Saturday, July 27, 2013

Marvels: Incredible Hulk #2

"The Terror of the Toad Men!" by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko
(July 1962)

This issue starts by showing us the terror of the Hulk (who is green now, coloring issues resolved), reminding us of his origin and what poor Bruce Banner is up against, and re-establishing his relationship with Rick Jones.

In this issue, Bruce and Rick build a concrete wall as a door to an underwater cavern as a possible holding pen for the Hulk. Later, they'll build a lab down there, too, but for now, Banner just wants to keep the guy contained so he doesn't go on a rampage. (At this point, he still only becomes the Hulk at night.)

Bruce and Rick are almost immediately captured by the Toad-Men, the vanguard of an alien invasion, and the Toad-Men are really cool-looking. This is only the second of the many alien races we'll see in the Marvel Universe, and while they aren't quite as neat as the Skrulls, they're still pretty cool just on a design basis. They're trying to determine how scientifically advanced the human race is, and Bruce and Rick are their test subjects. (Well, briefly. The Toad-Men immediately decide they don't need Rick and send him back to Earth.)

But, of course, Bruce turns into the Hulk. He turns into the Hulk when they reach the dark side of the Earth, which makes me wonder how this thing works, exactly. It almost seems like it's the presence of the sun that keeps Banner from changing into the Hulk... But if that were true, wouldn't holing him up in a cave be a terrible idea? He'd never change back!

What separates the Hulk from the Fantastic Four is that the Hulk hates mankind for their weakness, and after handily defeating the Toad-Men, his first thought (he's still not a mindless brute yet) is that he can use their ship to wipe out all of mankind. This version of the Hulk is powered not by rage, but by hatred, and it's very hard to be sympathetic to the character because he really just wants to kill everyone and destroy everything. Right now, it's Banner who has our sympathy.

And poor Banner! The Toad-Men ship is destroyed by General Ross, but the Toad-Men escape by burrowing under the ground, leaving only Bruce Banner inside, and Ross immediately accuses Banner of treason! Now, keep in mind that so far the ship has done nothing except fly into the atmosphere. Ross immediately had it shot down, then saw Banner inside and made the assumption that Banner must have been attacking his own country. And that kind of reasoning, apparently, makes someone general material.

Are we sure that the military didn't put Ross out in the middle of the desert testing weapons as a way to keep him out of the way? (Also, love that when the Toad-Men armada actually shows up, Ross's first piece of advice to a soldier is "Calm down, man!")

The Toad-Men invade and threaten to use their magnets to throw the moon out of orbit and send it crashing into the planet. And then Banner becomes the Hulk again, and... well, he just rampages for a while on the Army base (Ross had Banner thrown in the brig for treason). Hulk is pissed, and he wants revenge on General Ross, so he goes over to Ross's house, only to find himself alone with Betty. And it's here where we get some real characterization for the Hulk and all of the conflicting, raging emotions at play.

Interestingly, there's a real sense of danger, and it is intense and charged. Hulk is forced to take Betty as a hostage, and he explains to her how he hates mankind because he blames mankind for turning him into the Hulk and hunting him. There's never a sense that the Hulk won't hurt Betty because Banner loves her or anything like that. In fact, the Hulk would probably have just up and murdered the girl if it weren't for two things. First, the intervention of Rick Jones, who tries to reason with the Hulk. He thinks of himself as the Hulk's friend, but the Hulk rebuffs him and tells him in no uncertain terms that he's going to die. ("This time I silence you--forever!") Second, the sun comes up and the Hulk turns into Bruce Banner again. (Betty has fainted of fright and misses it.) Otherwise, Betty and Rick would both be dead. And for anyone who thinks Rick Jones is just a selfish teenager, look at what this kid does: he literally puts his life on the line to try and keep the Hulk from rampaging out of control, and all because he owes Dr. Banner his life and refuses to abandon him.

Rick was trying to beg the Hulk for help fighting the invasion, but now it's Bruce who saves the day, running to his lab to use the giant gamma gun he invented to fight the Toad-Men. Rick is really heroic, here: he actually uses a fire hose to keep Ross and his soldiers away to buy Bruce time to aim and fire the gun, which fires a gamma blast that basically reverses the polarity of the Toad-Men's magnetic ships and sends them back wherever they came from. And now that Bruce has saved Earth, those treason charges get dropped, much to General Ross's chagrin.

Heh, "new devilment." Love it.

Stray observations:

:: The inks in this issue are by Steve Ditko, but for the most part the whole issue looks like it was just drawn by Ditko himself. Rick Jones particularly gives us a couple of those characteristic Ditko looks (including that wink) and the Hulk looks extra Karloff-y.

I think of that as the Ditko Wink. I'm not seeing any Kirby in that. Suggested caption: and starring Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci as Rick Jones telling a story about having sex with your mom.

:: Maybe Ditko just drew some fill-in stuff, because the Toad-Men look very Kirby.

:: Again, General "Thunderbolt" Ross goes on about what a milksop Banner is, and Banner agrees with him and reminds Betty that he's not a man of action. Again, the first thing we ever saw him do was take a gamma bomb to the face in order to save a teenager's life. Still not buying it. You'd think Ross would cut him some slack for being a hero. "I wish I had that goldbrick in my division!" Yeah, so you could give him the medal he deserves, jerk!

:: The Toad-Men use magnetic repulsors as part of their technology. Stan and Jack are really great about coming up with science that sounds plausible, but at the same time seems pure skiffy. Technology based on magnets, flying cars powered by air turbines... damn it, it's 2013, where is all the stuff the sixties promised us?

:: Let's just take a moment to appreciate how wonderful the king of the Toad-Men is.

That crown is adorable!

What's nice about this issue is that the Hulk isn't a hero; he's Banner's cross to bear, and he's also the monster/force that complicates everything else that happens. We don't really feel sympathy for him, because right now he just wants to kill everyone. He's dangerous, and Stan and Jack (and Steve) don't let us forget it for a moment. He doesn't save the day; he only thinks of himself. And his selfishness is only more obvious compared to the selfless Rick.

Our sympathies are with Bruce Banner, who is not only cursed with becoming the Hulk, but also gets to save the day. He's the real hero here, despite what General Ross thinks. And the issue ends on the sad note of the Hulk, raging underground, trapped behind a wall of concrete, wailing into the night while Rick keeps his lonely vigil outside, waiting to free Bruce once more from the nightly grip of the Hulk.

"Poor Doc," indeed, Rick. "Poor Doc," indeed.

Next time: the God of Thunder!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Marvels: Fantastic Four #5

"Prisoners of Doctor Doom!" by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(July 1962)

Doctor Doom is the best villain in the Marvel Universe. Even here, in his first appearance, he's the first villain who gets the better of the FF and who you feel really might have a chance of just permanently defeating them. Forget the Mole Man or the Miracle Man; the real menaces of Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner make them pale in comparison. Now we're really working with some super villainy!

Doom's brief origin is that he was a college student in the same dorm as Reed. Victor Von Doom was fascinated by sorcery and "forbidden experiments," and disfigured his face when messing around with them. Doom was expelled and went off to Tibet seeking "forbidden secrets of black magic and sorcery." (It's interesting to note how similar his origin is to Doctor Strange, only with a different impetus and a different result.)

Doom is a genius, perhaps even more so than Reed Richards. Rather than build up to attacking the FF, he immediately ensnares the entire Baxter Building in an electrified netting, then demands (and gets) Sue Storm as a hostage. He then gets the others into a cage which he lifts by helicopter to his mountain fortress (the word Latveria is not yet spoken) and tells the men that he's going to go back in time so that they can recover the treasure of Blackbeard for him. As fiendish plans go, it's not the fiendish-est, but it does allow for a lot of great funnybook adventure!

The passage in the past, with Reed, Johnny and Ben in period costume and fighting alternately against and alongside pirates is wonderful! Some of the best fun in this series yet! And the twist in this issue is one of my favorites: we discover that the historical Blackbeard was actually the Thing all along, and his presence here is what started the legend. When Ben figures it out, he doesn't even want to go back to his own time.

Gee, can you blame him? Especially after the way Reed and Johnny treat him! They're horrified and try to convince him to come back, but he's not having any of it and only the presence of a water spout that destroys his ship stops Ben from just putting Reed and Johnny adrift and going off to the high seas without them. And then, of course, we get this...

God damn it, Kirby, you are killing me with these "Sad Ben" panels every issue.

So, why did Doctor Doom want the treasure of Blackbeard so badly? Why, because it originally belonged to Merlin, of course! And he imbued each object with mystical properties, as you do. But, of course, Reed's double-crossed Doom and brought back worthless heavy chains, because the water spout sank the ship and Blackbeard's treasure was lost in the ocean. (In a nice nod to continuity, Johnny wonders if there's a chance Namor might find these enchanted gems.)

What makes Doom so exciting is not this lame fixation on black magic, but the way he's always one or two steps ahead of everybody else, planning for almost every contingency possible. The Thing reaches his gettin' jerked around limit, and punches Doctor Doom into a million pieces. A million robot pieces. Seems they've been talking to a robot ever since they got back to 1962. Doom is actually in another room watching through a camera, and is even now draining the room the men are in of oxygen!

In a nice touch, it's Sue who saves the day, turning invisible while Doom is busy gloating and short-circuiting his control panel, then freeing the men from their airtight chamber so they can all escape. They try to smoke out Doom, but he merely reveals his jet pack (with thrust faster than the Torch's) and flies away, vowing his revenge. A revenge which is surely coming, because every time you think Doctor Doom is done for, Stan and Jack find some ingenious way to keep him alive.

I love it. Doctor Doom issues are the best issues of Fantastic Four.

Stray observations:

:: As the issue opens, Johnny is reading a copy of The Incredible Hulk #1. I wonder if Stan and Jack have yet decided whether or not the Hulk and the FF exist in the same universe, since they've already decided that the FF and Golden Age hero Namor do. Of course, the advertising push couldn't hurt, either. (Eventually, there's a neat explanation about why/how Marvel Comics exist within the Marvel Universe, but we'll get there.)

:: I'm getting a little tired now of the constant fighting between the men of the Fantastic Four. Ben and Johnny are destroying desks now in their rage, and it just kind of hurts to see Reed repeatedly having to restrain Ben and saying things like "THING! Knock it off, THING! Quit being aggressive about the way I've so dehumanized you that I barely call you by your own name, THING! I never yell at Johnny like this, THING!" I understand they need it here to show you why Ben would want to stay in the 1700s rather than come back to his own time, but that doesn't lessen it.

:: When Doom demands Sue act as hostage, she agrees to it to save everyone. Last issue, she was presented with the same choice and reluctantly agreed for the same reasons. It's not great characterization yet to be always presented with the choice of being a prisoner, but I do like that she agrees to the sacrifice because she knows it will save people, rather than always just getting captured.

:: Hey, look at that:
Not only will it, but you'll go on to write it, young man!

:: I like how, in the escape from Doom's fortress, each member of the FF gets to showcase their powers so that Stan and Jack can demonstrate once again everyone's equal contribution to the team. They also really delight in coming up with new, interesting ways for the Human Torch to use his combination of heat, flame and air pressure control. In this issue, he gets the others over a crocodile-infested river by turning up the heat to atomic levels and boiling part of the water, fusing it to glass so the others can simply walk away.

I can't wait for the next time the FF face off against Doctor Doom, and I certainly won't have to wait long.

But first, next time: the Hulk turns green!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Building a DC Cinematic Universe

I saw the news the other day that they've announced that instead of a sequel to Man of Steel, Warner Bros. is planning a Batman vs. Superman movie. Honestly, I'd rather just see a straight sequel with Henry Cavill and Amy Adams, but Warner is apparently going all-in on attempting a cinematic universe to rival Marvel's.

My first big reaction: I don't care.

If what we've seen so far is really any indication, I just don't care.

I liked Batman Begins, but I hated The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Green Lantern was imbecilic. I liked Man of Steel, but it was not without its problems and it was just so damn long. All of these movies are so long and so bleak, and the idea of crossing over varying shades of bleakness just does not appeal to me. The problems these movies have are all the same problems that have kept me away from DC Comics: the cynicism, the decompressed storytelling, the emphasis on cool and dark over characterization, and the insistence that theme, subtext and symbolism should be overt text. I just don't care.

Also, I honestly believe we're never getting a Wonder Woman movie. They're never going to find a way to make it work. For some reason, it's accepted wisdom now that you just can't tell a story about Wonder Woman that anyone gives a shit about.

If there's a Green Lantern sequel, it'll probably be a different Lantern. It should be John Stewart, so hopefully they won't mess that up too badly like they did the last one. They won't have Ryan Reynolds back, right? He's just so... awful. Why is he even a movie star? I don't know anyone who likes him.

I also don't expect a movie for Aquaman if they even end up using him. Flash, maybe. Wonder Woman would probably be introduced in the actual Justice League movie.

As for this Batman/Superman thing, I don't really care. I just have no interest in going to see that. I've never understood why people are so into this idea, mainly because I just see it as a lot of fan wank about how badass Batman is supposed to be. For some people, the idea of a Batman/Superman fight is all about psychology and contingency and intense planning and Batman having the perfect strategy. For me, the fight lasts two hits: Superman hitting Batman and Batman hitting the sun.

Just not a thing I'm interested in.

I do hope, however, that Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Batman in the movie, if only because I'd heard that he was (supposedly) Marvel's choice to play Doctor Strange, which is all kinds of terrible. Please be Batman and not Doctor Strange, because I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I find myself completely bereft of interest in the DC movies.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Francois Truffaut's second feature, this one bearing many of the French New Wave hallmarks. Charles Aznavour plays a one-time concert pianist who falls in love and contemplates a comeback. What is revealed through non-linear flashbacks throughout the story is just why he bottomed out and just what he's tried to flee, only to be pulled back into what he wanted to leave behind. Terrific crime film about characters pushed to desperation by circumstance. ****

The final film Truffaut completed in his life is a black and white noir, starring the incomparable and wonderful Fanny Ardant. She plays the secretary of an estate agent (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who is accused of murder. She doesn't quite believe he is innocent, but feels compelled to defend him and begin her own investigation into the matter. It's got a lot of nice twists and turns, but it's all held together by Nestor Almendros' gorgeous cinematography and Ardant's excellent performance; Truffaut gives her a fully-realized character to play. One of my favorite Truffaut pictures. ****

Not quite what I was expecting. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays a tobacco planter on tiny Reunion Island. He sends away for a mail order bride, and soon Catherine Deneuve arrives. She's shy, but he falls in love with her, and suddenly he comes home for work one day and she's left with all of his money. He hires a detective to find her and then goes on a search of his own, and that's when things go unexpectedly. He finds her pretty quickly, but can't bring himself to kill her. She's in love with him, too, and the two resolve to be together, but there's one problem: there's still that other detective out there somewhere, tracking her down. It starts as a film noir, becomes a picaresque romance, and then goes back to noir. Well-shot, well-acted, continuously surprising. ****

Truffaut's dark comedy, starring the beautiful Bernadette Lafont as an accused murderer. She tells her story to a young sociologist, interviewing her for a paper on criminal psychology. Her story is darkly funny, but the tone doesn't always connect. The whole time, the sociologist becomes more sympathetic, and his secretary worries that she may be manipulating him. ***1/2

HUSH (1998)
Yes, the less said about this mother-in-law-menaces-her-daughter-in-law flick, the better. Dull; not nearly crazy and over the top enough to be watchable, which is disappointing, because Jessica Lange can play crazy and over the top with one eye closed. *1/2

RED EYE (2005)
Aspiring screenwriters should see this; it's like a masterclass in how not to make an effective thriller. Never play your hand in the opening credits if you want to build up any semblance of suspense. Potentially interesting premise and lead character (and Rachel McAdams is fine in a movie that doesn't know what it's doing) pretty much wasted. **

My problem with this kind of cheap piece of garbage is this: it's not meant to be funny. People put these things on and everyone gets excited by the stupidity and says the whole thing is supposed to be a goof, a movie that's so bad it's funny, but here's the thing: it's hard to make a bad movie on purpose. No, it doesn't wash with me. This is something that doesn't even rise to the level of incompetence, that someone looked at and thought "Well, if we market it as so-bad-it's-funny, it'll look like it's awful on purpose, in a fun way." Doesn't wash. Does. Not. Wash. It's just bad. I really only watched it so I could listen to the How Did This Get Made podcast about it. I'm not going to give it the dignity of a rating since it didn't bother to be a movie.

Hard to watch, nihilistic movie about a girl (Juno Temple) who wants to run away from home because she's not happy where she is. I appreciate why it's so confrontational (even though it pretends not to be), but movies like this mainly make me angry. This is another one of those movies about a generation that is lost and drifting in a country that seems to have decided "good enough" is too high a standard to shoot for. And a lot of the people this generation is producing are chasing media-created images of happiness instead of taking stock of what they have, apparently believing so little that there's a tomorrow that they're only chasing down fun at all costs, totally surprised when actions have consequences, because they feel so entitled to their TV-created ideas of hedonism that they literally think they're being oppressed if they're not always deliriously happy. So, yeah, well acted for the most part (haven't seen Kay Panabaker in too long), but hard to watch. **1/2

Well, at least they're trying, but what a boring attempt at a horror thriller. *

Sometimes, I find wit a little too dry. I wanted to enjoy this one, but it mainly left me rolling my eyes. Oh, I got why it was supposed to be funny, it just didn't make me laugh. **

Truffaut again. (Gee, at this point I've seen all but three of his features. By the end of the month, I'll have seen them all.) This film follows the extramarital affair between a film journalist and a young flight attendant (the beautiful Francoise Dorleac, Catherine Deneuve's sister, who tragically died in an accident three years later at the age of 25). I like the deliberate, slow pacing of the affair, as these two strangers discover one another and grow closer. I think it purposely holds us a little at arm's length, showing us the sort of mechanics of the affair and of the man's marriage and how things can just fall apart for seemingly no explainable reason. At the same time it builds the kind of suspense that almost makes us feel complicit in the infidelity we're witnessing. Quite the surprise ending, too. ****

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dennis Farina 1944-2013

I just watched my DVD of Manhunter not too long ago and was thinking about how much I like Dennis Farina. I'm sorry to hear he's died suddenly. A great Chicago actor, I really dug him. I took procedurals more seriously when he was in them, actually. Didn't always love the comedies he was shoved into, but, eh, what're you gonna do?

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Song of the Week: "The Last of the Famous International Playboys"

Just for the fun of it.

EW's 100 All-Time Greatest Movies

Entertainment Weekly apparently has another in its unending series of "100 greatest" issues out, and Roger commented on it in a recent post. And now I'm, well, basically doing the same thing. How's that for ineffectual set-up?

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
I do think it's a great film. Greatest ever? I doubt the film I think is the greatest ever will even be on this list. But I still do think Kane's reputation as the so-called greatest film ever made has only worked against it with film students and buffs over the years. I've never known many people who even liked it, but I have known a lot of people who watched it with a challenge in mind. "You're the greatest film ever made, eh? Alright. Impress me." I don't agree with the people who think it's boring, but I understand where they're coming from. Oh, well. No one else has to like it for me to love it as much as I do.

2. The Godfather (1972)
Another one of the greats. I, like a lot of people, stop and watch the whole movie if it's ever on television. I'd love to get this on Blu-Ray (I never had it on DVD). Excellent film, always compelling.

3. Casablanca (1942)
I love this movie to death, my wife thinks it's boring. We make our marriage work despite this.

4. Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
An excellent film, and a turning point in film history. This was a great movie to see as a teenager in the early 90s, because I'd never seen anything like it. True story: my grandfather saw Bonnie and Clyde's dead bodies soon after they were gunned down.

5. Psycho (1960)
Yes, excellent film. Nothing I disagree with so far. I've been in the mood to watch Psycho again since I saw Hitchcock a few weeks ago.

6. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
James Stewart sacrifices his happiness and his feelings by putting others before himself, is ruined, reaches the depths of despair, can't see the happiness he has and has created, and is brought to the brink of suicide before realizing all the good he's done. Sounds like my current therapy sessions. I knew there was a reason I always related to this movie... One of my favorites, but I need a DVD of this or something, because I can't stand watching it over four hours on NBC with celebrities talking about their memories.

7. Mean Streets (1973)
Great flick, but 7 seems awfully high to me... I mean, this is what we're calling Scorsese's best now? Is it too obvious to say Goodfellas anymore? Because I say Goodfellas.

8. The Gold Rush (1925)
Roger says this was also #1 on the comedy list, which I don't agree with. Woody Allen was right when he said something like "Of all the great comedies, Duck Soup is the only one where there's never a dull moment." I do like this movie, but it's not even my favorite Chaplin movie. Here's what I remember the most about this movie, though. One time, when I was in high school and over at my Dad's for the weekend, I woke up early on a Sunday morning. My sister Ellen was still a baby, and she had also risen early. I could hear her in her crib, and Dad and my stepmom Katie weren't up yet, so I got Ellen up and took her into the living room with me. I turned the TV on and flipped through the channels a bit, and The Gold Rush was just starting. I hadn't actually seen it yet, so I sat there and, holding Ellen on my knee, we both watched the film. Ellen was, I think, just nearing a year old, and she was laughing at the movie. She thought Chaplin eating his shoe was particularly funny, and also the giant chicken. That's a nice memory.

9. Nashville (1975)
I've never been able to get into this movie.

10. Gone With The Wind (1939)
I know it has a lot of problems, but I get caught up in its epic sweep. I love it.

11. King Kong (1933)
I love this movie so much. One of my all time favorites.

12. The Searchers (1956)
Another of my favorite films ever, and easily the film that both best defines and transcends the Western genre.

13. Annie Hall (1977)
I have to admit, I've never really loved this movie. I like it a lot, but I've just never loved it. I like Manhattan more. The unfortunate thing about this film's success is that, still, to this day, my Mom loves it and thinks she's a Woody Allen film, expecting every film he makes to be Annie Hall, and then she's disappointed 90% of the time by his movies.

14. Bambi (1942)
My second-favorite film of all time, definitely my favorite Disney film or animated film. This one just sweeps through me and I love it. It's like a tone poem with gorgeous imagery. I wish Disney hadn't lost the darkness of this movie. This is a meditation on the cycle of life and all of that comes with it--the sadness and the joy. It's the combination of the wonder and the terror that makes me love the early Disney films more than any others.

15. Blue Velvet (1986)
An excellent film, and one I should see again. I think 15 is high, but that's just my opinion.

16. Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
I love this movie but, and I know it's heresy, I find An American in Paris more enjoyable. But the difference in how much I love them almost can't be measured by science. I'm particularly hungry to see this again lately, because I ended up watching Xanadu on Encore last week and now I just need to see a classic Gene Kelly movie, because watching Gene Kelly dance just makes me grin from ear to ear.

17. Seven Samurai (1954)
I feel like this is a movie that many people don't remember has slow patches. Not that it makes it bad, I just think it's interesting to see Roger say that this was number one on the list of action movies. I just don't think of it that way. I do think of it as one of the greatest movies ever made, though there are Kurosawa flicks I'm more partial to. I think my personal favorite is The Hidden Fortress. (TCM has been doing a Friday Night Spotlight on the films of Francois Truffaut; by the time July is over, they will have show almost all of Truffaut's films except, I think, for Fahrenheit 451. I REALLY hope they do one of these for Kurosawa.)

18. Jaws (1975)
I saw this movie so many times when I was younger that I actually got sick of it. Then seeing it on Blu-Ray was like seeing it for the first time, and now I love it again. It just needed to be refreshed. It's more or less a perfect movie.

19. Pulp Fiction (1994)
I posted about this recently. One of my favorites, and a touchstone in my life.

20. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)
All I know about this movie is that it's a four hour documentary about the Holocaust that Woody Allen keeps taking Diane Keaton to see in Annie Hall. I've never come across this for viewing, but I'd be open to it. It's quite acclaimed.

21. Some Like It Hot (1959)
Great stuff.

22. Toy Story (1995)
You know, I admit, I always like this movie, but I'm starting to get a little weary when it gets brought up, in an "Aren't we over that yet?" sort of way. Not to be a condescending dick about it, but I guess my not being enamored with Toy Story 3 is kind of affecting my relationship with the other two.

23. Notorious (1946)
Interesting that this is the highest Hitchcock movie. It's an excellent movie, but I would've put a few of his other movies over this one, particularly Vertigo or North by Northwest.

24. The Sound of Music (1965)
I like Julie Andrews in this, but give me a break. I haven't been able to watch this in any serious way since I was about 8.

25. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Another one of the all time great films that a lot of people I know don't like. I'll always be grateful to my Mom for showing me this when I was in high school.

26. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
This is a great film, but I see it on lists like this so often that I'm starting to wonder if this is a movie that anyone actually watches anymore, or if it's just something they see in college and then laud forever because they don't actually see many foreign films. I have zero idea why I'm so cynical about it, I just think it's interesting that this is such a constant and yet no one ever talks about it in terms of what it actually is, which is just a masterful emotional experience. That ending really stays with you forever.

27. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Great film that I haven't seen in many a year and would love to see again.

28. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Of course I love this movie. I used to watch it every year, but I haven't seen it in a good long while. I have it on DVD, looks like it's time to break it out again.

29. North By Northwest (1959)

30. Sunrise (1927)
It's become very in vogue the past couple of years to say that you love this film. I'm not sure why. It is a great film, but I didn't see it until a few years ago when it was on TCM. What happened that suddenly made this everyone's go-to silent film? Excellent movie, but I don't think it would be on my own list of the 100 Greatest Movies.

31. Chinatown (1974)
I love this movie and was actually recently in an argument with a friend of mine over why I thought this movie deserved to win the Best Picture Oscar over The Godfather, Part II.

32. Duck Soup (1933)
I love the Marx Brothers, but this is undoubtedly their best. This is the peak. One of the greatest movies ever made.

33. The Graduate (1967)
I've always liked it, but I've never loved it. It was already pretty dated when I saw it in high school. Of course, I didn't have my big existential crisis until I was in my thirties, so who knows?

34. Adam’s Rib (1949)
I hate this movie. I've never found it funny.

35. Apocalypse Now (1979)
I used to love it, then I thought it was overrated for a long, long time. I've made my peace with it and rediscovered it, and I do think it's quite an achievement in film.

36. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
The regard for this film seems to be growing of late. It's an excellent movie. One of the best, I think.

37. Manhattan (1979)
This is my personal favorite Woody Allen movie. I concede that some of that has to do with Gershwin.

38. Vertigo (1958)
A masterpiece. I'm seeing a lot of college kids recently who just don't like this film at all, and I have to suppress the urge to be a dick about it, I admit. Smug college brats.

39. The Rules of the Game (1939)
I used to work with a guy who felt this was "the actual greatest movie ever made." He'd tell you that if you ever brought up Citizen Kane. Every time this shows up on the Sight & Sound list, there are always people who are very hostile about how they've never heard of it. SEEK IT OUT. It's a wonderful movie.

40. Double Indemnity (1944)
Excellent movie. Some of the best dialogue in history.

41. The Road Warrior (1981)
What an unusual choice; I'm surprised to see it with a spot here, to be honest. I love this movie, I think it's one of the best movies of its kind, but I don't know that it would even make my list of 100 Greatest Movies. Very interesting.

42. Taxi Driver (1976)
It's a good modern Western, quite a good one, but I do think it's wildly overrated.

43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
I'll just go ahead and assume what they mean here is the entirety of The Lord of the Rings, because, come on. And I agree.

44. On the Waterfront (1954)
I've never really been a fan of this one.

45. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Great film, but I feel like this one's a bit overrated, too. I get why, though. The idea of actually having an honest, idealistic politician in office is pretty appealing.

46. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
One of my all time favorites. I love this movie to pieces. It always makes me feel good.

47. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Well-made, but overrated, especially by teenagers who think loving it is transgressive and rebellious and not just one of the cliches of being young.

48. It Happened One Night (1934)
It's cute, but I've never felt the need to see it a second time.

49. Goldfinger (1964)
My favorite pre-reboot Bond flick is still From Russia with Love.

50. Intolerance (1916)
A film of historical importance, but sometimes it's a slog to sit through.

51. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Love this movie. One of my all-time favorite comedies, bar none.

52. Titanic (1997)
I re-watched that a while ago and was surprised by just how badly it held up. I know a lot of you remember, because some people still give me shit about it.

53. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Indeed. I think both this and the original deserve to be here.

54. Breathless (1960)
Excellent. As an adult, I find much more in Godard than I did as a snotty teenage film buff.

55. Frankenstein (1931)
I like this movie, but The Bride of Frankenstein is the one that has my heart. I like most of the Universal Frankenstein pictures.

56. Schindler’s List (1993)
I would like to see this again and see how it holds up. I used to love everything Spielberg did, and then became disillusioned with him and his cavalcade of daddy issues, which is certainly something this film springs out of. I haven't seen it since about 1995, so I'd like to see it again and see how I feel now. One of my favorite scores of all time.

57. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Bleak. I haven't seen it since high school.

58. The Seventh Seal (1957)
Iconic, and Bergman's most well-known, but I liked a few of the films surrounding it much better--Smiles of a Summer Night, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring. I wonder how often anyone sees The Seventh Seal. I don't hear many people ever talking about Bergman much.

59. All the President’s Men (1976)
I saw it in high school and didn't care much for it. I'd like to see it now as an adult.

60. Top Hat (1935)
I've not seen this, but I think it's actually on TCM tomorrow... It's on some time this week, and my TiVo is set to record it.

61. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I always thought this was so overrated, and I hated it for a long time. I saw it again a couple of months ago on HBO and was surprised by how quickly it pulled me in and how much I enjoyed it. I like it much better on the level of a horror film than a suspense thriller. I still say Anthony Hopkins overacts in it, but if you take him to be playing a Universal monster, it works in that context.

62. E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
My favorite film of all time. I found the ending cathartic. This movie is pretty much all of the highs and lows of my childhood with an end that feels like accepting it all and letting it go. This is the movie I watch when I get sick or impossibly depressed. I cry every time. Not the picture I alluded to at the beginning (the one I consider the Greatest Movie Ever Made), but my favorite movie.

63. Network (1976)
I should see it again. I saw it in high school and found it completely boring.

64. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
I only saw this for the first time a few years ago, but it blew me away.

65. Last Tango in Paris (1973)
I hate this movie.

66. The Shining (1980)
I just always felt it was too mean and cruel to get into, and just too obvious. I'd honestly like to see this again now and see if I can find something in there, but I've just always written this one off.

67. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
I see this every once in a while. I always feel like dismissing it, but then I see it and everything about being an angry, unmotivated teenager caught up in the unfairness of life just floods back to me, and it's amazing how well the film captures that feeling.

68. GoodFellas (1990)
There we go. Excellent film.

69. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying about the Bomb (1964)
Yet another of those movies I love that almost no one I know likes. I still think it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and I have to admit I'm always just a little disappointed when someone doesn't. I don't hold it against them, or anything, but come on, it's hilarious.

70. L’Avventura (1960)
I've never seen this. I keep hoping it'll eventually show up on TCM or something. Antonioni did make Blow Up, which absolutely should be on this list.

71. American Graffiti (1973)
I'm with Roger; I like it, but I'm not convinced it belongs here. I think it's a great film, but one of the 100 greatest? Not sure.

72. The 400 Blows (1959)
I like it, but I think Truffaut made better films. And even having just recently seen all of the Doinel films, I liked Bed and Board better.

73. Cabaret (1972)
An excellent movie that I've nevertheless always found hard to love. I think it deserves the acclaim and Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey are excellent, and it's such a well-made movie, but I've just never really loved it.

74. The Hurt Locker (2009)
An excellent movie that won the Oscar and we all just immediately forgot about. It is an excellent film, I stand by that, but I think it's just an attempt to be current to even have this on this list. I don't see it as belonging here.

75. Touch Of Evil (1958)
Excellent movie. I still love it.

76. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
This is the movie I consider the Greatest Movie Ever Made. I know it's long, I know most people find it boring, but I am utterly swept up in this film.

77. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
I like it, but I've never loved it.

78. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

79. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Yes. Excellent.

80. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Eat me. I've never understood what people like about this stupid movie.

81. Blade Runner (1982)
I'm torn on this. I loved the Final Cut version, but not the previous versions, so it's kind of hard to say the original release version is one of the greatest movies of all time, because I don't think it is. But that Final Cut version really blew me away.

82. Scenes From a Marriage (1973)
Was honestly not expecting two Bergman films. Excellent, but depressing.

83. The Wild Bunch (1969)
I love this movie. Ernest Borgnine's "It ain't your word, it's who you give it to" moment has always stuck with me. Growing up, this movie redefined masculinity for me, because it was the first one to make me think that maybe keeping your word wasn't the end-all, be-all indication of being a man. You have to ultimately be responsible for your actions, and "I was just following orders" is merely abdicating that responsibility. That was pretty heady for me as a teenager.

84. Olympia (1938)
I haven't seen it. That's not a film I expected to find on this list. I admit, it plays more like a trendy outside choice.

85. Dirty Harry (1971)
I've always liked this movie, but Clint Eastwood was being disingenuous when he dismissed the criticism that it's got a fascist streak.

86. All About Eve (1950)
A delight. I didn't see this until a few years ago. It was excellent to sit and discover this movie for myself. It is actually always wonderful to see a movie that's so highly-regarded and actually fall in love with it and say "I see what everyone was talking about now."

87. La Dolce Vita (1960)
I saw this in high school and didn't care for it. In fact, I didn't like it so much that I became dismissive of Fellini entirely. In the past decade, I've discovered that I actually like Fellini very much, thank you. So I need to finally see this again and reassess as an adult. If you asked me what my favorite Fellini movie is, I'd say Nights of Cabiria.

88. The Dark Knight (2008)
Ugh, no. And it won't hold up, either.

89. Woodstock (1970)
A historic event with wonderful music, but are they responding to the film itself or the event? I don't know that I would put it on this kind of list.

90. The French Connection (1971)
I've never been able to like this film, and brother, I have tried. I've never been able to make it all the way through without getting bored. What am I missing here? I actually don't like Friedkin that much in general. I hate The Exorcist.

91. Do The Right Thing (1989)
Thanks, Roger, for giving me and my recent reevaluation of the film a shout-out in this entry. Roger picks the best word for this film: tremendous. I would add important to the list of descriptives.

92. The Piano (1993)
Thank your for that. I thought people had forgotten this movie. A masterpiece, and one of my favorites. I saw this in a little independent theater seven times in my senior year of high school.

93. A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Excellent film. And again I agree with Roger, it plays very, very well today. It's still very relevant.

94. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
I disagree with Roger on this one, though: I do feel this belongs on this list. I think this is the best film of the last decade. When I made my list of My 100 Favorite Films of 2001-2010, it was number one. There's something about the lonely yearning of it, and the way Ennis has to hide who he is and how he feels, that I very much relate to.

95. Rushmore (1998)
I never liked this.

96. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
I saw this in the last year and didn't like this, either.

97. Diner (1982)
There are a lot of excellent films out there, and this list just feels like it's petering out. I don't like this flick.

98. All About My Mother (1999)
I still haven't seen this, but there are a number of Almodovar films that I like.

99. There Will Be Blood (2007)
A masterpiece.

100. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Also a great movie. This was really a pleasure to see for the first time a few years ago on TCM. One of my favorite Tony Curtis performances.