Sunday, December 4, 2022

Alternate Oscars: 1975 — The Greatest Movie Of All-Time?

Sight & Sound came out this past week with its once-a-decade list of the greatest movies ever made.

As usual, it treats the ticket-buying public with ridicule rather than respect. Screw Star Wars and Marvel. And there's not much love for classical Hollywood filmmaking either — no Spielberg, no Hawks, no Capra, no Lubitsch.

Dr. Strangelove? Double Indemnity? The Marx Brothers? Not on the list.

The Adventures of Robin Hood? Pulp Fiction? The Grapes of Wrath? Nope.

A Hard Day's Night? Unforgiven? Uh-uh.

Not even Weekend at Bernie's 2!

Make of it what you will.

As for their choice of the best of all time, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles — a dull movie about a dull woman living on the raggedy edge of Dullsville — well, other than to note that it's 200 minutes of Delphine Seyrig peeling potatoes, I don't have much of anything to say about it.

But I do want to mention how much film fandom has changed in my lifetime. Back in the day, everything was word of mouth — no VHS, no DVDs, no streaming. No IMDB. Hell, no cable television! There were only two ways to see a movie: in the theater or on broadcast television. Sometimes you'd have to wait five years to see a movie and if for some reason you missed it, you waited five more.

And if some boozed-up jackanapes laid claim to a watching-paint-dry-snoozefest as the best movie of all-time, you had to take his word for it.

Now pretty much everybody in the industrialized world can dial up a movie like Jeanne Dielman (on the Criterion channel) and watch it at their convenience.

The old film canon is dead because you don't need one — watch everything yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, is Jeanne Dielman the greatest movie ever made? Let me put it this way — I'd rather spend three hours on line at the DMV. But if you want to vote it the best movie of 1975, here's your chance.

My choices are noted with a ★. A tie is indicated with a ✪. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. Best foreign-language picture winners are noted with an ƒ. Best animated feature winners are noted with an @. A historical winner who won in a different category is noted with a ✱.


Anonymous said...

A mule asked: is that really a picture of Sylvia Miles in your five-headshot melange of supporting actresses ? It looks like someone completely different.

Which ties in to 1975

Your problem with Sight and Sound is that you know nothing and you don’t know your own tastes. I know this because that’s what they’re telling everyone.

Mythical Monkey said...

Pretty sure that's Sylvia Miles although it's a lousy picture and a lousy likeness -- I'll sub in a more representative one from the movie itself where she is, admittedly, playing a pretty frowsy character.

Mythical Monkey said...

As for Sight & Sound, they are geniuses and I am not. Or so they tell me.

Actually, I think Sight & Sound and I fundamentally disagree about what movies are for. I happen to think cinema started with Georges Méliès who had the brilliant insight that movies aren't for showing us the world as it is but for showing us the world as it isn't and never can be.

You want to see the world as it is, go outside. You want to see the dreams and passions and nightmares that play out in people's heads, go to the movies.

Mythical Monkey said...

Done, re: Sylvia Miles ...