Hello, Spongey here.
No, I’m not actually Noddy. Or Ryan Mead. Or Goldy. Or Doofenshmirtz. I am just Spongey. Today I shall review the film seen as the best ever made, to the point where it’s a punchline when referring to a great film.
….No, there’s no catch or gimmick. I am reviewing it for real ……That’s the joke this year. I’m doing something I’d usually do as a joke but for real. …hilarious, I know.
Believe it or not, I have considered doing this for awhile. I wasn’t sure I would do it, but I wanted to. Because I had never seen it and wanted to see how it is. Yes, I had never seen this film. That’s both shocking and not shocking at all.
I’m gonna go in blind. I only know of the more famous parts of this And what they say on the back of the DVD. (Which is just whoever wrote the blurb jizzing all over the movie). I’m not gonna go into the behind the scenes story and such like I usually do, because I truly want to go in knowing as little as possible, which was easier than you’d think.
And also I’m lazy. I have no idea how much I’ll truly like it given what it is and the reputation it is. I’m not expecting a whole lot to be honest, because not even something like this tends to live up the hype.
This was the original over hyped film for people to bitch about, you see.
I’ll review the way I usually do. Go over what happens and snark about it, or say nothing because I’m dull sometimes. We’ll see what happens. Get for the lamest April Fools joke here (by the way, I get the context behind Goldy’s joke from last year. Yeah) as we look at the “greatest film ever made”. Should be …interesting.
This, is Citizen Kane
After like a minute of establishing shots, the movie opens with someone on their deathbed as they drop a snowglobe
PETER GRIFFIN: It was his sled. It was his sled from when he was a kid. There, I just saved you 2 long boobless hours.
Sorry, I had to. But huh, didn’t expect the most famous scene to be the first one. It’s a striking note either way, especially with him dying here. So how do they follow up a somewhat tragic opening like that?
“NEWS ON THE MARCH!”
….Mood Whiplash isn’t a new problem, got it.
We get a report on his death but not before the ramble on about the place the mansion he died in was. Yes, that’s way important, I get it. We are told this is Charles Foster Kane, who I assume is a Citizen of some kind.
He tells us his life story, which begins as a ramble on all the stuff he owned. Anyway noticing a pattern? He was a rather important business tycoon, who was really loved and really hated by about the same amount of people. He was also a politician.
So nothing too shocking there.
Call me impatient, but a lot of this just ends up feeling like rambling. It goes from interesting to just him going on about divorce or something like that. I imagine a lot of this is important but perhaps cute down some fluff to keep us a tad more invested? Anyway, we see clips of him and in one them , from 1935 he claims there will be no war in Europe. Well, we know he’s master of irony.
After slightly more talking, they mention he died again and suddenly a The End Card. Well, that was a short movie! Okay, it’s only the end of a newsreel, which I thought would take up the whole movie at this point.
It’s being watched by some people, one of them does my job for me and critiques it. He’s determined to figure out who Kane truly was, and what Rosebud means. Gotta say, it’s weird watching this knowing the twist thanks to how often it’s spoofed. But the trope isn’t name after it for nothing.
“It will probably turn out to be a very simple thing”
Well, he’s right about that.
Thompson sets out to talk to everyone Kane ever knew, starting with his 2nd wife who currently owns a Nightclub. She’s really not in the mood to talk though, she shoots him down right away. But someone she knew says she never heard of Rosebud, so that solves that. I’m already finding myself at a loss for things to comment on/joke about, whoops.
So Thompsons goes to the Private Archive of someone who knew Kane and reads his memories as they go into him. Now that the actual plot started, we’re getting somewhere. This is a fine device to go into Kane and get into the real story. Hey, after that super long ramble anything is better.
We learn Kane grew up in Colorado but they came across a literal goldmine and want to send him away to get a proper education. When we see them discussing this, Mom says his trunk is already packed. I could be concerned she already has this already while her husband was still debating all this but maybe it’s 1871 thing.
“I’ve had it packed for a week now”
Kane is outside and they go tell him about this as of course they did this all without telling him first. Of course that’s the point, I’m just doing what I usually do. Kane is not exactly up this, shockingly enough. He attacks with his sled, which is badass but of course they hold him back and this gives them more reason to send him away.
We get a closeup on the sled and we get a flashback (inside of a flashback…) to when he got it as a Christmas Present. Ah, so the best movie ever made is also the best Christmas movie ever made?
And then we flash forward to when Kane turns 25. He enters the newspaper business and mostly publishes articles slamming the company of Thatcher that guy who came to get him. I like his attitude here, he’s got the “it’s gonna be interesting to see his empire fall at the end” thing going on.
“I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. At the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in 60 years”
Feels weird to use that clip on a movie like this.
A bit later, we get back to Thompson as his time to read those memoir is up. Okay, so we’re splitting up the flashbacks, that works I suppose. Despite how interesting that all was, he didn’t find Rosebud so he doesn’t care. To be fair, memories don’t come with symbolic closeups of sleds.
So he just goes to Kane’s old Business Manger to get more flashbacks, that was easy. At this point I should say I sometimes feel dumb watching this because a lot of the business talk flies over my head, but it’s just interesting enough in places for me to keep going…that and despite knowing what Rosebud, I’m curious as to where this is all going in story.
We flashback to when Kane took over the New York Inquirer and right away he changes this by pretty moving in and having the place be open 24 hours a day. Insert Graveyard Shift joke here.
Kane expands the newspaper but promises people he will “tell the news honestly’ which is a promise I expect to last about 5 minutes, just guessing. He buys out the staff of a competing newspaper and then he has a whole song made about him because even this movie needs a musical interlude.
Later, Kane gets engaged to the niece of the president of the united stated. Eh, My Date with the Presidents Niece doesn’t have the same ring to it. Not sure how he did that without anyone knowing until now given her status but that’s not important.
The flashback ends as we are told that marriage did not end too well, which is very shocking of course. So now it’s on to Kane’s Estranged friend Mr. Leland to get more backstory. I like this device with the many narrators to go into the backstory, apparently it was really unique at the time and it’s a good way to tell this story, in this context.
Our next flashback tells us more about his first marriage because why not. To the shock of no one, it started nice enough until they become more distant with Emily complaining about he spends all of his time on work. Either a movie this old can be cliché too or this movie invented it. Could go either way.
I joke but this is at least shown in a montage and the way we see it makes it at least a bit more interesting than it sounds. Natrually, he ends up having an affair with a woman named Susan an we get an extended scene with them meeting which is shown in more detail than anything with the first wife for some reason.
I mean the scene with the two is rather nice, so I’d say this relationship is better but than I remember the whole cheating thing, and yeah.
After that Kane runs for Governor so he can make whatever state this is great again. I swear, that’s the last obvious joke. And yes tis is where that iconic image, that’s even on the DVD cover, comes from.
He becomes the popular candidate through the typical ways, but his political opponent finds out about that whole cheating thing and tells his wife. Geez, at least Kane is charming in his douchey-ness, this guy is just underhanded.
The scene is a bit more drawn out than I’m making it seem but like a lot of the extended talking scenes, it’s effective enough especially here with exactly what they say. Naturally, this gets out and that’s the end of his political career.
Everything goes downhill for him and Bernstein here pretty much tells him why it sucks and yeah it’s more effective stuff I can’t really comment on. I’m starting to realize this may have been a bad idea. After he has a good drink, we find out he marries Susan. Guess she had no issue with the whole cheating thing.
He gets her an operatic career but right away we see she can’t keep up with it and she isn’t even that good, according to Critics. I shockingly have no clever comments here.
That ends this flashback. He tries Susan again and this time she jumps into a flashback. Kinda makes her previous scene pointless (since there’s no transition to her opening up) but okay.
We see that Susan went a bit crazy from all this singing stuff she didn’t want to do and she yells at Kane about it. She even attempts suicide to get out of this, which is what gets Kane to let her drop out of singing. Can’t say I expected that heavy in a 1941 film but hey, it works. That’s all I got for this scene, moving on.
Their troubles don’t end there, as Susan starts feeling like a Disney Princess, couped in their big home, not allowed to really get OUT THERE. Ironically, this is after she QUIT singing.
After more of that, she just decides to leave him. After we see him slap her in one bit, can’t say I blame her. To be fair, what is what happens when you willingly marry who already had a wife that left him.
He pleads with her to stay but of course she still leaves. Yes, its another very strong scene I have little to say about. We’ve only got like 15 minutes left, okay?
The short flashback yet ends and she says to talk to the butler. Because the butler does everything in fiction. He goes to said butler right away and we get his flashback. Right after Susan left, he throws a fit and starts breaking things.
But he stops when he spots a snowglobe.
Oh yeah, almost forgot that’s why we’re here. I was about to ask how Snowlobe and Sled’s connect….but uh…sled…snow…Yeah, I’m an idiot. End flashback. Now that was short but the butler know of that bit gets Thompson closer to knowing about Rosebud. But theyboth dismiss as useless rambling because why not.
He decides it’ll just remain a mystery, and adds that finding out the meaning wouldn’t really say anything.
“I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life”
Deep. …Not even joking, well said. They are taking care of Kane’s positions and tossing any possible junk…including a sled. Which says Rosebud on it. Okay, so they didn’t think to insect everything he owns for any clues? Really?
Yep, I was able to nitpick the most famous part of the most well known movie ever, I am such an asshole.
Now that I know the context of this twist…yeah, it works really well. I’ll admit that knowing it for this long took a tad from it, but just like Empire Strikes Back, it’s still effective when you see it in context.
The End. Yeah, even THIS one needs a rushed ending but given what it’s all about, I’ll accept it. Plus, the note they ended on was a very good one. Kinda wish the credits didn’t have clips for each actor so the end can be effective but whatever.
Either way, so that was Spongey’s Never Seen. …Wait.
Before I go any further, I should apologize for this review not being the best. This was an odd to do since I don’t do this kind of movie in general. Frankly,i just did it because of it’s status. But it was…interesting.
It’s important to note that I am watching this in 2016 having seen mostly modern movies in my life, and this film is mostly known for it’s innovation. Meaning this can fall into “Seinfeld is Unfunny” territory, and I wasn’t sure how much in terms of techniques was new until I looked It up. We really do take so much for granted nowadays.
But on it’s own…yeah, it’s pretty good. I have no true Critical Reason for not going crazy over it, given it’s all due to my own tastes so forgive me if I do seem dumb for not quite getting everything. I bet I made so many mistakes or skipped things some see as amazingly important.
But what is there to say? Even taking aside it’s status, all I can say is that it was an interesting story of this man. That’s what the film is all about so it’s kinda important they got him right and on every level they did.
I said effective a lot because most of the best scenes are simply effective with how they tell this story. Even to me, some parts were decently impressive to me, which makes up for some parts I found slow. I think the run time is mostly justified, some small bits aside.
Movies like this make me feel so young, you know? On a personal level I just find it pretty good, but I imagine on a Critical Level it’s as amazing as everyone says with what it does. It is better thinking about it, now that I know where they were going with all this.
I can’t offer too much insight, other than it was an interesting story about this man. Of course now this kind of story, of the rise and fall of person, is common and maybe back then it was too, but those are always interesting to see play out.
And the man himself helps make it work here, and of course the overall execution. Overall, I did find it pretty good. I’ve only got a few things to comment on. First, the Wikipedia Article has so much detail you may as well just skip the movie. 2Nd, this film was actually a bomb in release and not liked a ton.
The Ultimate Proof that Accolades mean jack shit sometimes.
So yeah, the best movie ever made is pretty good to me. I can see some may still call it the best…but whatever. We’ll see how many people agree with me and the days of it being the best thing ever are over, or what.
We return to your regular scheduled reviews of Disney Channel Movies.
Feels weird to grade it like that but there you go. In hindsight, should of either done a twist or done something else. But there you go. Let’s make up for it. We did a famous old movie so let’s do an infamous recent movie. What do you got?
See Ya, and Happy April Fools Day!