Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.
The concurrent sexual lives of best friends Jonathan and Sandy are presented, those lives which are affected by the sexual mores of the time and their own temperament, especially in ... See full summary »
A portrait of a fictional town in the mid west that is home to a group of idiosyncratic and slightly neurotic characters. Dwayne Hoover is a wealthy car dealer-ship owner that's on the ... See full summary »
Using his own terminology, Billy Pilgrim is "unstuck in time", which means he is moving between different points in his life uncontrollably, although he is aware of it at certain of those points as witnessed by the letter to the editor he writes to the Ilium Daily News about his situation. Primarily, he is moving between three general time periods and locations. The first is his stint as a GI during WWII, when, as a pacifist, he was acting as a Chaplain's assistant for his unit. This time is largely as a POW, where he was in Dresden the day of the bombing, spending it with among others an older compassionate GI named Edgar Derby, and a brash loudmouth GI named Paul Lazzaro. The second is his life as an optometrist in Ilium in upstate New York, eventually married to the wealthy and overbearing Valencia Merble, and having two offspring, Robert, who would spend his teen-aged years as a semi-delinquent, and Barbara, who would end up much like her mother. And the third is as an abductee on... Written by
In the scenes of Tralfamadore, the planet Jupiter (easily recognizable by its giant red spot, which is a massive permanent storm) is visible in the background, but it never rotates. See more »
We know how the world ends and it has nothing to do with Earth, except that it gets wiped out too.
Really? How does it end?
While we're experimenting with new fuels, a Tralfamadorian test pilot panics, presses the wrong button, and the whole universe disappears.
But you have to stop him. If you know this, can't you keep the pilot from pressing ...
He has always pressed it, and he always will. We have always let him, and we always will let him. The moment is structured that way.
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Concerto No. 5 for Harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056 - 2nd movement 'Largo'
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach) Glenn Gould, Piano
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Goldschmann, Conductor See more »
There seems always to be something exhilaratingly depressing about Vonnegut's work. It's as if our lives were slowly coming apart at the seams. There always seems to be an element of tragic waste in his characters' lives, and never is the feeling more evident than in the book and film of "Slaugherhouse-Five." It's not surprising to learn that Vonnegut really did live through the firebombing of Dresden during World War II.
If there's a weak element of the film, it's the bombing itself. By never letting the audience see outside the bomb shelter Pilgrim was in (and if so, not making it vivid enough for me to remember it), the horror and sheer magnitude of the event is downplayed. Two hundred thousand people died in the destruction of one of the greatest, most majestic cities in all of Europe, and all we're given is a shaking camera. Those who've read the book know that the trajedy was conveyed all to well by Vonnegut's skillful, near-photographic descriptions of the event and its aftermath. Very little of it made it to the screen.
Aside from that, George Roy Hill does an excellent job of communicating the existential dread of what must have been thought to be an unfilmable novel. The fate of Pilgrim's wife through her reckless driving could have come off as tasteless black comedy, but any cheap laughs are thankfully avoided, and the sequence is as shocking as it is heartbreaking. The really far-out parts of the novel (the four-dimensional aliens, Vonnegut's conception of the future and the end of the universe) are done with complete seriousness; another director might have had a condescending approach to the material, and killed the magic. The novel, by itself, is one of the best I've ever read -- it gleefully trashes the rules of standard novel-making, narration, and continuity, and manages to tell a real whale of a tale (there's a lot of weird stuff to swallow in it.) When I saw Hill credited as director, I moaned in agony, recalling the headaches that were induced by his smug, syrupy box office smashes "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting." After those two, I gave up all hope in Hill, the same way I did with Richard Lester after "Petulia" and "Help!" By the end of the movie, however, I ate my words. It's a beautiful, thought-provoking, and enchanting film, and does justice to a fine novel.
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