Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wait, What—No Billy Wilder, No John Ford? If I Had A Sight & Sound Top Ten Film Ballot (Take Two)

I looked at yesterday's top ten list—which I completely stand behind, by the way—and thought "What, no Wilder? No Ford? No movies made after 1959?" So here's a baker's dozen randomly selected from the other half of my brain—which I also stand behind.

In chronological order this time.

The Gold Rush—The Chaplin movie that has it all: the dancing rolls, the edible boot, the hungry man who thinks his partner is a giant chicken. And rare for Chaplin, a truly happy ending.

"Chicken or no chicken, his friend looks appetizing."

The Adventures of Robin Hood—I like Star Wars as much as the next guy, provided that the next guy insists on watching the original theatrical cut with none of George Lucas's obsessive digital revisionism, but this adventure classic starring Errol Flynn as he-who-steals-from-the-rich-and-gives-to-the-poor is how it's done—great action, great acting, great dialogue.

"Why, you speak treason!"

Out of the Past—The quintessential film noir starring Robert Mitchum as a guy just dumb enough to think he's smarter than Jane Greer. With Kirk Douglas in a great, early role.

"Baby, I don't care."

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre—a rousing action-adventure movie and a dark look at greed and obsession. The best acting Humphrey Bogart ever did without putting on a trench coat.

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges."

Tokyo Story—Do you have parents? Are they getting older? Don't know what to do with them? Japanese master of understatement Yasujiro Ozu at his absolute best.

"Isn't life disappointing?"
(smiling) "Yes, it is."

Rear Window—Including North by Northwest yesterday, the second entry from Alfred Hitchcock. Jimmy Stewart is a wheelchair-bound voyeur who spends all his time looking out the window instead of at his gorgeous girlfriend, Grace Kelly. No wonder a murder breaks out.

"Why would a man leave his apartment three times on a rainy night with a suitcase and come back three times?"
"He likes the way his wife welcomes him home."

The Searchers—John Ford, John Wayne, which should be enough, but it also led directly to Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, if that means anything to you. A deep, dark western with the most beautiful use of Monument Valley ever.

"I hope you die!"
"That'll be the day."

The Apartment—Billy Wilder made some of the best movies ever—Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot to name three—but this tender, cynical, romantic look at corporate America is my personal favorite.

"You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you."
"Shut up and deal."

Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb—Nuclear armageddon has never been so funny.

"You can't fight in here—this is the war room!"

Chinatown—You'd probably put The Godfather here, but this story of a detective (Jack Nicholson) who only thinks he knows what's going on was the best crime film of the decade.

"Forget it, Jake—it's Chinatown."

Manhattan—Woody Allen has made Sleeper, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Match Point and Midnight in Paris, but this is my favorite.

"You think you're God."
"I gotta model myself after someone."

Groundhog Day—Now here's a movie I'd be happy to watch over and over again. A laugh-out-loud comedy that also turns out to be one of the most insightful looks at the meaning of life ever made.

"What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?"
"That about sums it up for me."

Schindler's List—What makes a hero—good character or good choices? This moving and mesmerizing tale of the Holocaust makes you wonder why such a flawed man risked so much when so many "good" people did nothing.

"It's Hebrew, it's from the Talmud. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.'"

Is this list any better than yesterday's? Of course not. All lists are stupid. But we do love them so, me more than most.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Out of the Past: "Baby I Don't Care"

The Searchers: "That'll Be the Day"

I always love Myth's Annual Buddy Holly tribute lists :-)

Mythical Monkey said...

The Searchers: "That'll Be the Day"

I always love Myth's Annual Buddy Holly tribute lists :-)

And for those who don't happen to know, Buddy Holly actually wrote the song "That'll Be The Day" after he saw The Searchers, based on that exchange of dialogue ...