06 April 2008

More best films of all time (and some bad ones too)

Having just finished semi-watching Legally Blonde 2 on TBS while surfing the web here, I am again reminded of the insipidness of modern filmmakers.

And then there were great filmmakers and great artists, but mostly in the past. One of them has just passed away - Charlton Heston, age 84, kick-ass actor and gun rights supporter.

Coincidentally, I happened to catch Planet of the Apes (the original, not the stupid 2001 remake) on AMC Friday night. If this is not the greatest science fiction film ever made, then it's pretty darn close to the greatest.

Which makes me want to create another list of greatest films, which I missed last time around! --

Planet of the Apes: See above.

The Omen (the original, again - why do so many of these classics have crappy remakes?) and its sequels: These films are cool and funny, especially for lapsed devil worshipers such as myself. Hail Satan!

Random Harvest: This is an incredibly gut wrenching drama starring Ronald Colman and the ever lovely Greer Garson. Will bring you to tears, and you'll love the twist ending.

The Rat Race: Happened to see this one today on TCM; stars Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds (who looked positively radiant in this picture, more than usual). A little known 1960 drama about two struggling young folk trying to make a better life for themselves, who fall in love along the way.

Shaft: He's a baaaaad mother-shut your mouth!!

Hey Beavis, you know why they call him Shaft, huh huh huh huh???

Superfly: In a word, this film was very fly. Stick it to the Man!!

Deja Vu: Good to see the hometown looking top ho and spifflin' in a film!! The plot was standard sci-fi schlock, but what I liked best was that here, finally, was a film set in my city, but not resorting to any stereotypes or other bullshit which Hollywood usually likes to pull when filming there. It was just a story, which just so happened to take place in this certain location.

I recognized virtually every place shown in that film. I have driven the majority of those streets.

That's all I can think of right now.

And now a list of truly horrible films:

Any action/adventure/superhero film from the past twenty years: The original Die Hard and Batman films were groundbreaking for the time. When Hollywood sees a profit opportunity, they milk it hard, for all it's worth. And boy, have they pumped this well dry, really dry. I am so tired of franchise films it hurts.

King Kong (the 1976 version): Jessica Lange's acting was execrable, and the other actors weren't much better. The idea of capturing a big gorilla to sell more petrol is extremely banal, to say the least. (Truly, this hurt me. People had to die so that the American motorist could be convinced to buy more of a certain brand of petrol, which is an unchanging commodity like salt? Sick. And cloaking the ape in a then-modern petrol pump was just painful to watch.) And from the looks of it Dino de Laurentiis must have thought he was making the greatest love story of all time here.

And was I the only person to catch the obvious racist allegory going on here????!?? Not to mention that planes and the World Trade Center should not mix in media, ever. (To be fair, this was 1976, not 2006. And John Barry's score was actually quite good.)

The Sound of Music: ...makes me wanna scream.

At Long Last Love: Whoever got the idea of making a lighthearted, cheery 30's musical at the height of the nihilistic, hedonistic 70's, with Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd as leads, should have his head examined. (That means you, Peter Bogdanovich. Shame on you for casting your mistress instead of an actress who could have handled the role.)

Not that Cybill can't act; if she's properly coached her performances are fine. Refer to Taxi Driver or first season episodes of Moonlighting. She just can't sing. At all.

Dark Victory: Yeah, I know this is a classic, Bette Davis is a legend, yada, yada. But after viewing it again this weekend, I have concluded that like many 1940s films, it is stagy, hackneyed plotwise, and acted unnaturally with stilted dialogue. (No real fault of the actors, actually; this was seemingly part of film convention of the period.) Plus the camera just sits there; it doesn't move around at all. It's a visual medium, people!!

This is what Hitchcock claimed to hate: pictures of people talking.

And Bette Davis was far, far uglier in real life. (See Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, when she was too old to care about her appearance anymore, for the proof.) Chalk her radiant appearance in this film to heavy makeup, good studio clothiers, camera tricks, and baling wire (to make her figure appear feminine).

Any film starring a rapper/drip-hop 'artist': Rappers can't act. They can't do much of anything except grunt, scratch their azzes, and make babies out of wedlock.

Any remake of a classic film: What possesses the so-called creative class to do this, I have no idea. Do they hold some presumption that they can improve on the original?? Or are they just dumbasses?

Very, very few remakes of a well-known film improve on the original in any significant way. Tell that to the producers of the Ocean's Eleven remake/inevitable franchise left in its wake.

The Day After Tomorrow: Was this supposed to be Hollywood's answer to An Inconvenient Truth? This film was liberal, statist bullshit from beginning to end. The score was the only thing I liked about it.

Actually, come to think about it, the only disaster film that I have ever really enjoyed was The Towering Inferno, due to its good choice of casting more than anything. (And also Titanic, cuz Kate Winslet posed nude. Just kidding; I hated that film too.)

More to come when I feel inspired.