to grasp the intense passion with which the men they portray lived their lives.  What the story lacks in action and drama, the characters more than make up for.  A great Sunday afternoon flick. 

Here’s a great scene of the two artists at their worst/best.