Great Movies Worthy of Respect...

I think it’s getting some respect now but not much when it first came out – A Face in the Crowd starring Patricia Neal, and Andy Griffith as a – well, maybe a 50’s version of Rush Limbaugh (if Limbaugh ever had cred as a “down home” kind of guy). It’s a powerful statement about celebrity, and Griffith is surprisingly sexy.

Stranger than Fiction, the Will Ferrell movie. It got good/great reviews, but most of the people that would like it never gave it a chance because it’s Will Ferrell. The marketing didn’t help either, since the trailers mostly featured the standard “Will Ferrell yelling” scenes, which maybe make up about a minute or two of the movie. But it’s a really great movie and Ferrell shows he’s got real acting chops, which is pretty impressive since he’s playing against Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.

One of my favorite movies is “The Corn is Green” (1945). It stars Bette Davis as a dedicated teacher in a Welsh mining town. She finds a promising student and tries to nurture him toward scholastic achievement . . . sometimes fighting with him over other distractions. Great plot and great acting.

The Americanization of Emily - James Garner and Julie Andrews in a comedy about the non-glory of war.

Hot Spell starring Shirley Booth, Shirley MacLaine, Anthony Quinn and Eileen Eckhart.

It’s the classic story of “neglected wife” finds husband with “other woman.” The major twist is Booth’s magnificent performance.

Booth portrays this woman in such a way that you should feel sorry for her, but by the end of the film you can honestly understand WHY the husband is neglecting her and cheating on her.

The character comes across as so pathetic you actually find yourself on one hand hating the husband, while saying “Well on the other hand you can’t really blame him.”

This role clearly shows what a great actress Shirley Booth was

The minor characters in this one are great too. Isn’t this the one where Bette’s housekeeper has a slutty daughter? Or what passed for slutty in the 40’s?

Another overlooked Davis movie is A Catered Affair. When someone says kitchen sink drama, that’s the one I think of.

If you ask someone to name three classic Japanese movies, chances are they’ll respond with The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Yojimbo; or something else by Kurosawa. But Kurosawa is unfairly allowed to overshadow Masaki Kobayashi, who made Samurai Rebellion and Seppuku. They show peole in a very different culture than ours, but we are able to understand why they behave as they do within the arcane rules of that culture.

Plus, most Japanese directors’, including Kurosawa’s, treatment of the war is “the war was a terrible mistake.” In the Ningen no jôken trilogy, Kobayashi was willing to say “we did some terrible things.”

Based on a very weird, very funny, very tragic book called “Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane” by William Peter Blatty (writer of the Exorcist). Turns out he can write very funny books when he’s not scaring the hell out of you. I guess he wasn’t satisfied with the result, because he revised it into “The Ninth Configuration” a decade later. I liked the first book better, maybe because I read it first.

She really was, wasn’t she? There were so many great actors in the 50’s. And another really good slice of life movie she was in was ‘Come Back Little Sheba’ with Burt Lancaster as her husband! which was a William Inge play, I believe, which leads to the great William Inge adaptations - Picnic, and All Fall Down, and who knows how many more.

o lucky man!


Local Hero

Hope and Glory

Pretty Maids All in a Row with Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson, Telly Savalas and John David Carson (who recently passed away on Oct. 27)

If, Dog, Rabbit (also known as One Last Score) directed, written and produced by Matthew Modine, who also stars in it. This is an excellent movie and totally unknown.

The Postman directed by and starring Kevin Costner. An unpopular movie which was critically panned and to this day is almost universally despised - why? It has a good plot, it has incredible set design and cinematography, a great villain (Will Patton), a great cameo by Tom Petty, and it has a sense of humor. I think it’s a great movie but few others seem to agree.

See, the fact that I didn’t think any of these things were well-done is probably why there’s such a disconnect–we’re starting from a fundamentally different set of assumptions about the film’s alleged virtues.

Some great overlooked crime thrillers:

52 Pick-Up - Roy Scheider
Get Carter - the Michael Caine original not the Stallone remake.
The Silent Partner - Elliot Gould and Christopher Plummer
Thief - James Caan

Roy Scheider sweating. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: You get Roy Scheider to sweat in your movie, you’ve got a winner: :wink:

All that Jazz

I have always considered Pretty Maids All in a Row to be B-movie schlock, but I haven’t seen it since it was in theatres. Spouse & I have an agreement on The Postman. I have to be out of the house before he can watch it if he doesn’t want to hear mocking. I think I’d like it more if it had someone other than Kevin Costner, who has played that role too many times.

As soon as I read the OP, I thought “I’m going to post Once.” Even better, I see that it’s already been mentioned, so now instead of posting it, I get to say that I second “Once.” Perhaps I’m twicing it then?

Anyway, yeah. Once. What a great little flick. It’s a musical, but not in a dance-number sense- the characters are (very good) musicians and spend half the movie singing their songs. The other half is spent Lost in Translation-style as they hold off the romance that is clearly developing between them yet is seemingly not possible at present, given the circumstances of both of their lives. There’s even a variation of Lost in Translation’s whisper scene.

It’s an Irish movie. He’s Irish, she’s Czech. We had to watch it with the subtitles on because of the thickness of the accent. Of the native English speaker.

As always, it just comes down to personal taste. There’s no such thing as a “great movie”, in any absolute way, there’s just “I think it’s great”, or “you think it’s great”, or “a whole bunch of people and critics think it’s great”.

All That Jazz, definitely. When I need to cheer up, I look for the video of Anne Reinking dancing to “Everything Old Is New Again.”

I second The Silent Partner. Great bank robbery flick.