Tuesday, August 31, 2010

68. Annie Hall (1977)


There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The... the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud's "Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious," and it goes like this - I'm paraphrasing - um, "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.

For the longest time I knew "Annie Hall" simply as "the crappy little movie that beat out Star Wars for Best Picture in 1977". Let's just say that this was before I actually watched the movie. That is not to say that I think it deserved the Oscar over Star Wars, but I understand. Woody Allen can flat write his butt off. I have only seen seven of his movies, but I have really enjoyed each and every one. This is mainly because he has the uncanny ability of writing a screenplay that feels like it is already in the mind of the viewer. This is especially true in films like "Annie Hall" in which Allen plays the protaganist. It may sound strange, but Alvy Singer feels like the little neurotic Jew that is trapped inside of me (wow, that REALLY sounds strange now that I wrote it down). Diane Keaton plays the title character who is the perfect foil for Alvy and is the woman that the little neurotic Jew inside of all of us dreams about. I know a lot of people don't really like Woody Allen films, but I think that this is because his mastery of the human psyche hits them so close to home that it becomes uncomfortable.

67. Network (1976)


First full missed day of my blog yesterday... :( I will know move on the #68 while I let Howard Beale of the United Broadcasting System let you know how he feels about the state of the world (which just happens to be pretty relevant today as well):

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad.
You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, *#*($) it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell,
'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

66. The Natural (1984)


C'mon Hobbs, knock the cover off the ball!

I know this is out of order, but I need to write this blog while the film is still fresh in my mind. Let me preface this by saying, that I am not a fan of baseball. I find it tedious to play and boring to watch. Still, I respect the spirit of the game. It is where most young men (including myself with the mighty Chiefs) get their first real lessons in sportsmanship, honor, and perseverance. I really only go out of my way to watch baseball this time of year for the Little League World Series. These young men exhibit what is best about the game. There are no steroids or fights, and one finds more hustle in a week than in an entire regular season of MLB. The players treat each other with respect and friendship. This is the kind of baseball I can get behind. Now on to the movie:

It says something about a movie when you know for absolute certain how it is going to end and it still hits you in the stomach like an exploding light bulb. Roy Hobbs (portrayed by Robert Redford, who has become quite a staple of this blog for the past week or so...) has spent sixteen years of his life hiding from facing the shame of a one night pseudo-indiscretion. "The Natural" is the story of how he comes out of hiding to reclaim his honor, remember his father's lessons, and swing a bat really hard. Although Glenn Close plays Hobbs' teenage love-interest (and more...), this movie is not a conventional love story. Every relationship that he has hinges on the same code of sportsmanship and hard work that lie in the eyes of those Little Leaguers in Williamsport this weekend.

Technically, the film was masterfully acted by Redford, Close, Wilford Brimley, and a conniving Robert Duvall. It is also a testament to the power of composer Randy Newman who crafted a score that framed the tension of that last at-bat better than words can describe.

...Back to 1976 tomorrow...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

65. All the President's Men (1976)


You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a @#$*. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up... 15 minutes. Then get your &#*es back in gear. We're under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys &$*@ up again, I'm going to get mad. Goodnight.

When I wrote my blog about "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", I lamented that he wouldn't make it in today's Washington. Well, this story is in the same boat except that it is true. Woodward and Bernstein wouldn't make it in journalism today. They asked too many questions, dug too deep, and refused to jump into the rich, corporate pockets of the political elites. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford portray the pair masterfully and take the viewers inside one of the most important expose's in US history.

Friday, August 27, 2010

64. Blazing Saddles (1974)


Excuse me while I whip this out.

One good thing about this blog, is that I am constantly learning new things about these movies. What other director in the history of movies has had (arguably) his two most loved movies come out in the same year? Mel Brooks had a pretty amazing year in 1974 with the release of "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles". Altough I find the former to be much more rewatchable, this movie is probably the funniest movie dealing with race relations of all time. Quite ironic that it would be directed by an older Jewish man. Brooks himself plays a couple of iconic roles, and, once again, ubiquitous scene-stealer Madeline Kahn is absolutely divine. I just wish Mel made more movies (only 11 in the past forty years, and we haven't had one since 1995...).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

63. Young Frankenstein (1974)


Vee had better confeerm de fect dat Yunk Frankenshtein iss indeed VALLOWING EEN EES GANDFADDA'S VOOTSHTAPS.

When most people think of Gene Wilder, they think of a certain movie about making candy surrounded by wild-haired, singing little people. As for me, this was Gene Wilder's finest moment in film. Portraying the original Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, he teams with Igor's grandson ("Eye-gor") to recreate the infamous experiment of reanimating a dead human. The monster is also played masterfully (right down to the tap-dancing closing number) by Peter Boyle who most of you would probably recognize as Ray's father from "Everybody loves Raymond". If that wasn't enough, the exquisite Madeline Kahn (as Frankenstein's fiance) steals every scene she is in. All of these performances were captured by the writing and directing comedic genius of Mel Brooks. More from him tomorrow... ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

62. The Sting (1973)


What was I supposed to do - call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?

Robert Redford and Paul Newman reunite to make the greatest "con man" movie of all time. This movie is packed with super quick witty banter and has more twists and turns than all of Shamalan's movies combined.

Blogs will probably start to be a little shorter now with school in session and tennis season in full swing, sorry....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

61. American Graffiti (1973)


You're the most beautiful, exciting thing I've ever seen in my life and I don't know anything about you.

Woah.... Here is my first piece of movie blog strange coincidence. On the night before the first day of school, the blog movie is about the night before two buddies are leaving to go away to school. Freaky...

Four teenagers bridging the gap between teenage high school years and adult responsibility have one last night of cruising, drinking, flirting, and racing. Awesome cameos by Harrison Ford (who was pretty much already Han Solo in this movie) and Suzanne Somers (credited as "Blonde in T-Bird") put this movie shoulders above other '70s "Fifties flasback" movies (I'm looking at you "Grease"!). This movie is also Exhibit B in the case to prove George Lucas is not just a hack who feeds on fanboy's souls.

Monday, August 23, 2010

60. THX 1138 (1971)


Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.

This movie will blow your mind. It is an awesome dystopian story in the same vein as "1984" or "Fahrenheit 451". It is also a beautiful piece of film art. "THX 1138" does not seek to simply entertain the viewer, but to generate thought, discussion, and true inner emotion. Also, like most powerful art, the film requires a commitment from the viewer to dissect it as they view. On first glance it may seem like a really cheap, boring movie about people who dress alike, watch too much holographic television, and take too many pills, but one has to go beyond the surface to truly appreciate the complexity of the messages.

It is also a little ironic that this movie launched the career of the director who would go on to completely change how movies are made, what types of movies are made, and how they are distributed. After 1977 (a movie I will talk about next week came out), studio execs were no longer as interested in financing directors to make the next "great" movie. The focus became making the next "tentpole" movie; a big blockbuster that would make an enormous amount of money and keep the studio afloat. So for anyone who blames George Lucas for destroying film as art in America I present evidence that he didn't really mean to, exhibit A: "THX 1138". Exhibit B will follow tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

59. Easy Rider (1969)


They'll talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.

Most people my age grew up with music videos. They really took off with the birth of MTV and have suffered a downturn since TRL killed them around the turn of the millenium (kinda ironic don't ya think?). Before music videos, live performances (or videos of live performances) were really the only visual accompaniment to popular music. I would argue, though, that "Easy Rider" was the true birth of the music video. As I spoke about a few days ago, "The Graduate" was one of the first times that pop music was used to accompany a movie, but in "Easy Rider" it almost seems that the movie is used to accompany the awesome music.

Unlike any film before it (and most films after it), this movie is a wondering opus of freedom, angst, and the American dream. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (who also directed) play perfect lovable outlaws as they make their motorcycle journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans. Along the way they meet many interesting people, most notably George Hanson (played by Jack Nicholson) who tags along for the last stretch of their journey.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

58. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)


If he'd just pay me what he's spending to make me stop robbing him, I'd stop robbing him.

Two of the finest actors to ever grace the screen run around robbing banks, blowing up trains, dodging the law, and jumping off cliffs. One of the most fun movies ever made. This is one of those that, if you don't like it, you just don't like movies....

Friday, August 20, 2010

57. Night of the Living Dead (1968)


Well, there's no problem. If you have a gun, shoot 'em in the head. That's a sure way to kill 'em. If you don't, get yourself a club or a torch. Beat 'em or burn 'em. They go up pretty easy.

One genre of movies that will be rather lacking on my list is horror. I am just not a big fan. I like movies that focus on life and love instead of death and destruction. One of the exceptions to this rule is the greatness of George A. Romero's "Dead" series (this movie, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead). If you like zombie movies, then hopefully you already know that this is where it all began. This movie wrote all of the rules that zombie movies follow. Romero took zombies from their voodoo Central American roots and recast them as a funhouse mirror microcosm of the racist, hypercapitalist citizens of the United States. This movie even does the unthinkable in casting an African-American as its hero. The most shocking part of the Dead series is that it is usually not the zombies that instill horror, but revelations about the viewers own shortcomings.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

56. The Graduate (1967)


-Elaine, it's too late!
-Not for me!

Wow. Where to begin? This is a movie of so many firsts: It really begins a genre of intergenerational "us versus them" movies, it is one of the earliest movies that has the now ever present "resolved (but then again maybe not)" endings, and it introduced the world to Dustin Hoffman who has now portrayed every role from grizzled sage to eccentric savant to Captain Hook. Still, I believe The Graduate's most important contribution to movies is the combination of popular music and film. Movies (many on this list) had already successfully used music, but this is the first time that pop hits were used that stood on their own. This process has evolved today to create the job of "music consultant" (someone who chooses popular songs to fit with specific scenes) and many directors have used this as a tool to skyrocket their films to great reknown (ex.- Tarantino, Wes Anderson, etc.). Even Kevin Smith spent more money securing the rights for the songs in "Clerks" than on making the movie itself. The Graduate enlisting the help of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel pioneered this process.

Take the music out of this scene and it is just another movie (DO NOT watch if you haven't seen The Graduate!):

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

55. Cool Hand Luke (1967)


He was smiling... That's right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he's a natural-born world-shaker.

A guy goes to jail for cutting the heads off of parking meters. In prison camp, he gets the crap beat out of him in a boxing match. He continually disrespects the authority of the bosses and spends a huge amount of time in "the box" (extreme solitary confinement). He tries to escape many times, all ultimately unsuccessful. In the history of movies their is only one person that could take this role and make it one of the sexiest, coolest, baddest mamma jammas ever: Paul Freakin' Newman

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

54. The Sound of Music (1965)


My fellow Austrians, I shall not be seeing you again perhaps for a very long time. I would like to sing for you now... a love song. I know you share this love. I pray that you will never let it die.

You probably have already seen this movie (and know of its greatness), and if you haven't you should immediately. So, I'll use this space to tell a fun story...

During my second year of medical school, my class was charged with running the annual talent show. Traditionally, the show was hosted by a male and female from the second year class. Unfortunately, no women in our class were interested. One of my back row friends, Chris Sepich agreed to host, and, being the problem solver I am, I agreed to be the woman. Chris and I sang "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" from this movie accompanied by my wife Angela on piano. Chris, of course, portrayed Rolf and I sang the part of Liesl. While Chris wore a tux, I dressed the part with a vintage green sleeveless dress, hose, and a nice barette to hold my hair back. Wish I could share a picture, but I seriously can't put my hands on one. Somewhere there is also a video of the performance... maybe one day...

Monday, August 16, 2010

53. My Fair Lady (1964)


I sold flowers; I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me, I'm not fit to sell anything else.

This is probably my favorite traditional musical of all time. I first saw it in music class in fifth grade. The only thing I remember about that viewing is that it took about 2 weeks of class to get through it and two scenes got very big laughs ("Come on Dover, move your bloomin' arse" and "Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn"). I was reintroduced to the movie by my first girlfriend. It was her favorite and we would watch it over and over. I bought her the soundtrack for Christmas, and then we could listen to it in the Firebird as well. The songs are just non-stop catchy fun. Audrey Hepburn's performance is absolutely lovable and Rex Harrison plays her foil perfectly. I would have loved to see the original Broadway cast with Julie Andrews instead, but I don't think the film loses anything with Hepburn's dubbed singing. I did get a chance to see a live performance at ECU, and had an absolute blast. Bottom line, combining an endearing story, with amazing songs, and shades of high school romance make this one of my all-time faves.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

52. Irma la Douce (1963)

Irma la Douce (1963) Pictures, Images and Photos

Shows you the kind of world we live in. Love is illegal - but not hate. That you can do anywhere, anytime, to anybody. But if you want a little warmth, a little tenderness, a shoulder to cry on, a smile to cuddle up with, you have to hide in dark corners, like a criminal. Pfui.

Billy Wilder directs Jack Lemmon saving Shirley MacLaine from herself once again (as in "The Apartment"). This time around the story isn't quite as groundbreaking, is much more exotic (MacLaine portrays a Parisian prostitute), and is probably a little funnier. If you enjoyed "The Apartment", I would suggest you check this out as a lighter, different take on a similar tune.

51. The Great Escape (1963)


Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability.

Every once in a while, someone in Hollywood decides to get a bunch of big name actors and actresses together to make a must-see "super-film". Recent examples include "Grown Ups", the "Oceans 11" series, and "The Expendables". Older examples would be "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Great Race". Most of the time these movies turn out to be pretty hokey or just plain bad (although the new Oceans 11 and 13 are both pretty awesome). This is because most of the budget is spent on actors so direction and writing take a back seat. This is not the case with "The Great Escape".

Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, and Richard Attenborough (the old guy from Jurrasic Park) team with a huge cast of relatively unknown actors, many of which had real-life experience being imprisoned in POW camps, to make the perfect escape movie. This is another one of those movies that feel very familiar even if you have never seen it before because it is referenced in virtually any movie with a prison camp or escape element to it (everything from "Chicken Run" to "The Shawshank Redemtion"). The movie is nearly three hours, but it is separated into two distinct halves which does a good job of breaking up the flow and making it very watchable (and rewatchable).

Friday, August 13, 2010

50. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)


My dear girl, have you ever noticed that the human race is divided into two distinct and irreconcilable groups: those that walk into rooms and automatically turn television sets on, and those that walk into rooms and automatically turn them off. The trouble is that they end up marrying each other.

Way ahead of its time, this movie is one of the first mind-bending trippy thrillers. The central plot follows a group of Korean war vets who are sharing a disturbing dream and eventually discover that at least one of their group is serving as a brainwashed Communist spy. The movie twists and turns with the help of flawless acting from Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury (yeah, from Murder, She Wrote). Probably the most astounding aspect of the film, though, is that it was released at the height of the Cuban Missle Crisis and the "red scare". I am sure that the story hit pretty close to home for viewers of that time, and changed the way that many people look at the Queen of Diamonds forever.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

49. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)


There may be honor among thieves, but there's none in politicians.

If you look up Historical Epic in the dictionary, you would see Peter O'Toole's bright blue eyes piercing through the desert. This movie does take some time and commitment on the part of the viewer, but if one completely gives in to the film an entire afternoon's treat of swashbuckling escapism, moving drama, and political commentary still relevant today will be their reward.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

48. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)


Jean Louise. Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing.

There are very few true heroes in the world. Young people may look up to actors, sports figures, teachers, or preachers, but most of the time these role models will fail at one point in there lives. Hollywood is especially adept at making movies about fallen heroes and their retribution (or lack thereof). Still, there are a handful of people (fictional and real) that I would call true heroes. Atticus Finch leads that list. A widower public attorney who is doing his best to raise two children and keep his innocent client safe from the gallows of the mob and the state has every reason to fall. Atticus Finch has every excuse to go home every night and drown his sorrows with alcohol while ignoring his kids as they are cared for by the servants of his house. But Atticus Finch is better than that, Atticus is a hero. So much so that I am going to let him finish this blog:

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible.

-Scout - Atticus, do you defend niggers?
-Atticus - Don't say 'nigger,' Scout.
-Scout - I didn't say it... Cecil Jacobs did; that's why I had to fight him.
-Atticus - Scout, I don't want you fightin'!
-Scout - I had to, Atticus, he...
-Atticus - I don't care what the reasons are: I forbid you to fight.

You're gonna hear some ugly talk about this in school. But I want you to promise me one thing: That you won't get into fights over it, no matter what they say to you.

Now gentlemen, in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system. That's no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality. Now I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this man to his family. In the name of God, do your duty. In the name of God, believe Tom Robinson.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

47. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)


It's better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.

A conversation I once overheard: ;)
-We've got nothing in common. No common ground to start from and it's tearing us apart.
-What about "Breakfast at Tiffany's"?
-I guess I remember the film, and, as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it.
-Well that's the one thing we got!

I admit to having only seen two of Audrey Hepburn's movies (both of which are on this list). She has that certain effortless charm that only come around once or twice in a generation. You can count on one hand the number of actresses in the last hundred years who would be able to pull of this role without seaming annoying, disgusting, or both. Consider this: Holly Golightly (one of the greatest character names of all time by the way) is a young party girl in New York who makes money from her gentleman escorts and from visiting a mobster in prison (and unwittingly transporting drug trade information). She is trying to marry Jose' for money while leading on a young penniless writer, drinking A LOT, and kicking her nameless cat out into the rain, all while feeling sorry for herself (and herself alone). Like a said, only Audry Hepburn pulls this off.

Monday, August 9, 2010

46. West Side Story (1961)


Why do you kids live like there's a war on?

My all-time favorite romance. Take the story of William Shakespeare, the music of Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim, the direction and choreography of Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, the beauty of Natalie Wood, the singing and dancing of Rita Moreno shake all of it up and update it for the streets of New York and you have a flawed masterpiece of film. I know that the lead actors and actresses didn't sing for themselves, I know that most of the "Peurto Ricans" in the film are Caucasian, I know that the take away Romeo & Juliet's tragic ending, I know that this is "just" an adaptation of a stage play, but it feels so perfect. I have never seen a live version, and my opinion may change if I ever do, but I can't imagine it capturing my heart the way this film has.

Many of you may be thinking that I am an idiot, but I present this evidence. Let me preface this by saying, youtube (or any other streaming video on the internets) cannot compete with a good home theater system and blu-ray or dvd and it shouldn't, ever. Still, the last 30-45 seconds of this video are why I love movies.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

45. The Magnificient Seven (1960)


They are all farmers. Farmers talk of nothing but fertilizer and women. I've never shared their enthusiasm for fertilizer. As for women, I became indifferent when I was eighty-three.

Awesome remake of Kurasawa's masterpiece (already written about in this blog). If you were curious about that write-up, but not ready to read subtitles, check this movie out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

44. The Apartment (1960)


When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara.

Every few years in Hollywood the stars align and the perfect Actor, Actress, Director, and Screenplay are grouped on one film. This is the hallmark of those types of films. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Billy Wilder take a screenplay about thirty years ahead of its time and make pure cinema magic. This is also one of the first super successful attempts at comedy-drama. The movie is very witty and laughs abound, but it is dealing with some pretty tough subjects such as the rise of corporate America, adultery, and suicide. The chemistry between Lemmon and MacLaine is flawless (so much so that they pair again with Wilder on another movie coming up on this list). Billy Wilder also continues his domnation of this list and makes me realize I need to see the rest of his films immediately. Anyway, "that's the way it crumbles.... cookie-wise."

43. North by Northwest (1959)


Now you listen to me, I'm an advertising man, not a red herring. I've got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don't intend to disappoint them all by getting myself "slightly" killed.

I completely admit to not having seen enough Hitchcock movies. I've only seen three: Rear Window, Vertigo, and North by Northwest. I thought James Stewart was not a good fit in his movies. Something just didn't feel right in either of them. On the other hand, Cary Grant played the perfect bumbling reluctant hero in "North by Northwest". After being underwhelmed by Hitchcock, this movie knocked my socks. If anyone has any suggestions for my next movie by Hitch, please feel free to share them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

42. The 400 Blows (1959)


Oh, I lie now and then, I suppose. Sometimes I'd tell them the truth and they still wouldn't believe me, so I prefer to lie.

Of the few French "New Wave" movies I have seen, this is the only one that had a significant impact on me while not boring my eyeballs out of their sockets. That is not to say that this film isn't a tad on the slow side, and it is pretty much a normal account of a teenage deliquent. Still, Francois Truffaut paints a marvelous allegory underneath the storyline that hits the viewer so subtly one may not realize it until the final climax.

It really is up to the viewer to decide what "The 400 Blows" is trying to say, but I will say that if you are interested in film this is probably a good starting point into the realm of the motion picture as high concept art.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

41. Some Like it Hot (1959)


Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex!

My favorite comedy of all time. It's got it all: Hilarious caricatures of mobsters, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis disguising themselves as members of an all-girl band in order to escape the mob, having the mobsters show up where they went anyway (and, thus, having to maintain their disguise), Lemmon spurning the affections of gentleman who won't take no for an answer, Curtis falling in love with the band leader, and (the glue that ties the whole thing together) Marilyn Monroe in the best performance of her all to short life just being the sexiest goddess to ever grace the movie screen.

Regardless of your views about "black-and-white" movies, this is one that you need to queue up immediately. It may just make you want to watch more!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

40. An Affair to Remember (1957)


Oh, it's nobody's fault but my own! I was looking up... it was the nearest thing to heaven! You were there...

There is a subgenre to romance films that goes something like this: Over a short period of time, two people meet and fall in love despite obvious differences or being engaged/married/coupled with other people, then agree to reunite at a later time, then drama abounds as they do/do not meet up and the many situations surrounding their rendevouz. I LOVE movies in this subtype (almost as much as bank robbin' movies), but recently they have been ruined by the teenie bopper, vampire, or Nick Sparks subgenres crossing over. If you feel this way too, then I urge you to go back and revist (or visit for the first time) one of the grandaddys of this type of film: An Affair to Remember.

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr star as a couple who meets while taking a cruise with their fiance's. They end up falling in love and schedule a meeting 6 months later at the Empire State Building (because its the closes thing to heaven in New York). I don't want to spoil anything else for you, but I will say that their climactic reunion (seen above) will do wonders for any dry or itchy eyes you may be having.

Monday, August 2, 2010

39. 12 Angry Men (1957)


-I feel sorry for you... what it must feel like to want to pull the switch. Ever since you walked into this room, you've been acting like a self-appointed public avenger! You want to see this boy die because you personally want it, not because of the facts! You're a sadist!
-I'll kill him! I'LL KILL HIM!
-You don't *really* mean you'll kill me, do you?

Taken at face value this movie is a moving tribute to our justice system and a moving courtroom drama that, oddly enough, takes place entirely in the jury deliberation room. Still, if you delve a little deeper 12 Angry Men is about WAY more than a court case. It examines our prejudices, anger, love, respect, fear, forgiveness, and hatred towards each other in ways that most movies barely touch. All twelve jurors are distinct and yet there is a little of each of us in every single one. If an alien was studying the way the human mind worked, I would suggest that this movie be their main focus.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

38. The Seven Year Itch (1955)


I think it's wonderful that you're married! I think it's just elegant!

It's sad that this picture has become the legacy of this movie. Don't get me wrong, it's a great shot, but it kinda takes away from the awesomeness of the movie by cramming it into one screenshot.

For the most of you who probably haven't seen the movie, this movie is what happens when Marilyn Monroe walks into the apartment of a married man who's wife is away on a very hot day and proceeds to engage in a day's worth of "innocent" conversation. Marilyn is absolutely adorable in this movie. In my opinion, her sexiness is not in her blonde hair, pouty lips, or buxomness, but in her giggly innocence. The Seven Year Itch displays these talents better than any of her films as the viewer rides along with the hapless Mr. Sherman.