Post #300: Musings & Problems / What’s Next / Capsules / Title Sequences List / Index
MUSINGS & PROBLEMS (SKIPPABLE)
In the spring while Amber and I were on our way home from New York, I found myself stranded in a strange town unexpectedly at one point with little energy or interest in reading any of the books I had with me, so I read the lion’s share of the reviews I wrote of the first thirty or so Best Picture winners at this blog. My verdict was that they were better than I thought, especially considering how frequently I’ve felt that my approach to the movie essays here has needed to change. Of late my fixation has been on both clarity — cutting down on the large number of words dancing around the thing I’m trying to actually say — and on trying to capture the feeling of watching a film more than the details of the experience, which I think are all too simple to dissect. Watching so much of the American film canon, as I have in the last twenty-one months, will lead you in directions like this because you’re bound so much to question your perception of the movies. No one can control their emotional reaction to Blade Runner. When faced with finally writing at length about it this year, I found how tricky it is to try and judge the reasons for something that is entirely out of one’s control. Criticism is often act of interpretation, including (and maybe largely) of oneself.
The revisions of old reviews that you often see posted here are a complication to this thorny issue. When I revisit the writing I did about movies on my first attempt at regular blogging on the subject in the middle of the last decade, I usually find that the work was too informal and flippant. But as the films being revisited have grown in stature and complexity, I find often that my reaction to a given movie has changed drastically but that my essay defining a wholly different line of thinking still seems valuable to me, and therefore I’m reluctant to revise it. Somehow coherent babble was dredged up from the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? review; I think the expansion upon Million Dollar Baby was less successful. On first pass, I was neutral about the film; on second, I found it deeply infuriating but not, I fear, for the reasons I carefully laid out in my original piece. I’m dissatisfied with what ended up being posted; I hesitated a full rewrite because my current views on the film don’t warrant nearly as much detailed breakdown as I performed initially, and it would have seemed disappointing to me to write something that was more critical yet more vague. In some sense, the revision or lack thereof is also an act of self-critique; rarely is it so clear how one’s way of thinking has changed than when confronted with a film that has not changed and then one’s younger self’s intricate response to it.
The issue is that my initial reaction to Million Dollar Baby, more measured and respectful but also less empathetic to its heroine’s plight, is still valid. Somewhere in the universe is someone experiencing that response now, or at least someone who is either sympathetic to it or could find value in it, and as a result going forward I must try to conceive of ways to preserve evolutionary criticisms of a given title over a much broader range of time. I no longer feel as strongly about my consternation about sports as I did in 2006, and I honestly don’t think that I came down hard enough in favor of assisted suicide, an integral aspect of the film that only seems weak and troubling in its specific context (that is, its cruel implication that a loss of physical aptitude is somehow equivalent to death) — but the phrasing and linear thought process seemed inextricable from the body of the essay, so it became next to impossible to try and parse out and rewrite it. I probably will not see Million Dollar Baby again for at least five years, but when I do, I will attempt to keep this in mind. The conclusion I’m leaning toward is slightly that in some cases, an entirely new review will be required but with the older one still side by side or available in some form.
A film that’s far more benign in most respects, Michael Curtiz’s Yankee Doodle Dandy, was addressed in a very short review that was part of a post with broader, non-film-related contexts. Brief and somewhat rushed, it provided a few key phrases that I found resonant after revisiting the film and wished to use, but its conclusions were so unrecognizably distant from my more recent experience of the movie that there was simply no way for me to use its full body straightforwardly within the new essay. The solution arrived at — you’ll have to stay tuned for a little while longer — may or may not be a healthy compromise, and it may just complicate matters unnecessarily.
In general, the revised reviews posted here have begun to resemble acts of acrobatic editing more than writing in some cases. A scathing 2006 report on Birth of a Nation, probably overall the strongest film piece I wrote at my old weblog, was selectively fleshed out with certain sections tightened, in particular those that relied on the conversational tone more appropriate to Livejournal, the blogging network I was using then. Swing Time, meanwhile, required next to no actual writing, but the final post was pulled from at least five sources: the original 2007 review, the capsule review I added to the Movie Guide a month or two later, a disconnected series of comments about the film posted a day or two later and not in any formal context, my Letterboxd writeup composed immediately after this year’s revisit to the film, and a few fragments from notes I took during the same screening. With just a bit of shuffling around, all of this came to make sense, I think / hope. Letterboxd reviews, depending on how much my hands and brain allow me to type after seeing a film, have more than once provided the bulk of a final writeup. At times, there’s been enough generated just after seeing the picture that the final essay can be said to just generate, nearly automatically, the hardest work already finished — often with me personally being surprised at how little the quick post-screening thoughts really needed to be expanded, more often simply clarified.
Still, the disclaimers at the bottom of the revised posts are there for a reason. I hope that there’s a clear difference to be found in the posts that are entirely new (save any observations carried over from Letterboxd); I hope that putting the African Queen piece side by side with Bad Girl reveals a marked evolution and greater control. The African Queen didn’t really require any additional analysis, but had I approched it for the first time here, I’m sure it would have been a lengthier and more detailed piece.
At bottom, of course, this is all really about watching films. Even if I couldn’t share friends’ enthusiasms about Young Adult, Holy Motors and Take Shelter, there was in the recent history of titles I’d just missed out on a gift like Joe Wright’s Hanna, the type of evocative, visually wild thriller for which I wait around into long years. Revisits can provide their own surprises big and small; I already loved Network as much as I felt possible, but its genius so gobsmacked me this last time I felt as though the film had somehow physically rejuvenated my enthusiasm for movies. I’d seen and admired The African Queen in a muddy TV print back in 2007, and seeing its recent restoration, even on a computer screen, was a revelation beyond words. And No Country for Old Men, seen both for the first time with Amber and my first time since its theatrical release, so clearly now appears to me the achievement I couldn’t help doubting it could be at the time. All of my faint praise for it in past years now seems quaint.
But the Network epiphany, the degree to which this stuff is my favorite artistic craft in the world to experience and think about, channels out in a more generalized passion now. Even films that don’t merit a full-on enthusiastic championship can embody some of the loveliest, most sobering or affecting things I have seen expressed cinematically. Mike Mills’ Beginners is uneven and flawed, but carries within it some of the most profoundly moving commentary on love and relationships in any American film, and also one of the most pricelessly wonderful images I can recall: of Christopher Plummer’s character on the phone with his son, excitedly describing house music to him. And then there is the meditative, almost soap opera-like romantic rollercoaster of The Deep Blue Sea, an effective enough film that happens to be bisected by a masterful and transportive moment I’ll never forget as long as I live, which I won’t cheapen by trying to describe here.
Any hobby you’re truly passionate about can also provide its agonies, of course; Driving Miss Daisy is agony in purest form. The Best Picture Oscars project had its dubious personal rewards, though not so much in the second half; from 1980 onward, the experiment didn’t teach me much I didn’t already know or suspect. Even though Director and Picture seldom split at the Academy Awards, though, the Director winners provided me with significantly more that I will treasure. Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth is my new go-to romantic comedy, of course, but what really resonates is the discovery of a voice like that of Frank Borzage. Both 7th Heaven and Bad Girl feel almost eerily real and personal, and are so moving — yet, in the latter case, nearly free of sentimentality — they can be nearly difficult to watch. Bad Girl is the best film I have discovered since starting this blog. It’s so wonderful that I would not be terribly disappointed if it turns out to always hold that title.
I’ve outlined the changes in my attitude toward Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? extensively but not so much the surprise I felt when seeing Titanic for the second time ever and finding it to be an absolutely searing piece of bravura entertainment, thus forcing me to somewhat temper my crummy attitude toward James Cameron (who’s still a creep, but apparently a sort of talented one). Less fun was the discovery that The Shawshank Redemption, a former favorite, doesn’t hold up at all, really the first movie I held in such high esteem (though I always thought it slightly overrated) that suffered such a precipitous fall from grace. Oh, well, its reputation is certainly secure.
During the period embodied by these hundred posts, I saw five movies theatrically, three of them with Amber. Silver Linings Playbook is a good date movie, albeit more rote and predictable than it seems to believe, and certainly occasions a well-deserved bit of fawning over Jennifer Lawrence, though one has to wonder how much David O. Russell screamed at her to force her onto that Oscar carpet. Still, having been so taken with her back circa Winter’s Bone, it’s unusually gratifying to witness her speed away with statue in hand. In New York, during our all too brief respite into a city in which film culture is actively celebrated, we had every kind of option imaginable and ended up seeing the wondrous Frances Ha and the insightful Stories We Tell, though I didn’t love the latter nearly as much as most professional critics did. Back on home turf, I went to Zero Dark Thirty by myself and experienced the unfettered delight of obnoxious people chewing on wrappers and drawling about plot mechanics right next to me; and saw Before Midnight in an otherwise absolutely empty screening (only the second time ever for me), which either made it more or less depressing, not sure.
With the Best Picture project completely in the can, with Best Director finished viewing-wise and the reviews halfway done, with the main body of the AFI written and the ’07 “rejects” all watched and nearly composed, we’re preparing to settle in to a very long groove here, which will consist of the Best Screenplay winners — a large number of which I have never seen; exciting! — and the IMDB Top 250. This is my second time tackling the 250; in 2007-08, I made a concerted attempt but, as with the first version of the AFI project, I cheated by avoiding films I’d already seen (and gave up on writing full reviews about halfway through because my life kind of exploded for a little while). Of course, there’s a lot of overlap with the 250 and the lists I’ve already gone through here, and movies that have already been reviewed in this space won’t be revisited (unless I really want to for some reason, like I would ever miss an excuse to watch Citizen Kane or Psycho again; in such cases, there will not be a new essay, but some new revisions and additions may be made to the old post — this will be noted somehow). So it won’t be a 250-week project by any means. And as before, any film that both currently appears on the Top 250 and won the Oscar for Best Screenplay will be approached wherever it shows up first.
As you probably know, the 250 is a user-controlled list voted on by — well, it’s complicated, but basically, the strange cult of people who make regular use of the IMDB. I’m interested in the list because of (a) its weird mixture of populism and elitism; (b) the fact that it seems like a highly skewed time capsule of the late ’90s; (c) the opportunity to systematically approach the “popular canon” in a way not directly dictated by any editor or professional critic. And also because I think it will be interesting to put up reviews of movies like Terminator 2 and Memento here. It’s an adventure, right? Of course, the list presents a couple of problems. Whereas the AFI list has only been updated once — and may or may not be again in a few years, in which case I’ll perhaps have a little work to do — and the Oscars are given but once a year, a quite manageable proposition, the IMDB 250 changes every single day. How to handle this?
In ’07, I decided to capture the 250 once a year, on March 1st. That’s just in time for Oscar backlash to kick in but not to get too heavy quite yet, and far away from the summer movie season so that freakish anomalies like The Dark Knight Rises appearing in the top ten will have faded into memory. But because this blog is meant to be volatile, that seems too infrequent, especially since there are now good aggregators watching the 250 like this one. I will make no promises, but it’s most likely that I’ll be checking the thing on a somewhat regular basis and updating my schedule accordingly. In a sense, this will mean the project is never really “done,” but that’s pessimistic; take a look at the history pages on that site and you’ll see that absolutely new entries on the 250 are a fairly infrequent incident. It’s mostly the same movies hovering around changing places at the bottom. Nevertheless, our exploration of it will be a living thing on into the future. At least, that’s the current plan, cause why not.
I cannot promise that every single IMDB 250 title will be given a complete review. In fact, I’m 99% sure that many of them won’t. In fact in fact, I am just about positive that not a single lists project I take on except the AFI will ever have its entire body written up formally; the AFI was an exception largely because I had already written essays about so many of the films I’d be inclined to be brief about now and it seemed dumb not to use them. But you’ll be given some sort of an opinion, valuable or not, about everything that shows up on the list during this period (and whenever I check the thing thereafter).
Best Screenplay will be finished well before the Top 250 is, especially with a number of the films on the Oscar queue more likely to be stuck with capsules. But neither project will be done by post #400, so expect no further shop talk and secrets about the future from me Until Next Time. I know the readership here is still pretty small but I appreciate everyone’s attention, patience, and comments on and off-site. I’m still greatly enjoying this project all in all and I hope some other folks are too.
Films in the (current) Top 250 that I’ll soon be seeing for the first time:
– The Dark Knight Rises: Excitement scale 3/10. Because I’m the only person on god’s green earth who liked Batman Begins but not The Dark Knight, I really have no idea what to expect.
– The Intouchables: Excitement scale 1/10. Oh, dear.
– Inglorious Basterds: Excitement scale 3/10. The only Tarantino film I’ve yet to see now. Slightly more curious than I was before, for reasons outlined soon, but still bleary-eyed and scared.
– The Kid: Excitement scale 10/10. One of a few major Chaplins of which I’ve remained ignorant. I intend to savor this.
– Gran Torino: Excitement scale 4/10. Always wanted Eastwood to star in an All in the Family-style sitcom.
– Good Will Hunting: Excitement scale 6/10, mostly because of curiosity about this hole in my cultural literacy.
– Warrior: Excitement scale 1/10. Are you fucking kidding me with this shit.
– The Secret in Their Eyes: Excitement scale 8/10. Based on its reputation and genre, sounds somewhere in my wheelhouse.
– The Avengers: Excitement scale 4/10. Up from the 3 it would’ve been before I saw Much Ado About Nothing.
(There are more, but we’ll have time to dissect them later.)
Best Screenplay winners that I’ll soon be seeing for the first time:
– Arise, My Love: Excitement scale 7/10. Pros: Billy Wilder cowrote it and it has Claudette Colbert. Cons: sounds like flabby romance, involves Ray Milland as a fighter pilot!?
– The Great McGinty: Excitement scale 9/10. Pros: Preston Sturges. Cons: I didn’t care that much for Unfaithfully Yours but whatever.
– Here Comes Mr. Jordan: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: great cast. Cons: sounds like some pure-sap nonsense.
– 49th Parallel: Excitement scale 9/10. Pros: Powell & Pressburger and I’ve wanted to see it for years. Cons: stars the reliably bland Leslie Howard, and war pictures generally are a hard sell for me.
– Woman of the Year: Excitement scale 7/10. Pros: Tracy & Hepburn; I haven’t seen a good comedy in way too long. Cons: George Stevens is hit and miss, and the sports-related plot sounds a bit out of my league.
– The Human Comedy: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: uh, I occasionally can tolerate Mickey Rooney… Cons: A sentimental coming of age story starring Mickey Rooney. Shit.
– Princess O’Rourke: Excitement scale 3/10. Pros: I enjoy Olivia de Havilland; Robert Cummings sometimes. Cons: geezus, another air-force romance thingo?
– Wilson: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: Technicolor; might be an interesting time capsule. Cons: a biopic of Woodrow Wilson, for heaven’s sake.
– Marie-Louise: Excitement scale 5/10, for air of mystery alone. Hard to learn much of anything about this Swiss film, as it’s been out of circulation for decades. Someone’s selling a bootleg, fortunately.
– The House on 92nd Street: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: espionage thriller. Cons: also a war picture; bad visions of Zero Dark Thirty here.
– The Seventh Veil: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: an important transitional film in British cinema, with a fine cast (James Mason, Herbert Lom). Cons: it’s about hypnosis!?
– Vacation from Marriage: Excitement scale 7/10. Pros: has Robert Donat; sounds like Rich and Strange, kind of. Cons: yet another WWII romance picture.
– The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: always been keen on catching this signature Cary Grant performance. Cons: the clips I’ve seen make it look all too goofy.
– The Search: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: Supposedly hard-hitting and unflinching in its look at concentration camps, especially by the standards of the period. Cons: I’ve never been fully sold on Monty Clift, and the descriptions alone sound heavily manipulative.
– The Stratton Story: Excitement scale 1/10. Cons: baseball.
– Battleground: Excitement scale 1/10. Cons: straight war picture.
– Panic in the Streets: Excitement scale 7/10. Pros: thriller with a good premise, kind of a proto-Contagion. Cast includes the underused Barbara Bel Geddes. Cons: so far I haven’t been very keen on Elia Kazan.
– Seven Days to Noon: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: also a thriller, considered a classic in the UK. Cons: none really, I’m just not familiar with anyone involved.
– The Bad and the Beautiful: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: Kirk Douglas as a Hollywood producer. Cons: Kirk Douglas as a Hollywood producer.
– Broken Lance: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: interesting cast (Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner). Cons: a western, and a remake of a film I didn’t like much (House of Strangers).
– The Country Girl: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: Love two of the three leads, Grace Kelly and William Holden, and this was a big moment for Kelly. Cons: music biz and alcohol elements of story sound tired. Bing Crosby was a good singer but a terrible, terrible actor.
– Love Me or Leave Me: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: A musical, and it has James Cagney. Cons: A biopic, and it has Doris Day.
– Interrupted Melody: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: I like music, I guess. Cons: biopic of an opera star; help.
– The Brave One: Excitement scale 3/10. Pros: beautiful photography, from what I’ve seen, and written by Dalton Trumbo. Cons: it’s a bullfighting story I think…
– Designing Woman: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: a breezy romcom from the period when that was a good thing, and stars Lauren Bacall. Cons: the invariably fatal casting of Gregory Peck, who I’m sure will sap any joy out of the proceedings effortlessly.
– The Defiant Ones: Excitement scale 3/10. Pros: okay, I like both the lead actors. Cons: oh for god’s sake do you really have to ask? It’s a Stanley Kramer movie about RACISM
– Pillow Talk: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: sex comedy; considering what it won the Oscar against, it has to be kind of good, right? Cons: still angry about the movies that lost to it. Don’t really care much for Hudson and Day, though I can be converted.
– Room at the Top: Excitement scale 7/10. Pros: sounds like Patterns; has Laurence Harvey. Cons: could be a little too “serious” if you know what I mean.
– Elmer Gantry: Excitement scale 8/10. Pros: love the book, and Sinclair Lewis adaptations have a fine history in my judgment. Jean Simmons is in this. Cons: Richard Brooks always seemed a rather staid director to me.
– Splendor in the Grass: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: “sex drama.” Cons: all the markings of a Prestige Picture, just maybe with a little heat. I only want to deal with young Warren Beatty in Dobie Gillis context.
– Divorce–Italian Style: Excitement scale 8/10. Pros: dunno, but with that title… Cons: spoiled on it by Stories We Tell!
– How the West Was Won: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: ambitious? Cons: not typically fond of films with “vignettes” like this, and it’s a western, and it has three directors, and it probably doesn’t work well on TV.
– Father Goose: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: Cary Grant again. Cons: sounds awfully lightweight; did Grant give up challenging himself after Hitchcock abandoned him?
– Becket: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: sometimes these historical dramas are not so bad. Gielgud’s in it somewhere. Cons: 148 minutes of Richard Burton’s face, and fucking Peter O’Toole as Henry II.
– Darling: Excitement scale 8/10. Pros: One of the best triangular cast lists I’ve seen: Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey. John Schlesinger’s responsible for two films I really love. Cons: story sounds a bit like too many other films of the period.
– A Man and a Woman: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: a romance that’s not American. Cons: maybe the beginning of the middlebrow foreign-film-that-finds-begrudging-Stateside-success.
– The Lion in Winter: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: always been a little curious, and Katharine Hepburn. Cons: fucking Peter O’Toole again.
– The Hospital: Excitement scale 9/10. Pros: a Paddy Chayefsky script, and George C. Scott; its rep as a great satire precedes it. Cons: don’t know Arthur Hiller except from Love Story (blecch) and a few bad comedies he made much later.
– The Candidate: Excitement scale 9/10. Pros: satire sounds timely. Cons: I nearly always find Robert Redford a static performer, but maybe that will be the idea here.
– Julia: Excitement scale 3/10. Pros: Jason Robards present. Cons: prestige picture ugggggggggh. Fonda and Redgrave both annoying.
– Midnight Express: Excitement scale 6/10. Pros: curiosity after all these years. Cons: written by Painful Kidney Stone.
– Breaking Away: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: people keep trying to tell me it’s great. Cons: sports picture.
– On Golden Pond: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: a few good people present. Cons: prestige picture ugggggggggggh.
– Missing: Excitement scale 8/10. Pros: political thriller has Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek and music by Vangelis! Cons: probably a time capsule I guess.
– Tender Mercies: Excitement scale 1/10. Cons: a country singer finds Jesus; from the director of Driving Miss Daisy and the screenwriter of To Kill a Mockingbird and the evil harbingers of all that is terrible in this world. You can sort of tell by the title that this will be a problem.
– Places in the Heart: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: Hilarious plot summary — “1984 drama film that tells the story of a Texas widow who tries to keep her farm together with the help of a blind white man and a black man during the Great Depression.” Cons: please noooo, and the title again.
– Witness: Excitement scale 8/10. Pros: I’ve wanted to see this for a long time. Cons: I’ve seldom found Harrison Ford credible outside of Dr. Jones context, and did Dead Poets culminate a downard spiral for Weir?
– A Room with a View: Excitement scale 1/10. Cons: Merchant/Ivory fuck that.
– Moonstruck: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: people tell me it’s amazing. Cons: people have always told me that but it somehow always sounded dreadful to me. Guess we’ll know soon.
– Dangerous Liaisons: Excitement scale 4/10. Pros: Stephen Frears has made good films. Cons: sounds like prestige cinema hell.
– Thelma & Louise: Excitement scale 5/10. Pros: again, I’ve been told great things about it. Cons: have yet to see a Ridley Scott film I found exceptional in any way.
– Howards End: Excitement scale 1/10. Cons: see A Room with a View.
– The Cider House Rules: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: John Irving, once known for barbed cynicism. Cons: prestige picture hell again.
– Gosford Park: Excitement scale 9/10. Pros: one of my best friends’ favorite movies. Cons: all I can think of is that I’ve yet to see the “right” Altman film for me, and maybe this will be it.
– Precious: Excitement scale 2/10. Pros: wish we had more visible films by black directors to plug and encourage. Cons: cause this sounds deadly.
Films in the Top 250 that I have not seen in at least 11 years: [that’s an odd number, I realize, but it’s a handy barometer for me; I moved to this city in August 2002 when I was 18, and anything before that feels very much like ancient history]
– Once Upon a Time in the West: Last seen in high school. Loved it then. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly improved immeasurably in my estimation when seen (for the first time in decades) with Amber a few weeks ago. Since I loved this movie more to begin with, expecting a fine time. I’m especially curious to see how my old perception that it was a highly progressive film holds up, since it’s fair to say I have a stronger interest in that sort of idea now.
– The Usual Suspects: Last seen in… middle school, I think. Unlike Se7en, which I discovered around the same time, I’ve never gotten around to owning this except on an old VHS tape and I’ve probably only seen it twice, so it’s still fresh to me. Found it world-expanding and brilliant in seventh grade, but somewhat preparing myself for a Fight Club-style comedown.
– Terminator 2: Last seen in middle school. Never was my thing.
– Alien / Aliens: Saw the first three Alien movies in a marathon of sorts in the summer of 1997, a summer I intentionally spent holed up with my sister’s collection of VHS tapes and no plans to do much of anything except watch sci-fi movies, and I’d say those two months were ground zero for my revelation that I am not really a sci-fi person. I have only scattered memories of the first film. The second one I recall pretty clearly because I’ve seen it several times, but not in a long, long time.
– Reservoir Dogs: Last seen (thank you, high school movie diary) in December 1999. Found it slightly more impressive than Pulp Fiction then; expecting the same.
– The Lion King: Dodged this by a year or so, only ever saw it once (twice if you count seeing it in French). Liked the “can’t wait to be king” song. My memories of it are fonder than of the other ’90s Disney Renaissance pictures, so…
– Return of the Jedi: Last seen on theatrical rerelease in 1997; non-CG version last seen probably sometime in elementary school, not counting the time I dubbed my own dialogue track over it. Long one of my most hated films. Unsure if anything so clearly inoffensive can warrant such aggression now.
– Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Last seen (my second attempt) in high school. Eager to maybe shed the shame at last of being the curmudgeon who didn’t find this very funny.
– For a Few Dollars More: My dad showed me the three Eastwood Leones when I was a kid and judging from the one I revisited already, my vaguely fond memories are justified. Excited to see the other two again. As I recall, this was Dad’s favorite.
– The Great Escape: Absolutely adored this and watched it four or five times in rapid succession in high school (first saw in March 2000, evidently), but never remembered to pick it up on DVD and thus haven’t seen it since. Psyched.
– Scarface: In the running for my “worst movie I’ve ever seen” nomination, which is especially perverse because it’s helmed by such a gifted director, though I suppose he’s known for his egregious missteps. I haven’t seen this end to end since the first time (October 2000, egged on by a teenage friend of course), but hatewatched enough bits and pieces back when there was cable in the house to know that I was right about it.
– The Thing: John Carpenter and I historically don’t get along.
Special mention for Touch of Evil; though I’ve seen it a few times in the last decade, I haven’t screened the theatrical cut since TCM still showed it in the ’90s; I fully intend to use that version for my initial review, as it’s the one I fell in love with in the beginning.
Best Screenplay winners I haven’t seen in at least 11 years:
– Miracle on 34th Street: Loved then, even more sentimental as an adult, probably a winner.
– Titanic (’53): Mostly a curiosity. I know more about Barbara Stanwyck now!
– Dead Poets Society: Favorite as an adolescent, looked dismal when I tried to revisit it as a grownup and gave up. Now I have to grit my teeth and face up to it, o captain my captain.
– Ghost: Inexplicable anger at this all over my notes from years back. Don’t remember much about it now. I’m bugged by the existence of Bruce Joel Rubin but that’s cause he just seems like kind of an ass.
Special mention for The Red Balloon, which I loved as a child and am looking forward to seeing again but won’t get a full-fledged essay because it’s a short film.
The following films were screened in the hopes of being fodder for blog entries here. (One of them, The Divine Lady, was part of the Best Director project. The rest were just films I’d been recommended or had wanted to see.) I was either unable to come up with the minimum five paragraphs of material I feel make a full-fledged review here worthwhile, or simply felt my time would be better spent expounding upon a more interesting-to-me movie. (This doesn’t necessarily mean the film is bad; I think two of these are, one is simply rather dull and the other I just don’t feel capable of judging. I fully expect that any day now I will encounter a movie that I like well enough but have absolutely no insight into or patience to deeply discuss.) As mentioned last time, capsule-only reviews will become more frequent through the life of this blog. For now, just four.
Le Quattro Volte (2010, Michelangelo Frammartino) !! CAUTION !!
The Men Who Stare at Goats for 88 Minutes and Feel Like They’re Being Trolled
The Divine Lady (1929, Frank Lloyd)
Flabby costume picture from the transitional Vitaphone period, of interest primarily for the way it manages to be insufferably talky despite being a (mostly) silent film. It’s plenty opulent, but just as static as director Lloyd’s later, more famous movies.
The Saddest Music in the World (2003, Guy Maddin) !! CAUTION !!
A contest to find the country that can make the titular claim is documented with much out-of-sync talk and frenetically edited, deliberately damaged black & white film. Maddin’s stylistic conceits will either warm your heart or drive you nuts; unfortunately, despite evidently sharing his love of awkward, hazy early sound films, I felt like I was watching one of those crime reenactments on America’s Most Wanted, if Garrison Keillor hosted that. The story is not merely an idea stretched far past its ideal expiration but an in-joke that seems most likely funny only to Maddin himself. God bless it for being adventurous and unique, but its smarminess did me in with David Mamet-like speed.
My Joy (2010, Sergei Loznitsa)
Basically: life is short, life is shit, and soon it will be over. The narrative debut feature from documentarian Loznitsa carries elements of everything from The Wages of Fear to Straw Dogs, with hapless truck driver Viktor Nemets doing his best to keep his cool in a hostile Russia. The first half is full of tangents but remains somewhat comprehensible; in the second half Nemets is virtually unrecognizable and the story is completely insane. Too much of an unrewarding investment for my tastes, but if you’re in a bleak mood you’ll love it — and its frame-filling widescreen photography is quite a marvel.
LIST: BEST TITLE SEQUENCES
Like the other lists presented so far in these milestone posts, this is just for fun and is entirely unscientific. I suspect we’ll have another stab at it that will be more substantial in the future, but by no means is this meant to be “canonical” or anything. It’s mostly off the top of my head and after glancing at a bunch of lists, mine and others’.
I’m not great at discussing the design mechanics of these; I just think they’re cool (and I’d like to take this moment to mention that I think it absolutely sucks that so few films have title sequences these days; I almost gave Life of Pi a pass strictly because it was an exception). I will tend to discuss how they relate to the main narratives of their films (if applicable) in the respective reviews, but for deeper and often fascinating graphic design and historical context, check out Art of the Title.
01 North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
titles by Saul Bass
02 Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock)
titles by Saul Bass
03 Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)
titles by Randall Balsmeyer / sequence directed by Spike Lee
04 Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
titles by Saul Bass
05 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962, Robert Mulligan)
titles by Stephen Frankfurt
06 A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester) [opening titles]
titles by Robert Freeman / sequence directed by Richard Lester
(Amazingly, this is the only remotely acceptable video of this I could find online. It cuts off at the end.)
07 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Sergio Leone)
titles by Iginio Lardani
08 Touch of Evil (1958, Orson Welles)
titles by Wayne Fitzgerald / sequence directed by Orson Welles
(Embed doesn’t work; click here.)
09 West Side Story (1961, Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins) [closing titles]
titles by Saul Bass
10 A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester) [closing titles]
titles by Robert Freeman
11 The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols)
titles by Wayne Fitzgerald / sequence directed by Mike Nichols
12 Dr. Strangelove (1964, Stanley Kubrick)
titles by Pablo Ferro
13 Fahrenheit 451 (1966, Francois Truffaut)
14. Experiment in Terror (1962, Blake Edwards)
15. Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)
16. The Incredibles [closing titles] (2004, Brad Bird)
17. MASH [closing titles] (1970, Robert Altman)
18. The Pink Panther (1964, Blake Edwards)
19. Catch Me If You Can (2002, Steven Spielberg)
20. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
21. Charade (1963, Stanley Donen)
22. Dawn of the Dead [closing titles] (1978, George A. Romero)
23. All the President’s Men (1976, Alan J. Pakula)
24. MASH [opening titles] (1970, Robert Altman)
25. Around the World in Eighty Days [closing titles] (1956, Michael Anderson)
Just missed: Edward Scissorhands (1990); Nashville (1975); Brain Candy (1996); A Shot in the Dark (1964); The Knack, and How to Get It [closing titles] (1965); Ed Wood (1994); Greenberg (2010); The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005); Monsters, Inc. (2001); Se7en (1995); The Knack, and How to Get It [opening titles] (1965); Mars Attacks! (1996); The Last Emperor (1987); 12 Monkeys (1995); Batman (1966); Help! [closing titles] (1965); L.A. Story (1991); Gone with the Wind (1939); Once Upon a Time in the West (1968); Freaks (1932); The Great Ziegfeld (1935); A Separation (2011); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); The Wild Bunch (1969); Ratatouille [closing titles] (2007); Goodfellas (1990); Back to the Future (1985); The Social Network (2010); A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969); Zodiac (2007); The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967); The Good German (2006); Enter the Void (2009); The Sting (1973); The Ice Storm (1997); The Terminal [opening titles] (2004); The Village (2004); Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010); Great Expectations (1998); Fight Club (1999); Duel (1971); The Terminal [closing titles] (2004)
INDEX OF POSTS SO FAR
[If you want this alphabetically, you can use the Movie Guide above; if you want it chronologically, you can use the categories at right.]
1. introductory post
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010, Banksy) [hr]
3. [not yet posted publicly]
4. Up in the Air (2009, Jason Reitman) [hr]
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, David Fincher) [r]
6. [not yet posted publicly]
7. Rango (2011, Gore Verbinski) [-]
8. Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan) [c]
9. [not yet posted publicly]
10. Black Swan (2010, Darren Aronofsky) [r]
11. Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields (2010, Kerthy Fix & Gail O’Hara) [r]
12. Bridesmaids (2011, Paul Feig) [r]
13. [not yet posted publicly]
14. The King’s Speech (2010, Tom Hooper) [r]
15. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles) [A+]
16. Slumdog Millionaire (2008, Danny Boyle) [-]
17. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick) [NO]
18. Life During Wartime (2009, Todd Solondz) [hr]
19. Moon (2009, Duncan Jones) [r]
20. Let the Right One In (2008, Tomas Alfredson) [r]
21. The Hurt Locker (2008, Kathryn Bigelow) [r]
22. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, Edgar Wright) [r]
23. Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock) [A+]
24. A Serious Man (2009, Joel & Ethan Coen) [hr]
25. Whatever Works (2009, Woody Allen) [r]
26. Certified Copy (2010, Abbas Kiarostami) [-]
27. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010, Woody Allen) [hr]
28. Milk (2008, Gus Van Sant) [hr]
29. The Informant! (2009, Steven Soderbergh) [r]
30. Melancholia (2011, Lars von Trier) [A+]
31. Frost/Nixon (2008, Ron Howard) [r]
32. 127 Hours (2010, Danny Boyle) [hr]
33. Hugo (2011, Martin Scorsese) [r]
34. The Kids Are All Right (2010, Lisa Cholodenko) [-]
35. Dead of Night (1945, Cavalcanti / Charles Crichton / Basil Dearden / Robert Hamer) [r]
36. The Illusionist (2010, Sylvain Chomet) [r]
37. Super 8 (2011, J.J. Abrams) [r]
38. Rachel Getting Married (2008, Jonathan Demme) [-]
39. Inside Job (2010, Charles Ferguson) [r]
40. Patterns (1956, Fielder Cook) [hr]
41. The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola) [-]
42. Wings (1927, William A. Wellman) [r]
43. The Broadway Melody (1929, Harry Beaumont) [-]
44. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, Lewis Milestone) [A+]
45. Cimarron (1931, Wesley Ruggles) [c]
46. Grand Hotel (1932, Edmund Goulding) [r]
47. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz) [A+]
48. Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese) [c]
49. Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly) [A+]
50. Gone with the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming) [A+]
51. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean) [c]
52. Cavalcade (1933, Frank Lloyd) [c]
53. A Separation (2011, Asghar Farhadi) [hr]
54. It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra) [A+]
55. Mutiny on the Bounty (1936, Frank Lloyd) [r]
56. Drive (2011, Nicholas Winding Refn) [NO]
57. Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt) [r]
58. Antichrist (2009, Lars von Trier) [hr]
59. The Great Ziegfeld (1936, Robert Z. Leonard) [-]
60. Schindler’s List (1993, Steven Spielberg) [A+]
61. The Life of Emile Zola (1937, William Dieterle) [r]
62. You Can’t Take It with You (1938, Frank Capra) [r]
63. Rebecca (1940, Alfred Hitchcock) [A+]
64. How Green Was My Valley (1941, John Ford) [c]
65. Mrs. Miniver (1942, William Wyler) [hr]
66. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock) [A+]
67. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Fleming) [A+]
68. Going My Way (1944, Leo McCarey) [NO]
69. The Lost Weekend (1945, Billy Wilder) [r]
70. City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin) [A+]
71. The Ghost Writer (2010, Roman Polanski) [r]
72. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951, Charles Crichton) [hr]
73. The Searchers (1956, John Ford) [hr]
74. Star Wars (1977, George Lucas) [c]
75. Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock) [A+]
76. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler) [A+]
77. Footnote (2011, Joseph Cedar) [hr]
78. Winter’s Bone (2010, Debra Granik) [hr]
79. True Grit (2010, Joel & Ethan Coen)
80. Shortbus (2006, John Cameron Mitchell) [r]
81. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives 92010, Apichatpong Weerasethakul) [NO]
82. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947, Elia Kazan) [c]
83. Somewhere (2010, Sofia Coppola) [hr]
84. [not yet posted publicly]
85. Hamlet (1948, Laurence Olivier) [r]
86. Enter the Void (2009, Gaspar Noe)
87. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick) [A+]
88. Sunset Blvd. (1950, Billy Wilder) [A+]
89. The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols) [A+]
90. The General (1926, Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman) [hr]
91. Carlos (2010, Olivier Assayas) [r]
92. On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan) [-]
93. [not yet posted publicly]
94. Gods and Monsters (1998, Bill Condon) [r]
95. White Material (2009, Claire Denis) [hr]
96. All the King’s Men (1949, Robert Rossen) [-]
97. The Kid with a Bike (2011, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne) [r]
98. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra) [hr]
99. [forthcoming: The Social Network]
100. [post 100 / shots list etc.]
101. All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) [A+]
102. An American in Paris (1951, Vincente Minnelli) [-]
103. Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski) [A+]
104. Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder) [hr]
105. The Grapes of Wrath (1940, John Ford) [-]
106. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982, Steven Spielberg) [-]
107. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952, Cecil B. DeMille) [r]
108. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962, Robert Mulligan) [c]
109. Moonrise Kingdom (2012, Wes Anderson) [hr]
110. From Here to Eternity (1953, Fred Zinnemann) [r]
111. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011, Tomas Alfredson) [hr]
112. Marty (1955, Delbert Mann) [r]
113. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra) [hr]
114. High Noon (1952, Fred Zinnemann) [c]
115. Around the World in Eighty Days (1956, Michael Anderson) [NO]
116. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder) [A+]
117. A Midnight Clear (1992, Keith Gordon) [hr]
118. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola) [r]
119. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, David Lean) [hr]
120. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, Benh Zeitlin) [A+]
121. Gigi (1958, Vincente Minnelli) [NO]
122. The Skin I Live In (2011, Pedro Almodovar) [r]
123. Ben-Hur (1959, William Wyler) [r]
124. The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder) [A+]
125. To Rome with Love (2012, Woody Allen) [r]
126. The Maltese Falcon (1941, John Huston) [hr]
127. The Trial (1962, Orson Welles) [A+]
128. The Godfather Part II (1974, Francis Ford Coppola) [r]
129. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, Milos Forman) [-]
130. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937, David Hand) [A+]
131. Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen) [A+]
132. Purple Rain (1984, Albert Magnoli) [-]
133. West Side Story (1961, Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins) [r]
134. Tom Jones (1963, Tony Richardson) [-]
135. The Turin Horse (2011, Bela Tarr) [hr]
136. Mother Night (1996, Keith Gordon) [r]
137. My Fair Lady (1964, George Cukor) [NO]
138. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948, John Huston) [A+]
139. Shutter Island (2010, Martin Scorsese) [NO]
140. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick) [A+]
141. The Sound of Music (1965, Robert Wise) [r]
142. King Kong (1933, Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack) [hr]
143. Another Earth (2011, Mike Cahill) [hr]
144. Shadows (1959, John Cassavetes) [-]
145. A Man for All Seasons (1966, Fred Zinnemann) [r]
146. In the Heat of the Night (1967, Norman Jewison) [-]
147. Oliver! (1968, Carol Reed) [NO]
148. Greenberg (2010, Noah Baumbach) [hr]
149. Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Arthur Penn) [hr]
150. Midnight Cowboy (1969, John Schlesinger) [hr]
151. Jesus Camp (2006, Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady) [-]
152. The Philadelphia Story (1940, George Cukor) [r]
153. Le Havre (2011, Aki Kaurismaki) [c]
154. Patton (1970, Franklin J. Schaffner) [-]
155. The French Connection (1971, William Friedkin) [A+]
156. Tess (1979, Roman Polanski) [-]
157. Shane (1953, George Stevens) [r]
158. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, Elia Kazan) [r]
159. The Sting (1973, George Roy Hill) [r]
160. Rocky (1976, John G. Avildsen) [c]
161. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock) [A+]
162. Mysteries of Lisbon (2010, Raoul Ruiz) [r]
163. The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino) [NO]
164. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, Robert Benton) [r]
165. Ordinary People (1980, Robert Redford) [c]
166. A Dangerous Method (2011, David Cronenberg) [-]
167. The Master (2012, Paul Thomas Anderson) [hr]
168. Another Year (2010, Mike Leigh) [r]
169. Frankenweenie (2012, Tim Burton) [hr]
170. Intolerance (1916, D.W. Griffith) [-]
171. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, Peter Jackson) [c]
172. Margaret (2011, Kenneth Lonergan) [hr]
173. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese) [c]
174. Looper (2012, Rian Johnson) [c]
175. Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson) [-]
176. Gandhi (1982, Richard Attenborough) [r]
177. Terms of Endearment (1983, James L. Brooks) [hr]
178. Point of Order (1964, Emile de Antonio) [hr]
179. MASH (1970, Robert Altman) [-]
180. Argo (2012, Ben Affleck) [hr]
181. North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock) [A+]
182. Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman) [hr]
183. Skyfall (2012, Sam Mendes) [r]
184. Flight (2012, Robert Zemeckis) [r]
185. Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg) [A+]
186. Lincoln (2012, Steven Spielberg) [r]
187. The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin) [hr]
188. [not yet publicly posted]
189. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011, Nuri Bilge Ceylan) [r]
190. Nashville (1975, Robert Altman) [r]
191. Dark Horse (2011, Todd Solondz) [hr]
192. [forthcoming: Back to the Future]
193. [not yet publicly posted]
194. [forthcoming: Frankenstein]
195. Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey) [hr]
196. Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Preston Sturges) [A+]
197. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, Steven Spielberg) [hr]
198. Poetry (2010, Lee Chang-dong) [-]
199. American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas) [c]
200. [post 200 / directors list etc.]
201. Platoon (1986, Oliver Stone) [c]
202. The Last Emperor (1987, Bernardo Bertolucci) [-]
203. Rain Man (1988, Barry Levinson) [c]
204. [The Best Movies of 2012]
205. Silver Linings Playbook (2012, David O. Russell) [r]
206. Young Adult (2011, Jason Reitman) [-]
207. Cabaret (1972, Bob Fosse) [-]
208. Network (1976, Sidney Lumet) [A+]
209. The African Queen (1951, John Huston) [hr]
210. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg) [hr]
211. Diary of a Lost Girl (1929, Georg Wilhelm Pabst) [hr]
212. My Architect (2003, Nathaniel Kahn) [r]
213. Zero Dark Thirty (2012, Kathryn Bigelow) [-]
214. Driving Miss Daisy (1989, Bruce Beresford) [NO]
215. Dances with Wolves (1990, Kevin Costner) [NO]
216. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Mike Nichols) [r]
217. The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme) [A+]
218. Unforgiven (1992, Clint Eastwood) [-]
219. Tootsie (1982, Sydney Pollack) [c]
220. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick) [hr]
221. Forrest Gump (1994, Robert Zemeckis) [NO]
222. Braveheart (1995, Mel Gibson) [NO]
223. The English Patient (1996, Anthony Minghella) [r]
224. Titanic (1997, James Cameron) [hr]
225. The Deep Blue Sea (2011, Terence Davies) [r]
226. [not yet publicly posted]
227. Saving Private Ryan (1998, Steven Spielberg) [c]
228. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont) [r]
229. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, George Roy Hill) [-]
230. Shakespeare in Love (1998, John Madden) [r]
231. Hanna (2011, Joe Wright) [hr]
232. American Beauty (1999, Sam Mendes) [hr]
233. Gladiator (2000, Ridley Scott) [NO]
234. A Beautiful Mind (2001, Ron Howard) [-]
235. Take Shelter (2011, Jeff Nichols) [-]
236. All the President’s Men (1976, Alan J. Pakula) [A+]
237. Modern Times (1936, Charles Chaplin) [hr]
238. The Wild Bunch (1969, Sam Peckinpah) [-]
239. Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick) [hr]
240. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006, Stanley Nelson) [hr]
241. Chicago (2002, Rob Marshall) [r]
242. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003, Peter Jackson) [c]
243. Meet the Feebles (1989, Peter Jackson) [r]
244. Million Dollar Baby (2004, Clint Eastwood) [c]
245. Sunrise (1927, F.W. Murnau) [A+]
246. [not yet publicly posted]
247. Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson) [hr]
248. Easy Rider (1969, Dennis Hopper) [c]
249. Beginners (2010, Mike Mills) [r]
250. A Night at the Opera (1935, Sam Wood) [hr]
251. 12 Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet) [hr]
252. Crash (2004, Paul Haggis) [NO]
253. Bringing Up Baby (1938, Howard Hawks) [A+]
254. Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax) [-]
255. The Departed (2006, Martin Scorsese) [r]
256. No Country for Old Men (2007, Joel & Ethan Coen) [hr]
257. The Artist (2011, Michel Hazanavicius) [c]
258. The Sixth Sense (1999, M. Night Shyamalan) [hr]
259. Swing Time (1936, George Stevens) [hr]
260. 7th Heaven (1927, Frank Borzage) [hr]
261. Two Arabian Knights (1927, Lewis Milestone) [r]
262. Shoot the Piano Player (1960, Francois Truffaut) [A+]
263. The Snapper (1993, Stephen Frears) [hr]
264. Skippy (1931, Norman Taurog) [-]
265. Sophie’s Choice (1982, Alan J. Pakula) [r]
266. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese) [r]
267. Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino) [NO]
268. Contagion (2011, Steven Soderbergh) [r]
269. Bad Girl (1931, Frank Borzage) [A+]
270. The Informer (1935, John Ford) [r]
271. Django Unchained (2012, Quentin Tarantino) [-]
272. The Last Picture Show (1971, Peter Bogdanovich) [A+]
273. [forthcoming: Do the Right Thing]
274. [forthcoming: Blade Runner]
275. [forthcoming: Yankee Doodle Dandy]
276. [forthcoming: Toy Story]
277. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936, Frank Capra) [r]
278. The Awful Truth (1937, Leo McCarey) [hr]
279. A Letter to Three Wives (1949, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) [-]
280. [forthcoming: Doctor Zhivago]
281. Scoop (2006, Woody Allen) [hr]
282. [forthcoming: Birth of a Nation]
283. Frances Ha (2012, Noah Baumbach) [hr]
284. Stories We Tell (2012, Sarah Polley) [r]
285. [forthcoming: A Place in the Sun]
286. [forthcoming: The Quiet Man]
287. [forthcoming: The Third Man]
288. [not yet publicly posted]
289. [forthcoming: Giant]
290. [forthcoming: Reds]
291. [not yet publicly posted]
292. [not yet publicly posted]
293. [not yet publicly posted]
294. [forthcoming: Fantasia]
295. Before Midnight (2013, Richard Linklater) [r]
296. [forthcoming: Born on the Fourth of July]
297. [forthcoming: Traffic]
298. [forthcoming: The Pianist]
299. [forthcoming: Brokeback Mountain]