May 25, 2005

Movie Meme

Robert the Llama Butcher has Time's 100 Best Movies list and marks the movies he's seen or wants to see eventually. I'm shamelessly taking the list and doing the same. I agree with him that some of the movies seem a bit randomly chosen. I found that the things I've seen are weighted heavily towards the older movies on the list. Things in bold are those that I've seen. Things in italics are ones I plan to see eventually. What amazes me most is how many of the supposedly best movies I have never heard of. Of course, these are the same type of people who think Ulysses is the best piece of fiction ever written, so one always has to take these lists with a certain amount of "The Emperor Has No Clothes" skepticism.

Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1972)

The Apu Trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959)

The Awful Truth (1937)

Baby Face (1933)

Bande à part (1964)

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)

Blade Runner (1982)

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Brazil (1985)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Camille (1936)

Casablanca (1942)

Charade (1963)

Children of Paradise (1945)

Chinatown (1974)

Chungking Express (1994)

Citizen Kane (1941)

City Lights (1931)

City of God (2002)

Closely Watched Trains (1966)

The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936)

The Crowd (1928)

Day for Night (1973)

The Decalogue (1989)

Detour (1945)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

Dodsworth (1936)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Drunken Master II (1994)

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

8 1/2 (1963)

The 400 Blows (1959)

Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Finding Nemo (2003)

The Fly (1986)

The Godfather, Parts I and II (1972, 1974)

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

Goodfellas (1990)

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

His Girl Friday (1940)

Ikiru (1952)

In A Lonely Place (1950)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

It's A Gift (1934)

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Kandahar (2001)

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

King Kong (1933)

The Lady Eve (1941)

The Last Command (1928)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Léolo (1992)

The Lord of the Rings (2001-03) -- well parts of it -- although my husband, father and brothers have always been totally Tolkein crazed I'm the family Philistine, I've never read the books and sort of intended to wait on watching the films until I'd read the books, but I've wound up watching almost the whole trilogy of films, because my husband has had them on so frequently. I will read the book and see the movies all the way through some day.

The Man With a Camera (1929)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Metropolis (1927) -- highly overrated. Cinematography...whatever...

Miller's Crossing (1990)

Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)

Mouchette (1967)

Nayakan (1987)

Ninotchka (1939)

Notorious (1946)

Olympia, Parts 1 and 2 (1938)

On the Waterfront (1954)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Out of the Past (1947)

Persona (1966)

Pinocchio (1940)

Psycho (1960)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Pyaasa (1957)

Raging Bull (1980)

Schindler's List (1993)

The Searchers (1956)

Sherlock, Jr. (1924)

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

The Singing Detective (1986)

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Star Wars (1977)

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Sunrise (1927)

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Swing Time (1936)

Talk to Her (2002)

Taxi Driver (1976)

Tokyo Story (1953)

A Touch of Zen (1971)

Ugetsu (1953)

Ulysses' Gaze (1995)

Umberto D (1952)

Unforgiven (1992)

White Heat (1949)

Wings of Desire (1987)

Yojimbo (1961)


The 50's decade seems to be over-represented, PLUS they did not include "White Christmas", the last great Hollywood musical. The theater, the theater, what has happened to theater?

One of the difficulties in assembling a list like this is deciding if you compare movies on their own merit to make the list, or if you take into consideration the time that they were made (i.e. the best drama of the 60's). A movie like "Metropolis" may not hold up well to a person who is used to modern special effects and action, while a film historian may better understand the significance of it.

I noticed you tend not to watch films that contain violence. I was going to suggest "Blade Runner", since it's one of my favorites, but you may not enjoy it since there are a few violent scenes. It still holds up well after 20+ years, and Lady Spud seems to enjoy seeing Harrison Ford with his shirt off. Go figure.

Posted by: MarcV at May 25, 2005 11:08 AM

Marc, I am indeed a movie violence wimp. In some contexts it bothers me little or not at all -- like in some fantasy or sci-fi. But in other movies, it gives me nightmares. I've watched almost every Hitchcock movie I could get my hands on, but have stayed away from Psycho. I waffled on whether to put Blade Runner on my "I'll see it eventually" list. Harrison Ford is always a big draw. ;)

Posted by: Jordana at May 25, 2005 11:22 AM

Funny ... I remember telling you about "Rocky" last year. Now another movie theme draws me to comment. Here is a list of the films within the Time list that (a) you did not see, and (b) you really should.

Blade Runner - intriguing sci-fi film, with only typical sci-fi violence; i.e., not nightmare inducing.

Citizen Kane - You can tell why it's considered a classic even if it doesn't fascinate you.

The Godfather (I and II) - the only mob movies which I have seen that are so totally compelling that you get over the fact that the sympathetic characters are actually murderers and thieves.
(N.B. Goodfellas is also interesting, but the extra courseness of the main characters does spoil it.)

Kind Hearts and Coronets - An Alec Guiness comedy classic. Guiness made some funny comedies in the fifties and early sixties (all British, of course) . They are all worth it. Others include The Lavender Hill Mob and Our Man in Havana.

Posted by: bob_l at May 25, 2005 06:16 PM

My recommendations continue ...

The Manchurian Candidate - fascinating on many levels. It is an entertaining thriller which holds up well despite the forty-two years since it was made. Angela Lansbury plays an extremely devious villian (yes, that sweet, gentle Angela Lansbury of Disney movies, the musical Mame, and Murder She Wrote fame) and steals the show. And it provides a good Cold War story that warms the cockles of those of us old enough to remember well Soviet tyranny and the "Evil Empire" so aptly nicknamed by President Reagan.

It is neat to compare it to films of its time and realize that it probably is the first modern-style thriller. It is also far, far better than the 2004 remake with Denzel Washington.

Schindler's List - It is definitely not a popcorn and soda movie, that's for sure. But it tells a story about Jews in a concentration camp in a compelling way that isn't overdone.

The Searchers - I don't know if you like any John Wayne films, but if you have enjoyed at least some of them, then you should like this one. It has a mix of goofy campiness with serious drama. Wayne plays a man who is generally morally good but has a dark side to him. Very different for Wayne to play a role where he has a glaring character flaw.

Unforgiven - Clint Eastwood westerns (that is, the American ones made by his Malpaso production company) are usually very good. This happens to be the best of the lot, and it won Best Picture for 1992. It's another movie like The Godfather where the story holds your interest even when the main character is criminal in nature.

Roger Ebert signing off ...

Posted by: bob_l at May 25, 2005 06:37 PM

Bob, clearly movies are something you feel strongly about. Not a bad thing at all. I like a good John Wayne movie, so I'm not opposed to seeing The Searchers, and I've seen some of the very old Alec Guiness flicks, so I will probably try to see that some day. Citizen Kane is always on my list of things to check out eventually, but I just haven't yet.

As for the others -- I'm really not sure I could ever watch the Godfather movies or Unforgiven -- I'm really a wimp (ask my husband about my complaining that Speed was waaaay too violent).

Schindler's List is one I think I should watch and I am sure is a very important movie, but I'm not sure I will ever be able to watch it.

I am glad I finally saw Rocky though. That was definitely one worth seeing.

Posted by: Jordana at May 25, 2005 07:39 PM

I watched Barry Lyndon for the first and only time on the night I flew out to meet my husband’s whole extended family, pre-our engagement. I was going to be sleeping in the den at his uncle’s house, and a lot of Relatives were just finishing up the movie in there, so I sat down to watch with them.

· The movie is horribly sad and depressing. Every so often, the narrator comes on with a voiceover to say something like, “Barry Lyndon thought his life couldn’t get any worse; little did he know that, in the next scene, his only, beloved son would die.” And lo, so it happens. Then the narrator comes on again and says, “Barry Lyndon thought he had hit rock bottom, but in the NEXT scene, you will see him lose his leg to gangrene AND gamble away his entire fortune.” It was absolutely hilarious.
· Everyone except my husband’s uncle and me was sitting there in open-mouthed horror. The uncle is a major history buff, and he kept saying things like, “See how they buckle their breeches under the knee? That’s completely historically accurate!” or “Look at those walking sticks! Those are just the kind they carried in the 18th century!”
· I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop laughing. It was just SO depressing! Somehow, they all approved me for the family anyway.

Posted by: Another Jordana at May 26, 2005 07:43 AM