Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2007 Askewed: PT.2

This was an extremely strong grouping of films, if I nitpicked a bit in these honestly it is only because I was struggling to say something other than just repeating “awesome” over and over again (which I could have easily done). Seriously looking at these it make me wonder if there is anyway I can have 2008 match up film wise to 2007.

This is a continuation of this list.

and now on with the really big shoe...I mean show!

Citizen Kane (1941)
Seriously, how epic is “Citizen Kane?” That was a rhetorical question, but if you answer was anything other than “pretty darned” we'll be disagreeing for the next few sentences.

I admit I was worried when I sat down to watch this one, so much hype, could it possibly live up? Surprisingly the answer was (of course) yes. For starters the film was beautifully shot (something I try to make myself pay closer attention to but only manage to get myself to succeed when it stands out as exceptional) and I thought it was paced perfectly. As a matter of fact that is one of the things that struck me. The film clocks in at about 2 hours but through some sort of mind bendingly awesome moon technology I came out of it feeling as if I had witnessed 3 hours worth of information. It was like getting bonus enjoyment! Also amazing to me was the fact that the ending of the movie, which at this point has to be the most universally spoiled ending the history of ever, held up quite well and maintained the power it was meant to have. Rosebud indeed!

Honorable mention goes to William Randolph Hearst, because he wouldn't want it.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
I don't know if it was that I was just coming away from a disappointing Jack Nicholson experience* or what but I really appreciated this one. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” is full of; substance, humor, drama, great acting, the list goes on. It's rare for a film to be able to so easily capture true highs and lows emotionally (and boy are the peaks high and the lows low!). Hopefully I'm not giving anything Earth shattering away here when I say that the ending, which is decidedly not a “Hollywood” style ending, fits in just perfectly.

Double honorable mentions here! #1 goes to "Chief" Bromden (Will Sampson), because sometimes it's not what you say but when you say it, or if you say it. #2 goes to Salem, Oregon just for being there.

*“Easy Rider” if you were wondering, and that is a completely different story of personal defeat for me to tell at a later time

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
First things first this film has one of my favorite extended titles Ever, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” It may seem like a mouthful at first but just let it sink in for a minute, you'll find that it actually is a fairly catchy easy to remember title for it's size, not to mention that it applies to the film, and dammit it's just freaking cool!

Before I go forward with this I have to admit something which may reveal something sad about me and the working of my brain. Though I thoroughly enjoy much of Stanley Kubrick's work it almost always takes me at least two viewings to “get it.” I can't explain exactly why, but for some reason my brain can't immediately digest the way that Kubrick told his stories. The only good part to come from my brains shortcomings is the built in double viewing I get to give to these films.

So on to Dr. Strangelove. Of all the Kubrick that I've seen thus far “Strangelove” is probably the one that sits closest to my comfort zone, comedy. More specifically black comedy with a little satire and just a dash shtick thrown in for flavor and behind it all the story does in fact have meaning. Hey the US Government deemed the movie culturally significant, who am I to argue?

Honorable mentions here obviously go to Peter Sellers for pulling off triple duty and inadvertently paving the way for the likes of Eddy Murphy....Oh who am I kidding Sellers would get the mention even if her was just doing the title role. I mean come on the way he portrayed Dr. Strangelove was just flippin' awesome!

Rear Window (1954)
Ahh Hitchcock, oh how I enjoy your work! That being said “Rear Window” wasn't my favorite of his works. It was decent enough, I'd watch it again of course. But didn't do it for me like some of the others. Of course that could just be the rebel in me talking, bucking the system and being argumentative with the critics. Still it did have it's moments and the tension was great (as it should be from a master like Hitchcock). I think I'll go out on a limb and say I preferred the Steward/Hitchcock combo of Vertigo a bit better than this.

That all sounds too negative, bottom line is “Rear Window” is a great movie. Its no accident that if you watch a lot of suspense movies that have been made between '54 and now that you'll see some stuff borrowed from here. For an example check out “Eyes of a Stranger.”

North by Northwest (1959)

Aha more Hitchcock! This one was completely my cup of tea. Eva Marie Saint is possibly my second favorite Hitchcock female lead (Tippi Hedren takes the #1 spot). Seriously though this is one movie where the tagline tells you almost everything you need to know “A 3000 MILE CHASE . . . That blazes a trail of TERROR to a gripping, spine-chilling climax !” Honestly, if you haven't seen “North by Northwest” do yourself a favor and give it a shot. The flick has everything. They call it an action thriller, but don't discount the romantic aspects, the sexiness, and oh yeah the spy stuff.

Honorable mention goes to the microfilm! I loves me some microfilm.


The McGuffin said...

Now those are four monumental classics. I'm glad you included "Rear Window", my circle doesn't care for it too much and considers it rather slow. I promptly inform them that they are slow and then it's on! I easily watch all four 3-4 times a year and everytime I catch something I didn't see before.

Have you seen "There Will Be Blood" yet? Must see, my man...must see.

FatalPierce said...

You know I nearly fell into that same category with "Rear Window." When I first saw it I felt it was a bit slow as well, My excuse was that I watched it immediately after "North by Northwest." So to be fair in comparison it was slow. I blame TCM for that one, they should have used something like "Marnie" as a buffer between the two. It's all about frame of mind with the pacing!

Once I sat back and thought on it though I realized that "Rear Window" on it's own was great and the pacing wasn't problematic at all.

I think "There Will Be Blood" has just finally trickled it's way into the theater closest to me. I'm really hoping to get to it before it leaves the theaters. At this point it is all about wrangling up a ride willing to make the trek for a movie. That is actually more difficult than it should be, sadly pretty much all of my film loving friends are back in the NW.