02-18-2006 12:56 AM
Ah. You made me feel good.
Hey....could be the premise for a potential Top 100 movie!
none shall say I am not Queen of on-topicness
02-18-2006 09:14 PM
#3: The Godfather. Bear with me. Why does this movie blow chunks? Well, it's because I was born about 20 years too late.
I never got to see this thing in the theaters. You know all the indoor scenes with the shades drawn and stuff? The first time I watched it, I sat there, flummoxed. I thought there was something wrong with my TV, that the picture was out. I actually stood up and gave the thing a thump. When it continued, I messed with the brightness controls and the contrast, all to no avail, all the while, missing important dialog and plot development. I totally got taken out of the story over technical issues, and this would have easily been solved had I seen it the way it was meant to be seen: on a big screen.
The dark interior shots are probably perfect. Every once in a while just seeing a glimpse of contrast makes the audience feel uncomfortable, and oppressed, just like we're supposed to feel in a mob den. Everything else in the movie grabs the audience by the gonads and refuses to let go, from the expansive, yet subdued presence of Don Vito to the creepy, vulturelike Luca Brasi to Sonny's lunacy. The story is a living thing, kept breathing by the machinations of the characters. It is a real shame when translation to a different medium sends that creature to sleep with the fishes. God, how I hate being yanked out of a narrative.
This film has a superb soundtrack, one of the few my mom refused to buy becasue she adamantly reviled this film, and this film contains some sparking gems of cinema, as well as some unforgettable scenes. Who doesn't know what it means to wake up with a horse's head in your bed?
I'd like to imagine that this movie put Pacino on the map, but more importantly, if it weren't for The Godfather (Part I), we'd know a lot less about Abe Vigoda, and that would be disastrous for me and BigRed1.
This film is splendid, no question, just see if you can catch it at a festival sometime. I sure hope I'll get that chance someday.
PS: this was one of Richard Nixon's favorite films.
02-18-2006 10:52 PM
#2: Casablanca. This review has already been pre-empted. I'll just throw in my two cents.
This film works on a number of levels. The studio considered it to be a throw-away film, yet it lingers in our hearts and our imaginations. All of the characters are vivid and memorable. Even if Rick never really said "play it again, Sam", we all know what the line means, and we know how to use it in the right spirit. Perhaps that the appeal: the sordid, self-sacrificing love triangle, the regret, the longing. Anyone who has been in bad love knows what the people in this film are feeling.
That, and Ilsa is a freaking babe. Inspiration for the female lead in the third Indiana Jones movie, along with countless other copycats. Try to watch this movie without being impressed with Bergman's look. I dare you.
One thing I really liek about this film is how dense it is. I've seen it about half a dozen times, and every time, I see somehting new. The dominants are only a part of what is happening in each (tightly controlled) frame. Watch for subsidiary elements, and you get a dazzling array of activity on the screen, and a trove of Easter eggs to watch out for. If you can, see this one on a big screen. Many of the close-ups work better that way.
I could go on, but like I said, much of this film has already been addressed.
Here's looking at you, kid.
02-19-2006 02:09 PM
#1 Citizen Kane. This film ends up at the top of most lists, and a lot of people wonder why. I did, too, until I watched all the DVD extras, read the liner notes, and spoke to the experts. Now I understand what's so special about it.
And I'd still never put it at the top of my list.
It's a moderately entertaining film, and the craftwork that went into it is nothing short of inspiring, but its appeal is just too limited. Audiences these days can't connect with a robber baron, and nobody even knows who William Randolph Hearst is anymore. It's a tale for an older generation.
02-19-2006 02:15 PM
02-19-2006 02:47 PM
It's a moderately entertaining film, and the craftwork that went into it is nothing short of inspiring, but its appeal is just too limited. Audiences these days can't connect with a robber baron, and nobody even knows who William Randolph Hearst is anymore. It's a tale for an older generation.Pity, really, because there are some universal themes in there that still apply. Achievement, isolation, regret, the loneliness of success, all these elements and more make it a wonderful study of the ideals of capitalism.
02-19-2006 02:52 PM
02-19-2006 02:57 PM
They don't contradict. There are universal themes, but modern audiences have a hard time accessing them unless they are familiar with the tycoons of the early 20th century, and I'm not sure many younger people are. I love this movie myself, but I seriously doubt it can appeal to most people. It's a film for the 1337s of America, and broad appeal is important for a standard of greatness, I think.
02-19-2006 03:03 PM
02-19-2006 03:10 PM
Without understanding why we should care about some crusty, unlikeable millionaire all alone in a trashy castle, we may miss the themes aforementioned. Being bewildered can take someone out of the narrative. It's happened to me before with foreign film, especially Russian cinema. Because I was unfamiliar with the historical or cultural references, I was unable to appreciate the deeper meaning. The folks I was watching the movie with, however, got all the references, and were able to appreciate the subtext. Form and function working together, see?
02-19-2006 08:41 PM
02-19-2006 08:44 PM
Look, I'm just going by the feedback I've gotten from other people who have seen the film. I've asked quite a few folks about it, and the ones who know about Hearst seem to have a much better appreciation for the movie than those who haven't. Either way, it's not significant enough of a film, from a purely entertainment-driven perspective for me to put it in my list.
02-19-2006 08:54 PM
I'm not a critic; I'm a jerk with an opinion.
And keep your pants on, dude. I'm not done fixing the order of the list.
02-19-2006 09:01 PM
And keep your pants on, dude.
02-19-2006 09:05 PM
Top 100 movies as envisioned by Verp? Interesting.
However, I'll be rather put out if your list does not include Plan 9 From Outer Space...
02-19-2006 10:07 PM
These five films barely missed the cutoff for my list. They all have excellent qualties, and all caught my interest, imagination, pathos, or some other quality when I watched them, but sadly, there are too many other worthy movies out there to make it past my cutting room.
02-19-2006 10:33 PM
#100: Repo Man. When I first saw this, I was utterly blown away by the nonsensical plot, the inexplicable characters, the preposterous situations, and the pseudo-enlightened ramblings. I couldn't believe that anyone would actually make a film in such bizarre taste. It was wholly unlike anything I had ever seen before. It transcended bad into some otherwordly realm populated by radioactive bounty hunters and the Secret Agent seedlings that would later sprout into Agent Smith in The Matrix. What other movie gives us lines as wonderful as "Let's go do some crimes" and "yeah, let's get sushi and not pay".
The ubiquitous presence of GPC products is baffling to those of us who don't actually remember the plain white boxes with blue lettering that simply spell out the name of the contents with no additional decoration, and seeing those unpretentious consumer items on the shelves as they get splattered with blood puts me into a wistful state, one that allows images of Max Headroom to drift across my mind's eye.
From bizarre beginning to bizarrer ending, nothing in this film attempts to a) make sense or 2) paint the world in a favorable light. It is the penultimate punk rock movie, somehow capturing everything that was so wrong, yet so right about the early 80's and American nihilism.
02-19-2006 10:47 PM
#99: Maximum Overdrive. I clearly remember this film being heavily advertised. Stephen King making a movie? It's going to be great! Ha ha ha. Joke's on us.
For real though, this movie gave AC/DC a reason to make a soundtrack album and it pretty much kicked a musk ox in the gonads, it was so awesome.
As for the body of the film, what a great idea to assume that some sort of inexplicable magic exists that can possess all our electical appliances and turn them against us. I know that as a child, I'd have little flights of fancy that the lamps in the house could talk to each other through their cords or that maybe if the TV could walk around, it might talk sports with the electric griddle. This film took the imagination of a six-year-old and put it in a crazy truck with Spiderman's nemesis on the grille. I stll can't figure out why Marvel didn't sue for copyright infringement.
I am going to invent some kind of magic that will make all our movies have soundtracks as boss as the one from Maximum Overdrive. Then we can all headbang until the wee hours of the morn.
02-19-2006 11:12 PM
02-19-2006 11:13 PM
02-19-2006 11:18 PM
02-19-2006 11:20 PM
These are all awesome movies that I have seen more than once.
02-19-2006 11:22 PM
On huge quantities of grass/LSD/alcohol/ [insert drug here], I'm assuming.
02-19-2006 11:35 PM
#1 Citizen Kane. ..... AFI put an emotionally barren film at the #1 spot, ignoring the meaning of storytelling in favor of base technique.
Disclaimer: CK is not in my own Top 20.
But, "emotionally barren"??? Nah. Though I admit, this is as purely subjective judgment as can possibly be made. For me, there's emotion.....just not enough to put it in my Top 20.
And in re the discussion on the necessity or irrelevance of Context, that you and Sleepyirv were batting around: context helps appreciation, no doubt. But if a movie totally depends on the knowledge of its viewers to get its point across, then it is fer the junk heap. Burn it! Burn it in a furnace, in a gigantic warehouse!!!
02-20-2006 11:05 AM
#98: Amazon Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. They were great on the moon, so put them in California, add Bill Maher, and we have a winner. This spoof is terrible by any stretch of the imaginaation, and it even goes so far as to make fun of its own genre: movies that are bad mockeries. It's a revolting piece of fim, and when it isn't trying too hard, it's not trying hard enough. It's bad beyond bad, which makes me wonder how they got a budget for it. This film is so loathsome that it earned a permanent place in my heart, even higher than Surf Ninjas II.
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