I see fewer movies than ever in theaters. I’ve come to regard it as showing greater respect for a film to go through the hassle and expense of seeing it at a theater as opposed to seeing it on satellite or DVD.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing films in theaters, I do, I just feel that too often I’m just encouraging McDonald’s to increase the amount of cereal in their “burgers” if I keep buying them at all or at full price.
In the old days, there was a more unified audience for films. Today, audiences are fractured into single-serving demographic packages.
Tyler Perry serves one demographic, Twilight movies serve another demographic, there are the “old guy buddy movies”, the “chick flicks”, Judd Apatow “nerds-get-hot-girls” bro-medies, etc.
Studios are run by corporate execs just as American Pork and Sausage Inc. is. And they both like assembly lines and product that tastes familiar and consistent.
Where are the great films?
There are good films that somehow get made despite the corporate and star obstacle course but great films…not so much anymore.
It shouldn’t be surprising that films that appeal to the lowest common denominator and are the least intellectual and emotionally challenging are the most popular and make the most money.
The biggest moneymaker to date this year? Transformers 2, the Sarah Palin of movies. Flashy, superficial and wholly empty headed.
In fact, this summer, you had a choice between which movie based on a children’s toy you could choose to see (“Hmm…I did like playing with my Transformers but G.I. Joe’s Kung Fu Grip was cool!).
So, what shall it be this holiday season, movies based on toys, comic books, video games, pop culture books, old tv shows or older and better done movies?
The indie filmmaking community is now the only oasis for truly original and inspired storytelling and they’ve been hammered badly by the economy (scarce equity available now) and the changing film distribution business.
The corporate thinking of better technology being better for business has been smothering the humanity in filmmaking. There are now films, including the top grossing film of the year, which are only made to display animated computer graphics. Storytelling and humans just get in the way of using digital cartoons to cynically separate moviegoers from the money in their wallets.
I do like some movies that are mindless fun however, like desserts, on occasion. A diet of all desserts can make one addicted to and crave only sweet, empty calories.
From my perspective, that’s what most entertainment has been distilled down to in this era of corporate owned media (news for that matter as well), what used to be a sumptuous meal is now just the insubstantial instant gratification and lure of Double Stuff Oreos for the main course at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Internet age has raised the hopes of indie filmmakers that somehow it could result in creating an alternative path to making and distributing their films that doesn’t go through the narrow-minded corporate powers that be.
Until or unless this ever happens in a meaningful way, and like me, you want to support indie filmmaking, see them, rent them, go to film festivals and get the word out to friends if you see a really good one.
Now, as a reminder of the way things were and the way they are, here’s a select list of films from the last golden age of film, the 1970’s, when filmmakers had a lot more freedom to make films they were passionate about making.
Compare this list to this year’s crop of films…and please note how many of the following films were not inspired by Hasbro:
1. The Godfather – (1972)
2. The Godfather part II – (1974)
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – (1975)
4. Apocalypse Now – (1979)
5. Chinatown – (1974)
6. A Clockwork Orange – (1971)
7. Star Wars – (1977)
8. Jaws – (1975)
9. Taxi Driver – (1976)
10. The Deer Hunter – (1978)
11. Annie Hall – (1977)
12. Network – (1976)
13. Rocky – (1976)
14. Patton – (1970)
15. Heaven Can Wait – (1978)
16. M*A*S*H – (1970)
17. The Exorcist – (1973)
18. American Graffiti – (1973)
19. The French Connection – (1971)
20. Mean Streets – (1973)
21. Midnight Express – (1978)
22. Blazing Saddles – (1974)
23. Being There – (1979)
24. Monty Python and the Holy Grail – (1974)
25. Lenny – (1974)
26. Serpico – (1973)
27. The Man Who Would Be King – (1975)
28. Deliverance – (1972)
29. Barry Lyndon – (1975)
30. National Lampoon’s Animal House – (1978)
31. Alien – (1979)
32. The Candidate – (1972)
33. Dog Day Afternoon – (1975)
34. Five Easy Pieces – (1970)
35. The Last Picture Show – (1971)
36. Nashville – (1975)
37. All That Jazz – (1979)
38. Bound for Glory – (1976)
39. Saturday Night Fever – (1977)
40. Manhattan – (1979)
41. All the President’s Men – (1976)
42. Dirty Harry – (1971)
43. Cabaret – (1972)
44. Bananas – (1971)
45. Carrie – (1976)
46. Day for Night – (1973)
47. Amarcord – (1973)
48. Sleeper – (1973)
49. Shampoo – (1975)
50. The Last Detail – (1973)
Did anyone ever watch the film “Deathtrap” 1982 with Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve, based on the play by Ira Levin?
It was a very clever and page turning plot.
Talking about Michael Caine, what about “Alfie” in 1966, making a bold statement about relationships in the “Swinging 60’s” of London.
Deathtrap was a great movie. I believe it was Christopher
Reeve’s best work.
A couple of awesome Canadian movies, BTW.
Yes, Rollerball is a Canadian movie.
It was very cool when I was 11. And Scanners was very cool when I was 17.
I don’t know if it was a Canadian movie but the best sports/comedy of all time was “Slap Shot”.
The Hanson Brothers were  *not* Canadian!
But, “Oglethorpe” and Michael Ontkean were Canadian.
Welcome back, Pepe!
This list would make a great film fest, done in chronological order perhaps?
That would take up a whole summer.
There are four that jump out at me
The Deer Hunter
Saturday Night Fever
because of their soundtracks
This piece from The Deer Hunter is one of my favorites
Another great French movie I just remembered.
“The City of Lost Children.”
NOT a kid’s movie!
The Spaniards also make some killer horror movies. Has anyone ever seen [rec]?
First one is a classic I never got to. Second, I find Spanish movies can be dark (which is a good thing). Love, passion, beauty, death… and flamenco!
McGinty — what is “hasbro?”
I can tell you it’s a toy company.
As Pepe says, it was a joke about movies being made based on toys, like Transformers.
Soon, movies will be made that are based on breakfast cereals, “Lucky Charms – The Movie!”
LOL. Can hardly wait to see that!
Magically delicious !
Why not? There’s lots of Saturday morning cartoons based on toys.
So pleased to see that others share my enjoyment of 30’s and 40’s films.
Loved the old gangster films, “Public Enemy”, The Roaring Twenties, Scarface (the original with Paul Muni). Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Bogart. Always liked Bogart but Cagney had such charisma.
Just watching Grapes of Wrath right now on TCM, such an appropriate story for today. A very challenging film in its day and one of Henry Fonda’s greatest roles, IMO.
Probably one of the best opening tracking scenes in cinematic history:
I’ll be damned if I can get the link to work… I used the embed link from youtube, but it *poofed* vanished… the url is above.
From Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.
How can we talk about great films without Orson Welles.
Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons (which I wish hadn’t been cut to shreds), and the magic he gave films he acted in, like The Third Man.
Don’t forget the Lady from Shanghai — I think that’s my favorite Welles film. (Rita Hayworth).
Remember Peter Faulk in “Murder Inc.”. You talk about a scary performance and underrated film with a cameo performance by Sarah Vaughn to boot.
McGinty — a truly great French film is “Wages of Fear.” Very intense for its time. I actually saw “Sorcerer” first, then “Wages of Fear” second. I was blown away by the original.
I saw this one with my daughter- “Les Choristes”
and she suggests this one also “Les Parapluies de Cherbourge”
How was your vacation?
It was great. Beautiful weather. Lots of family drama. Think “Little Miss Sunshine” times “The Royal Tannenbaums” times infinity. That’s my family…
Ahhh a good time was had by all then.
The important thing is after this week ….
… I … feel … NORMAL!!!
LOL Pepe !
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is classic Deneuve. “8 femmes” has a similar feel, too, with her as a matriarch. I’d add “Belle du jour”, as well.
Wages of Fear is a brilliant movie. Forgot about that one! I used to have an “international film night” with my niece and nephew and I showed them that one. They loved it too.
A great film indeed. I would add Fran
Tin Drum was okay. There’s another one along the lines of it, that is better, IMHO. Fran
Pepe! I just saw Wages of Fear about a month ago and it is absolutely amazing. I don’t want to give away the plot to everyone, but it is suspense that would have Alfred Hitchcock’s teeth chattering!
(“Blown away” is the appropriate phrase, Pepe, non?)
Have you seen Les Enfants du Paradise?
Have you seen City of Lost Children “La Cit
Sounds as though we both have something to add to our list of “Someday” movies.
PS We had plenty of family drama over the long weekend, too. At first I was trying to process it. Now I’ve decided the best course of action is to forget it, as soon as possible. 😮
Jeunet is a wonderful filmmaker, “Delicatessen” is hilarious and “Amelie”, as already mentioned, is a masterpiece of a romantic comedy.
The Man Who Would Be King. I *loved* that movie. My dad took me to that when I was little. Very underrated.
Strongly agree here too. The Man Who Would Be King is a great film that somehow flew beneath many people’s radar.
John Huston had originally cast Bogart and Gable in the leads then had to wait many years to finally make it. After seeing Connery and Caine in those roles, one could hardly imagine Bogart and Gable making it anywhere near as amazing as Connery and Caine did.
“I do like some movies that are mindless fun however, like desserts, on occasion. A diet of all desserts can make one addicted to and crave only sweet, empty calories.”
Phew. I’m kinda snobbish about my film choices. And, quite frankly, have a list somewhere of my faves, but it’s such a daunting task and overwhelming. But, I must say, I got drawn into some of the most saccharine movies ever made, but which when done right, are good fun, and in fact need to be judged on their own merits. I speak of the passion which is Bollywood. I, a non-Indian, sometimes shock Indians with my knowledge. Unofficial estimate has got to be putting me around 300+ since I started watching in early 2000’s broadening my love of all films foreign. Of course, I, taking private group classes in Hindi at the time, could trudge through really bad, simple movies just paying attention to dialogue (it beats some of those language CDs!). It is my guilty pleasure.
My regular fare is more along the lines of Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta, speaking of Indian films, or speaking of Twilight and vampires, the Swedish “Let the Right One In” is a far superior alternative (I especially get uppity and absolutely indignant about gothy things being appropriated by the mainstream), although I’m more forgiving when Tim Burton puts out a stinker.
My favorite old movie would have to be “The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari” – I love the German Expressionist style. I like things strange. I’m more into the artsy and abstract, the ‘Kubrickness’, than “real” cinema or high drama. I’m also a sucker for elaborate costume (
Oh, I forgot about Das Boot. What a brilliant film. I love the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari too.
Das Boot rocked the house!
Hola Pepe! Welcome back!
I have an extremely cute story from my vacation I am considering writing about…
How was your Thanksgiving?
Mine was lovely. I cooked a nice meal for family members who are in town. Family all behaved (no Limbaugh spewing from rightwing brother). How was your trip?
The trip was fine. Very nice vacation rental in the shadow of Mount Shasta, the biggest mountain you’ve ever seen in your life. Some family drama. Made me feel …. normal, somehow.
I like German films in general.
Loved Caligari and the German Expressionists in general. Conrad Veidt is one of the great German actors.
kesmarn–I just discovered him recently. I was thinking I was the only netflix member who ordered the movie The Man Who Laughs, with Conrad Veidt. I guess not, eh? VERY strange movie. He also played Major Strosser in Casablanca, which I just watched the other night.
Oh yeah. The Man Who Laughs is totally unnerving–but gripping. I’m sure Veidt suffered in the making of that one, too. Not only did he have to do all his acting with his eyes only, but that “mouthpiece” or whatever it was had to be uncomfortable!
He was a fine actor.
I saw a documentary about the German film industry just before WWII. A lot of them got out and ended up in Hollywood, taking bit parts and working on B movies. The cast of Casablanca is populated with these people. A lot of the horror flicks (eg wolfman movies) from that era were particularly well done because they were able to get these artists for cheap.
You have to wonder what kind of wonderful stuff they would have made if they’d had their artistic freedom. But Hollywood didn’t operate that way back then. And that sure wasn’t going to happen in Germany, either. Sad.
I understand Veidt had to flee Germany early on because his wife was Jewish. What craziness. In a way, the German Expressionists of the 1920s, to me, seemed to visually present the latent psychosis that was present after WWI in Germany. Little did they know where that repressed angst was going to take their country. If only the artists could have been left free to exorcise that national nightmare/demon, you wonder if things would have turned out a bit differently. Art is so valuable–as catharsis, among many other things–it’s too bad it isn’t taken more seriously. I hear there are RW folks here who are bitching about the $50 million in the stimulus that’s dedicated to the arts. Sigh. They would have fit right in, in the Germany of 1934.
Good points, kesmarn. I know the NEA is always under fire from the rightwing in this country. I don’t imagine there are too many artistic types at those teabagger rallies.
I guess I’ll chime in with a list of some of my favorites. I’m a classic movie buff — I love a good screenplay. I also love good screen chemistry between the main players.
Raise the Red Lantern
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Sweet Smell of Success
In the Heat of the Night
Shoot to Kill
The Wedding Singer
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Ship of Fools
I’m in love with the black/white films of the 30’s and 40’s. Loved the women, their hair, their clothes and for the most part, their feisty attitude. My idea of heaven would be to laze in bed and watch them until my eyelids start to droop and I fall asleep to dream that I’m Katherine Hepburn acting with Spencer Tracy in “Guess who’s coming for Dinner” impossible with constantly hungry furry ones, an all time favourite of mine even though it’s much later and not in black and white.
Yes, I love those old movies. Late 30s, early 40s is the best. Film noir!!
The absolute best and funnily enough, I never tire of watching them, the clothes of the 40’s were to die for, the jewelry too.
Pass the smelling salts please!
Me too. I’ve seen a lot of them many times. And you’re right — I love the style back then. 50s — no. 40s — yes.
Loved the screwball comedies of the 30’s and 40’s, especially those of Preston Sturges, “Sullivan’s Travels”, “The Palm Beach Story”, “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” and of course, his edgy political comedy/drama, “The Great McGinty”.
The sweet smell of success is a film I study over and over again for its structure and dialogue. What a masterpiece.
I’m going to check out the films on your list that I haven’t seen. Judging from the ones I have seen, it seems we have similar taste.
Yes — the dialogue in that movie is incredible. They don’t write ’em like they used to!!
Have you got a list of favorites?
My favorite films are the ones with good dialogue. I can practically recite All About Eve from beginning to end. The sweet smell of success is probably the best dialogue of any movie ever written. I love People will talk for the same reason. It’s a little schmaltzy and the plot is almost ridiculous, but the dialogue is wonderful. And I can watch The man who came to dinner over and over and still laugh at the same lines every time.
The list of my favorite films would be very long — and theme based. Dialogue films, visual films, great chemistry films, love the actor/actress films, scared the bejezus out of me films…..
Fargo is one of those that fits into several categories.
Just saw the Man Who Came To Dinner again a couple months ago. I haven’t seen People Will Talk …will have to look that up. I’ve seen All About Eve several times — great flick! We do have similar tastes.
A big screen hit with unexpectedly good dialogue: Aliens (the second one).
I will look into that. I loved the first one because of the visuals. The guy who designed the alien had an exhibit of his art — very creepy stuff!
Anyone ever seen the movie by Warren Beatty – “Reds” ?
It also stars Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
It’s an excellent movie and it is a long movie, but worth every minute and it’s based on a true story about the only American buried in Red Square in Russia.
Yes we have seen it, great film. I think I have a copy on Beta, I know, I know. Will have to have many keepers dubbed to DVD soon but still own a working Beta video deck and 2 turntables for all the albums were brought over from our time in London before we moved here.
I too miss the great films of yesterday, but especially the great British films I watched countless times without ever being bored.
The 1969 Ken Russell film “Women in Love” adapted from the D.H. Lawrence novel of the same name. “The Music Lovers” in 1970 depicting the slide into the madness of Tchaikovsky.
“The Go-Between” from a novel by J.P. Hartley 1970, shot on location in and around the place I grew up in after we moved to England and where my father still lives.
The last two films I really enjoyed were “The Bucket List” and a little movie about the gap in the cultural understanding between an Indian couple who arrived in the States to start a new life and their son who was born in the States, “The Namesake.”
I can’t remember the last time I was in an actual movie theater, the crowds are overwhelming in Tokyo. We wait for them to show on cable or sometimes receive DVD’s from the guy who is in charge of Warner Brothers here.
Adding two more to my list. “The Constant Gardener” 2005 and “The English Patient” 1996.
Really memorable film are few and far between, it really is such a shame.
I’m glad that you wrote about the “Bucket List” since we’ve been hesitant on checking it out of the library because it had such poor reviews.
I do find that the movies that get poor reviews, we actually like, and then the movies that get great reviews, we despise.
We love watching movies and we do either the Red Box, which is dollar rentals, or we check them out of the library for free.
I’m making a list of movies that Planet members are leaving here so that we can watch them.
All of your suggestions are much appreciated and keep them coming!!!
Have you ever seen “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?”
It stars George Clooney and is hilarious.
Imho, Clooney is at his best in comedies – “Leatherheads” about the origin of American football and quite funny, and “Burn After Reading”, which is a great movie with Clooney and Brad Pitt that didn’t get the recognition that it should have gotten.
That was a very funny movie, but a somewhat dark comedy, yet it was entertaining.
Good evening javaz. We enjoyed the film very much and loved both Jack N and Morgan Freeman in their roles. I never really listen to the critics about anything, I have a mind of my own and want to use it.
Brad Pitt in that “Burn After Reading” plays such an idiot, and he does it so well, it’s worth watching.
And Clooney is so paranoid, and the movie, well, it should have done better at the box office.
I love Coen brothers movies and loved
Javaz, Kalima and all, hello! (I was here earlier, was called in to work and now am back.)
Loved Clooney in “Oh, Brother!” Those dance moves he did on the stage were hilarious…especially the expression on his face!
Hello kesmarn, I hope that you are relaxing now. I’m off for a paddle in my bathtub and will check back later.
Enjoy, Kalima! It’s nearly 2 a.m. here, so I’ll be heading off to bed shortly. Sigh, time at the Planet flies by. Time at work, on the other hand…
What about war movies?
Are those considered good film?
One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Dirty Dozen” with Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Trini Lopez!
And another absolute favorite is “The Magnificent Seven” with Yul Brenner.
And then there’s “Tora Tora”.
javaz, have you ever seen The Young Lions — one of my favorite war films about WWII. It was made in 1958, starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Dean Martin, Hope Lange, Maximillian Schell, Barbara Rush — what an unlikely cast, huh? A moving film, and an unusual take.
Also in the cast, May Britt, who married Sammy Davis Jr.
No, I have not, but am putting it on my list.
I thought at first you were talking about that film with Michael Caine and Robert Duval, and that was an excellent movie about the old timers taking in the young boy from a wild mother and them guys were older and told wild tales that ended up being true.
Oh, do you know the movie that I am talking about?
And now that I am thinking about this topic and this thread, we still have great movies coming out of Hollywood, but the marketing and the suck movies that make it big – I still cannot get over that “Titanic” by James Cameron won an Oscar for best film, but heck yeah, we have lots of great movies still to this day that come out.
“Cider House” – is that the name of that movie?
It was excellent.
And even the cheesy – “Devil’s Advocate” with Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron and Al Pacino – that’s a great movie.
I adore Keanu Reeves. Point Break is my favorite guilty pleasure.
Yes, I am also bewildered by Titanic getting as many nominations as All About Eve — and then WINNING.
Cider House Rules — is that the film you mean? I have yet to see that one. People warn me that it’s very upsetting, so I have to wait until I’m in the right place to see it.
I think you’re so right about marketing. It’s terrible. We get so much promotion for cartoon and sitcom based films, almost nothing for the more complex, interesting storytelling. Who can figure Hollywood ….
That’s it, “Cider House Rules” and it’s about abortion.
Can’t say it was upsetting, but was rather eye-opening.
There was also another movie about abortion, and it was another excellent movie, about an average woman who helped women in need, and it takes place long ago, maybe in the 40’s, and the woman makes no profit from her services, but a young woman dies from the abortion and then she goes to prison, but that’s only at the end.
That movie showed how rich women can get safe abortions, while the middle class and poor cannot.
I wish I could remember the name, but the actress was nominated that year for an Oscar, and yes, I watch the Oscars every year, even though I don’t see the movies, but love them.
You know, I never realized until this thread came up here, how much I do love movies.
I love them all.
From “Waynes World”, to “Austin Powers”, to serious movies such as “The Pianist” or “Schindler’s List”, I love movies.
I remember growing up, and my mother would tell stories about my dad being in the Navy during WW2, and she just had my oldest brother, but he was a baby back then, and how the only joy she got in them days was walking up to the local theater and paying a nickle to see a film.
And btw, the very first date my father and mother had was when my dad took my mom to see ‘Gone With The Wind’ in the city, and when they brought that movie back out and re-colorized it, or whatever is the term, my parents were older, and my father took my mom to see the newer version at the movie theater.
I think I was 10 or so, and it is a sweet memory, because my parents were so cheap and we were so poor, so for my father to take my mother to the new ‘Gone With The Wind’ at the movie theater is such a wonderful memory.
Devil’s Advocate was indeed cool.
I tend to like the war movies with a message like “Apocalypse Now”, “Full Metal Jacket” and “Platoon” even thought the moral clarity of WWII movies makes me nostalgic.
I do love some old and new cowboy movies like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “High Plains Drifter” and “Unforgiven” too. Hmmm… All Clint Eastwood movies come to think of it.
I actually wrote a college paper on High Plains Drifter and got an A on it!
The Guns of Navarone is a really good war movie. Also, Where Eagles Dare.
There were some great ground breaking films by great directors and writers in the ’90s as well like Pulp Fiction, Fargo, Schindler’s List, Goodfellas, Lost Highway, L.A. Confidential, Casino, Millers Crossing, Reservoir Dogs, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Forrest Gump, Silence of the Lambs, etc… In the 00’s most films in general were shite. Probably the best films I saw were foreign made films like Curse of the Golden Flower.
Interestingly music was much better in the 70’s and 90’s than now, but I don’t complain because again it gets me listening to more international music. I blame the GOP. Don’t get me started on the arts vacuum in the 80’s under Reagan.
Hopefully the arts will come back in the 10’s.
Schindler’s List was nothing less than brilliant — if heartbreaking. And Fargo is another one on my favorites list.
I think there are some gems from this decade, too, though (I listed some below).
“The Pianist” with Adrien Brody
And sadly, that was directed by Roman Polanski.
But that was a very good movie and so touching.
I watched “Schindler’s List” about 6 times and each time found something new that I had missed in the the first few times of watching. A truly brilliant film as you say.
It slaps you in the face and hits you in the heart every time you see it.
I’ve seen dozens of documentaries about the death camps but there is something about a dramatic recreation when done right that connects in a different way emotionally, it does not hit you harder just different.
I was so glad I had seen Ralph Feinnes in Quiz Show before I saw Schindler’s List. I would never have been able to watch him again if I hadn’t had that other first impression.
Oh God yes and love Ralph Feinnes as an actor.
OMG, I totally forgot David Lynch. Lost Highway not only a good film, but a fantastic soundtrack!
Yup I love David Lynch movies. Lost Highway was a surreal masterpiece but I think Mulholland Drive from 2001 was even a little bit better.
This is about my favorite song from a movie ever. An incredibly haunting performance and a perfect fit for the movie.
I confess I went on a “Blue Velvet” kick years ago. I can’t remember how many times I watched it. I also convinced my nephew that he hadn’t seen a real movie until he’d seen Eraserhead.
What movie is the above from? I don’t remember it from Mulholland Drive. I love Lynch’s juxtaposition of innocent girls against debauched older women — common theme in his work.
Love that song! Like seriously. Plus, Naomi Watts was so cute in that. Not a high brow comment untangling the complexities of Lynch, but just an observation. He’s very good with erotic themes.
David Bowie – I’m Deranged