Sunday, August 18, 2013

More of EW's Great Films

The last bit of this. The films in the top 10 genre lists that didn't make EW's 100 Greatest master list. (As always, via Roger.)

Horror Flicks

8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Bleak, but one of the greatest horror films ever made. I can stand a slasher flick when it has an interesting social point to make and isn't just belaboring the visuals for the sake of dulling cruelty. (Like the odious remake.)

9. Carrie (1976)
I just caught the last 20 minutes of this on TV the other day. Great film. The little coda at the end always scares me, even when I know it's coming. It's like it happens just a second too early to prepare for it. Great filmmaking. I'm looking forward, kind of, to the remake, because I think you can really use bullying as a hook to make it relevant to today, but the trailers keep making it look like a retread. I hope it's not just a retread. That would be a waste of Julianne Moore and of Chloe Moretz. (Though lots of movies are a waste of Chloe Moretz, if I'm being honest.)

10. Alien (1979)
As I said previously, a masterpiece. Nice to see it in the horror list, honestly.

Action Films

9. Die Hard (1988)
I know it sounds kind of silly to say, but I think it's an action masterpiece. So over the top in its day, but understated in a post-Michael Bay world. I don't like any of the other ones, but this one, to me, is a milestone. It's about a character pushed to desperation; it's like Hitchcock with all the excess of 80s action flicks, but somehow it's timeless.

10. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
My Dad got Becca the Blu-Rays of parts one and two for Christmas; seeing the movies again, I'm more sure than ever that Tarantino should never have cut the film in half. It should just be one four-hour movie. Of course everyone likes the first one better, it's 90% action. All of the exposition and talky bits are in the second movie, and I feel like both suffer without the other. It's really one film.

Roger says he will not see this. I wonder why? Is the violence a turn-off? I'm just curious.

Family Movies

I kind of hate the idea of "family movies" as a genre, honestly.

6. The Little Mermaid (1989)
I think it's a tad overvalued, but it's a nice movie. Taking the same filmmakers, I think Hercules was a better movie.

7. The Red Balloon (1956)
I immediately think of all the Red Balloon references on The Critic. Critics were precious about this movie for a long time. Maybe they still are, who knows? Since Roger Ebert died I don't take film criticism all that seriously. I remember seeing this dozens of times as a kid. We watched in school, we watched it in the library, we watched it at Sunday school, it would just randomly show up on Nickelodeon. Maybe they showed it on Sesame Street, who knows? Probably they just aired it on PBS. This film somehow became THE symbol for all time of children's innocence and imagination.

Now, all that said, I did actually see the film within the last year on TCM. I hadn't seen it since childhood. And it actually is quite a wonderful movie. Overrated still, but very nice.

8. Shrek (2001)
I liked it, but I still think it's overrated. They play it a lot in the children's area of the waiting room at the office where I go for therapy, so I still can't escape this thing. But to its credit, and unlike the other films in this series, at least it couches its preoccupation with grown-up issues behind cleverness and genuine emotion. It does really work on two levels, the way the other films don't. (The other films are, like too many animated films in America, about what 58 year-olds think kids find hilarious. Like midlife crises and worrying about whether you'll be a good father. Fun!)

9. National Velvet (1944)
This is just a really, really nice movie.

10. Spirited Away (2001)
Frankly, this category could just be 10 Hayao Miyazaki movies. This is his best one, to me, and one of the great films of the 21st century.


4. Hoop Dreams (1994)
To this day, I've never seen Hoop Dreams. It's really because this came out the year I started at community college, and the whole video production department (we didn't have a film department) was high on this movie and knew the people who had made it and just would not stop talking about how this was the most important film ever made by human hands. So I just haven't seen it.

5. Nanook of the North (1922)
"Documentary" is kind of a loose term with this film (and a lot of films), but I love it. It's one of my favorite films. It's all staged, but it's really fascinating. They made us watch this in high school, too.

6. Crumb (1995)
I loved it. And his brother still kind of haunts me.

7. Gimme Shelter (1970)
Roger's right, this is a depressing movie. Did you know George Lucas was one of the cameramen? None of his footage is in the movie; his camera jammed.

8. Titicut Follies (1967)
I've always wanted to see it, but never come across it.

9. Don't Look Back (1967)
I've never seen this one, either. I hear it doesn't put Bob Dylan in the best possible light, but.... well, Dylan was brilliant, but he was an asshole.

10. The Up Series (1964-present)
I was surprised how engrossed I became in this series. And I see now that 56 Up just became available on Netflix, so I've got a new one to get to!


Some Guy said...

Here's a link to the full Titicut Follies:
Frederick Wiseman does not make it very easy to access his films, unfortunately.

Roger Owen Green said...

Yeah, just the fricdkin' trailer of Kill Bill 1 put me on edge; I can only imagine how it actually plays out.

Tallulah Morehead said...

You couldn't pay me to watch Kill Bill, or any other Tarantino film. He's the epitome of the overpraised, pretentious hack. I suffered through Pulp Fiction, loathing every frame, because I used to live in the apartment building where Jackson and Travolta get the briefcase. (The interiors of the building are not sets; they're the actual interiors. When Jackson & Travolta are in the elevator, they're actually in the real elevator I rode a thousand times. I lived on the top floor.) I'll never see another Tarantino film.

They are claiming that the remake (well, second remake) of Carrie sticks closer to King's novel. I assume that means that Carrie's walk home after the prom, when she's like a teenage Godzilla and destroys the town, will be included this time. I remember seeing DePalma's Carrie the day it opened. I had just read the book, so I was expecting that destruction orgy as she walks home. When it was just plain missing completely, I was so shocked and let down that it ruined seeing it the first time for me. Later, realizing that they had not had the budget to destroy the town, I resaw it, this time looking at that was there instead of at what was missing, and enjoyed it tremendously. It helps that an old, dear friend of mine is in the prom scenes. He told me that, if you know where to look and look close, he dies at the prom three times.

King has said that, though he was also, of course, disappointed to have his spectacular climax omitted altogether, he was OK with the film because he felt DePalma found Carrie's and her mother's hearts. You won't hear him speak like that about Kubrick's butchery of The Shining.

SamuraiFrog said...

I remember Stephen King saying something along the lines of "I think Kubrick made this film because he wants to hurt people."

MC said...

I guess I'm weird that I like the second Kill Bill as much as the first, especially the cruel tutelage of Pei Mei.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Yes, King did say that.