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Saturday, December 23, 2006

OK, THESE ARE MY FAVORITE MOVIES: A Holiday Blog Post

I was thinking about the many things I could write about for my holiday post and I decided that I would write about my favorite art form: film. I've thought a great deal about it and this is a list of my all time fave movies. I thought it would be cool to try and find the original poster art and then supply a little review of each one... I should note that my favorite filmmaker is Fassbinder. Oddly, I would not count any of his movies as a personal favorite. These are my faves -- and below each "poster" I tell you why.

It is my opinion that Robert Altman was the best film director to come out of the US. He could be hit or miss, but when he hit --- no one could top him. I think this was his finest moment as a director. Funny, sad, political, satirical and unforgettable. Every time I watch this "epic" I am surprised at how easily Altman captured our entire fucked up culture by using the world of the mid-70's country music business as a backdrop. Filled with magic moments -- I think the most powerful is the magic way Lily Tomlin's face captures all the longing, desire, sadness and desperation of being human. Contrary to the film's theme song, this movie IS NOT easy. Brilliant.
...And, this -- if you ask me -- is Altman's second finest moment. For the most part, this entire film is improvised by both its lead actresses. Neither has ever been better. This film is really a sort of meditative dreamscape. If you've not seen it and you enjoy the unusual -- you really should check it out.
I think this is the best film to ever come out of Korea. I also think it is one of the most original movies I've ever seen. This is actually the second of a film trilogy, but one only need see this film. How much is real or imagined? I don't know that it matters. I think what is more important is to ask, "Who is seeking revenge and who is the real victim in this stunning study of violence.
I think this just might be as close to "perfect" as a movie can get. I suspect anyone who claims to not like it has probably never really sat down and watched it. Over 60 years old and every single frame still works. Fucking awesome!
...David Lynch takes us down a very different sort of yellow brick road in this warp'd road movie from Hell. I love everything about this movie and HAVE to watch it at least twice a year. I suggest it as a great double feature with THE WIZARD OF OZ!
Disguised as a horror film, this is really a movie about the real horror in life: loss. Hypnotic, beautiful, sad and quite disturbing --- a thriller for those of us who like to think.
For a film so focused on the fashions worn by its lead actress, this movie is without age. And, with each viewing you will notice something new. And, some 40 years on Bunuel's masterpiece still shocks and mystifies. This is puzzle of movie. An inversion of Alice In Wonderland of sorts. You won't forget it. You will not want to forget it.
This movie from 1975 is filled with a lot of "only one's" and firsts. There is and will only ever be one Ken Russell, Ann-Margret, Who, Elton John, Tina Turner and a TV that oozes baked beans, chocolate and bubbles. I do so love this movie! No matter what one has to say about it -- you can't claim to have seen another film even remotely like it and I don't think we would have ever gotten MTV without it. Can you hear me?
Haunting, sensual, erotic and oddly disturbed -- this is a magical film from a controversial Korean filmmaker. Weightless and beautiful. See it.
Totally entertaining. Over the top theatrics which manage to both creep and touch. Smarter than it deserved, this is a work of art.
Like feasting on loads of sugar. A pretty, funny and perverse tribute to the films of Vincent Minnelli and Douglas Sirk. And, who would have imagined that Ozon would have managed to get all of these French screen sirens in one room!?!?! Fun! Fun! Fun! ...and, really, pretty darn gay!
My personal fave Woody Allen film and beautifully photographed/framed tribute to our greatest city. Not as sweet or touching as ANNIE HALL, but a much deeper mediation -- and, I suspect, a more honest glimpse into the heart of this complex artist. And, who would have thought Diane Keaton could play a bitchy character so perfectly?!!? Gershwin has never been put to such great use. Well worth seeing for the first 10 minutes.
...I write about this movie too much. It is probably my all time fave movie. I know it is a guilty pleasure. Color me "guilty" and give me more Babs in an afro!
...if you've not seen this documentary you are missing one of the best ever made. Just perfect.
Flawed but somehow brilliant installment from Paul Morrisey's trilogy study of addiction and living on the glam down low. I dare you to not get pulled in! Viva La Holly Woodlawn! All three films Morrisey made rock, but this is my fave of the three. Largely improvised -- this film probably helped to create John Waters, but Morrisey's own moral agenda adds a level of import that transcends camp. This is a true art house experiment gone very bad --- and very well all at once! See it to believe it! ...And, check out TRASH if you dare. It almost made my list. Andrea Feldman RIP!
I think this might be the best bad movie ever made. I enjoy it even more than VALLEY OF THE DOLLS -- and, that is saying a lot when I say that! Shame! Shame! Shame on Miss. Ross for refusing for Paramount to release this on DVD! It is a treasure! She should fully embrace it and all those clothes she designed specifically for the movie! Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? ...don't ask Mahogany!!!
There are certainly other great films: TAXI DRIVER, CABARET, JOHNNY GUITAR, ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE EXORCIST, BLUE VELVET, ERASERHEAD, GODFATHER, LAST TANGO IN PARIS, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, UNDER THE SAND, PERSONA, SHAMPOO, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, ROMMY & MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, etc. ...but the ones I sited are my faves.

If you celebrate it or, if like me, you just enjoy the pretty lights, smiles and glitter -- Happy Christmas! I want it. So, maybe war will be over soon.

...and, while I do find this film to be a sort of interesting cinematic mistake, it is not good. But, I think this might be one of my all time favorite movie posters....isn't it wicked cool?!?!

14 Comments:

Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Those are all indeed fabulous flicks ... I just watched Nashville again after hearing that the great Mr. Altman had died, and it was even better than I had remembered .. just perfection

4:19 AM  
Blogger Old Cheeser said...

Some great films there Matty and in fact some of your fave movies are very similar to my own. In particular:

The Wizard of Oz - well what can I say, the film that inspired the phrase "Friend of Dorothy". "Camp" doesn't even begin to describe it. It's a technicolour classic, and the use of black and white at beginning and end is ingenious as well. And it's a film I will always associate with Xmas. The tornado and the witch scared the sh*t out of me! And last week they were showing the movie as a "backdrop" at G.A.Y. club, which worked really well.

Carrie - a brilliant horror movie (I think we chatted about this before on Lubin Odana's blog). Sissy Spacek is amazing and that whole slow-mo scene at the prom is a masterpiece of suspense and tension. "They're all gonna laugh at you!!"

Manhattan - I used to have a "thing" for Woody Allen movies. Admittedly they are all rather samey - i.e about self-obsessed, neurotic New Yorkers. Someone (I think it was Roseanne Barr) said something very bitchy (but accurate) about him - "I wish I could be Woody. He's been making the same film for the past thirty years and is a millionaire". Ha ha! As for Manhattan itself, the b+w visuals and use of Gershwin are perfect. And there's the customary Woody humour. (My own personal favourites are The Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and her Sisters).

Don't Look Now - brilliant thriller and Julie Christie looks gorgeous in her 1970s attire. The dwarf running around in the red mac is ultra creepy and the film isn't perhaps the best advertisement for Venice...

And I must see Mahogany some day soon! I'm sure it is a trash classic!

As for me, I have many favourite films (it's so hard to narrow them down, isn't it?) But top of my list would be:

The Stepford Wives (the original)
Rosemary's Baby
All About Eve
Vertigo
Edward Scissorhands
Carrie
Dressed To Kill
Xanadu
Star Wars
Barbarella
Brief Encounter
Eyes Wide Shut
Mildred Pierce
Law of Desire
Badgad Cafe
Donnie Darko

... to name a few! Thank you for indulging me!

10:14 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Reel Fanatic! Isn't that an amazing film? Robert Altman will be missed. Every time I see NASHVILLE I catch some new glimpse into some aspect of humanity and the political I've not noted before. The over-lapping sound makes it all so multi-textured.

Old Cheeser! I love that paraphrase from Barr. It is true! LOL! ...but no one does neurotic as well as Woody A! You know I was just chatting with someone about what the most influential film of all time is --- and he argued for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD but I really think it is THE WIZARD OF OZ from technique to references -- it just seems to inspire other filmmakers more than any other. I could be wrong.

I LOVE your list and am kicking myself that I forgot ALL ABOUT EVE!

I love learning the fave works of film, music and writing of others. I feel like it gives me insight into them and opens up new doors of experience for me. Because of your list I will be seekign out LAW OF DESIRE. I've seen it, but I don't think it dented into me at the time. So, I need to see it again.

Isn't it interesting how well Stanley Kubrick films age? Like wine sort of? I disliked EYES WIDE SHUT when it came out. A couple of years later I rather enjoyed it and now I do love it. Intersting, that!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Old Cheeser said...

Bless ya Matty - glad you liked my list. Yes Wizard of Oz is a landmark movie, I know people take the p*ss out of it but it is probably far more influential than they realise. And there's so many messages and sub-texts in there.

Well you will just have to add "EVE" to your list! "Fasten your seatbelts... it's going to be a bumpy night!"

That's good that my (and other people's) choices have had an impact on you. I think you're right - someone can write passionately about something, be it a movie, play, book or musical artist you've never heard of before and you can't help but get interested! And it does tell you about them too - their preferences, likes and tastes.

That's great to hear that you're going to re-watch "LAW". It's kind of dated now, and not as slick looking as Almodovar's most recent movies but that's one of the reasons I like it (being an old cheeser). Carmen Maura as the transexual is great. And as for Antonio Banderas - mmmm mmmm! He walks around in his underpants a lot in this film which is a definite advantage. And you get to see him being f*cked by another guy, for Christ sakes!! This was pretty early on his career and I very much doubt he would make a movie like this now ... pity ...

Yes, I actually enjoyed "EYES" first time round! And my god - Tom Cruise actually made a good movie!! No, that's a bit unfair, he has done some other good stuff but as the King of the Hollywood blockbuster this was an unusual move. I love the air of mystery and strangeness that pervades the whole movie - it's slow-moving but intelligent and there's some really creepy scenes - the masked orgy particularly and even one simple scene where Tom walks down the street and is followed by someone. Compelling stuff.

12:23 PM  
Blogger ing said...

Matty, Old Cheeser's comment made me wonder why you didn't include Xanadu in your list.

I've seen half of the movies you mention, some of them with you (e.g. Streisand, Ross, and part of the 8 French sirens). I just love The Wizard of Oz & really need to rent it again as I haven't seen it for years and years.

My favorite movie poster features a Beautiful Mahogany Dress (though Carrie comes close). And among my favorite movies is the old black and white version of Lolita. As you know, my very favorite of all time is a tie between Blue Velvet and Eraserhead. I just can't decide.

Okay, I have to continue cleaning my apartment, Martha style. I'll be sure to rent some of the movies I haven't seen -- your picks, plus those of your honored guests here.

Happy holidays, everyone!

1:44 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Old Cheeser! Yes! You know, I own a DVD copy of LAW OF DESIRE. I just need to find it. I have far too many DVD's. I can't even keep up with them. However, I shall track it down and watch it! I haven't seen it in years! I love early Almodovar! I just can't remember that film. Is that the one that opens with the shot of Antonio's crotch? LOL! I think it might be! I also forgot DANCER IN THE DARK and I love that movie!

Ing! I did think of XANADU, but you know I didn't want to include too many bad/good movies. So, I shaved it down to between MOMMIE DEAREST, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, FASTER PUSSYCAT & MAHOGANY -- and, MAHOGANY won out! I think that is my fave bad/good movie and I'm so psyched we got to share that experience of seeing it on the big screen at the castro! that was sooooo much fun! Actually, we have and continue to share really fun experiences film and otherwise! I am so bummed I missed out on the Holiday Strip Show you and Alan attended! Next time!

"...it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!"

6:09 PM  
Blogger Metalchick said...

Hi Matt,
I haven't seen most of these movies, but Tommy is my favorite! Not just because Roger looked sexy in the movie, but because how fabulous Tina Turner looked, and she still looks good today! there hasn't been another movie like Tommy that has an all star cast along with a great story.

Hope you have a Happy Holidays and a Rockin' New Year!

11:44 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Metalchick! Hi! Yes! Tina is awesome and Mr. Daltrey was so hot when he made this movie! Have you ever seen LISzTOMANIA? ....made about a month after he finished filming TOMMY. It is an insane film -- Pete Townsend is featured in picture format as one of the apostles. Very odd rock musical of Franz Liszt's life. Ringo Star plays the pope. Hard to find -- I have a bootleg of it on DVD. Daltrey and Rick Wakeman adapted all of the music from Liszt compositions. It's a trip.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Kalvin said...

I feel like an old codger or stuffy reading your list. I absolutely love Belle de Jour, and JR and I got in a big fight over it and her motivations and if she was really "to blame" etc. And I've really been meaning to see grey gardens.

It's strange how when you started to just list great films that you started to hit my favorites. I guess I'm just not as well versed in film as some, and I haven't seen many of those contained in your list. Well, I have hardly seen any Altman to begin with.

12:11 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Kalvin! Oh, you MUST see GREY GARDENS! Rent it! It is such fun to debate the meanings of BELLE DE JOUR!

I would love to know your favorite films!!!

You are not an "old codger" --- quite the opposite!

I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to movies and music. ...a walking book of useless information and opinion. But, you should check out some Altman. I, of course, highly rec. the two I mention here but MASH and MCGABE & MRS. MILLER tend to be his most popular. Still, I think NASHVILLE is his best.

So, what are your faves?

12:21 AM  
Blogger ginab said...

Happy Christmas Matty!

I love the list here. I'm on Netflix, so of course!!! Wild At Heart I saw in London. Walking back to the car, on that dark and bustery fall evening, my shoe kicked something light on the pavement. I bent down and searched the pavement; found I'd kicked a lighter! Oh yes...what a find. Magical. My magic moment. The lighter worked, too!

Cheers to you and B and to Ing!!!

-ginab

PS: Did you forget Happiness?

2:45 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Gina! Happy Christmas!!! Hope you have a great one! We will be thinking of you!!!

I love that story! I'm forever blown away by the way you string these words together. That, I think, is magic.

No! I did not forget HAPPINESS or WELCOME TO THE DOLL HOUSE --- both of which I love. And, I own both and watch them fairly often -- but something holds me back from naming them among my absolute favorites. Hard to determine why. I also LOVE (!) PALENDROMES. I guess I feel a level of discomfort when watching these films which, I do feel, is the director's intention but which I do not all together enjoy feeling. Perhaps HAPPINESS cuts a bit too close to the bone in requiring me to view a rapist from both perspectives. Amazing, powerful and insightful film. As are all 3 of his films. But, I guess I would not say they are my favorites.

...However, they should not be missed. I'm glad you mentioned it!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

I love your list, and agree with all of them except for the Asian ones, as I haven't been able to view them yet.
Oh, I just got the dvd of Ed Wood for christmas. It's my first viewing, and I'm excited. I think Tim Burton is such a wonderful film maker, too.
The "Wiz" is such a powerful story,and shot almost perfectly,too.
I just plugged in White Christmas. Save a hanky for me, luv...

6:29 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Daniel -- Check 'em out -- they are awesome! ED WOOD is a great film!!!

"...I'm dreaming of a white Christmas"

6:21 PM  

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