Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Movie Meme


This started with EagleSpeak, went to Stygius, who then passed it onto me and a few others. So, let's see:

Total number of films I own: I don't know, mostly because our collection here has increased and I have a ton of flicks in storage in Maryland. I'd guess at about 400.

The last film I bought: In the Name of the Father. I saw this movie some years ago and hadn't thought much about it. I encountered it on sale at the Navy Exchange recently, and figured why not buy it. Timely re-visit, surely, in the context of what's been going on with Guantanamo Bay and how the law has been stretched in this country to fight terrorists. The Brits went through the whole shebang with the IRA and the bombings back in the seventies, and there was so much more about that which was very in your face and real, and they botched how they went about handling that --- putting people away for crimes, guilty or not, was what mattered, not justice.

The last film I watched: Mean Creek. This was a terrific movie, and it totally made up for Taxi, which I won't even link to (the Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifah disaster), which we watched right before watching this --- it was a lazy Memorial Day after running around earlier.

Five favorite films: These would be movies I like a lot and watch often, or otherwise, for whatever reason (to some degree explanations are rendered here) mean a lot to me.

1. Ikiru. I'm somewhat amazed that there's never been an American version of this movie. Maybe it's too dark, but then I don't see the movie that way. Well, whatever ... easily one of
Kurosawa's best movies, right up there with Ran and Rashomon, though not nearly as
well known.

2. The Twilight Samurai. Another simple story, one about honor that doesn't totally translate into how we'd see things in this culture, but at its heart it's a story most of us would
understand and appreciate.

3. Miller's Crossing. I think this is the best of the Coen brother's movies, and given what they've done that's saying a lot. The acting is excellent, and the story grabs you the whole way through.

4. Unforgiven. A great morality tale, as most really good westerns are.

5. Strictly Ballroom. It may seem like an odd addition, but it's so campy and fundamentally funny that I've watched it at least ten times with friends.

Ok, I'm sending the meme onto: Hedwig, Amy, Mr. Carlisle, Africanuck, Waxwing, and Josh.


Anonymous Josh Canel said...

I'll get to that tonight after work...

7:33 AM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

It may take me a couple days to answer this because I am preparing for a job interview on friday.


8:43 AM  
Blogger James said...

There's clearly NO rush on this for either of you, for sure. I'm curious and I figured both of you, along with the others I tagged for this, would have some interesting movies to suggest.

Hedwig: Good luck on the job interview!

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Stygius said...

I just saw Ikiru last week! I had it sitting on my table for over a week, wary of getting "deep," but it is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. I also saw Twilight Samurai recently, and was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting the kind of hack-'em-up samurai flicks I like, but was enchanted by the quiet, elegant story.

I almost did a Big Lebowski/Miller's Crossing tie, but Lebowski is such a huge reference point with my generation it's part of my everday idiom, it's impossible not to go with it.

10:46 PM  
Blogger James said...

Wow ... however much you were a guy I'd buy a beer and chat with before, you just made the "A" list. Yep, "Ikiru" is definitely one of those movies you think is going to be too "deep" to enjoy, and it does take a little bit of viewing, but suddenly it hits you, or at least it did me --- this is a movie that's totally fundamental, it's about the human spirit, it's about finding value in life before it's too late; it's a damn great movie!

As for The Twilight Samurai, we're together there, too. If you like a good hack 'em up, though, definitely check out The Blind Swordsman Zaitochi (the Takeshi Kitano version which is relatively new), I think you'll enjoy that.

I need to re-watch Lebowski --- for me Miller's is universal, speaking to basic goods, bads, and greys. The first time I watched Lebowski, which was years ago, it annoyed me, but in all fairness I need to re-visit it.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Stygius said...

There's something about the timing of the humor in Big Lebowski; it's a kind of perfection. Ennui, absurdism, randomness.... Maybe it's just the people I live around, but we all are Lebowski freaks -- one of those movies where random bits of the script constantly filter into conversation and situations. I love it.

Miller's Crossing I love for its huge, byzantine plot and its schizophrenic morality. I've never seen anything else like it. The Cohens create these characters -- even their psychopaths -- that you just fall in love with; their knowing irony, I think. I'm totally with you on Miller's moral comlexity -- especially the fallibility of the hero. I think any reasonable belief system has to have a very generous fallibilism built into it.

I saw one of the Zaitoichis, I think. I've been a fanatic for samurai flicks lately. I just saw both Chushingura and the 1942 47 Ronin, plus the whole Musashi cycle. I go online poaching in all of these library catalogues for obscure movies you can't rent. I love it.

11:10 PM  
Blogger James said...

Ok, I'm sold on re-watching The Big Lebowski --- I'll see how it plays for me now.

Definitely check out the Kitano version of The Blind Swordsman --- I think you'll get a kick out of it (simple, somewhat oddly campy, but plenty of blood and guts in the quitessential samurai movie fashion.)

10:37 AM  

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