Sunday, February 18, 2007

5 & 5

5 Near Misses

Fight Club--If there were a college-guy-pseudo-philosophical-film-institute out there, you’d be looking at a shoe-in for the top ten. Dark, haunting, with stellar performances from Ed Norton and Brad Pitt it is a fascinating look at the seriously scary undercurrent of violence in young men today.

Crash--It’s not a great film, nothing that waffles as ridiculously as this film does can be, but it’s more than a morality tale about racism. It’s a reflection of contemporary culture that may be as relevant in the future as Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? are now (though with much less nuance and groundbreaking film techniques).

From Here to Eternity-- Two great love stories and Frank Sinatra in the arch-type forming romantic-comedy-best-friend role are nice. But for god’s sake, did you really need three hours?

Groundhog Day--A touch of slapstick, a bit of black comedy, a lot of witty dialogue and Bill Murray in tour de force form. Best of all, it keeps a touch of reality, he still snarks at the people he helps. Only Andy McDowell’s woodiness stops it from real greatness.

Mutiny on the Bounty--Heavy handed, sure. But if you can watch this without getting pumped up for Clark Gable, you’re without a pulse. If you can explain why all Polynesians are white and speak in perfect English, you’re a genius.

Honorable Mention
Good night and Good Luck--a nice way to make a political statement (see Crucible, The)
The Usual Suspects--a knockout thriller with great Kevin Spacy
Dogma-A neat little morality play disguised as bathroom humor (or vice versa)
Memento-A nifty trick, a thrilling who dunnit, and tattoos apleanty.
5 Gladly Omitted
Rebel Without a Cause--One of my least favorite things about movies: the undying adoration of James Dean. This is held up as his masterpiece. But he’s not the title character, and what’s more he’s so freaking whiny even as a teenager I wanted to smack him around.
Duck Soup--Perhaps it was funny its day, today the plot is ridiculously disjointed, the one-liners come off as surreal, and some of the jokes are flat out racist.

Giant--If you’re going to make a 3 hour long movie about life on a Texas oil ranch, you should have some compelling personalities. Instead this features: Rock Hudson, moaning, Elizabeth Taylor in her standard, strong, yet sensitive debutante role, and James Dean doing the only thing he ever does in movies: pout.
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind--A masterpiece of special effects magic? There for two sequences with the spaceship, and they aren’t even impressive compared to others of the day. (The best part for me was when Richard Dryffeus’ wife left him, summarizing my feelings about the movie as a whole.)
2001: A Space Odyssey--As Brent has said, “I think you have to watch it on meth or LSD or something.” That something might just be crap. The whole move is crap. Crap acting. Crap story. Crap metaphysical bullshit at the end. Crap.
Dishonorable Mention
Philadelphia Story--okay concept, but, it’s crap,
Grease--pop crap.
Something about Mary--disgusting crap.
Last Tango in Paris--disgusting sexual crap.


petercrouchgeneticanomalies said...

I finally saw it last fall, and even though many people had prepared me to hate "Last Tango in Paris," it sucked far beyond even my expectations.

petercrouchgeneticanomalies said...

"Crash"? We saw that movie together, didn't we? No one will remember "Crash" as in any way groundbreaking or, for that matter, relevent, in twenty years. That's the one thing from your list I completely disagree with. The movie's almost as pedantic as "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "The Best Years of Our Lives," which're both unwatchable.