Friday, 15 January 2010
The New Year's Resolution Ten: Finally Seeing To My Most Blatant Movie Omissions
When you first get into film its like being a Kid in a sweet shop, to use a tired metaphor. There's so much to discover, so many great things to see and so little time. You go from classic to classic and movies the idea becomes an increasingly flawless proposition. But then almost without realizing, you kind of run out. Not out of films per say, but all the ones you were burning to see, the out and out masterpieces, you see and that's that. Its depressingly empowering. On one hand you're geekery can now be defined as intimidating, and I don't know any serious film fan who wouldn't take that thought as a severe compliment, but on the other you've burned through the archive, you've sampled all the best sweets and all that's left are the weird french ones or ones yet to be made. But in a harsh twist of tone in this post, I've decided I've not quite earned that coveted status of intimidating geekery that makes one's life complete, and made a frighteningly recognizable list of great film's I've yet to see.
My challenge, should I choose to accept it, is to see all of these bitches before the year is out, thus reducing my embarrassing omissions to virtually nothing, or the ones I couldn't think of at this point in time, and report back to the blogging faithful. Let the credit-reducing confessions commence. And for the record I have seen Black Narcissus, I just think that Evil nun Ruth doesn't get the airtime she deserves.
10) Sunset Boulevard
I truly don't understand this one. I love every Billy Wilder film I've ever seen, from Double Indemnity to Sabrina and Some Like It Hot, which is up there amongst my favorite films ever. I love his style, I love the impeccably written scripts, so what the fuck is my problem here? Am I too lazy? I don't think so, I travel forty minutes every time I go to the cinema and I don't have a car. Am I worried its going to be shit? not in the slightest. I'm sad to say this is just a case of unexplainable decade-long oversight. For which there is no excuse. I'm all over this mother.
9) The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
Everything I hear about this film just makes it look that much more awesome. It's a grizzled, cynical adventure story. Full with loftier metaphors for greed and supposedly a near career best performance by Humphrey Bogart, who just might be my favorite actor of Hollywood's golden age. I love Huston's African Queen, and The Big Sleep (and Bogart's performance in it) is up there for the coolest film in existence. Add in a third factor that this is supposedly THE major influence for Modern masterpiece There Will Be Blood, I can't believe I've not seen this already. I appall myself.
8) The Sweet Smell Of Success
Another Scathing diss aimed at the heart of Hollywood, This movie is perhaps not the most notorious on the list, but for me having not seen it is humiliation to the core of my soul. I love satires so much, particularly dark, cynical ones, and so having not seen this is equivalent to fans of action movies having not seen Point Break. Only I'm certain this will be so much better then Point Break, and given that every Burt Lancaster performance I have seen I've been pretty much blown away by, its quite poor show to not have seen his tour de force.
I'll go on record and say The Seven Samurai didn't do it for me. I'm sorry. A couple of awesome fight scenes aside it didn't sell me. Maybe because I saw the infinitely more exciting The Magnificent Seven tell the same story first I don't know, but shit didn't work for me. I loved Ran, however, so am not done wit Kurosawa yet. And this, widely considered to be his best, is the daddy of multiple perspective movies and for that deserves my long overdue attention. I'm not sure if I'll like it mind, but its worthy enough to hunt down.
6) The Exorcist
This is the film on the list I have the lowest expectation for - I have a quiet hunch its going to be balls - but given its legendary status, social impact and how much Mark Kermode loves it, any self-respecting movie fan needs to have seen this film, and as I crave to be a self-respecting movie fan more then anything else in this universe and subsequent dimensional multi-verses. Bring the 360 head-twisting.
5) The Deer Hunter
I have seen a portion of this movie, I think I either fell asleep or had to turn it off to watch the football, neither of which is an excuse, but its such a bona fide classic having not seen it is a punchline. Plus its a pretty senior entry into the unquestionably awesome sub-genre of the Vietnam war movie which I love close to every entry, though it is long dead. Digressing, what the fuck is up with that? They still make world war 2 movies don't they? Anyway, yeah Deer Hunter. Emotionally ravaging classic containing a cast of legends. My bad.
4) Eight and a Half
My excuse at 13 was it has subtitles. My excuse at 15 was it has subtitles. My excuse these days is that I don't particularly care for 60's Italian Cinema, I've seen Le Dolca Vita and it didn't blow my mind. I think maybe because I'm too stereotypically English and thus terrified of any expression of fictional sexuality, and these films have sex in the air to the point of ridiculousness. Either way, I shall face my inhibition head on be seeing this film, which has kind of emerged as the masterpiece of this particular cinematic movement. Shall I agree? Who the fuck knows. Although I wouldn't bank on it.
3) The Grapes Of Wrath
One of two John Ford oversights, of which this is the least embarrassing. Which bodes well for what else is on this list. I studied Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men in school, in great, excruciating detail. And I while I like it, and the movie of it, I considered myself Steinbecked out for at least a decade. But that might not be a serviceable excuse to not see what might be one of the greatest films of early Hollywood. Not admissible in movie-fan court, really.
2) Bride Of Frankenstein
30's horrors are something I have seen little of, but they seem to get ecstatic, caffeinated reviews from anyone who's seen them. So what might be the Sean Paul of them all, The Bride Of Frankenstein, is something I need to see. I'm an unabashed horror fan. I dig the shit our of modern horror, but the classics are something I think I need a slight schooling in, beginning with this James Whale directed monolith.
1) The Searchers
Here it is. Yes I haven't seen this. Please put your jaws back in the full upright and locked position. Having not seen this, to continue my comparative metaphor theme, is equivalent to a fan of music having never listened to Sam Cooke or Bob Dylan. Its more unforgivable then shooting a family member in the face for 75 p (or cents, if you are an American) or thinking that Star Wars Episode One is an undiscovered masterpiece, and that Jar Jar Binks is the comic creation of 1999. There's nothing to say for it. I've carried the guilt of this movie with me for too long. No more.