Sunday, May 13, 2007

#80-71 "Plastics," Pop-Tarts and the President's Men

80 Doctor Z—Sprawling and at times suffocating in it’s grandeur it’s still a remarkably human epic. And that last sentence was so unbelievable pompus I’m about to gag myself with a spoon. (Notice, however, I’m not deleting it). The message of Dr. Zhivago: life in Russia sucks, but Omar Sharif is handsome.

79 All the Presidents Men—A gripping portrayal of power, persuasion, and passion to make everyone want to be a reporter (if only so we all have a chance to get that great Robert Redford hair). It's not glamorous, but it's wonderfully true.

78 Frankenstien—Not really scary any more, not really related to the Mary Shelly book at all, and not really all that compelling. But Karloff is a one man clinic on acting with your whole body and renders everything else meaningless.

77 Chicago—The cinematic equivalent of a pop tart. Looks great and full of a surprisingly rich center (including an active critique of the current state of American culture and a number of compelling characters {okay, John C. Reilly}), it doesn’t really last in your system, but invariably you go back for more.

76 Forrest Gump—I tend to have at least one sentimental and sap ridden film in each set of 10 I put together. This is that sentimental and sap-ridden film. Yes there’s a lot of needless weepiness, yes, there’s gratituitous use of the archival footage, but really, it’s a nice story of where we’ve been as a country and perhaps where we’re going.

75 Jungle Fever—Spike Lee’s family saga (or, at least the one people actually know as opposed to Crooklyn). Infidelity, loyalty, love in all its forms, and just plain ol’ American dysfunction for all. Yes, Wesley Snipes does seem to telegraph his lines, and Spike’s own character seems superfluous (outside of Do the Right Thing/She’s Gotta Have It, when wasn’t it?) but the dynamic between Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Samuel L. Jackson is superb. Really, though, this is Stevie Wonder’s movie, with an excellent score that makes even the slower parts of the movie, eminently rewatchable.

74 Bridge on the River—Though it lag’s during Guiness’ manic shifts in attitude towards the bridge it has a great amount of fervor and pride for not just Britan but for all the world. Plus, anytime William Holden beats the living daylights out of a man it’s a good day.

73 Graduate—The ideal coming of age movie. Ask any twenty something guy, we’ve all had a “plastics,” moment. (I was once told to consider going into the corporate world of the Discovery Channel Store.) On top of fine acting and a plot that most everyone can relate to, it does have perhaps the ultimate marriage of a scene and a song.

72 Shane—A nice coupling of romantic love for the west, and the glimmer of inspiration in a young boy’s eyes (you can almost hear his brain churning to the idea of “I wanna be a cowboy”) and a hero who knows that it’s not nearly as great as people would like to believe.

71 Star Wars—Once you permit yourself to disassociate this movie from the fan boys and droid haters that populate the world it’s a fun fairy tale, and the inspiration for more Pop-culture references than anyone knows what to do with. (I still sing “What a Wookie!” from Clerks when no one’s looking)

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