Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Favorite Movies

I love the movies!

Maybe if I start a list here, I'll begin to recall more of my favorites through the years. Just finished reading 400 Videos You've Got to Rent!: Great Movies You Probably Missed by Ardis Sillick and Michael McCormick. I started adding a LOT of them to my Netflix queue, and have been disappointed at the large number of films Netflix doesn't carry. I suppose they aren't on DVD yet.

For a complete change of pace, try Love Me Tonight, a Depression-era fantasy of a musical and vital Paris and the French countryside. The chateau is magnificent, and so is Maurice Chevalier. I finally understand his enduring popularity! Jeanette MacDonald is the sad princess who falls for the charm, singing, and needle of Chevalier's "just a tailor". Thoroughly fun. Great "special effects," too! 79.

My goodness, I'm a sucker for Neil Jordan's films, I guess! (The ones set in the British Isles, at least. The End of the Affair (1999) touched my heart again, as Michael Collins did. Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes, and Stephen Rea - an abundance of riches. This is an old-fashioned film in many ways, and war-time London becomes as much of a character as the excellently-done private detective Mr. Harkis, played by Ian Hart. 89. I think I'll have to read the Graham Greene book now.

I liked The Butterfly Effect much more than I expected to. Ashton Kutcher can actually act! Not an important film, and you don't want to think about the plot any more than you have to, but very enjoyable. See the "director's cut" if you can. 77.

Michael Collins makes my heart HURT. The tragedy of his life, the tragedy of Ireland and her greedy and cruel lover England -- watching this film brings it all to life, from the Easter Uprising, Bloody Sunday, and the assassination of Collins, the father of the IRA. I don't think its possible to assign a number to this one. My McBees are Scotch-Irish, from Dublin the family stories say. Perhaps one of these days I'll learn the truth.

Interesting film that the TMC rated ****, The Edge of the City. John Cassavetes is the tortured hero, who must redeem himself from the results of his cowardice. Sidney Poitier lights up the screen as the man who befriends Axel, and pays the ultimate price. The bully, played powerfully by Jack Warden, loses in the end. 74.

Two copper night! First up, The Thin Blue Line. How often does a film-maker change the course of history? By showing all the possible versions of a cold-blooded shooting of a Dallas policeman, justice was finally done, after an innocent man spent many years in prison. 83. Next, Serpico, Sidney Lumet's telling of the true story of one honest cop who couldn't rest until he cleaned up the corruption in the New York Police Department. Al Pacino is absolutely luminous. Frank Serpico and Al Pacino both deserved a better film. 73. Google doesn't pop it to the top, but Frank Serpico does have a website these days, at:

Triple feature of fun last night -- two silly old films, and one newer one. First up was Midnight, released in 1939, starring Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche and an older John Barrymore. Delightful. 70. Next, The Man Who Came to Dinner, which was completely mad-cap. Monty Woolley was the man, rude as rude can be! Bette Davis was his efficient and understanding secretary, and Ann Sheridan has a peach of a role as the self-involved beautiful starlet. Jimmy Durante has a totally antic bit right at the end. I'll have to say, Billie Burke was so annoying, I almost didn't watch the film, but thankfully, she disappears after the first 15 minutes. 70. Finally, one I can't believe I didn't see until now: Get Shorty. Chili Palmer could have been written for John Travolta. The rest of the cast is wonderful, too. Completely delightful. This film says, along with Chili, "Look at me." 94. Also saw, last week, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Le Pacte des loups. A bit uneven, but very good. Set in 1765 France, and based on real events. If you get the DVD, do watch the deleted scenes -- it will add a lot to your understanding and enjoyment of the film. 73.

Life as a House on DVD. I do love Kevin Kline! He was just great, and Hayden Christensen a likeable character, by the end. The women were good, too -- Kristen Scott Thomas was a bit warmer than usual, and Jena Malone and Mary Steenburgen as mother and daughter, on a voyage of sexual discovery - very good. The extra stuff on the DVD were good, too (didn't watch the movie again with commentary, though). 92. Also, Pi, another Aronofsky film. Disturbing, powerful. I watched all the extras, all the commentary. 92.

Amazing. Last Tango in Paris -- I can't get it out of my mind. I see why Brando would never use that method of acting again. You can easily believe that his experiences killed him. I can't rate this one with NUMBERS.

Tonight was a double feature! Finally watched The Last Temptation of Christ; was finally up for another Scorcese. I'm still mulling this one over. I think I'll give it an 88 out of 100. Next up was Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which was a WINNER. Loved the soundtrack, loved Hedwig, the plot, the acting, the STYLE. 93! IMdb recommends Priscilla, Queen of the Desert if you liked Hedwig, and it's true -- I loved that too. I would give Priscilla an 83.

Watched George Steven's Talk of the Town with Cary Grant a bit out of his usual suave role, and liked it. 72.

The Player - Tim Robbins, directed by Robert Altman. Engrossing, funny, wierd, satisfying. 91.

Just came across a list from the New York Times of The 1000 Best Movies Ever Made: Once I finish trying to get a few hundred more movies into my Netflix list, I can tackle this list. Each film title is linked to a short summary. Anyone know of other interesting lists of great movies?

Watched part of AFI's 100 Years, 100 Songs -- what a great show!
Here is their 100 Years, 100 Movies:

Lots of lists at

Ebert's top 100:

This is a funny list from Right Wing News - Bloggers Select The 15 Greatest Movies Of All-Time: I can only imagine the "left wing" top 15!

The List of Bests has Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time: List of Bests comments, "The final 100 choices deliberately corrected the American Film Institute's most glaring omissions - Preston Sturges, Buster Keaton, and Ernst Lubitsch, and added some of the best foreign films - from Fellini, Truffaut, and Kurosawa."

By the way, just read an interesting review: Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore, by Christopher Hitchens: With "friends" like Michael Moore, Kerry hardly needs enemies! Here is an answer to Hitchen's review: Michael Moore responds to the wacko attackos on

Now that I've seen Fairenheit 9/11, I will say that *EVERYONE* should see this movie! Not that I agree with Michael Moore on every point, but he raises issues that we MUST talk about. I don't see how anyone could vote for George Bush after seeing this film. He is not on our side, and we average Americans are not his "base."

The morning after: listening to my local public radio station, KUOW, and their talk-radio hour about Fahrenheit 9/11. One reviewer called Michael Moore a skillfull "scurrilous pamphleteer" -- and I suppose I have to agree with that. I still like the film, but it IS a conspiracy theory, in part, and the conspiracy doesn't hold together. If our government is run for the enrichment of the Saudis and the corporations, why did the Saudis NOT want the war on Iraq? They do not want ANY of the possible outcomes of this war. The corporations, sure -- but what's new? The "military-industrial complex" has been in the driver's seat since at least the 50's, when Eisenhower decried their power. Those who voted for Bush knew that they were voting for a tool of the corporations, and were satisfied with that.

The latter part of the film, where questions is raised about the Patriot Act, and WHO is fighting this war -- that is the real power of F 9/11. The cheap shots, which I heard many in the audience laughing about, lessened the film, I think. The rich and powerful wanted this war, but they do not fight it. The poor sign up because they see no other alternative. How terribly sad, and how badly our country is being run.

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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