My beacon to the world (urza9995) wrote in filmperceptions,
My beacon to the world

Lists by the bagful

I came across this board when searching for other users who liked Tarkovsky. I read some of the posts and liked what and who I saw. You all seem like a nice bunch, so I'd like to participate, if you don't mind. :) Also, I'd like to direct/write screenplays someday (soon?), so hearing what other movies are out there that I should see would be a good thing, I think. Anyway, onward!

Top Five!

1. Ivan's Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky) - Probably not his best, but I can't say for sure (I've only seen three of his films). I can say that it is without a doubt my favorite of the three I've seen. It's stark. It's sympathetic without being overly sentimental. It's rather brave, considering the fact that it doesn't really comply wholly to Soviet Realism. I really need to watch this again tonight (I got it on DVD for Christmas!). I'll edit this paragraph later, okay?

2. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch) - Oh, what to say about Mulholland Drive? It seems as though you either love it and get it, love it and don't get it, or hate it and don't get it. I have to admit that I didn't understand it either the first time I saw it, but I knew I liked it. It's full of Lynch-type humor and weirdness, it has profound beauty and profound sorrow, and it's just interesting to watch. It's as though Lynch takes from both pots: the art pot and the entertainment pot, and blends them together like a master chef.

3. Dreams (Akira Kurosawa) - This film is right up my alley because Kurosawa does with this film exactly what I would like to do if(/when?) I made films: he tells his dreams and does so with amazing beauty. There isn't really a whole lot to say about this film, as each dream is so different from the other, and yet, what can you say about another man's dreams? This film is an inspiration, plain and simple.

4. Metropolis (Fritz Lang) - I know it's only all too cool to like this film, as it is the most accessible of all German expressionistic films, but I do genuinely enjoy it. The first time I saw it, I didn't appreciate it (because it had that annoying new wave soundtrack... not that I hate new wave, it just did NOT fit). Recently, I was able to catch it on TCM and it really blew me away. The sets were so detailed and beautiful. The scale and scope are both unbelievable. I kept asking my brother (who was watching it with me), "How did they DO that? This was back in the earliest days of film! How did they DO that?" The story is fantastic and so utterly German that it's delightful. What else can I say about this film that hasn't already been said? Oh yeah. About a year or so ago, I had a dream that had a cathedral in it. I vividly remember what it looked like inside and I knew I had seen it somewhere before. I kept seeing traces of it here and there (in the video game Koudelka, in an old castle on a TV show, etc.), but none of them fit the dream. It was only when I saw Metropolis again that I put the two together. It was the church set that was in my dream! Well, not all of it, but that one collumn with the decorations around it and the people in robes (who were also in my dream) wandering around it. It just goes to show you what an impression this film makes on you.

5. Falling Down (Joel Schumacher) - This is my guilty pleasure on this list. I wouldn't even consider it one of my top five, but I feel this is one of the most overlooked decent films of the 1990's, so I should probably explain this a little bit more than the others. Also, I know that Joel Schumacher is the man that ruined the Batman movies. Somehow, he actually did a good job with this one though. The acting is decent, the script is okay and often quite funny, but what's really important with this film (I believe) is the hero/antihero dynamic. The first character we are introduced with is often the person we assume to be the hero of the film (Michael Douglas), and with this film, we are set up to believe the same: he is the hero, his actions are just/justified, and his mission is something we can all get behind. Then we are introduced to this other character: a stereotypical, by the book, liked by most, retiring cop (Robert Duvall). At first, his role in the film is unclear, but as he starts to track the exploits of Michael Douglas, we begin to wonder, "Who is the real hero here?" You support Michael Douglas as he brings a kind of blue collar justice to those who offend the decent human being, even though he's breaking the law in doing so. You also support Robert Duvall because, as you learn, Michael Douglas isn't really all that stable and probably would be a danger to his ex-wife and daughter (who he's "going home" to). As the film comes to a head, hero and antihero meet and Michael Douglas recites a line that expresses his own character's ignorance to the fact that he wasn't the hero after all ("I'm the bad guy?"). Hero defeats antihero (through kind of a bluff standoff which can be interpreted as a self-sacrifice) and peace is once again restored. I'd suggest picking it up just to see it once. It's one of those really cheap DVDs with the paper cases.

Bottom two! (Booo!) This is going to be really hard since I tend to avoid seeing bad films outright... but here goes nothing.

1. All the Scream and Scary Movie movies - It's pretty pathetic when the parodies are worse than the originals, isn't it? The Scream movies were juvenile, bland, and not at all scary. You actually started rooting for the killers because you hated the entire cast THAT much. The "surprise" endings never were surprises. Just one let down after another is how this series could best be described. The Scary Movie(s) were MORE juvenile, more tasteless, and more boring than the original movies and not even funny. I didn't even think it was possible! I mean, aren't parodies supposed to be funny? The first scary movie was all drug and sex jokes. I skipped the second. The third was mostly anal jokes and obvious, over-used jabs at B-list celebrities (though it did have rare moments of humor).

2. The Blair Witch Project - Since when were shaky camera shots, constant swearing and screaming, and scenes of dull, empty wooded areas scary? I was bored and nauseated watching this. I wanted to just get up and leave, but I kept hoping it would be better. It never got better. The ending was a non-ending at best. There's not a whole lot to say about this film since there isn't a whole lot to it. It was hyped as revolutionary and once it was over, I didn't care. I have never been made to feel physically ill from any movie ever (and I've seen Pink Flamingos!), but this somehow managed to do it. That alone puts it on the "Boo-ed two" list.

^ My two cents.
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