Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nine Movies

My friend Sare does a lot of blog memes such as Sunday Stealing.  She's doing something in October which has her stating a certain number of things (such as "10 people I couldn't live without"; I was #10).  Yesterday she did nine movies.  Which inspired me to do nine movies.  I've avoided repeating any of her movies:

The Lord of the Rings. Technically three movies, but didn't want to use up all my choices. These moves are damn near perfect. The production values, the music, the settings, the acting, the direction, the special effects. Yes, those 6,000 horses are CGI but you don't care because the horses are the forces of good and you want good to win. Occasionally the writers strayed from Tolkien and that's when the movies are at their worst but their worst is better then most movies' best. Just amazing movies.

Star Wars. Okay, technically I'm talking about Star War IV: A New Hope, but when it was released and I first saw it, it was called "Star Wars" and that's it. It was an amazing break-through movie for the times. The special effects were like nothing seen before and here was a science fiction movie that wasn't a glum, depressing, or disturbing movie (viz Silent Running). This changed movies forever as Hollywood learned they could make money making fun movies. It also led to the revitalization of "Star Trek" which led to . . .

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Made cheap and fast (parts of its special effects are clipped right out of Star Trek: The Motion Picture) the writing saves this movie. The clever dialogue between Kirk and Bones and Spock and of course, the nemesis, Khan. Also the only Star Trek movie where they actually fire phasers! Not deep entertainment, but fun.

Talk to Her. A film made in Spain (subtitled) with complex relationships and perhaps a rapist as an unlikely hero (it's never answered, never resolved). Two women are in comas and each one has a man who is in love with them. Something that has to be seen to understand.  For some reason for days I couldn't stop thinking about this movie.

The Empire Strikes Back. A lot of times a director will make a great movie on a shoestring budget, have a hit, then have all the money he needs to make that "movie I've always wanted to make" and ends up making some self-indulgent drivel (viz: Heaven's Gate). George Lucas managed to avoid this trap in making Empire (he waited until the Star Wars prequels). Just a great, fun movie. The asteroid sequence is amazing for pre-CGI special effects and this was when Lucas knew to leave the audience wanting more, not less. (Or he couldn't afford to run the sequence into the ground like he did so often in the prequels.)

Forrest Gump. There's something about this story that profoundly affects me. Maybe I've known too many Jennys in my life. First time I saw it I cried. Bawled. Could not stop. Luckily I was home.

House of Flying Daggers. Basically the director's excuse to film beautiful sequences with almost no plot. But you don't care because they are breathtakingly beautiful.  Made in China with subtitles.

Twelve O'clock High. One of the first post-World War II movies to show the horror of combat (albeit, very subtly). Story of a "bad luck" bomber squadron that gets turned around by a hard-nosed commander. Not very sentimental nor maudlin, more of a "war is hell and if you don't run your unit right, it's even worse hell." Lessons can be applied to business and life. Worst part of the movie is the sequence with actual battle footage.

Toy Story 2. In the first Toy Story, Pixar made an amazing film. Not only a technological achievement but a touching, humorous, amazingly written warm story. In Toy Story 2, they took everything they'd learned up until then and made an even better movie. Bigger in scope and wider in narrative, has moments you want to cry and moments you want to cheer and moments that are so funny you have to stop the Blu-Ray and giggle for five minutes.

What are your favorite movies?

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