Stanley Kubrick, born July 26, 1928, would've been 90 today. He's been on my mind more than usual given the hoopla surrounding 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
But the confluence of the two ages and a bit of subtraction led me to realize that Kubrick was under 40 when he made 2001. Which means that before he had crossed four decades he had made, arguably, one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time (the greatest American sci-fi film, according to the American Film Institute) and one of the greatest satires/black comedies of all time (Dr. Strangelove, the third-greatest American comedy of all time, according to AFI), as well as a heist picture whose nonlinear structure would serve as an exemplar for a generation of filmmakers (The Killing, often cited as one of the key inspirations for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs). Plus Paths of Glory, considered to be one of the best antiwar films of all time.
Not bad, and not even his best, arguably, given that he'd go on to make one of the best costume dramas (Barry Lyndon), one of the best horror films (The Shining), and another great war film (Full Metal Jacket), to say nothing of A Clockwork Orange, a movie I'm not entirely sure how to categorize (greatest middlebrow exploration of free will?).
I've written about Kubrick before (here's my review of the LACMA exhibition about Kubrick's body of work; here's my review of the newly struck print of 2001: A Space Odyssey), and we talked about the director on this week's Substandard (embedded below; subscribe and review here!), so I don't really have a ton more to say. Other than happy birthday!