Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

DailyView: Day 83, Movie 144

I looked at the schedule for TCM tonight, and they were showing Rebel Without a Cause, which has been on the DailyView watchlist for awhile now. It was one that I had on the HBO Max queue for awhile too, but I had not gotten around to it so when it was there on TCM, it would work out perfectly.

James Dean was only in three movies, and his tragic death came just before the release of Rebel Without a Cause. You can tell how charismatic he was in this movie. You could see just how big of a star he was on his way to becoming with his performance here.

Having said that, I had to laugh when he did the “You’re tearing me apart” line because I immediately pictured Tommy Wiseau in The Room with his line for Lisa. Wiseau was inspired in that line delivery from Dean in this movie.

According to Rotten Tomatoes: “After moving to a new town, troublemaking teen Jim Stark (James Dean) is supposed to have a clean slate, although being the new kid in town brings its own problems. While searching for some stability, Stark forms a bond with a disturbed classmate, Plato (Sal Mineo), and falls for local girl Judy (Natalie Wood). However, Judy is the girlfriend of neighborhood tough, Buzz (Corey Allen). When Buzz violently confronts Jim and challenges him to a drag race, the new kid’s real troubles begin.”

I enjoyed a lot of this movie, in particular the ending with Plato. This was a very enjoyable watch and I would recommend it to anybody. However, I am going to focus on a few of my problems with it. I just want to stress that I liked this movie a lot, but these were my thoughts.

I was distracted by Thurston Howell the Third being James Dean’s father in this movie. That is not the movie’s problem, it is mine issue. I know that, but every time I saw Jim Backus, all I could do was think “Where is Lovey?” To be fair, by the third act, I was more accepting of him as the father. Backus gave a good performance and was able to shake me out of the Gilligan’s Isle thoughts I was having. Again, that is not a fault of the film.

One of the things that was the fault of the film was that I did not believe the relationship between Jim and Judy. SPOILER Buzz, who was Judy’s boyfriend, just died earlier that night and suddenly Jim and Judy were professing their love. They dumped that story really quickly and I had a problem with that. END OF SPOILERS

The last thing I will bring up is how much of a dick Buzz is at the beginning and how his gang of jerks were just following him no matter what. Pull out a knife? Fine. Be an a-hole for no reason? No problem. Then, at the end, the others are out to take it to another level. I just did not understand why these kids were acting the way they were. Plus, Judy was there and seemingly happy to be part of the insanity.

Beside those issues with Rebel Without a Cause, I did like this very much.

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