Sunday, May 20, 2007

#70-61: Bond, Bad Boy Bogie, and Burt Bacharach

70 Chinatown—At some point Nicholson’s Private Eye becomes a little wearisome, a little too cool, a little too savvy, a little too put together to be the ideal flawed film noir hero. Fortunately, that’s also the moment that the story shifts on a dime and you couldn’t be more glued to your seat than if you accidently sat on a small village of milk duds.

69 Fantasia—Okay, yes, this is a very dorky selection…an uber-dorky selection…a mega-ultra-hyper dorky selection. But, for anyone who’s ever looked for an excuse to like classical music in the face of their Backstreet boy singing peers you have to like dancing crocodiles and hippos…I mean c’mon!!

68 Stagecoach—It’s as stellar a character study as any Robert Altman film, minus the hour long single shots and set entirely within a stagecoach. It’s not so much a western as it is a road movie in the old west. The characters are astounding: pure and desolute, heroes and ne’er-do-wells, and all manner of those in between. A fantastic example of John Ford’s eye for the majestic west.

67 Unforgiven—Eastwood kicks off his second career as a something more than an iconic film actor by presenting the truth behind the mythic iconic western figures. It explodes the legends that we’ve all come to adore and lauds truth, justice and the old American way.

66 Modern Times—A great movie for struggling artists afraid of letting go of their ideals and winding up in some dead end job. What’s most impressive and is still most fascinating about this classic Chaplin comedy is that it came out years after talkies had been around and is still very funny.

65 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—This set of ten seems to revolve a great deal around anti-heroes. And so it’s only fitting that these two make an appearance. Part of everyone’s vernacular, Butch and Sudance aren’t just good bad guys, they’re without adoubt the coolest guys ever even remotely associated with Burt Bacharach.

64 Treasure of the Sierra Madre—Bogie as a badass makes for a nice change of pace (it can get a little dreary seeing him up against the odds fighting for what’s right…it’s much nicer to see him up against the odds fighting for what’s wrong). But what’s most remarkable is watching his slow and steady descent into madness. What’s most remarkable to hear is the origin of the classic: “Badges…we don’t need no stinkin’ badges!!”

63 Goldfinger—The ultimate Bond movie. Nothing else has or will come close. An ultra-villain with witty repartee, killer gadgets a hardcore henchman and the most inappropriate Bond-girl name ever (honestly, how much would you like to hear people talking over that name during the intial film screening? It still makes my mother titter and she’s over 55) all are the perfect match for Sean’s perfect Bond.

62 Guess who’s Coming to Dinner?—A little treacle goes a long way. A lot of treacle nearly drowns out a good movie. But Poitier, Hepburna and Tracy make you forget all of that and just revel in the sight of such fine acting and such genuine emotion. Though you have to ask yourself at a certain point: “what happened to the girl?” And at another point you have to ask yourself: "who in the world thought Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac would be the right people to remake this movie?"

61 Double Indemnity—The deluxe thriller, with the flawed film noir protagonist Jack Nicholson only wishes he could be. It’s got conflict, despair, anger, betrayal and that’s before they even kill a guy. You can never watch the original Flubber again after you see just what Fred McMurry can really do.