I was talking with Mrs. Curmudgeon about movies that “stick with you”. (Define that however you want.) She and several friends had made lists. (Probably something on Facebook.) Her list was unlike theirs. I suggested my list would make me seem like a whackdoodle. Because all blogs need filler, I decided to post my list. Mrs. Curmudgeon reports there’s a great deal of overlap in our lists. Apparently we’re a pair of whackdoodles.
Here’s my list; in no particular order and arbitrarily whittled down to 15 entrants.
- Brazil (1985)
- Blue Velvet (1986)
- Idiocracy (2006)
- The Third Man (1949)
- The Great Dictator (1940)
- The Seventh Sign (1988)
- The Wall (1982)
- Casablanca (1942)
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) (Author’s note: It’s my list so it’s staying. If you’re too erudite to understand its beauty, make your own damn list.)
- 2001 A Space Odessy (1968) (Author’s note: Remember when NASA was awash with brilliant engineers and America had the balls to go to space? America had the heart of a lion and the brain of an engineer. Now have the heart of an accountant and the brain of a teenager.)
- The Fisher King (1991)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Star Wars (1977) (Author’s Note: I don’t care if George Lucas took a steaming dump on it and we’ve all seen it too many times. That’s a problem Lucas will have to sort out between what’s left of his artistic soul and the giant pile of money he made selling it. Lucas, in 1977, steam rolled a world that was listening to disco, drinking Tab, and watching Westerns. He did well!)
Hmm. I wonder what it means that I’ve seen just seven of the flicks on your list and I’ve never heard of a few of ’em. Probably that I don’t go to the movies much. Or I have a terrible memory. Or something. Mad Max might make my list. 2001 coulda deleted a buncha scenes without suffering. Brazil certainly was “sticky”. Ooh, ooh, what about 12 Monkeys?
Good list. I’d add the Extended Cut of “The Fellowship Of The Ring” and one of the better James Bond flics to represent their respective franchises. Also, Blade Runner and Aliens. And perhaps Memphis Belle. Better stop now.
I agree with most of your list. Brazil is one of the best under appreciated films of all time. Would add Sunset Blvd.,and The Life of Brian. TLoB is way high on my list of how things really are. (Except for the wierd spacecraft interlude in the middle.)
THE LION IN WINTER (Hepburn and O’Toole, not the execrable remake)
ENTER THE DRAGON
THE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE
THE MUSIC MAN (again, NOT the remake. Please GOD, not the remake)
THE PRODUCERS (do I really need to say not the remake again?)
THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER (last Clouseau before it descended into self-parody)
HOW TO STEAL A MILLION
CASINO ROYAL (BOTH films, for very different reasons)
I have another list for ya;
Guilty Pleasures; movies you know in your heart are rubbish, but which you treasure anyway.
THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE (so vulgar it achieves a species of perfection)
S.O.B. (the temper tantrum Blake Edwards threw when Hollywood didn’t fall in love with DARLING LILLY. Hollywood was right.)
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (The Kaiju movie as tag-team wrestling)
BUGSY MALONE (pre-teens playing gangsters. Should be as cringeworthy as TERROR IN TINYTOWN, but somehow isn’t)
anyone want to chime in?
CRAP. Lion in Winter too. The Man Who would Be King and Robin and Marion….snif. (please, think about that one proving wimmens are not to be trusted.)
Only one on your list I have seen is Star Wars. Lousy movie, but great marketing! I did see it first run at a walk in theater.
There is a special place in my heart for “Blazing Saddles,” of course, closely followed by “Kentucky Fried Movie.” There was once a time in this country when the perpetually aggrieved could be made fun of.
I like to watch “Le Mans” and fast-forward whenever there’s people talking. The Porsche 917 is all the soundtrack I need. “Heavy Metal,” because sometimes I need a soundtrack too.
“The Longest Day”, “Midway,” and “Tora! Tora! Tora!” Because as Winston Churchill said, “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” Back when Hollywood made a product that did not include a sermon. Honorable mention to “The Battle of the Bulge” because Panzer.
“Star Wars” and “Aliens.” Space operas, and when they came out there was nothing like them. We need heroes. And Marines. Sometimes they’re the same.
“Army of Darkness.” Good, bad, he’s the guy with the gun. The only trilogy that got better.
“The Blues Brothers.” I like blues, dislike Chicago, and I’m on a mission from God.
“The Princess Bride.” The only fairy tale that Disney hasn’t ruined.
“Paint Your Wagon.” Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood in a musical about Mormons, mining, and marriage.
“Gettysburg.” Cannon, cavalry, infantry, as close to re-enacting as you can get without lice and horse-apples. There was a time when gentlemen went to war. Also, this is the sole redeeming action in the life of Ted Turner.
“Fargo.” Trust me, it’s a documentary. And they really do talk like that.
I know of two more redeeming actions by Turner;
He colorized a lot of old movies. Not good in and of itself, BUT to do so he had to do s decent restoration job on them, and at the time nobody else was even trying.
He funded one of the most fascinating of David Attenborough;s documentary series – THE PRIVATE LIFE OF PLANTS because Jane Fonda (who I have no other use for) wanted to see it.
You think the first Star Wars movie is the best one? At least somebody besides me thinks it’s better than Empire Strikes Back?
Lucas did a lot of things in the next two movies I didn’t like at all, especially the ones which seem to have been dictated by what he thought his audience would prefer, like Leia ending up with Han, and that then being softened by figuring that hey, Leia and Luke could not have been anyway because they are twins! Whee! (Which did not fit well with some rather heavy seeming foreshadowing for Luke + Leia in the first movie, and that incest kiss in the second… throwing all that away did not fit well with my head which generally prefers consistency when it comes to stories and characters).
And yep, redeeming Darth Vader. I could have lived with the ‘I’m your father’ bit, if he had stayed unrepentantly evil (even if it turned Kenobi into a liar, which I did not like) but of course he then had to be redeemed… Gr.
I liked them, a lot, anyway, when I first saw them, maybe just because they brought that kind of fairly simple adventure stories back to the front (and then Lucas has spend a lot of time trying to make that whole story world more complex… bah) after a few decades when they had been pushed into the back of the store, well out of sight, but yep, while lots of fun they were not all that well thought out, and Lucas seem to have been changing his mind a lot along the line which does not make for good storytelling.
I’m convinced that any story that has a just plain bad guy is deliberately ferreted out and hosed by Hollywood. That’s why they pussified Vader.
I liked that Vader was so competent in movie #1 (that’s Star Wars y’all, because I refuse to re-number movies). He didn’t go apeshit like a maniacal Joker. He wasn’t scared when attacked like any sane soldier. He was cold, detached, and calculating. Fearless but not stupid. Deliberate and focused. He had a whole damn army at his disposal but sought out man on man duels because he was just that much of a bad ass. When you’re as cool as Vader you’re not filled with anger but filled with confidence and plenty of menace… don’t forget the menace! You know how you can measure menace? When your former mentor is noodling around your Death Star, probably puring sugar in the gas tank or something, and you just stride out to meet him. You don’t run over there to engage like a silly puppy, you don’t flee like a chump, you don’t toss a league of expendable cannon fodder at him, and you don’t tell your subordinates to prepare to support you in battle. Why? Because you know you won’t be needing assistance. You just think “I sense my old mentor, I think I’ll walk over there, and clean that shit up by sabering his hippie ass in half. Then I might have lunch.” Also he was more than happy to get in front of his troops in a flying ping pong ball with solar panels because he could shoot those punk ass rebels himself just fine thank you. Yep, Vader in the beginning was all class.
I though the father thing was marginally ok. “Luke, I’m your father, join me and we’ll totally rule”; that’s find but go no further. Once Luke says “bugger off” it’s time for evil dad to say “your loss pansy”. Then logically follow with an epic duel that tears the house down.
When it turned to “I feel bad and seek redemption” I was displeased. So trite and contrived. As if even legend can’t get past Hollywood’s gutless PC filter.
There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with a bad guy that’s unrepetant. He/she can be complex but there’s a time and a place for stories where Luke could shout “bite me” and Vader would chuckle with that deep voice and draw his elegant weapon from a more civilized era and start slicing off hands. “Sorry son but you had your chance. In ten minutes I’m going to have my boys pressure washing your guts off the space floor.”
Or to put it another way, nobody asked Beowulf to grieve because Grendel’s mom was misunderstood.
That would have been cool.
I do like romance elements in my movies (even if I’m not a fan of just romances, I prefer stories where there is a solid primary plot of something else and the romance is the secondary plot) so I would have preferred a story where Luke did have a sister, but it was not Leia (which, perhaps, was planned at some point, I think I remember reading some rumors somewhere, they went with Leia because they wanted to simplify things or something). The evil Vader decides to corrupt her when he has failed with Luke, maybe gets her (some cute blond chick 🙂 ) and then in the third movie Luke is trying to save her, not daddy, Luke grows from the whiny boy into a bad ass every bit as cool as Han (he got part way there, but not quite far enough in the movies), kills dad, saves sister, Han falls for sister, Luke gets the princess because now he is worthy of her, together the four of them then destroy the emperor. 😀
Or something along those lines. And leave out the ewoks… And keep Luke just a farm boy, don’t make him the hidden son of a former queen. Hiding him in dad’s former home made no sense anyway, if Lucas wanted to keep him there it would have made some more sense if he had been left there by daddy who just hadn’t decided what to do with him yet, maybe he was going to kill him if he couldn’t use him against the emperor at some point (and he was hidden only from the emperor), and Ben Kenobi had just gotten there a year or two earlier after having been looking for him (and his sister) for years.
The Star Wars franchise didn’t go off the rails for me until the Prequils. The original three didn’t touch on society much. He “Homaged” (Hollywood for “Stole”) the settings of pretty much everything he showed us; Tatooine was a mix of the west from Sergio Leone’s work and the desert from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. The Bar was every seedy dive ever filmed in a Western of Film Noir. The awards ceremony was straight out of TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. The other two films stuck to the same pattern; we didn’t really see much that wasn’t basically a space station, a military encampment, a hovel, or a ship.
And that was ok. Lucas wasn’t claiming the films were startlingly ORIGINAL. At least, he wasn’t then.
The second set demanded more cultural background, and Lucas hasn’t got the chops for that. The societies he provided don’t make sense. There’s no feeling that somewhere, behind the sets, there’s a working water treatment facility, for example.
And then there’s the casting of The Man Who Would Be Vader. The story of a man seduced by The Dark Side had a lot of potential. Given an actor with the power and range of, say, a Tommy Lee Jones or a William Dafoe, that could have been riveting. Too bad they cast a whiner.
Glad to see another fan of “Third Man”, what a portrait of post-war Vienna! Also really like Casablanca and Pulp Fiction.
How about “Breaker Morant”? Lawrence of Arabia? Gallipoli? Schindler’s List (except the fake ending)? Chocolat? Gran Torino and Unforgiven? Paint Your Wagon? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? The Shootist? Seven Days in May? Dr. Strangelove? The first “Lion in Winter”? “Seven Samurai”, “Sanjuro” and “Yojimbo”? Fargo and Raising Arizona and The Ladykillers? The Terminator series? Serenity? The original “Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Forbidden Planet”? I could go on…
Raising Arizona is a good call.
I watched The Third Man on primetime TV in Portugal (a long time ago). Impressive eh? Compare the third man to most of the crap on TV.