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Subject: "Magic" (1978) is pretty much EXACTLY what a psycho drama SHOULD be!
Written By: The Valley Goth on 10/07/13 at 3:05 am
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*SPOILER ALERT FOR THE 1978 ANTHONY HOPKINS MOVIE "MAGIC"!*
I just watched the brilliant, 1978 Anthony Hopkins psycho drama "Magic", which follows the murderous adventures of the neurotic Corky and his "R"-rated stage dummy "Fats".
I must say that I haven't watched such a COOL psycho drama in awhile! This movie manages to be clever, funny, sexy, raunchy, and slightly creepy...all at once, and, besides, it stars Anthony FREAKING Hopkins, for Pete's sake! I LOVE that guy's on-screen character (I don't really LOVE him, but he interests me), because Hopkins is such a convincing actor!
What else do I love about the movie?
FATS: I almost dislike myself for liking Fats, 'cause, well, he's portrayed as being a total creep (When he kills Peg's husband, he is truly scary for a moment or so), and a major perv, and such. If somebody can tell me if the movie "Magic" was the first movie that really got away with dropping the "F" bomb, I'd be eternally grateful.
Anyway, he's such a clever, raunchy, interestingly-accented linguistic card that I can't help but like him, even though he's the mouthpiece for a rather desperate murderer. I love the fact that he remains himself, even as he evolves into the more outdoorsy type, by way of sweaters, and hats, and such, and how natural his own true self seems, even after Corky has whisked him away to the woods.
CORKY'S RELATIONSHIP WITH PEG: The love story of Corky and Peg is a true tragedy of the most bittersweet kind. Here's this guy who's just failed at late 1970s glam/ fame, and here's this gal who wants a new start, and they meet again, for the first time in years, falling in love the right way...even though they're being adulterous. Their love is playful and sexy and sweet, but it's fatally flawed, because of the shortcomings of BOTH parties. Corky is, well, psychotically disturbed, and Peg is the eternal underdog, who can never quite say for CERTAIN that she is going to kick her primal, no-good husband to the curb just like that.
THE IRONY FACTOR: There are a few "grand ironies" about the story of "Magic". One of these deals with Peg's husband. He's a big, primal, violent, bullying mountain man of a jerk, and yet, he's scared to death of losing Peg. He's also so big, and so seemingly dumb, that you'd THINK that he'd never be able to put two and two together, with regards to the death of Mr. Green, and yet, he does just that! What's even more ironic is the fact that Corky is freaking out about the bottom of the lake, when he SHOULD be afraid of finding his agent LAKESIDE.
Another batch of ironies deal with the ideas of love and relationships. Corky keeps thinking that Fats is controlling him, but when push comes to shove, he defeats his own murderous self by giving Peg the wooden heart (The symbol of Corky's fatally flawed, stilted psychological self), and by NOT killing her. That's doubly ironic, though, because Corky has to kill HIMSELF in order to defeat everything about himself that's neurotic and bad; he has to embrace the ULTIMATE failure, the failure at life itself, in order to succeed at the ultimate success, love. Okay, but even THAT'S ironic, too, because, by killing himself, he's STILL avoiding having to REALLY face his problems, and, besides, he's failed yet AGAIN...because Peg suddenly changes her mind about her momentary obsession with taking Corky's final jokes too personally; he has also "killed" Peg, in a more roundabout sort of way, by taking from her the only two men that she ever loved. The next to last irony is Fats' suddenly sweet(?) admission that Corky, good or bad, WAS ALL HIMSELF, after all, and that there WAS no ..."magic" in ANY of Corky's actions in real life; the final irony deals with the fact that Peg has gone completely daffy over Fats, and that she's so oblivious to Corky's murderous ways, and so in love with Fats' cuteness, that SHE adopts a "dummy"-type voice at the end of the movie. These ironies are BRILLIANT, and they give "Magic" a sad, sweet edge!
THE SORROW FACTOR: The entire issue of the wooden heart is sad, because it ties in with the issue of Corky's psychologically-broken, yet almost too good self. He seems to have had a sad, but not a disturbed, childhood, but something within him is definitely disturbed, and broken, beyond repair. The fact that he feels that he must kill himself in order to defeat his bad side with his good side is very sad, and sort of sweet, in a twisted way. Poor Corky's sorrow is also social; his agent, Mr. Green, sort of channels Fats' smart ass attitude, and, in a way, I can see how the guy (Green) is a bit of a jerk towards Corky, without realizing that he's being like that towards him. Corky's society is about the latest fashions, fancy parties, and money, money, money, and yet, even when Corky allows cowardice to make him run away, when he COULD have been successful, he finds his own success by being the simple, albeit adulterous, guy, the nature-loving wood-carver...a sort of high-class version of Peg's crude, mountain man-type husband. This movie is brilliantly twisted, because it says to its viewers, "You just need to get AWAY from the glamour, and go to the woods, and wear camping clothes, and sit by a roaring fire with your lover!", and THEN it says, "You can do ALL of those things...and be more civilized about them than SOME people are, and guess WHAT? You can STILL fail!" In other words, "Magic" hits the 1970s-minded audience with a double whammy, by forcing its viewers to realize that NO 1970s stereotype can cure psychosis, or even just personal emotional issues, in general.